DEATH OF AN UNSUNG HERO by Tessa Arlen / Mystery / Released March 13, 2018 by Minotaur Books
Review by Colleen Donnelly
Let me say first that the cover for “Death of an Unsung Hero” by Tessa Arlen was well chosen for it does indeed fit the mood of this story. And not only does the cover suit the book, but the pace and style this WWI era mystery was written with also seem appropriate for the time period. Not trendy, or in any way resembling contemporary mysteries, this book will be best enjoyed by the person who not only loves to solve a crime, but who also appreciates how a story is told. From the beginning, “Death of an Unsung Hero” feels like a slice of life in a unique and unpopular hospital setting where the invisible wounds of soldiers are treated rather than the bleeding ones. The staff and patients alike unfold in the book’s beginning, their relationships and their dilemmas compounding until one of them is murdered. And eventually another…setting in motion fear for those on site as well as fear the hospital will be closed down. Not willing to risk leaving the institution or its people at the mercy of an incompetent investigator, two older staff women assume the task of solving the crimes themselves, sorting through complex clues while navigating negative social opinion as they do.
Again, this story wasn’t written to be a fast-paced whodunit, jumping from incident to incident, but rather a daily walk in the lives and shoes of the characters. The author does indeed put us into the characters’ day-to-day, and does a good job of sticking to the main plot while resolving minor issues that complicate the crime. The two heroines were worthy sleuths, the investigator easy to despise, and the crime well concealed as clues amassed. There was nothing graphic, no vulgarity, just truly a slice of life story with murder complicating the mix.
I thank The Book Breeze for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. As an author, reader, critique partner, and part time copy editor, I appreciated the literary style of this book, the way the setting and characters helped reveal the tone and mood of the era, and the mystery that stayed a mystery while it was being solved.
Colleen L Donnelly
Amazon #1 Bestselling Author
THE PURLOINED PUZZLE by Parnell Hall / Mystery / Released March 13, 2018 by Minotaur Books
Amateur sleuth and crossword impresario Cora Felton is asked to solve a puzzle, only to find that it’s been stolen—and a murder weapon has been left in its place.
When the obnoxious sixteen-year-old Peggy Dawson asks Cora Felton to solve a puzzle for her, Cora is delighted to find that the puzzle has been stolen. She is less delighted, however, when a blood-stained knife is found in its place.
Soon a body is discovered in the middle of Main Street, and Cora has a murder investigation on her hands. It does not help matters when she hears that her least favorite ex-husband, Melvin, is in town pulling a real estate scam, particularly when she discovers that Melvin may have purchased the knife. Now it’s up to the Puzzle Lady to figure out what really happened.
A WHISPER OF BONES by Ellen Hart / Cozy Mystery / Release February 27, 2018 by Minotaur Books
Fans of Jane Lawless new and old will be fascinated by newly minted Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Ellen Hart’s latest intricate puzzle in A Whisper of Bones.
Britt Ickles doesn’t remember much from her only visit to her mother’s childhood home when she was a kid, except for playing with her cousin Timmy and the eruption of a sudden family feud. That’s why, when she drops by unannounced after years of silence, she’s shocked when her aunts tell her Timmy never existed, that she must be confusing him with someone else. But Britt can’t shake the feeling that Timmy did exist…and that something horrible has happened to him. Something her aunts want to cover up.
Britt hires Jane Lawless, hoping the private investigator can figure out what really happened to her cousin. When a fire in the family’s garage leads to the discovery of buried bones and one of the aunts dies suddenly and suspiciously, Jane can’t help but be pulled into the case. Do the bones belong to Timmy? Was the aunt’s death an accident, suicide, or homicide? What dark secret has this family been hiding for decades? It all depends on Jane Lawless to unravel.
ELLEN HART, “a top novelist in the cultishly popular gay mystery genre” (Entertainment Weekly) and MWA Grand Master, is also a Lambda and Minnesota Book Award winner. She is author of more than twenty previous mysteries featuring Jane Lawless, including Sweet Poison, The Cruel Ever After, and Taken by the Wind. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
From the stunning cover to the last page A WHISPER OF BONES delivers mystery and misdirection at every turn. Tightly written, the characters reveal their depth and humanity as they lead the reader through the mirky secrets of the past.
