The Dime Box by Karen Grose is a thrilling crime novel about a young woman who tries to move on from her past, but it comes back to haunt her. Greta Giffen grew up in an abusive home, but she fled from her father’s house in northern Ontario when she was almost sixteen and moved to Toronto. Now three years later, she finds herself a suspect in a murder investigation. Greta’s memories of the night of her father’s death are not clear, plus she has a strong motive to want him dead, which makes her seem guilty to Detective Sergeant Astra Perez. What is the truth about what really happened that night? And will Greta find herself a victim once more, charged with Ian Giffen’s murder?
Karen Grose has written a compelling mystery novel. It drew me in from the very beginning and kept my attention throughout. The further I got into the story, the more questions I had (Who were Greta’s real parents? Was it a legal adoption?). These intriguing questions is what kept me flipping pages and what kept calling me back to this book. I liked the mystery aspect of the book because it didn’t follow the standard formula of simply settings up a mystery and then solving it. Detective Perez spends much of the book interviewing Greta, but even though the story is told from Greta’s point of view, the reader does not know what happened because Greta can’t remember all the details of the night in question due to a head injury she suffered as a child.
The book starts out in the present and Greta reveals more and more details about her past as the story progresses. I typically prefer books that follow a character’s life in chronological order, but in this case the style worked, adding additional intrigue to the story for the reader. This book is much more about Greta’s story and her life leading up to her father’s death, rather than solely focused on solving the case of how Ian died. However, at times I grew impatient to learn the truth of whether or not Greta was responsible for his death. Since everything remained uncertain as I read the story, it kept me constantly guessing how the book would end. Some things that I suspected were correct, but the ending still surprised me, but some of the questions remained unanswered.
The Dime Box is a thriller with a refreshing take on the murder mystery genre. With an engaging character to follow and an elusive mystery to solve, readers will have plenty to enjoy in Karen Grose’s novel.
Pages: 267 | ASIN: B081XH5CFP
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Her Eyes Underwater by Romona Simon is suspenseful true crime inspired novel that begins when Julia goes to a coffee house to indulge in her hobby, men. It isn’t long before she finds an attractive one. Soon we are questioning her wisdom in getting into his truck and letting him drive her out into the woods on a dark and lonely road. We are then transported to a funeral with a dysfunctional family who doesn’t seem too broken up over the death. Then we meet a class of law students who seem to spend more time skiing, playing racquetball, and fighting over mates than studying law. And women keep dying bloody deaths. What is happening? And why does this gorgeous guy act so peculiar?
Her Eyes Underwater has a unique ability to pull you into the story with the simplest details and a patchwork of enigmas that slowly come together to create a chilling mystery. While the slow build up was something that took some getting used it, when I was in the midst of the story I was enthralled and couldn’t put the book down. Julia is an engaging character, although sometimes frustratingly naive, her character adds a sense of the unknown. Couple that with Alex, who takes the cliche of the ‘dark mysterious stranger’ to a whole new level. Julia and Alex’s relationship, for me, felt balanced on a knife’s edge; anything could happen at any moment.
Although I enjoyed the characters I felt that the descriptions of the actions and people were a bit cumbersome in places, along with the use of some odd adjectives that made me stop and pick up a dictionary. But if you’re not afraid of new words and are ready to dive into a fully realized world that is thoroughly described then you will find plenty to enjoy in Romona Simon’s electrifying romance novel.
The scenes between Alex and Julia are steamy without being vulgar. This is definitely for mature audiences to enjoy. Her Eyes Underwater has an ending that was surprising and left me begging for more. This is a gripping start to what promises to be a riveting crime series.
Pages: 263 | ASIN: B0861KLVVH
Tags: author, book, book review, bookblogger, crime, crime fiction, crime novel, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, Her Eyes Underwater, horror, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, romance, Romona Simon, story, suspense, thriller, true crime, writer, writing
Raised on the deadly streets of New Orleans, James Johnson is displeased and disheartened by the drug game and the sickness it’s inflicting on his race. Unexpectedly, James met and has befriended, America’s most wanted and deadliest fugitive, Osama Bin Laden. Now he and Osama have joined forces in an effort to eliminate the nations drug trade.
