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: A Deadly Justice – Kathy Bennett

A Deadly Justice

(LAPD Detective Maddie Divine)

Kathy Bennett

Kathy Bennett

ISBN: 9781475602562

 

 

Description:

A brutal murder. A rash of sophisticated burglaries. A serial rapist.

Little does veteran LAPD Detective Maddie Divine and her new partner, Jade Donovan, realize that a single thread tie the crimes together. But as their investigation digs deeper and the cases begin to unravel, they threaten to expose one of Maddie’s darkest secrets and force her to confront a truth she’s tried desperately to bury.

Harley Elliot: The sleazy broken-down owner of a trendy pizzaria pays his employees well above minimum wage. What’s in it for him, and if he gets caught, will he go to jail?

The Saunders Brothers:
Blake – A cunning manipulator who knows he’s devised the perfect crime.
Logan – The hot-tempered middle brother whose careless misadventure made him a perfect target.
Jeremy – The peacekeeper for his older brothers and the calculating voice of reason in their dysfunctional trio.

Shelbie Saunders: The adopted little sister of the wild Saunder’s boys is trying to find her place in the family as she blossoms into a young woman. Trying to keep up with her new brothers is her first mistake.

Zak Murdock: The brawny sergeant of police has a troubling history with Maddie’s partner, Jade. When he’s assigned to detectives, he puts Maddie and Jade in his sights.

Walt Lamb: The hard-working bartender at Harley’s pizzaria keeps a low profile to protect his ‘side job,’ yet he misses nothing.

My View:

This is an entertaining and somewhat light-hearted read about some deep and serious topics which reminded me somehow a little of the earlier Stephanie Plumb narratives; sometimes serious subjects/events treated with ease, in a language that is easy to read and understand, that doesn’t take itself too seriously, that mixes a bit of humour, sarcasm and eye rolling with a little mystery and romance. But do not forget this is also a great police procedural, Kathy Bennett’s work history (she was a serving officer, now retired) paints the officers and the Division they work in, in authentic colours; the politics, the budget/number crunching, the stereotypes, the day to day difficulties, the crimes…all sound too real.

Detectives Divine and Cash McCool (yes those are the names) are an enterprising and determined pair of investigators. Divine has a sad history compounded with a secret that she eventually shares with the reader and a few others (no spoilers here). Bennett tackles this subject tenderly and respectfully. Her message gets through loud and clear without sounding dictatorial. You will be on Maddie Divine’s side. You will look forward to seeing her bloom in the next book.( I am sure there will be one)

This is a fast, enjoyable and satisfying read.

Post Script: The Bridesmaid: Jenny Scotti

A village cozy reminiscent of Midsomer’s charms and secrets.

The Bridesmaid

The Bridesmaid

Jenny Scotti

Createspace

ISBN: 1490300929

Description:

A Love Affair… A Secret… A Murder…

Haddley, a quiet English village in the Midlands. Kelly Evans — a sixteen year old girl — is brutally murdered. Her body is discovered by a neighbour, and the police are called in to investigate. Kelly was young and beautiful, and her untimely death comes as a shock to all who knew her … or does it really?

The dark side of Kelly’s personality soon comes to light. She was ruthless and promiscuous, and stopped at nothing to get what she wanted, even if it meant wrecking other people’s lives. She made quite a few enemies, and among close friends and neighbours are some who might have had a very good reason for wanting to get rid of her.

The investigation takes a new and unexpected turn when a locket goes missing, and a connection is made with the twenty-year-old murder of a wartime movie star. As the police search the past for answers and gradually piece the mystery together, the respectable veneer starts cracking exposing a web of jealousy, sexual intrigue and deceit.

My View:

This is an interesting debut novel from Jenny Scotti that reminds me of the so much of Midsomer Murders; so many secrets, lies, affairs and strange goings on in one small village, all that is missing is the empathetic police protagonists.

I did however find the introduction required a bit of concentration – so many characters and perspectives to assimilate but once I had handle on the who’s who of the village I quickly fell in sync with the writer’s tempo and voice.  The creation of suspicion and blame is noteworthy – suspicion was created and passed around like a hot potato – quickly – from one set of scorched hands to another. The ending will surprise.

Post Script: The Back Road – Rachel Abbott

The Back Road

Rachel Abbott

Amazon Publishing

Thomas & Mercer

ISBN: 9781477807750

 

Description:

In a quiet country village, secrets abound.

When a young girl, Abbie Campbell, is knocked over and left for dead on the back road of the village of Little Melham, waves of shock ripple through the small community and a chain of events, which threatens to expose long-kept secrets, is triggered.

For Ellie Saunders, the truth about that night puts both her marriage and the safety of her children in jeopardy–she has to protect her family, no matter what the cost. And Ellie isn’t the only one with something to hide. She and her sister Leo believe they have put their troubled childhood behind them, but Leo’s quest for the truth reveals a terrible secret that has lain hidden for years.

Ellie’s neighbour, former detective Tom Douglas, has escaped to Little Melham in search of a quiet life, but finds himself drawn into the web of deceit as his every instinct tells him that what happened to young Abbie was far more than a tragic accident.

In this gripping novel, the peaceful English countryside belies the horrible truths that lurk beneath the trimmed hedgerows, behind the closed doors of smart sitting rooms and within unspoken conversations.

My View:

The prologue provided a great hook – however it was not until the very end that I was able to make sense of the allusion. I don’t know if this was deliberate or not? For most of the book I thought this was a reference to the early lives of Ellie and Leo, the two sisters whom most of the story surrounds. Maybe it was a twist I wasn’t meant to get until the end but for me that just added another red herring.

I found this book to be a slow burner. But to be fair  to the author it is possibly because of late I have read some very fast paced, tension filled violent  hard boiled works of crime fiction and this is not in the same genre. I would classify this is more of a cozy crime read – set in a quiet English village, the main characters are likable and empathetic even if a little flawed by events of the past, the language is polite and rarely is there swearing or obscenities, sex scenes are more alluded to then on the page or never quite happen, and the criminals or victims are not particularly likable and justice prevails in the end.

But don’t think for a minute this book is a straight forward uneventful read; it is full of plot twists and turns, there are many red herring thrown in for good effect and there are plenty of dark secrets to be revealed.  Once I had read a few chapters I became quite involved in this read and particularly liked the characters of Leo – and her Life Coaching Blog writings and the former detective Tom Douglas – whom I would like to have known more about. The pace did pick up and mysteries deepened. I liken this book to an episode of Midsummer Murders –which I enjoy viewing; plenty happens in the quiet English village, there are murders, there are secrets to be slowly unpicked and revealed and you become attached to the main characters. The narrative will not keep you awake at night needing a night light  to get to sleep but you will fill happy that in the end all is satisfactorily resolved.