Tag Archive | mystery

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman #historicalfiction

The Light Between Oceans
3heart

Synopsis

Tom is the caretaker of a lighthouse and lives on an isolated island with his wife Isabel. When a boat appears with a dead man and a baby, Tom wants to report it. Isabel pleads with him to let her keep the baby and raise it as her own. Tom knows it is against the law, but relents since his wife suffered 3 miscarriages.

While in isolation, they can pretend their actions have no consequences. However, once back in tow, it becomes evident that the implications of one act will affect the entire town in some way.

Opinion

The book was well written in an artful way. It was very descriptive but I felt like the book was as tedious as trudging through knee-high snow. For example, when the author described some scenes and I wondered where the story was going. Was this important to the story? Does not seem to be. Does this give me additional insight into the character? Not much.

The pace was so slow, almost sluggish. In the first chapter, they find the baby. Based on that, I thought the story would have move faster than it did. Then the second chapter goes back to the time when Tom first started working at the lighthouse, before he met Isabel. There was so much build up, but the ending seemed rather flat, as if it fizzled out like a lukewarm, stale soda.

While all the characters experience different degrees of pain and suffering, the story was the most tragic for Isabel. Not that Isabel had done anything to endear herself to me, but I felt sorry for her desperate desire to have children. Three pregnancies which ended in miscarriages/stillbirth had to be heart wrenching. She had so much love to give a child, but desperation and isolation made her crazy.

When I started this book, I had no real expectations. I had a feeling that it would not end well since the whole plot line was centered on the consequences of not reporting the missing baby.

What good could come of that?

When I finished, I was not surprises that the story had no winners. While the story was interesting, I did not find that I identified with the characters. Tom had a screwed up childhood and acted as if he did not deserve any goodness in his life. On the other hand, Isabel was spoiled as if the world owed her.

Should you buy? If you like reading emotionally charged books that lean towards being depressing, you will enjoy this book. I could not rate this book higher because I like books with a decidedly happier ending.

 

Book Details
Paperback: 345 pages
Publisher: Scribner (April 2, 2013)
Language: English

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Edisto Jinx @hopeclark #southernlit #mystery #whodunit #edistojinx

I received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Edisto Jinx (The Edisto Island Mysteries)

4heart

Synopsis

Every August, it seems that a tourist falls prey to the Edisto Jinx. The locals are sympathetic but would rather Callie left well enough alone. While her friend says that the spirits are busy causing mischief, Callie is not convinced.

In a town that thrives on tourism, an investigation with the words “serial killer” in the mix makes all the town businesses nervous.

Whoever or whatever that is causing havoc in the community soon turns their attentions to Callie. Can she find out what is going on before it’s too late?

Opinion

C Hope Clark did it again! Great story. And unlike with the main character from the Lowcountry Bribe series, I love Callie!

Once a Boston city PD detective, Callie is still dealing with the loss of her husband, a teenage son more mature than his years, and the trauma she endured in the previous months (read Murder on Edisto). Meanwhile, she is having a difficult time ignoring what appear to be crimes happening in the community. It seems like the unfortunate death of a tourist is more than just an accident that should be dismissed casually. Callie trusts her gut feelings when no one else wants to even talk about it. The author Clark does a fabulous job creating such a multi-dimensional character that I could feel Callie’s angst and frustration.

The secondary and tertiary characters were painted just as effectively. Some of my favorites were

  • Seabrook, the reluctant sheriff, thinks that Callie is looking for problems. At what point will he take her seriously? If at all?
  • Alex is the young whipper-snapper journalist. She wants to make a name for herself in the community but will she have what it takes to step on the toes of town leaders and make some serious waves?
  • Sopie is the kooky, sage burning, self-proclaimed psychic and yoga instructor. She is so positive that it was almost nauseating. She believes in the spirits and cautions Callie against angering them. Can she burn enough sage to calm the spirits and bring harmony back to Edisto?

Overall, this story has the right mix of conflict between the characters as well as suspense. While I might not have liked all the characters, they were developed enough that I understood them as people. They seemed real to me. I could relate to them in the sense that I know people like them. I thought the story moved along at an even pace. Most importantly, all my questions were answered and the conclusion was satisfactory.

Should you buy? Yes! This is a great beach read with colorful characters and an engaging story line. It is the second in the series, but still a standalone book. The author does not give away much about the first book, but your interest will probably be whetted enough to want to buy Murder on Edisto too. And I am waiting for the next book to find out what else might happen in Edisto 😀

Amazon Product Details
File Size: 933 KB
Print Length: 294 pages
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (October 1, 2015)
Publication Date: October 1, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

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Lowcountry Bribe @hopeclark #southernlit #mystery #whodunit

Lowcountry Bribe (A Carolina Slade Mystery Book 1)

4heart

Synopsis

Slade is a South Carolina Agriculture Department manager in the low country. She deals with handling loans to local farmers. When a farmer tries to bribe her, Slade follows rules on reporting, but things do not go as expected.

Wayne is a Federal investigator special agent assigned to the case.

The bribe was in the beginning and now it seems that Slade’s life is in danger. Together, they have to figure out how to eliminate the threat while dealing with governmental bureaucracy.

