Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Ghost Walk by Melissa Bowersock

Let me start with the end of this book and the closing words: Coming soon: Skin Walk, Another Lacey Fitzpatrick and Sam Firecloud mystery. Surely the best words to read when you’ve enjoyed a book so much, you want more, and thankfully, there's the promise of a sequel!

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all Bowersock’s novels…she’s an author who can turn her hand to an eclectic array of genres…but I have to say this probably earns the title of 'my favourite'…or, at least, one of my favourites. It’s a whodunnit with a difference: an ex-detective, Lacey Fitzpatrick, who can’t get crime-solving out of her blood, joins forces with Sam Firecloud, who has a gift for communicating with ghosts. Lacey is more used to dealing with facts and physical evidence, so probably not her typical choice of partner, but when he manages to solve an old case, she’s confident that together they’ll be able to solve their latest tough case. Tough because there’s no evidence to suggest a murder has actually been committed.

As ever, Bowersock’s style is spot on: her words are carefully chosen. There’s no over- or under-use: the picture is efficiently painted, yet you feel that no expense has been spared. Lacey is a strong, well-rounded character…and Sam…well, Sam couldn’t be more different: mysterious, quiet, intense, deep. But they couldn’t be a more perfect match, and it’s going to be great fun accompanying them on their crime-(ghost)-busting journey. I can’t wait!

See also:

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

A One Way Ticket to Dead by DV Berkom


The Kate Jones series is a literary espresso…a strong one! The novels give you a buzz, a fix, a wake-me-up as well as the real caffeinated stuff. 

This novel is the seventh Kate Jones novel. Unsurprisingly, her efforts to try and lead a normal life after years running from her evil drug-lord ex-boyfriend after one teensy little error of judgement (stealing rather a lot of money…) still hit rocky ground. Just when she thinks she can put the past behind her and allow a glimmer of hope to brighten her future by settling down, reality comes back and hits her with a jolt, in the form of an enemy from her past. And this time, not only is it close to home, the children of a former lover are involved. This time, the pressure is really on.

I love Berkom’s thrillers: they’re packed…to the brim…with action, heart-in-your-mouth suspense, thrills and chills, and are sheer delight from start to finish. Kate is sassy, resourceful, level-headed, funny and good-looking. Too good to be true? It might be if it weren’t for one thing…looking over her shoulder constantly is not funny. Will she ever be able to settle down with the love of her life and two point four children?

Selfishly, I hope not. The end of each Kate Jones book has me hoping avidly for another.

See also:

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Queenie's Teapot by Carolyn Steele


A little bit of a departure, this one, from my usual preferred genres. I like to be adventurous, so why not a political satire? Steele isn’t an unfamiliar author to me…her non-fiction A Year on Planet Alzheimer was very enjoyable.

Brexit and Trump have probably caused the most discussions, arguments, fallouts of any political upheaval in recent history. But politics is always a divisive subject and a choice of leader is never a unanimous decision. Could the man in the street do a better job? How about choosing a group of people from any walk of life and letting them sit in parliament? All they have to do, guided by a team to steer them through it all, is serve for three years in the field for which they have been selected. The head of state is no less elite. An ex Tesco floor-staff employee is chosen for the job (much to husband Bert's disgust…). She’s well up for it, but her teapot and knitting must go with her everywhere.

An intriguing concept, isn’t it? But some things never change: unrest over change, demonstrations, disillusion…are still rife. It’s up to the new parliament to muddle through. 

The big question is, did I enjoy this ‘something completely different’? On the whole, yes. Queenie’s unworldliness is very appealing: she’s a very uncomplicated, honest, hardworking old soul who loves knitting…and tea. Her ingenuity endears her to many, the reader no less. The characters’ backgrounds are varied, but down-to-earth. My only reservations are that, for me, the story didn’t really get out of first gear until very late and suddenly went from 0 to 60 in the shortest time possible at the end. It was just a teensy bit farfetched and disjointed. I did like the fact that the characters’ ‘stories’ were neatly tidied up…but with enough openings left for a sequel, perhaps.

This was a fun romp into what-if.

See Also:

A Year On Planet Alzheimer

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Yucatán Dead - DV Berkom

You know, Kate Jones has been running from her dangerous drug-lord ex boyfriend for five books now. You’ve got to admire her grit and the sheer bloodymindedness of her resolution to elude him. I suppose you’ve got to acknowledge his persistence, too. He’s very, very keen to make her suffer for leaving him and taking a good bit of his cash with her.

Just when she thought she was perhaps succeeding in outwitting him, and very nearly daring to think she might be able to settle down with her handsome police boyfriend, she’s rudely reminded she has a debt to pay. And this time, it seems she might have run out of luck. Oh, but wait…this is no-BS-ing Kate. The Kate who means business, whatever the price. She’s got this far, dammit…

The usual suspense, tension, explosiveness (in all senses of the word!) and gutsiness are packed tightly into this sixth Jones novel and all with the usual quality and excellency of this author. There’s barely a moment to catch your breath, and quite honestly, I’d have given up on Kate’s behalf way, way back. But thankfully, she’s not a quitter (or there’d be no more books). 

Berkom has created a character whose sassiness and gumption you can’t help but admire, and respect for her is sandwiched by a certain amount of sympathy. Her pursuit by a dangerous man has meant tragic losses for Kate. In this book of the series, she has to decide whether she can continue eluding death…or face the evil that desires it. 