Recently inspired by the rapid growth of ISIS; James, a legendary figure and underworld boss, has amassed enormous wealth, acquired a Harvard education, and is now poised to revolutionize the entire nation.
However, the stakes are high and many powerful people will lose fortunes if James prevails. Foreign assassins are pouring into the United States to wage war in what will become the bloodiest international war ever fought in an effort to strengthen a race.
Posted in book trailer
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Rogue Genes follows Tommy who is dealing with the trauma of the military while seeking revenge for the death of his mother. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
I woke one morning from a disturbing dream, and told my wife I was going to write a novel. The fact that the dream had no bearing on the eventual story line didn’t matter, at least it got the ball rolling. For the next two years I literally lived two lives, completely involved with every emotion of the characters I had created. A real labor of love.
I always knew that one day I would write a book or two, and for that reason I was never an avid reader. I simply didn’t want to have someone else’s story buried in my subconscious, to one day be revealed unintentionally, as my own. Originality was the key. To be honest, I wasn’t aware of the enormity of the task (100000 words with two fingers) until I had committed myself, but by then it was tool late. I was hooked. The truth is I had absolutely no idea where the story was going from one day to the next, and this continued pretty well for 2 years. I think it would be accurate to say the book wrote me. I put a lot of thought into the characters, hoping to bring them to life,and from the feedback I have received I seem to have achieved that. Hopefully, one day the book might be a movie.
I guess the story does seem a little unbelievable at times, and I tried to counter that by making it obvious in the characters conversations that “you are never going to believe this, are you kidding me” or “unbelievable, you are going to have to write a book about this.” The funny thing is, you would probably never believe the number of those bizarre coincidences, or similar events, that I have actually encountered personally or indirectly in my life!
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Well I would love to do a sequel, but self publishing is no easy task, I guess the sales will dictate that.
From the moment nurse Marge McConichee laid eyes on the one-day old baby boy, abandoned at the hospital where she worked, she knew he was meant to be hers. Marge and her husband Joe had been hoping to adopt a child, and, after pulling a few strings, the baby was put in their care. They named him Tommy in honour of Joe’s father. Following Joe’s untimely death, Marge was forced to raise the rebellious Tommy on her own. A couple of stints in a boy’s detention centre are followed by a term in the army, where after graduating to the Special Service, Tommy finally returns home a somewhat damaged and reluctant hero. Eventually meeting the girl of his dreams, Tommy’s life is then shattered by the death of his beloved Marge; an event that sets him on a path to find his biological mother. His journey is littered with bizarre coincidences, and acts of evil, which leave Tommy determined to avenge the sins of the past. Some families have a member with a Rogue Gene, but in this family, it was part of their DNA.
Posted in Interviews
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This book made it to my favorites list before I even finished reading it. I am a sucker for a good mystery and The Moving Blade provides suspense and intrigue from the very first chapter. In fact, the first chapter is what kept me going through the next several chapters which do get a bit dry as far as action goes. However, I love the authors style of writing which is very descriptive without being overly wordy and this keeps the reader interested even when nothing spectacularly interesting is happening.
The characters are effortlessly interesting which I think is pretty hard to accomplish, so kudos to the author there as well. I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Shibata, who was an old friend of Jamie’s recently deceased father. Shibata is eager to meet with Jamie after her father’s (Bernard Mattson) funeral and while his demeanor is calm and kind and heartwarming you can tell there is something more to him than he lets on to. It’s also clear early on that Jamie is in for more than she bargained for and that staying in Tokyo to settle her father’s affairs will not be as simple as expected.
The main intrigue of the story surrounds Bernard Mattson’s writings, which are unpublished but well sought after at the time of his death. In fact, Jamie immediately finds herself bombarded by those who wish to obtain them. The detectives on the case of Mattson’s murder are unsure that his death was politically motivated, but it quickly unfolds that the missing manuscript was probably the driving factor behind his death.