Opinion

I enjoyed this book for a 3 main reasons

1. It was fast paced. From the moment Slade was propositioned, there was some sort of action happening.

2. I knew a lot of the locations where the action was taking place. I am acquainted with the area because I go down to the low country area often to go to the beach and buy seafood. It made the story more realistic.

3. I could relate to some of the bureaucracy that Slade was up against. In the story, it seemed like an exercise in “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” And then it did.

It was hard for me to rate this story. I loved the plot but I cannot say that I liked Slade as a person. She was very brusque with a gruff, terse manner. However I did feel sorry for her. She tried to be a good wife, mother, and government employee. At the same time, she is an unhappy person. It seemed that everything she tried to do for the right reasons got twisted and things would go wrong.

Since I think that the author did not write Slade to be likable, I feel like I should give “points” for that. Times like this I wish I did half points. I think this is a solid 3.5. Since my rating does not have a 3.5, I gave this book 4 hearts.

I thought there was enough suspense, as I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who was the mastermind behind the entire conspiracy. As the reader, I knew early in story who was the briber but you get the impression that he was not working on his own. The author wraps up the story in a way that satisfied my need for justice.

Notable quotes

Rules were absolute; that’s the way I was raised. If I followed the rules, I’d be just fine.” – Slade

Instinct told me to forget the conversation. Federal law told me I didn’t have that option.” – Slade

Should you buy? If you like suspense and thriller, you will like this. If you like Southern literature, especially novels that are set in the Low country, you will appreciate the references in this book even more. I am ready to read the next books in this series to see what else happens to Slade.

Book details from Goodreads
File Size: 1442 KB
Print Length: 274 pages
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (January 31, 2012)
Publication Date: January 31, 2012
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Book 1 of 3 in A Carolina Slade Mystery (3 Book Series)

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Heartless- A Regency Romance review

Heartless – regency romance

Scale of 1 – 5: ♥ ♥

The Duke of Derringer finds out he has to marry before his birthday to keep his inheritance. He has one week or he will go from super-rich Duke to pauper. He pretty much picks the first girl he saw: Leandra. She was homeless since her father died. She was an illegitimate offspring raised in her father’s house. Despised by her father’s wife, she was kicked out as soon as her father died.

Derringer put up a veritable brick wall, because he did not want to love anyone. He had a reputation of being heartless. I suppose, saying hurtful things to Leandra was his way of maintaining his reputation. The sad part about it, he would hurt her feelings, and then feel remorse about causing her pain. Leandra was patient, but there’s only so much a woman can take.

Meanwhile, there were attacks on his life. While he is trying to figure out who wants him dead, he is trying to discourage Leandra from caring about him. That usually involved to say more hurtful things.

I cannot understand why Leandra took so much crap off him. He had a hard life, but that does not excuse him from being a jerk. At least he had the good sense to apologize. Leandra was more forgiving than I would have been.

The story was okay. If you like regency romance novels, you will probably like this. I could take it or leave it. There were some unexpected twists in the story. Derringer was too surly for me. Most of the time, I didn’t like the way he talked to Leandra. I did think it was funny that you as the reader could tell the characters mood by out how they address each other. For example, when Leandra was in a good mood, she would say “Hart” but if she was in a bad mood she will call him “your grace”. My chuckles were tempered with growls at his bad attitude.

All that being said, the ending was somewhat confusing, a little sad, but satisfying in a happy-ever-after type of way. If you think that sentence does not make any sense, read the book and let me know what you think.

Click here to buy Heartless on Amazon

Thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat


All For One – Ryne Douglas Pearson

This is a thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire book.

The story begins in the Prologue with Joey Travers, Elena Markworth, Bryce Hool, Micheal Prentiss, Paula Jean Allenton, and Jeff Bernstein taking a bat to Guy Edmond. It seems that this is a particularly gruesome display of violence. And the premise of the book is that these children create a pact to stick to their story so that none of them will be arrested for Guy’s death.

In the course of the story, we understand why each one would have reason to kill Guy if they did. He was evil and spiteful. Calling him a bully does not fully describe the extent to which he went to terrorize the other children in the school and neighborhood where he lived. He destroyed people’s property, played cruel practical jokes, humiliated, and demoralized others. After his death, he was gone, but the emotional and physical scars haunted those who had suffered by his hand.

Yet it is a police detective’s job to find a killer. No one should be killed because of vigilante justice.

We know it is not right, but it is difficult to want to find the killer of a horrible person whose main delight was in the intimidation of others.

During the reading of the book, I had so many questions.

  • Did the children kill him?
  • If so, who will be the one to break and tell the police?
  • What will happen to them if they are guilty?
  • If they are not guilty, who really did it?

The author creates a story that engages the reader in such a way, that there is angst and anxiety for the children. These are children that are having to deal with repressed memories of torment and oppression by a devious individual. I sympathized with his victims. I could understand why some of them were celebrating his death and treating the murder suspects with, what some would call, misplaced gratitude.

But does that make their actions justified?

My mind said no, but my heart said maybe. In the end, in All For One Pearson answered all of my questions and provided a somewhat satisfying explanation to all events.