March Mystery Reviews

The Sandcastle MysteriesTHE SANDCASTLE MYSTERIES: DEATH AND DECEPTION AT THE JERSEY SHORE (Eight Women Writers, 2010, $15.95) is the result of a collaboration by the aforementioned women who write under the name of Amea Lake. When a young woman finds the body of her husband on the kitchen floor, she realizes that she knows almost nothing about the man she married. Her amateur sleuthing leads her into a web of international intrigue, money-laundering and murder, while coping with the usual stresses of life along the Atlantic seaboard.  (Reviewed by Roberta’s Ramblings)

Jeff Markowitz takes on small-town New Jersey are always trenchantly funny. In A MINOR CASE OF A Minor Case of MurderMURDER,(Crossroad Press, 2013, $13.00), his reporter sleuth Cassie O’Malley goes to a local baseball game, and finds herself involved with the murder of the team’s mascot. Was the girl in the mosquito suit the target, or was this a case of accidental death? A land deal, a bird fanatic, a cab driver and a would-be sports baron all figure in this jaunt to the Jersey shore and its eccentric inhabitants.  (Reviewed by Roberta’s Ramblings)

As recent events have shown,politics in New Jersey can get nasty. In DEADLY CAMPAIGN, by Alan Orloff (Midnight Ink, 2012, $14.95), Comedy Club owner Channing Deadly CampaignHayes thinks he’s doing a friend a favor when he lends his support to a friend’s political ambitions. Then a gang of goons disrupts the meeting with baseball bats, and things get really serious. Since the young politician’s family doesn’t want police involvement, Channing is pressed into service as a private investigator. It’s a look at the dark side of New Jersey, with pay-offs, blackmail and murder as business as usual.  (Reviewed by Roberta’s Ramblings)

E.F. Watkins shows the artistic side of New Jersey in her latest Quinn Matthews Haunting Mystery, HEX, DEATH & ROCK ‘N ROLL (Amber Quill Press, 2013, $15.00). Quinn’s been called in toHex, Death & Rock 'n Roll help restore an old theater in Elizabeth, NJ, once the preferred venue for vaudeville, later used by rock stars. Now it’s going to be the setting for a new video by the hottest new rock band, Mad Love, but the band’s lead singer is worried about a series of accidents that have plagued the group. Is it sabotage, or something more unworldly? Quinn’s psychic gifts are called on to get to the bottom of the tangled web of personal and professional loves and hates that surround the musicians and their entourage. In the process, she helps an unhappy young woman find fulfillment, and makes a few decisions about her own love life. As always, E.F. Watkins delivers a sold mystery with a psychic twist.  (Reviewed by Roberta’s Ramblings)

THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD By Laura McHugh (Randon House Publishing Group March 11, 2014) Genre: Mystery Score: 4.5The Weight of Blood

Blurb: The town of Henbane sits deep in the Ozark Mountains. Folks there still whisper about Lucy Dane’s mother, a bewitching stranger who appeared long enough to marry Carl Dane and then vanished when Lucy was just a child. Now on the brink of adulthood, Lucy experiences another loss when her friend Cheri disappears and is then found murdered, her body placed on display for all to see. Lucy is haunted by the two lost girls—the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t save—and sets out with the help of a local boy, Daniel, to uncover the mystery behind Cheri’s death.

Review: The book was wonderfully paced, building with each page as Lucy delves into the disappearance of her mother and Cheri. Told in dual storylines we find out the truth about the secrets of Henbane. The only downside to the story was about half way through the author decided to delve into a lot more POV’s which bogged down the story. I don’t think much of it was needed and, for me, it was the wrong place for it. This is still a wonderful mystery. I highly recommend this intriguing, complex story about the weight of blood.  (Reviewed by Donna Keihle)

THE LOST SISTERHOOD by Anne Fortier (Ballantine Books March 11, 14) Pages: 608 Genre: Adventure / Women’s Fiction Score 5The Lost Sisterhood

Blurb: Oxford lecturer Diana Morgan is an expert on Greek mythology. Her obsession with the Amazons started in childhood when her eccentric grandmother claimed to be one herself—before vanishing without a trace. Diana’s colleagues shake their heads at her Amazon fixation. But then a mysterious, well-financed foundation makes Diana an offer she cannot refuse – to fly to Coppenhaugen.

Review: Since I’ve always had more curiousity than common sense, I had to trouble believing that Diana would leave the country with a complete stranger in her quest for the Amazons. There are three storylines that weave together the present and past to tell the tale of Diana’s work to uncover proof the Amazons existed, her memories of her missing grandmother and Myrina, the first Amazon queen. No journey would be complete without a couple of good looking men and Fortier offers us two – James Moselane, Diana’s longtime crush and Nick Barran, the secretive man she meets in North Africa. There’s danger and intrigue and I loved every page. Since I’m not a student of history, I don’t know how her story stacks up to the facts but as an avid reader I can tell you this is not a book you only read once. A very satisfying journey with twists, turns and plenty of surprises that you don’t want to end.  (Reviewed by Donna Keihle)

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