Tag Archives: murder mystery

Summer Knight (The Dresden Files #4) – Book Review

Published Date: September 3, 2002

Publishing Co.: ROC

Pages: 446

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

A vast improvement from Grave Peril.

It probably helped that this had zero Buzzkillington the Third in it. (Michael.)

In Summer Knight, we see a complete unraveling of Harry in regards to the ending of the last book and what happened to his girlfriend, Susan. He doesn’t care much about anything other than trying to find something to help her resist her new semi-vampire status. In the mean time, vampires have declared war on Harry and the White Council and have put hits out on both. Harry is under intense scrutiny by the Council and may even get fed to the vampires to help put things back to right. At least that’s the opinion of Harry’s enemies among the Council. As if all that wasn’t enough, war is brewing between the two faerie courts and Harry’s been dragged in against his will to help absolve Queen Mab of murder. So needless to say, Harry can’t sit in his basement studying any more.

Here, we begin to see some of Harry’s more annoying traits begin to die down. He recognizes that keeping people in the dark, in order to protect them, is actually only doing harm. He still wants to save all the damsels but he acknowledges that sometimes, the damsels can handle themselves.

He also begins to accept help from his friends instead of trying to be the lone hero so that no one else but him gets hurt. He lets them know the level of danger and leaves the decision to attend the melee up to his possible allies.

The growth of Harry Dresden looks good on him.

spoilers below

I’m very upset about the death of Meryl. I think she would have been an absolutely great character addition to this series beyond one book. I could read a million more books about troll girl.

My favorite battle moment was when Harry looked at an enemy, yelled, “Meep! Meep!” and ran away.

I’m relieved this is picking up again. Maybe I won’t wait so long to continue onto the next book.

Where the Crawdads Sing – Book Review

Published Date: August 14, 2018

Publishing Co.: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Pages: 384

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Where the Crawdads Sing is undoubtedly, beautifully written. The descriptions of the land, wildlife, and ecosystems bring the narrative to life, both entertaining and educating you in one finely weaved tapestry of the environment.

Kya’s family is what the town calls Swamp Trash. They’re not treated as part of the community, but like strangers to be whispered about behind their backs. One by one, as family members slowly disappear, young Kya is left in a small shack in the marshlands of North Carolina. No one in the community tries to help her. None of them care, they just grab their children and walk in the other direction. Everyone except two boys, one the son of a ship’s captain, the other the town’s star quarterback and the black man who runs the dock where people in the swamp gas their boats. Why is it important that I mention that he’s black? This is set in the 1950’s and the racism was flagrant back then. So when the white people of the town turn their backs on a small white child, but a poor black man steps up and helps her survive, I think it’s worth pointing out. People are good people based solely on their character, nothing else.

When the quarterback mysteriously dies at the bottom of a fire tower, the town once again begins whispering about the Marsh Girl and his secret relationship with her. The son of a prominent family, half the town swears she’s guilty and they’ll vow it in a court of law. Not for the first time, Kya is fighting for her life.

While I did enjoy reading this, I felt that the plot was drawn out for far too long. Which, when you think about it, is pretty impressive for a book that’s only 384 pages long. So my final verdict is; read it if you want, it is enjoyable but, it’s not something I’m going to be thrusting at people I know and insisting that they read it.

Magic for Liars – Book Review

Published Date: June 4, 2019

Publishing Co.: Tor

Pages: 336

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley in an exchange for an honest review.

Ivy Gamble is a small time private investigator who deals with mostly, disability fraud and spouse cheating cases. Today, however, the local school of magic has approached her to investigate the death of a teacher, first ruled an accident. The principle of the school suspects that it was actually murder, and she can’t sleep until she gets a second opinion.

Ivy need the money, and the notoriety. The problem is, she’ll have to confront her estranged sister. The sister she’s been jealous of for a lifetime, for getting to be magic while Ivy was just ordinary. It’s not just her sister she’ll have to contend with though, it’s a whole league of people she doesn’t know how to interact with. People born to magic, who use it for such trivial reasons. She’ll have to manage her anger, on top of solving her first murder case.

Sarah Gailey’s strength is definitely in characters and their development. Ivy’s internal struggles are deeply relateable. Her interactions with people she’s uncomfortable with, and her attempts to hide her own magic inability, make for a fascinating look into the human psyche. The plot was fairly straightforward for a murder mystery. Gailey dabbles with a couple of red herrings but in all honestly, I had the mystery figured out far before our awkward PI did.

I’m left wondering, does Rahul give her a chance to explain? We’ll never know though as this is a stand alone novel. Some mysteries never get solved.

The Murders in the Rue Morgue – Short Story Review

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Some of the classic covers are much cooler but give away the murderer.

Published Date: April 1, 1841

Pages: 38

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I dived hard into Edgar Allen Poe as a teenager and with my recent foray into classic horror, it was time for a re-read.

This isn’t one of his dark romantic tales, but a story of murder and intrigue. The main character is smarter than all of the police and solves the case of a double homicide that is at a stalemate. The culprit is quite unexpected.

The first couple pages were hard to get through as there is a chess analogy that doesn’t really add a whole lot to the tale in my opinion. But, if you get past that point it’s an enjoyable little detective story. (Apparently, one of the first detective stories according to the Goodreads synopsis.)

