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Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale

Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale by [Ann Shortell]

Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale is a thrilling murder mystery story that combines true facts with fiction in a compelling historical fantasy novel. The book follows the story of a young housekeeper, Clara Swift, who is sought by Prime Minister John A Macdonald to help find out who assassinated his master, Mr. McGee. Clara’s tenacity and abilities get her embroiled in a plot with national consequences.

Ann Shortell has creatively used a well known historical moment to tell a riveting mystery. Clara is an intriguing character right from the start. She’s smart and quick-witted and was someone that I empathized with along the nail biting journey she’s thrust on. Her perseverance and determination to seek the truth was something that kept me flipping pages. The story takes places in Ottawa Canada during the 1800’s and the time period is captured in striking detail.

Alluring characters in a memorable setting pulled me into the story, but the one thing that I think elevated this story above genre fiction was the theatrical mystery driving this dramatic novel. Ann Shortell is able to give readers just enough to keep them guessing, just enough to root for characters, and contine to feed you those bread crumbs until the finale. I am not familiar with the historical events discussed in the book, but still found the book to be entertaining. I will say that a reader may need a good respect for history and willingness to absorb the history and time period to be able to truly enjoy this novel as Ann Shortell really dives into the era. Like Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, it’s still entertaining, but you’ll be engrossed if you know about, or at least enjoy, the history discussed in the book.

Celtic Knot: A Clara Swift Tale is an enthralling historical fiction novel that places an unassuming but sharp girl at the heart of a spellbinding mystery.

Pages: 332 | ASIN: B07BN2TNQ3

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Malachi, Ruse Master

Malachi, Ruse Master: A Detours in Time Character Spin-off (Book 3) by [Pamela Schloesser Canepa]

Malachi, Ruse Master is a spin-off to Pamela Schloesser Canepa’s Detours in Time science fiction series. It is a riving mystery novel following the adventures of an upstart assistant to a private investigator. This thrilling coming of age story follows a college dropout named (or renamed) Malachi as he tries to piece together a life using the unique verbal intellectual, and thespian skills he poses. Malachi is offered a job helping a private investigator with shadowy intentions, and the results are alluring.

Malachi, Ruse Master unfolds like a series of separate but dramatic anecdotes that cast a light on people, families, and their relationships. I liked how each chapter was its own nutshell mystery. It was easy to grasp and easy to follow, which I suppose places this book in the young adult genre, but unfairly as there is still some depth to the overarching themes present throughout the novel. I enjoyed the many different ways that Malachi was able to accomplish his tasks. They were always different and creative and something that I think makes this novel stand out from other sleuth novels.

Malachi is trying to eke out a living on the D.C. streets. While not as developed as the setting could have been, I enjoyed how the novel stayed focused on the captivating characters. This, in essence, is a character driven story that follows one young mans motivated rise out of the streets and into an intriguing job that allows his skills to flourish.

Malachi is a character that takes time to build and his journey is something that kept me picking this novel back up. Malachi, Ruse Master is an absorbing private investigator novel that fans of mystery books will surely enjoy. Pamela Schlosesser Canepa has written an engaging thriller that follows a young man with extraordinary talents who grapples with the consequences of life and his actions.

Pages: 160 | ASIN: B086VYJYZX

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Murder at Macbeth

Murder at Macbeth: A gripping British crime mystery packed with twists and turns (A D.I. Robson mystery Book 1) by [Samantha Goodwin]

A crime has been committed at a theater in the middle of a Shakespeare themed play, embedded in secrets, lies, betrayal, friendship and work, every cast is on the suspect list. How far will they go to hide these secrets? Like a blockbuster crime thriller Samantha Goodwin leads us through a winding mystery of what happened to the lead actress Nicki. Her friends, the cast, all have a dark secret they are not willing to tell. The investigating officers will stop at nothing until they get justice for the victims.

This creative murder mystery that fuels this curiously compelling read is great in a way that every chapter answers one question and leaves you with the next one you have to get an answer for. I appreciated the slow build of the mystery throughout the story. It’s not dramatic, but in it’s down to earth quality it reels you in, and once the twists come their rarely expected and always surprising. Samantha Goodwin has a way of making the whole play inside a play work with ease. Murder At Macbeth is a creative detective mystery that is punctuated with provocative characters. Friends betraying friends, love, jealousy, betrayal and secrets. Each characters life unfolds in new chapters. Reality dawns on each of the cast members, they can no longer protect each other, a life has been lost. Despite going through challenges himself, Detective Inspector Finley Robson with his partner Detective Nadia Zahra are on a mission to crack this case open.

