Post Scritpt: Limbo – Amy Andrews

Cover Limbo Amy Andrews

Limbo

Amy Andrews

Escape Publishing

ISBN: 9780857992505

 

Description:

Six Feet Under meets Stephanie Plum in Amy Andrews’ fresh, funny, sexy urban-family noir about a country singer who almost made it, a private investigator who’s seen too much and a mother who will cross all barriers to save her child.

When ex hillbilly-punk rocker turned cadaver make-up artist Joy Valentine is visited by the ghost of a high-profile murder victim begging for Joy’s help to find her kidnapped baby girl, Joy knows from experience the cops are going to think she’s crazy. So she takes it to the one guy she knows who won’t.

The last thing disgraced ex-cop turned private investigator Dash Dent expected is a woman from his past turning up to complicate his present with a nutty, woo-woo story. The problem is he knows Joy is telling the truth and he can’t ignore the compelling plight of baby Isabella whose disappearance six months prior transfixed the nation.

Discounted and discredited by the police, Dash and Joy work together to uncover the mystery and find Isabella, with a whacky supporting cast including Eve, a brothel madam; Stan, an excommunicated priest; Katie, Dash’s ten-year-old daughter; and two horny goldfish. It’s a race against time and against all odds – but the real battle for Dash and Joy might just be keeping their hands off each other.

 

My View:

In the words of the author this book is “urban-noir/paranormal-lite/mystery/romance mash up” and I would add PI in the mix, and a great mix it is too. This is a great contemporary feel good romp that had me smiling and laughing out loud. The characters are quirky, flawed and very very real. I had visions of Tom Selleck’s Magnum PI as the male protagonist, the female lead – hmm, maybe a young tough version of Rachel Griffiths works for me I think. (And when I am reading I don’t usually visualise the characters but I did with this book!)

.

This is a book you read for the pure pleasure, indulgence and enjoyment. The language is colloquial and so very Australian – so conversational and real. The settings – dark dingy bars, rural towns, urban decay, a mortuary, a brothel and the next door home office all work a treat; they seem so real I recognise all of these places from previous lives (yes I worked next door to a brothel once upon a time –outer city, next door to a welfare rights organisation, just looked like an ordinary house – though the limousines that stopped out the front weren’t too ordinary!)  The crimes – kidnapping and murder handled respectfully and lightly – there are no gruesome, blood soaked walls covered in brain splatter here, no psychopaths or serial killers lurking in the dark. Surprisingly you even end up feeling a little sorry for those involved in these crimes, the choices they made were terrible but you can understand, though not condone, their action. There is nothing black and white in this story – so many shades of grey.

At its core this is an urban romance so be prepared for a few hot and steamy sex scenes.

I think the strength of this book is the author’s ability to present characters that are so realistic and likeable, even the minor characters in this book are well drawn, quirky and with back stories that engage and leave you asking to know more about them. I particularly liked the power given to Eve to run a brothel that actually catered to the choices and lifestyles of the woman working there- the employees are treated with respect and have rights the same as those in any other job – the right to work in a safe environment and without harassment, fear or pressure. If only that was the case everywhere, in every occupation.

“Amy Andrews is a multi-published, award- winning author of 50+ romance novels across both traditional and digital platforms. She writes for Harlequin Mills and Boon, Entangled, Harper Collins Australia, Momentum Publishing, Escape Publishing and Tule. She’s sold in excess of a million books worldwide and has been translated into over a dozen languages”, (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1128457.Amy_Andrews)

If you are a fan of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series you will love this read!

 

Post Script: The Lost Swimmer – Ann Turner

The Lost Swimmer

The Lost Swimmer

Ann Turner

Simon & Schuster (Australia)

ISBN: 9781925030860

 

Description:

Rebecca Wilding, an archaeology professor, traces the past for a living.

But suddenly, truth and certainty are turning against her. Rebecca is accused of serious fraud, and worse, she suspects – she knows – that her husband, Stephen, is having an affair.

Desperate to find answers, Rebecca leaves with Stephen for Greece, Italy and Paris, where she can uncover the conspiracy against her, and hopefully win Stephen back to her side, where he belongs. There’s too much at stake – her love, her work, her family.