Stalking Jack the Ripper – Book Review

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Published Date: September 20, 2016

Publishing Co.: Grand Central Publishing

Pages: 343

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I wandered across this book while browsing the shelves at the store. Honestly, all my other choices were out of stock but, I decided I would pick it up on a whim and see how it went. There are a million things you can do with a Jack the Ripper story and we’d just see where this went.

Good lord did this girl try to beat me over the head with how intelligent her boy toy was. Show me, don’t tell me. I’ll decide for myself if he comes off as even remotely smart. (He eventually does when allowed to talk for himself.) While we’re at it, stop telling me how good you are at resisting his charms when you’re clearly smitten from the very beginning. Let’s just make a promise not to lie to each other, okay?

Other than that, I did enjoy the main character, Audrey Rose. I always like a rebellious woman who decides to say, “Fuck your social norms.” I liked Thomas Cresswell even more as a strong male character encouraging said girl’s fiery personality and curiosity. Of course sparks will ignite between the two while they are elbow deep in cadavers. Nothing is more attractive than someone who can handle a bone saw like an expert.

Unfortunately, I figured out the identity of the Ripper early in the book. I had hoped they were just a red herring and I’d have a complete surprise towards the end, but I didn’t. No matter though, I still enjoyed the story. I don’t know that I would go out of my way to pick up the second book but if I wandered across it, much like the first, I may decide to read it.

The Forgotten Girls – Book Review

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Published Date: February 3, 2015

Publishing Co.: De glemte piger

Pages: 312

Synopsis link to Goodreads.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Louise Rick has just been handed a new department within the police department. Her new agency’s first case is identifying a woman who died in the woods. No one seems to know who she is and her death is deemed accidental. But too many small questions surround her death to just close the case once she’s identified.

In order to solve the case, Louise may have to confront some dark secrets she thought she left behind years ago in the small town she grew up in. Small towns have long memories, and this is going to be an uncomfortable investigation.

I think a lot of the magic of this book may have been lost in translation. (Originally in Danish.) That’s not saying that it was bad by any means. The descriptions of people were vague, as the depth of characters were also rather shallow. Which overall, made it hard to connect with any of the characters. As for the murder mystery, that was pretty solid and the investigation was interesting. It also shined a spot light on the horrible conditions in mental institutions back in the day and why there are not nearly as many now.

This is the fourth book in a series but I did not feel like I missed anything important from the three prior books. The lead into the mystery of the fifth book was not intriguing enough for me to continue. I’m fairly certain I can guess the outcome, but the slim chance that I’m wrong still doesn’t arouse enough curiosity for me to follow along.

Stillhouse Lake – Book Review

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Publishing Date: July 1, 2017

Publishing Co.: Thomas & Mercer

Pages: 292

Goodreads Synopsis here.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Imagine you’re the American dream. Midwestern housewife with two kids and a steady, reliable husband. He tinkers in the garage after work and you attend PTA meetings and after school events. Nothing rocks the boat for years and years. Until one day, someone accidentally drives their vehicle through your yard and into the garage revealing your quiet, dependable husband to be a ruthless serial killer. You have my attention.

The rest of the story is of a mother living in paranoia, trying desperately to keep her kids safe from people who want to hurt her and her children because they don’t believe she’s innocent, despite a trial that finds otherwise. They change their names, run and try to rebuild. Until someone in their new town begins murdering girls in the exact same manner as her ex-husband.

I’ll admit that this one was kind of a let down. I loved the concept and I was pumped to read it but it fell flat. Everything was predictable right down to the multiple red herrings. I knew fairly early on who the murderer was going to be and I was right. The “shocking” ending wasn’t so shocking. I saw that one coming a mile away, knowing that this is a series and there would have to be something to explain a second book. Gwen, the mother, has super level paranoia but doesn’t think a certain curiosity from a near stranger was an odd question? Or that someone who has been helping her all along did it out of a sudden change of heart? She put too many eggs in baskets that I wouldn’t have touched with a ten foot pole if I were in her shoes.

Fer-de-Lance – Book Review

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Title: Fer-de-Lance

Author: Rex Stout

Published Date: October 1934

Publishing Co.: Bantam Crimeline

Pages: 285

Synopsis link to GR: Read Here

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This is a series/author I had never heard of until my Secret Santa from work plopped this little book in my tiny greedy hands. Every once in a while I enjoy your good old fashion murder mystery and this delivered.

What makes this stand apart from others is that one of the main protagonists (and detective) is a large peculiar man who does everything without leaving his house. Twice daily Nero Wolfe attends his rare orchids and refuses to see anyone for any matter. He is not to be disturbed at these times. In between you may catch him eating food or making phone calls and solving crimes. His trusty assistant detective, Archie Goodwin, is the man who runs all the errands to help get things done. He does it in good humor and sometimes bad tempers, but he does them nonetheless. Working for an eccentric genius has it’s trials.

I really enjoyed the odd quirks of both detectives but mostly Wolfe’s. Archie Goodwin’s humor and attitude helped to balance things out. This was one murder mystery where I couldn’t keep up half the time. Even if I had a guess at who the murderer was, I couldn’t figure out how they had done it. I had some reservations about how the crime was handled in the end by the detectives but it was explained in the very last chapter. I don’t know that I agree with it but it was a solid enough ending.

This is a large series. While I don’t know that I’ll read every book, I know I will at least continue to try out more.