The book is a good mix of drama between its many likeable characters and the action that can be expected from a murder mystery. I love the imagery that the author invokes with his good use of descriptions. For instance, reading about the book shop owned by the Endo brothers (maybe because I love books!) gave me such a great image of the shop. I find that in a lot of newer books that I pick up these types of small details are left out and they really make or break a book in my opinion. I also loved the description of Shibata’s home. When Jamie mentioned that she somewhat remembered his house, he told her that it was actually a completely different house and only looked the same on the inside. These little details are a great addition to the literary quality of the book and I found them throughout the story.
These are the types of things that really stand out to me and give the author distinction as a great writer. Some books you read because they’re quick and fun, but like I said, this one ended up on my favorite’s list because of the great writing.
Pages: 339 | ASIN: B07GCYRY61
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Stuart Dyson of the Laredo ATF is missing, and his girlfriend, Tracy, an officer with the Laredo police department, just may know more than she is willing to share with the men and women dedicated to finding Stuart. When the FBI Trackers are assigned Stuart’s case, Tracy cooperates while running her own investigation on the side. The Trackers are a specialized unit within in the FBI and have a stunning track record of successes. They are Stuart’s best hope, but they can barely do their job for keeping Tracy in check. When the entire investigation hinges on determining the significance of a note scrap reading “27.43 pounds”, the Trackers find themselves fighting against the clock to rescue not only Stuart but Tracy as well.
Anita Dickason’s A u 7 9 is a unique brand of thriller. The FBI Trackers embody all of the mind-blowing aspects of the FBI, and Nicki Allison stands out among the members of the team. Her dedication to each investigation knows no boundaries, including sleep. Dickason paints a vivid picture of Nicki as she manipulates her way through staggering amounts of data to pinpoint needed evidence. She is a character to be admired.
Eddie Owens, the young reporter receiving anonymous tips as to Stuart’s possible involvement in his own disappearance, plays a key role throughout the book. Not one of the characters readers might put a lot of stock in at the outset of the book, Eddie becomes more and more colorful as the chapters pass. Eddie easily stands as my favorite character from A u 7 9.
I appreciate the way Dickason stretches out each discovery and keeps readers guessing regarding the meaning of the “27.43 pounds.” As each character ponders the meaning and subsequent research is conducted by the Trackers, the reader becomes increasingly invested in finding out how something so seemingly insignificant could impact Stuart and the fight to find him before his time runs out.
I am not sure I can remember the last thriller I read that has such a satisfying way of slowly revealing the connection between the title and the book’s plot. I kept trying to guess the significance of A u 7 9 to the sequence of events and was pleasantly surprised at the ultimate reveal. Dickason pulls together the plot and title in a unique and refreshing way.
Dickason’s writing is engaging to say the least. Many times, books of this genre can be heavy on narrative. Dickason, however, provides the perfect blend of dialogue and narrative adding to the overall depth of her characters.
As far as crime thrillers go, Dickason has hit it out of the park. The team of Trackers who serve as her main characters do not disappoint, consistently provide suspense, drama, and humor. Any fan of crime dramas/mysteries will be drawn to both the writing style and the engaging plot of A u 7 9. Dickason’s own background in law enforcement plays heavily into her writing and makes for a book no fan of crime thrillers will be able to forget.
Pages: 315 | ASIN: B07CWG4DD5
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YEGman by Konn Lavery is a dark thrilling romp through the back allies and underworld of Edmonton, Canada. Michael Bradford, our hero, is a vigilante, who struggles with violence. His issues aren’t going to get better as he investigates the most notorious gang in Edmonton, the Crystal moths. His methods are caught on film and uploaded online to become viral sensations and are labeled with the hashtag, YEGman. The videos fascinate a rebellious journalist, who wishes to cover the story of this mysterious hero.