But on the idyllic Amalfi Coast, Stephen goes swimming and doesn’t come back.

In a swirling daze of panic and fear, Rebecca is dealt with fresh allegations. And with time against her, she must uncover the dark secrets that stand between her and Stephen, and the deceit that has chased her halfway around the world.

 

My View:

This is a another book that is a slow burn – it took me a very long time to get involved in this narrative and after I finished reading I was not sure what the book was trying to achieve, what genre this was trying to fit into- mystery, thriller, romance…there was a little bit of everything here. My biggest issue with the narrative was about the relationship between Rebecca and her husband Stephen – for a relationship that was largely rock solid, supportive and trusting (at least at the beginning of the book and at the point the investigation of fraud begins) I could not believe that Rebecca would withhold details of this major investigation from her husband, it just didn’t make sense to me and I could not suspend my disbelief to go along with this aspect of the narrative. I know she was sworn to secrecy but….I just could not accept this. Further there were too many red herrings, too many threads that were left hanging or just not followed up or explained for my enjoyment.

 

However moments of extremely beautiful prose and breathtaking scenery saved this book from being mundane. It is clear that the author writes with a cinematic view of the world, such is the vividness and realism of the description of the drive along the Amalfi coast that I never want to venture there – I hate cliff tops and narrow windy roads which hug the coastline – sheer drops inches away, tourist coaches honking with bravado as they bulldoze their way around hairpin bends, an accident just waiting to happen. Some extremely evocative writing, the author’s love of this countryside is very obvious.

 

 

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher.

Post Script: Bones and Roses – Eileen Goudge

Bones and Roses

Eileen Goudge

INscribe Digital

ISBN: 9780991589401

 

 

Description:

New York Times bestselling author Eileen Goudge presents BONES AND ROSES, the first book in her exciting new Cypress Bay Mysteries series!

Welcome to the northern California seaside town of Cypress Bay, where the surf’s up, the sixties live on and long-buried secrets are about to surface.

From home invasions to cheating spouses, Rest Easy Property Management owner Leticia “Tish” Ballard thought she’d seen it all. Almost four years sober after flambéing her real estate career in an alcohol-fuelled blowout, she’s finally in a good place in her life when the discovery of skeletal human remains rocks her world and plunges her headlong into solving a decades-old crime. Now she must delve into the darkness of her own past, including the one-night stand gone horribly wrong with Spence Breedlove, who happens to be the lead detective on the case. When the truth comes out at long last, Tish finds herself pitted against an enemy who will stop at nothing in a fight for her own life.

 

My View:

I choose to read this book for a couple of reasons; it had been personally recommended to me and when I sought the book out I fell in love with the cover, so based on purely on these 2 reasons I picked up this book and laughed and was intrigued and enjoyed the whole reading experience.

 

The protagonist Tish is delightful, honest, sassy, and a down to earth recovering alcoholic, hers is such unique voice in crime fiction I can’t wait to read more about this heroine. She is sober but every day is a challenge that she acknowledges – I like this frailty and honesty it adds a wonderful depth to her character (that and she is the “responsible adult” for the care of her schizophrenic brother). I love the way that alcoholism and mental health issues are dealt with so openly in this drama; and drama it is.

 

There is plenty of action, conflicts, the airing of past misdemeanours, a bit of mystery, romance, and some great friendships and of course a murder to solve. This narrative is written with passion (you can tell), some laugh out loud moments and the good guys win- what more could you want in an easy read absorbing read?

 

 

 

Post Script: Bryant and May and the Bleeding Heart – Christopher Fowler

Bryant & May – The Bleeding Heart

Christopher Fowler

Random House UK, Transworld Publishers

Doubleday

ISBN: 9780857522030

 

Description:

It’s a fresh start for the Met’s oddest investigation team, the Peculiar Crimes Unit.