Having friends who have your back, is the best thing to ever happen to anyone, you trust your friends with secrets, you have a past that only your friends and you share but one day your very best friend is too jealous to the extent of plotting harm against you. Reading this is better than imagining how you’d feel, this book will take you right to the center of that drama, it makes you feel part of the cast which is a feeling you only get from a good book. Murder at Macbeth is an emotionally haunting and provocative thriller.

Pages: 375 | ASIN: B07QXGR13V

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Death and Disorder

Death and Disorder: A Vivian Wexler Galactic Mystery by [Patricia Crumpler]

Death and Disorder: A Vivian Wexler Galactic Mystery by Patricia Crumpler is an adventurous sci-fi story set in outer space. Vivian Wexler is hired to investigate a bunch of suicides on a foreign planet. The twist is that this involves a placid and non-violent species; they have never killed themselves or others. Compared to the Sores, life on Earth is considered a “cesspool.” Wexler’s investigation into the suicides leads to a fascinating and shocking conclusion.

However, she soon encounters more alien species on a mission. Slug-like creatures are used by a lot of these aliens, especially the creative types, to boost their intelligence and abilities. However, they are addictive. Vivian soon becomes involved in this weird and sticky situation, simultaneously aided and suffering from the substance. I enjoyed this duality and how it is portrayed.

Death and Disorder is both gripping and funny; there were a few places where I even laughed out loud; rare for me. Vivian Wexler is an engaging character with an alluring personality- she’s funny and smart without being too staid. I love a well-written heroine, especially in science fiction stories, that can not only hold their own but hit back as well. The pacing in combination with the weird worlds was an addictive combo, so I had trouble putting it down. The author’s imagination is on full display, with numerous species, behavioral tics, and amusing jokes that are rampant throughout the book.

The comparisons between Sarolole and Earth were really interesting. The contrast casts light on the fact that certain tragic and disastrous events on Earth are so often taken in stride. We, being human, often forget how odd we all must seem to an outsider, and Patricia Crumpler has a unique way of giving us this outsiders view of humanity. The romance between Dee and Vivian was also quite adorable. The intriguing dialogue along with well defined character relationships was something that kept me rapt .

Although the terminology of all the new creatures and characters takes a while to catch on, with a little bit of time it gets easier to understand all the Zetas and EBI agents and all. I thoroughly enjoyed this sci-fi space opera and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a funny and adventurous romp through the vastness of space. The ending left me with a smile on my face.

Pages: 273 | ASIN: B086HXFTC7

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The Poseidon Network

The Poseidon Network by [Kathryn Gauci]

The year is 1942 and the world is knee-deep in the Second World War. The world is split with countries taking sides to either fight from the Axis Powers or the Allied Powers. The Allied Powers had risen up to ward off and halt the growing plague of Germans, Italians and Japanese- the Axis Powers- who decided that their countries’ original boundaries were too small. The latter, led by Mussolini, Hitler and the Emperor, had gone on a rampage annexing countries through bloody and violent take-overs. It is within this orchestra of madness we find ourselves in a hot, sunny and sandy city of Cairo in Egypt in Kathryn Gauci’s The Poseidon Network.

The Poseidon Network throws readers into a scintillating world of love, betrayal, murder and war. In this fast-paced and intricately written novel, we see the world from the point of view of Hadley, a British spy working for the Special Operations Executive, commissioned by Churchill, and holding a cover as a newspaper correspondent. His cover is essential to keep him alive in these dangerous times where Egypt is teaming with Greeks, Germans, Italians, Arabs and Britons- all with different vested interests in the ongoing war. It was a dangerous time for sleuths. The Greeks were rooting for the victory of their countrymen against the Nazi back in Greece with a few undesirable characters supporting the enemy of their people. The British were, on the other hand, preventing the imminent occupation of Egypt by the Italians. It is during this time, in his usual foregoing, that Hadley chances upon a creature of mesmerizing beauty, dark haired and enshrouded in attractive mystery. At this point the book picks up a quick pace that kept me on edge with suspense. Would he get to talk to her? Does she eventually fall in love with our ‘good ol’ boy’, Mr. Hadley? Then suddenly a girl is found dead on the banks of the Nile. Is it our mystery girl?

The cover, with sepia pictures of a lady, a sleuth and soldiers, done in a minimalistic style, I think accurately represents the style and period in which this engaging story is told. Once you are a few pages in, you come across Kathryn Gauci’s foreword informing you that the book is a fictional account of real events that occurred during the World War II. True to her word, the book is pin point accurate on the dates and times, events and certain people that were significantly involved in the war. The author has done impeccable research and uses it to colorize and energize this historical romance novel that invites readers into a globe-trotting mystery that is easy to grasp but hard to crack.