This novel is an unexpectedly gritty trip through the Canadian crime scene that I don’t find too often in literature. Most of what comes to mind may be cozy mysteries, not ultra-violent vigilantes dealing with criminals. The novel takes a fun turn with the involvement of the student, Lola and how she gives a better and deeper inside look of the gang culture. In some ways, the trope is rather familiar with an attractive journalist in training along with the brooding vigilante in Bradford. It kind of brings to mind a mix of Batman, Spiderman, and Lois Lane. It’s an affirmation of Lavery’s skill to synthesize all of this together to make a novel that engages the reader and doesn’t let up until the end.
Lavery’s style leans on description, which helps to develop the world of this noir thriller, but I felt that the characters sometimes overly explain things. The prose is decent and kept me involved, but the pacing sometimes slows because of the over explanation which left me often wandering from the story. With an action packed story like this, putting the brakes on to go into detailed explanations lowers the tension on an otherwise exciting story.
This novel is plenty gritty, with a dark narrative and the definite feel that danger lurks within every shadow. With a consistently murky tone and treacherous atmosphere to the novel I was able to sink my teeth into the dark underworld set in an alternative Edmonton. For Canadian readers and noir thriller aficionados alike this novel would be a fun read, even people who enjoy a little bit of mystery and can tolerate the violence, this is recommended reading. Overall, an exciting addition to Lavery’s body of work.
Pages: 461 | ASIN: B07B3N5S92
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Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries, by Mel Anastasiou, is a series of dramatic detective mysteries. The novel contains four different detective stories, each of which are interconnected yet independent. In addition to the stories, the opening of the book contains an interesting philosophical and logical argument. It also gives a hint to some of the content of the book. Anastasiou does an excellent job of providing depth to not only the characters and their actions and motivations, but also in the general style of her writing.
The novel practically seems to drip with British style. So much so, that without careful reading and generous knowledge of Canadian and American culture and institutions, most readers will probably assume that it is set somewhere in Britain instead of actually being set in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Having read her, Stella Ryman engenders the same feelings as most Dorothy Sayers detective stories. However, there are some subtle differences between the style of Stella Ryman and the British detective novels of the 19th and early 20th century. Those old stories tended to deal with a static, aristocratic society, police forces that were not corrupt, but were certainly not in any position to solve the case, and a lack of emotion among the affected cast of characters. Stella Ryman is similar and brings in other classic mystery themes: a senior care home provides a rather static environment (even though the residents may invariably change from time to time), the managers of the care home are bumbling but not corrupt, there are no supernatural causes in the story, there is a secret passageway, and Stella has a tendency to honestly declare her thoughts, intuitions, and deductions.
There are also significant tie-ins to American pulp detective novels as well, primarily in the commonality of the characters (there are almost no aristocrats and most people are average and middle-class) and the feeling of inevitability—that truth will out and that justice will be done. Overall, Stella Ryman seems to fit roughly a quarter of the way between British and American writing styles—perfect for Canada.
Stella Ryman, as a character, is quintessentially heroic — in the classic sense. At points throughout the book, it appears that Anastasiou is reading Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces as she is writing her own book. In the beginning, Stella refuses the call to adventure (being a detective), is completely content with her own mortality, and is merely waiting to die. Eventually, she realizes that there is a third option—something besides life and death. As a side note, herein lies a common theme within the novel, the breaking of logical fallacies—ad hominem, false dichotomies, circular arguments, causal fallacies, and hasty generalizations being the most common. Stella, after making her third choice, is confronted with supernatural assistance (Mad Cassandra, whom is herself rife with mythological allusions). Stella runs across a few other mentors along the way, makes a deep, personal transformation, and returns with a gift for her fellow residents: the ability to make life worth living again.
Overall, this book is an excellent read, full of colorful characters. Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries, is appropriate for teenage and adult readers. Although younger demographics may have difficulty with some of the allusions and references that are peppered throughout the book. Younger readers may also have difficulty relating to an octogenarian, but Stella’s tenacity is something certainly worth emulating. There is no obvious sexual content (there are hints, however) or illicit drug use, there is some personal violence, and a lot of discussion of heavy, emotional and existential topics.
Pages: 151 | ASIN: B06XTG2GWJ
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