 

Their first case involves two teenagers who see a dead man rising from his grave in a London park. And if that’s not alarming enough, one of them is killed in a hit and run accident. Stranger still, in the moments between when he was last seen alive and found dead on the pavement, someone has changed his shirt…

 

Much to his frustration, Arthur Bryant is not allowed to investigate. Instead, he has been tasked with finding out how someone could have stolen the ravens from the Tower of London. All seven birds have vanished from one of the most secure fortresses in the city. And, as the legend has it, when the ravens leave, the nation falls…

 

Soon it seems death is all around and Bryant and May must confront a group of latter-day bodysnatchers, explore an eerie funeral parlour and unearth the gruesome legend of Bleeding Heart Yard. More graves are desecrated, further deaths occur, and the symbol of the Bleeding Heart seems to turn up everywhere – it’s even discovered hidden in the PCU’s offices. And when Bryant is blindfolded and taken to the headquarters of a secret society, he realises that this case is more complex than even he had imagined, and that everyone is hiding something. The Grim Reaper walks abroad and seems to be stalking him, playing on his fears of premature burial.

 

Rich in strange characters and steeped in London’s true history, this is Bryant & May’s most peculiar and disturbing case of all.

 

 

My View:

Considering that this is the 11th book in the series I had no problem at all in picking up this novel and quickly becoming involved and engaged with the characters and the narrative; and this read was fun! As Fowler says on his website; http://www.christopherfowler.co.uk/blog/faq/

“I’m certainly no fan of kitchen sink drama I like stories that soar into strangeness rather than ones that faithfully replicate the ordinariness of life,” and this novel certainly dips into the ‘strangeness’ jar coating the characters in quirky,  spreading ‘unusual’

across a swathe of bizarre crimes (disinterred bodies, a death by sewage, ghostly happenings, evil mad  magical conspirators, missing birds…the list goes on.

 

I read somewhere (sorry the source has escaped me) that Fowler continues to add to this series because writing it is fun – and the reader gets a real sense of this in the narrative; the whimsy, the oddball, the eccentric…the quirky, all mixed with a good dose of social commentary and of course crimes as they progress through this novel.

This is good solid enjoyable crime read somewhat reminiscent of  the style of the Golden Age of Crime – at the least, the protagonists are of that golden age  🙂

 

Post Script: Waking The Dead – Heather Graham

Waking the Dead

Heather Graham

Harlequin

Harlequin MIRA

ISBN: 9780778316121

 

Description:

They say a painting can have a life of its own…

 

In the case of Ghosts in the Mind by Henry Sebastian Hubert, that’s more than just an expression. This painting is reputed to come to life—and to bring death. The artist was a friend of Lord Byron and Mary Shelley, joining them in Switzerland during 1816, “the year without a summer.” That was when they all explored themes of horror and depravity in their art….

 

Now, almost two hundred years later, the painting appears in New Orleans. Wherever it goes, death seems to follow.

 

Danielle Cafferty and Michael Quinn, occasional partners in solving crime, are quickly drawn into the case. They begin to make connections between that summer in Switzerland and this spring in Louisiana. Danni, the owner of an eccentric antiques shop, and Quinn, a private detective, have discovered that they have separate but complementary talents when it comes to investigating unusual situations.

 

Trying to blend their personal relationship with the professional lives they’ve stumbled into, they learn how much they need each other. Especially as they confront this work of art—and evil. The people in the portrait might be dead, but something seems to wake them and free them to commit bloody crimes. Cafferty and Quinn must discover what that is. And they have to destroy it—before it destroys them.

 

My View:

A couple of days after reading this I am still not sure where this books sits with me. I think that it would have been helpful to read the first book in this series before starting this one – there was a lot of reference to past events that were not significantly recapped for me to feel I had a full understanding of the characters and their relationships and the major crime that had bought them together.

 

I enjoyed the premise of the book but not so much the follow through. I do not mind a bit of supernatural and romance mixed in with my crime reads but I found that the narrative did not quite allow me to suspend my disbelief to fully engage with this story. The characters were a little flat and stereotyped and I found that at times the narrative was shown rather than told; it sometimes felt like the obvious was being explained, again and again or in the most basic of ways.

 

So sorry this one really wasn’t what I expected; I think this is one for the fans.