Cracking stuff.

See also:

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Paradise Prison by Faith Mortimer

Hold on to your hats, Mortimer fans. You’ll be blown away by this one. 

This author never disappoints, but Paradise Prison is, in my view, jostling for position as one of her best.

Gillian flees the UK after a serious altercation with her abusive boyfriend ends very badly. Stopping over in Portugal, she manages to secure herself a passage to the Caribbean on a yacht owned by Harry. A wealthy man who passes his time cruising round the Caribbean ocean in not-so-legal activities, but he reckons a cook and crew will jolly up his travels. It all starts smoothly enough, and he suggests Gill stay on his little ‘one-man’ island looking after his house…just until she feels confident enough to rejoin civilisation and face the consequences of an argument gone wrong. At least, that’s what he tells her. But when history starts to repeat itself, Gillian realises that she has to escape the island and from Harry as soon as she can.

You couldn’t have two more opposite characters. And that’s what makes this story so very powerful. Harry is an insidiously loathsome vile character. Any uncertainty about Gill being a slightly downtrodden, nervous victim soon changes as she becomes resourceful, confident, focussed and determined. Her transformation is amazing.

Cruising for Death by DV Berkom


Despite trying hard to keep up with hurricane Kate in the Kate Jones Series books 1-4, I was eager for more. Cue Cruising for Death. 

Constantly on the move to keep one step ahead of her dangerous drug-lord ex-boyfriend, Kate seems to have found some tranquillity in Arizona, living with hunky policeman Cole. Tranquillity and enough confidence to go on a short break with him: a romantic cruise in the Caribbean. All goes well until a passenger has a heart attack and the vessel is taken over by a group of men…one of them a bit too familiar for Kate’s liking. Of course, she’s off again, with her past catching up with her, escaping death, outwitting people from her past, trying to save herself and others.

Needless to say, the adventure is just as nail-biting, action-packed and full of tension and will-she/won’t-she (survive) moments. As usual, you’re holding your breath, thinking, no way is she going to get out of this one, but it is Kate Jones we’re talking about. By this number of books, it’s more or less a given she’s going extricate herself from all manner of tricky (understatement) situations…but it’s the how that really keeps you glued and on the edge of your seat.

Totally incapable of disappointing, Berkom provides yet another excellent, enthralling read.

See also:
A Killing Truth
Bad Spirits
Bad Traffick
Kate Jones Thriller Series Vol 1
Serial Date
The Body Market

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Kate Jones Thriller Series Vol. 1 by DV Berkom

Having read the first of this little collection as a separate novella (see here), I was able to dive in at no. 2. The first (Bad Spirits) sees Kate running away from a ruthless ex-boyfriend. He’s particularly keen to find her because she happens to have rather a lot of his money. 

In Dead of Winter, Kate sincerely hopes that the depths of a cold and unforgiving little town in Alaska will keep her well hidden, but when she witnesses a murder, she fears she’s been discovered. Hunky officer Sam is assigned to protect her…read exactly what you need into ‘hunky’! Unfortunately, to keep HIM safe, Kate has to flee Alaska to quite a different climate: Hawaii. 

Death Rites sees her reunited with old friends, who she hopes will keep her safe. But Hawaiian spirits have other ideas, it seems. She shakes them off by surrounding herself with the Arizona desert in Touring for Death, where she manages to keep herself undetected for five years. But when you’ve had an entourage of drugs, money and guns, life eventually gets complicated and she’s fighting for survival yet again.

Four novellas, by the end of which you’re gasping for breath! For heaven’s sake, Kate, go and work in a library, your life isn’t good for my constitution. I’m a huge, huge fan of Berkom’s writing and especially her hard-nosed, determined, no-nonsense heroines who still have a core of passion, sensitivity and judging by the men they chose, good taste!

A roller-coaster read and I can’t wait to helter-skelter into books 5 and 6.

See Also:

Friday, 2 December 2016

Which Half David by Mark W. Sasse


A compelling story of a man who falls off his good-missionary pedestal. Correction: an utterly compelling story. Tobin Matthews and his wife, Jane, live in Sulu, an island (fictitious) in southeast Asia. Revered for his actions when he plays an instrumental part in closing down a dreadful band of human traffickers and for defending the rights of a group of Sulu tribesmen, he is the man of the island, a man who can do no wrong. But when his ex-lover, Kendra, turns up, this saint, this saviour, falls under her evil seductress ways. Far from turning the other cheek, Tobin’s actions rock his marriage, his beliefs and strength of character.

The story is a modern-day version of the biblical King David. A bit lost on me…I’m not religious, or a Christian and haven’t read the Bible. This didn’t matter, as it was still a page-turner as you accompany Tobin in his struggles to fight temptation in his will-he/won’t-he battle. Tobin, despite wobbling off his pedestal, and Kendra (bitch is too nice a word for her) are both very strong characters in their own way, but beautifully balanced by the soft, gentle, patient, perhaps even a little flaky, Jane and Kendra’s almost puppy-dog-like, ineffective, bumbling, slightly wimpish husband. But, pay very special attention to both of these…

And excellent story, written with Sasse’s usual flair, that's intense, passionate and peppered with some I-never-expected-that little surprises.

See also:
Beauty Rising
If Love is a Crime: A Christmas Story
Love Story for a Nation
The Reach of the Banyan Tree 
The Recluse Storyteller