Pages: 360 | ASIN: B07ZJJ1NG8

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What Happened To Joe French?

What Happened to Joe French? is a novella written by Hector Rodriguez that follows the winding story of Joe French, a man who lives his life by impersonating, lying, stealing, and creating cons at every turn. The text opens with the mention of a puzzle hidden in the pages of the story, with a prize of 33 gold ingots. After that attention grabber, the story begins with a young man named Daniel describing his limited experiences with Joe, an older man that Daniel would often see at the family bar. When Daniel receives a package years later with 33 gold ingots and a letter from Joe, Daniel does his best to narrate how Joe came to receive the package and where Joe is hiding now. After this information is set, the story follows Joe from a third person view and plays through his story, most of which occurred in the US military. You’ll have to read to the end if you want to know how Joe scrapes his way through situations and problems of his own creation.

What Happened to Joe French? is entertaining in it’s unique ability to create curious, compelling and sometimes amusing situations. Joe has many close encounters with famous people of the early 1960’s, which gives this novel some star power and Hollywood intrigue. He even spends a good amount of time convincing people that he is Otis Redding, which he uses to his advantage enough to make it into the Bud Billiken Parade in Chicago.

While I thought the story was entertaining and I enjoyed following Joe through his misadventures and his near escapes, I felt that Joe had no good motivation for what he was doing in the story. I didn’t feel like there was a potent reason for the lies and the thievery. There is a couple mentions of a lost chance at love, but it does not feel connected enough to the plot.

As for the puzzle that is hidden in the pages, I have to admit that, while I definitely located a few of them, I was not able to find all of them, and some I wasn’t even sure were clues. For example, there is a mention of “Coca-a-cola”, which has an added “a” in the middle. Is this a clue, or just a spelling error? There’s no way to know! It all just adds to the fun of the novel, which if I had to sum up this novel in one word it would be just that, fun.

Pages: 142 | ISBN: 1684701856

 

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STAGED!: A HOLLYWOOD HUSTLE – Trailer

Mismatched amateur detectives Casey Alton and (former biker gang leader) Smitty have solved some tough mysteries before. But this one may push them to do some truly creative actions on the edge of what’s legal. Casey & Smitty have a dilemma they have to solve… A longtime good friend of Smitty’s has been conned out of $2,000,000 dollars. The perpetrator’s a known ruthless and murderous crook. The friend has been beaten within an inch of his life to keep him quiet.How can they get the friend’s money back without being killed or worse? Run a racket on a racketeer? Run a hustle on a hustler? Out con a con artist? How do the movies fit into their plan? For the answers to these questions and more, read STAGED!

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Terrifying and Frustrating

Dawn Brotherton Author Interview

Dawn Brotherton Author Interview

The Obsession is a thrilling crime novel that follows Jackie as she finds that she’s being stalked by a serial killer. What were some ideas that drove the development of this story?

Many of the stalker scenes really happened to me. It seems surreal at this point in my life, but it was terrifying and frustrating at the time. Thankfully, the murders were not true.

Jackie is a missilier in the Air Force. Why did you choose this profession as Jackie’s career?

I was one of the first female missiliers. At the time, it was the only combat role a woman could hold. The Air Force has come a long way since then. Many writers start by writing what they know. This experience was very close to home.

There is a lot of good red herrings in the book and it makes you see everyone as a suspect. Was this planned or did this happen organically while writing?

A little of both. In real life, figuring out the stalker did take a while. There were many options, and technology simply wasn’t as it is today. A phone trace was extremely complicated. There was no caller id. Some of the red herrings were added in after I got the initial draft on paper.

This is book one in the Jackie Austin Mysteries series. Where will book two find Jackie and when will it be available?

Wind the Clock is out now. In it, Jackie goes to Germany where she is working for the inspector general’s office. There is a plane crash, and the situation looks very similar to a scenario she wrote for an exercise so she gets blamed for it. She has to figure out the real culprit to get OSI off her back. (The books do not have to be read in order.)

Author Links: GoodReads | FacebookWebsite

At first, Jackie Austin tried ignoring the phone calls in the dead of the night. Fresh out of Air Force missile training and no stranger to harassment, she shrugged them off as a prank. But when the calls didn’t stop, unsigned love letters started arriving, and things in her house seemed out of place, Jackie started to worry. Were the men on base playing a trick on her or did they not realize that she wasn’t interested? And just how far would this harasser go?

In the neighboring town of Sedalia, a more ominous situation was brewing. Yet another young, single woman had been mysteriously killed in an ongoing series of grim murders. With the police on alert but without any leads, it was only a matter of time before the killer found his next victim.

Could Jackie be his next target?

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