Tag Archives: Book Reviews

October 2019 Book Reviews

Death Beside the Seaside (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery Book 6) by T E Kinsey (author)

Tiny Flo’ and Lady Hardcastle are back!

On holiday in wonderful Weston, the dynamic duo find themselves embroiled in a multiple murder, spy, hotel mystery.
Lots of murders, most of the guests at the hotel involved in espionage and the biggest mystery … who are Chub and Perch or is Antelope and Gazelle? Maybe Flo was correct to name them Leftie and Rightie after their gun hands.

An other rollicking adventure, revealing more of the past adventures of Lady H and her tiny companion, that bustles along like a hat in the breeze along Weston Promenade. At least it prevented Flo’ getting bored waiting for the tide to bring the sea to her!

As ever another fun read, just pipped to book of the month.

A fabulous read 5 Stars


The Reed Ferguson Series: Books 1-3 & Books 4-6
by Renee Pawlish (author)

A couple of box sets, the start of at least 18 stories featuring “not quite a rich boy anymore” detective Reed Ferguson. (Book 5 reveals why!)

The cast of characters are laid down in book 1 and they remain very true to themselves throughout, no sudden super-powers … then with Goofball Brothers as main support players; you wouldn’t expect them too.
The plots are all different even if Reed’s technique, a bit like Dick Francis’s detective Sid Halley’s “crash about a bit until someone beats me up”, approach.

I found them to be easy to read and kept me turning the pages.

Good reads 4 Stars


See You at the Bar (A Harry Gilmour Novel Book 5) by David Black (author)

Harry Gilmour continues to fight his war beneath the waves of the Mediterranean. Except in this story he is on the surface of the sea much of the time.
His would be nemesis, The Bonnyboy, is still trying to kill the one and only officer who knows the truth about his final patrol.

A less tension riddled tale than earlier books. Instead you worry for poor Harry’s mental and physical health and that of his crew as the submarine is pushed well beyond the normal deployment.

A bit weaker than normal from David Black

A final fling, 3 (+1/2) Stars


The Prisoner’s Key (Glass and Steele Book 8)
by CJ Archer

This is really a Steele and Steele book, picking up the story soon after Matt and India return from their honeymoon.
A metal magician wants to work with India to create new spells, then he becomes embroiled in a murder. India, Matt and the rest of the crew set out to provide the police with the identity of the real killer.

If you have enjoyed the previous seven stories, you’ll like this one too. It doesn’t, however, give you a reason to read on if you have lost enthusiasm for the series.

A fun read 4 Stars


The Last Dance (The Near-Earth Mysteries Book 1)
by Martin L. Shoemaker

The Captain of a ship on an endless voyage is charged with mutiny by the military forces under the control of BIG money.
The very junior Inspector General, Park Yerim, is the only inspector available in the narrow time frame available to conduct an independent investigation.

Park gathers testimony from the diverse crew, painting a complex picture of Captain Aames’s character: his heroism, his failures, even his personal passions. As the investigation unfolds, Park finds herself having to hold off powerful interests, each pushing and pulling her in a different direction to the one she wants to pursue.
Corruption, conflicting loyalties, and clashing accounts make it nearly impossible to see the truth in fifty million miles of darkness, and Park faces danger from every direction. All eyes are on her: one way or another, her findings will have astronomical implications for all involved

A classic country house style mystery, just the country house is missing. A well-told, enthralling story.

Undoubtedly The Book of the Month 5 Stars


Other Halves (Hannah series Book 2)
by Nick Alexander

A typically well crafted book by Nick Alexander. A marriage falls apart when Hanna leaves husband Cliff for his brother James. Cliff then has to struggle, coming to terms with suppressed feeling from his teenage years.
In the middle of this turmoil is Luke, the only child and weapon of choice for the warring couple.

A clever well written and absorbing story.

A good read 4 stars

September Books

Several books that were not so good this month … and one blindingly good one (at the bottom of the page)

The Case of the Nudist Numismatist

by Jack Dearborn (author), Ellen Dearborn (editor)

Another case for American detective Miles Grant, this time he has to solve the disappearance of a very valuable coin. The investigation progresses in an orderly manner, eliminating possibilities in a logical manner.

As usual Miles engages his wife as his sounding board which brings his family situation into the scope of the story. This opens up a family conversation about the rights and wrongs of the naturist life style some members of his family have adopted.

Not great literature but it is a fun read.

Fun 4 Stars

The Protest

by P.A. Choi (author)

Light fluffy short story about a naked protest on a college campus., from the prolific pen of PA Choi.

Fine if you want to read it.

Short and Signifying Nothing 2 Stars

A Dress the Color of the Sky

by Jennifer Irwin (author)

I wanted to enjoy this book … I didn’t.

There is nothing wrong with the writing. The plot is a little far fetched; a sex addict in therapy, trying to save a relationship with a man who is planning to marry another woman.

The voice didn’t work for me and coupled with the plot issues, I couldn’t read more than a few pages at a time … until I gave up.

NOT FINISHED – No rating

They Rang Up the Police (Inspector Guy Northeast Book 1)

by Joanna Cannan (author)

This a wonderful little detective story was actually written in 1939 and reflects the social mores of the period.

Out of favour Detective Guy Northeast is sent from Scotland Yard to investigate the disappearance of one member of a household of women, which turns into a country house murder. Before he can make progress he has to overcome the class prejudices of the era.

A rather well crafted book.

Good Read – 4 Stars

Death in Dulwich (The London Murder Mysteries )

by Alice Castle

The main character is a thirty-something single mum Beth Haldane. She has a young son, haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own and lots of bills to pay, as she struggles to keep up with the yummy mummies of the rather affluent Dulwich .

She starts a new a job and on her first day her immediate boss is murdered. For some reason she decides that she must be the main suspect and sets to clear her name.

A cozy crime story, pleasant enough if some of the characters are not much more than ciphers. Others I found to be a bit artificial. Read it or not, it isn’t going to change your world.

Cozy Reading 3 Stars

Hide and Seek PARIS-SXM

Valérie Lieko

I picked up the publicity for this book in a resort shop on St Martin, and didn’t get round to reading it for years. Thankfully.

Alternate chapters tell the story from either side of a dysfunctional romance. Dysfunctional because both characters are not who they claim to be. He is an undercover cop. She is on holiday and has created a more colourful persona for the event.

However, I found the double point of view story telling slow and often uninspiring. You know the factual basis of the second of each pair of chapters before you read it, although you might get a better understanding of the motivations and perceptions … it wasn’t enough.

I ended up skipping chunks and the entire last third of the book because to be honest I didn’t care enough about the characters.

NOT FINISHED – No rating

The Man with No Borders: A Novel

by Richard C. Morais (Author)

It is a time of reckoning for José María Álvarez, an aristocratic Spanish banker living in a Swiss village with his American wife. His has led a long and very interesting life, which includes a lot of salmon fishing. Or butchery of salmon by the hundred. Which he sells to hotels four or five days later, ungutted, no refrigeration, in Spain? Just as well it is fiction and an allegory.

That said this is the best book I read this month by a country mile. Well written, imaginative and engaging. You know the ending from the very start of the book. However, the narrative twist and turns like an alpine road, to the left, to the right and the doubling back to where you began, well almost.

I loved Richard C Morais earlier book The Hundred Foot Journey, I think that this is an even better book

The full 5 Stars And Book of the Month