Tag: Mystery

Review: THE ITALIAN PARTY by Christina Lynch

51xyEh8AZGL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_THE ITALIAN PARTY by Christina Lynch / Mystery / Released March 20, 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

Review by Heather Haven

I will begin by saying the cover attracts attention right off. A black and white photo of a couple sitting on a moped, it shows immediately that the story centers on a man and woman, takes place during the fifties, and resides in Italy. That’s a good cover. When the book arrived, my husband was so intrigued by the cover alone, he picked it up to check it out.

And thus I come to the best part. I lost The Italian Party to my husband for the evening. When he came up for air, he’d read over half of it. I snatched the book back, declaring I had to review it, but at his insistence, promised to return it to him immediately after finishing. And I did. It’s that kind of book.

According to the blurb, and I quote: “…a newly married couple, Scottie and Michael, are seduced by Tuscany’s famous beauty. But the secrets they are keeping from each other force them beneath the splendid surface to a more complex view of ltaly, America and each other.”

Sounds like a love story, right? Not quite. I found The Italian Party to also be about universal subjects, often the Rites of Passage one experiences in life. This is a story of not only love, but caring, sorrow, desire, expectation, weakness, strength, and acceptance, all woven together with history, politics, and social mores. The characters have unique relationships. Embattlements ring true. As in real life, the story never quite takes you where you think you’re going to go.

This is Christina Lynch’s debut novel. Ms. Lynch has a notable background in writing and editing, and delivers a fine and complex tale. I plan to read any of her future endeavors.

Review: DEATH OF AN UNSUNG HERO by Tessa Arlen

51UqRGUZXrL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_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

New Release: DEATH AL FRESCO by Leslie Karst

51EWedWHb8LDEATH AL FRESCO by Leslie Karst / Cozy Mystery / Released March 13, 2018 by Crooked Lane Books

Acclaimed novelist Leslie Karst puts a sensational spin on the culinary cozy caper with her latest mystery, Death al Fresco.  In Death al Fresco, lawyer-turned-restaurateur protagonist Sally Solari faces a catastrophic culinary conundrum.  When her father is fingered for murder, it’s up to Sally to serve up the real killer before their family restaurant’s reputation goes up in smoke.

About Death al Fresco: It’s early autumn in Santa Cruz and restaurateur Sally Solari, inspired by the eye-popping canvases of Paul Gauguin, the artist for whom her restaurant is named, decides to enroll in a plein air painting class. But the beauty of the Monterey Bay coastline is shattered during one of their outings when Sally’s dog, Buster, sniffs out a corpse entangled in a pile of kelp. The body is identified as Gino, a local fisherman and a regular at Sally’s father’s restaurant, Solari’s—until he disappeared after dining there a few nights before. Witnesses claim he left reeling drunk, but his waitress swears the old man had only two beers with his meal. And then the fingers begin to point at Sally’s dad for negligently allowing an inebriated customer to walk home alone at night. From a long menu of suspects, including a cast of colorful characters who frequent the historic Santa Cruz fisherman’s wharf, Sally must serve up the tall order of clearing her father’s name—before it’s too late…

Smart and charming, fun and lively, intelligent and irresistible, Death al Fresco is a delicious tale peppered with wit, charm, and a to-die-for plot.  In Death al Fresco, Leslie Karst serves up a tantalizing new tale that also includes mouthwatering recipes.  

The daughter of a law professor and a potter, Leslie Karst learned early, during family dinner conversations, the value of both careful analysis and the arts—ideal ingredients for a mystery story. An ex-lawyer like Sally Solari, her sleuth, Leslie also has degrees in English literature and the culinary arts. Leslie and her wife, Robin, divide their time between Santa Cruz, California and Hilo, Hawaii. Leslie Karst is also the author of Dying for a Taste, and A Measure of Murder.  Visit Leslie Karst online at:  www.lesliekarstauthor.com

New Release: THE PURLOINED PUZZLE by Parnell Hall

51cRk29zaaLTHE 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.


New Release: THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED by Mick Herron

4143PjZqMzLTHIS IS WHAT HAPPENED by Mick Herron / Mystery Thriller / Released Jan 30, 2018 by Penguin

From CWA Gold & Steel Dagger winner Mick Herron comes a shocking, twisted novel of thrilling suspense about one woman’s attempt to be better than ordinary.

Twenty-six-year-old Maggie Barnes is someone you would never look at twice. Living alone in a month-to-month sublet in the huge city of London, with no family but an estranged sister, no boyfriend or partner, and not much in the way of friends, Maggie is just the kind of person who could vanish from the face of the earth without anyone taking notice. Or just the kind of person MI5 needs to infiltrate the establishment and thwart an international plot that puts all of Britain at risk.

Now one young woman has the chance to be a hero—if she can think quickly enough to stay alive.

New Release: BLOOD SISTERS by Jane Corry

61smc-SSIuL._SY346_BLOOD SISTERS by Jane Corry / Mystery / Released Jan 30, 2018 by Penguin Group

Three little girls. One accident. A lifetime of lies. From the bestselling author of MY HUSBAND’S WIFE.

Three little girls set off to school one sunny morning. Within an hour, one of them is dead.

Fifteen years later, Kitty can’t speak and has no memory of the accident that’s to blame. She lives in an institution, unlikely ever to leave. But that doesn’t keep her from being frightened when she encounters an eerily familiar face.

Art teacher Alison looks fine on the surface. But the surface is a lie. She’s struggling to make ends meet and to forget the past. When a teaching job at a prison opens up, she takes it, despite her fears. Maybe this is her chance to set things right. Then she starts to receive alarming notes; next, her classroom erupts in violence.

Meanwhile, someone is watching both Kitty and Alison. Someone who never forgot what happened that day. Someone who wants revenge. And only another life will do. . .

New Release: DARK IN DEATH by J.D. Robb

51cNYlX3nNLDARK IN DEATH by J. D. Robb / Eve Dallas Mystery / Released Jan 30, 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

Lieutenant Eve Dallas returns in Dark in Death, by J.D. Robb, the #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense, and takes on a case of death imitating art…

It was a stab in the dark.

On a chilly February night, during a screening of Psycho in midtown, someone sunk an ice pick into the back of Chanel Rylan’s neck, then disappeared quietly into the crowds of drunks and tourists in Times Square. To Chanel’s best friend, who had just slipped out of the theater for a moment to take a call, it felt as unreal as the ancient black-and-white movie up on the screen. But Chanel’s blood ran red, and her death was anything but fictional.

Then, as Eve Dallas puzzles over a homicide that seems carefully planned and yet oddly personal, she receives a tip from an unexpected source: an author of police thrillers who recognizes the crime—from the pages of her own book. Dallas doesn’t think it’s coincidence, since a recent strangulation of a sex worker resembles a scene from her writing as well. Cops look for patterns of behavior: similar weapons, similar MOs. But this killer seems to find inspiration in someone else’s imagination, and if the theory holds, this may be only the second of a long-running series.

The good news is that Eve and her billionaire husband Roarke have an excuse to curl up in front of the fireplace with their cat, Galahad, reading mystery stories for research. The bad news is that time is running out before the next victim plays an unwitting role in a murderer’s deranged private drama—and only Eve can put a stop to a creative impulse gone horribly, destructively wrong.

From the author of Echoes in Death, this is the latest of the edgy, phenomenally popular police procedurals that Publishers Weekly calls “inventive, entertaining, and clever.”