I want to thank NetGalley for the complimentary copy in return for an honest review.
MY BROTHER’S KEEPER by Donna Malane / Mystery / Released Dec 2017 by Minotaur Books
From New Zealand author Donna Malane, My Brother’s Keeper is a dark and twisting mystery that leaves no stone – or page – unturned.
Diane Rowe is a missing persons expert. Ex-con Karen needs Diane to help track down her fourteen-year-old daughter, Sunny, whom Karen lost contact with while she was in prison.
To Diane, this appears at first glance to be a simple case of a mother wanting to reunite with a beloved daughter. Tracking the girl down is easy. However, convincing her to meet her mother is no easy task. Diane cannot help but have a nagging thought – that guilt and innocence are bit straightforward and nothing is quite what is seems. Does Karen really want to fix the wrongs of the past or is there something darker at play here that Diane will have to uncover?
DONNA MALANE is an award-winning television producer and scriptwriter. She has written for all genres of television, including drama and comedy. Surrender, her first adult novel, was the winner of the inaugural New Zealand Society of Author-Pindar Publishing prize.
BLOODSTAINS WITH BRONTE by Katherine Bolger Hyde / Mystery / Released Dec 2017 by Minotaur Books
Classic novels and crime solving intertwine in Katherine Bolger Hyde’s charming second book in a series that will puzzle and please fans of mystery and masterpiece alike.
At a Halloween murder mystery fundraiser at Windy Corner, someone is found stabbed to death. Windy Corner’s very own detective, Luke, is reluctantly forced to investigate the young single mother housekeeper: Kate.
Luke digs into the background of the contractor, Jeremiah Edwards, and Windy Corner’s owner, Emily, who is reading Jane Eyre, realizes Jeremiah resembles St. John Rivers in his obsessive, tormented piety. Will Luke figure out who the murderer is before Katie ends up in jail or someone else is killed?
KATHERINE HYDE has lived her life surrounded by books, from teaching herself to read at age four to majoring in Russian literate, to making her career as a editor. She lives in California with her husband. She is the author of Arsenic with Austen.
CURSES, BOILED AGAIN! (A Lobster Shack Mystery) by Shari Randall / Cozy Mystery / Released Jan 30, 2018 by Minotaur Books
“Delightful! A fun whodunit full of New England coastal charm and characters who feel like friends. Warm humor, a delectable plot, and clever sleuthing will keep you turning the pages.” —Krista Davis, New York Times bestselling author of the Domestic Diva Mysteries
Welcome to the seaside hamlet of Mystic Bay, where the fish is always fresh, the folks are ever-friendly, and murder is on a roll. . .
Allie Larkin was living her dream as a ballet dancer when a bad fall put her out of business. Now she’s back home in Mystic Bay to heal a broken ankle while also helping her dear Aunt Gully get her Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack off the ground. Nothing would help Gully more than winning the local food festival’s Best Lobster Roll contest. The competition is sure to be killer—especially after one of the contest judges dies after eating a roll from one of Gully’s biggest rivals.
Soon, all eyes fall on Gully as the prime suspect. Allie may only have one good leg to stand on, but she’s not going to let her aunt go down for a crime she never could have cooked up. Can Allie, along with her devoted crew of friends, family, and customers, find a way to trap the killer and claw herself out of this hard-boiled murder case?
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE CRUST (A Bakeshop Mystery) by Ellie Alexander / Cozy Mystery / Released January 2, 2018 by Minotaur
Torte—the beloved small-town bakeshop run by Jules Capshaw—is set to hit the stage. But who would have guessed that murder would makes a surprise appearance?
It’s the role of a lifetime for Jules. The Shakespeare Festival has returned to Ashland, Oregon, for the season and Torte has been cast as the supplier of Elizabethan-era treats for the main event. But on the eve of opening night, a brawl between Jules’s friend Lance, the artistic director, and a strapping young thespian named Anthony almost brings down the house. . .and the next morning, Anthony is dead. Jules knows that Lance loves his drama—and his just desserts—but she also knows that murder is way off-script for him. Now it’s up to Jules to cut through a bevy of backstage betrayals and catty co-stars who all have their own secrets—before the curtain drops on someone else. . .