 

 

Post Script: Notorious – Allison Brennan

Notorious

Allison Brennan

St. Martin’s Press

Minotaur Books

ISBN: 9781250035059

 

 

Description:

New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan introduces an irrepressible heroine in her pulse-pounding new thriller Notorious, which Lisa Gardner says is, “Guaranteed to keep you up late at night.”

Maxine Revere has dedicated her life to investigating murders that the police have long since given up any hope of solving. A nationally renowned investigative reporter with her own TV show and a tough-as-nails reputation, Max tackles cold cases from across the country and every walk of life. But the one unsolved murder that still haunts her is a case from her own past.

When Max was a high school senior, one of her best friends was strangled and another, Kevin O’Neal, accused of the crime. To the disgrace of her wealthy family, Max stood by her friend, until she found out he lied about his alibi. Though his guilt was never proven, their relationship crumbled from the strain of too many secrets.

Now Max is home for Kevin’s funeral—after years of drug abuse, he committed suicide. She’s finally prepared to come to terms with the loss of his friendship, but she’s not prepared for Kevin’s sister to stubbornly insist that he didn’t kill himself. Or for an elderly couple to accost her at the airport, begging her to look into another murder at Max’s old high school. Max is more interested in the cold case at her alma mater than in digging around Kevin’s troubled life, but she agrees to do both. As Max uncovers dark secrets, she finds herself caught in a complicated web of lies that hit far too close to home. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that someone will do whatever it takes to make sure the truth stays buried.

My View:

Initial impressions were deceiving; this narrative started more like a cosy, romantic mystery. I didn’t like the attention to class, money and “the right school” etc. however I continued on and soon discovered a heroine who was strong and passionate about her work and about discovering the truth. At this point the story became so much more interesting. At this point I too wanted to know the truth.

This is largely a story about lies, family and belonging.  Truth can be liberating or stifling.

I think this protagonist will be worth following in future novels as she develops and becomes familiar to the reader. An enjoyable read

Post Script: Monkey Business – Kathryn Ledson

Here is my contribution to Australia Day 2014 and the Australia Day Book Giveaway Blog Hop being hosted Shelleyrae at  Book’d Out. Please check out the other participants on the  Book’d Out site.

Please comment if you would like to be considered for a giveaway –  by an Australian author –  Chick Lit, Memoir, Crime Fiction or Recipe Book.

AustraliaDaybloghop2014

My reveiw:

Monkey Business

Monkey Business

Kathryn Ledson

Michael Joseph

The Penguin Group

ISBN: 9781921901164

 

 

Description:

Erica Jewell reckons being a part-time vigilante is stressful enough, without the added pressures of a demanding day job, annoying family and bossy cat. Now her mysterious lover has vanished on some clandestine mission, without leaving a forwarding address. Erica thinks that’s pretty typical of hired gun Jack Jones – he’d rather risk his life than his heart.

Then Erica discovers with a shock that Jack is M.I.A. on the jungle-infested island of Saint Sebastian. When no one seems willing to help find Jack or even acknowledge his existence, Erica knows she’s his only chance. But negotiating her way around lawless and sweltering Sebastian, where monkey business abounds, proves far more dangerous than she expected.

Fast-paced, funny and totally engaging, Monkey Business blends adventure and romance in an irresistible summer read.

My View:

A delicious snack of fun and laughter.

I really enjoyed this easy reading, fast paced piece of escapist writing; for several hours I laughed to myself and got lost and involved in the madcap world of Erica Jewell.  This is perfect read for on the train, plane or beach or when you need cheering up – light, engaging, funny and all action completed with an authentic Australian voice.

There is something about this  novel that is so engaging – maybe it is its Australianness – the characters and the narrative do not take themselves seriously, there is a glorious sense of fun and madness that the author does not  try to justify – it just is what it is – fun, light, entertaining. The characters and settings are familiar and memorable –   who doesn’t know of Tupperware parties, of standing in queues at night clubs,  of exotic overseas holiday destinations (not), handsome heroes , demanding mothers, true good friends and mysteries galore – what isn’t there to love about this book? Ledson strikes the right balance of fun and adventure, danger and romance. A great entertaining read.