Engrossing Mystery

Let Justice Descend by Lisa Black

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the publisher:<I> “Three days before a key election, U.S. Senator Diane Cragin is electrocuted on her own doorstep—a shocking twist in an already brutal political race. Cragin’s chief of staff is quick to blame rival Joey Green, a city development director who’s had his hand in every till in town for over twenty years.
 
Maggie and Jack have their own theories, especially after discovering a fortune in cash in the senator’s safe. But as they follow the money through the treacherous landscape of Cleveland politics, they find many more millions in play—and more suspects.
 
As Jack says, “Anyone can be dangerous, when they have what they think is a good reason.” He should know. Now a Herald reporter is perilously close to discovering the truth about Jack’s penchant for acting as both detective and executioner. With each passing hour, the stresses of the impending election expose new fractures and corruption at the city’s highest levels. And as one murder leads to another, and another, Maggie and Jack’s only hope of stopping a killer is an alliance that’s growing ever more fragile.”</I>


After reading several less-polished novels, I decided I wanted to read a book from a more experienced writer; this book fit the bill.

As the fifth book in a series, by an author who has multiple series, I was confident I was choosing a better edited book. I was, however, also a little worried about jumping in to a new series. Once I started reading though, I did not want to stop. With a less well known (or at least depicted in fiction) setting, a clever murder, and a cast of characters involved in local politics, this book was entertaining from start to finish.

I was hesitant to choose this title, it’s the fifth in an established series, but it hit several other boxes when I was seeking a new title. I was pleased to see I did not miss much by jumping in late to this series. I will look for the earlier books, as the events hinted at in the fictional past are intriguing.

I haven’t read many books set in Cleveland. One branch of my family spent 20 years in Akron, outside of Cleveland, so I did find it fun to revisit the area. It’s been a number of years since I was there, but I could get a glimpse at the city I remember visiting many years ago.

Much of what interested me about this book was the political intrigue. The players in the election and on-going projects shed an unflattering, but believable look at the interplay between government and business. The politics may have overshadowed the characterization of those involved, but I did not find myself confused about who was who, just, sometimes who was playing for which team.

As a mystery, I appreciated the number of plausible suspects and the myriad of motives. As a suspense novel, I did not feel a lot of tension until the end, but it was certainly there as well. As a romance novel (not my favorite), there were some romantic elements, but nothing overly distracting from the story.

I am looking forward to reading more of this series, especially working from the beginning to get to know Maggie and Jack.

This book should be available now.

I received an advanced review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily. Thank you to Book Sirens!



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Remember Me by Mary Higgins Clark

Remember MeRemember Me by Mary Higgins Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the publisher: “Unable to forgive herself for the death of her two-year-old son Bobby in a car accident, Menley Nichols’ marriage to Adam starts to fall apart – until the birth of their daughter Hannah. Determined to rebuild a life together around their precious baby, Menley and Adam decide to rent a house on Cape Cod for a month, confidant that the tranquility of the place will be ideal for Menley and little Hannah. But the peace they crave is disturbed when strange things start to happen – incidents which make Menley relive the horror of the accident in which she lost Bobby… incidents which make her fear for Hannah. And step by step, Menley and Adam are drawn into a dark and sinister web of events which threatens their marriage, their child and ultimately Menley’s sanity.”

An oldie, but a goodie from the Queen of Suspense herself. Mary Higgins Clark was one of my first “adult authors”. I remember devouring her stories in junior high, high school, college and beyond. She was the first author I stood in line for to get her signature. She has an entire shelf (overflowing) in my personal library. She is still putting out books, albeit most of them are co-written, and I still enjoy picking them up once in awhile. But as the days are growing cooler and shorter, I found myself drawn to pick up and older title, by an author who has been so prevalent in my life.

As a more mature reader, I have learned to choose stories with a bit more depth than this, but sometimes, a little brain candy is fun.

One of my favorite things about MHC’s early books are the settings. These are small New England towns with quaint histories. This one is no different. The history of Remember House is tragic and romantic and lends more than a touch of creepiness to the current story.

Another thing that has kept me reading and going back to these books is the female protagonists. Clark does a good job giving us flawed female heroes, with history and somehow a lot of strength to figure out their own stories. I like Menley in this book. She may question herself and doubt herself, but it added to her character. Her drive to find the truth and some satisfaction propelled the story.

I will continue to pick these books off my shelf whenever the mood strikes; and I am sure it will strike many times in the years to come.

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New Detective Series

Little Girls Sleeping (Detective Katie Scott, #1)Little Girls Sleeping by Jennifer Chase
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the publisher: “He looked down at the little girl, sleeping peacefully, her arms wrapped around a teddy bear. He knew he was the only one who could save her. He could let her sleep forever.

An eight-year-old girl, Chelsea Compton, is missing in Pine Valley, California and for Detective Katie Scott it’s a cruel reminder of the friend who disappeared from summer camp twenty years ago. Unable to shake the memories, Katie vows she won’t rest until she discovers what happened to Chelsea.

But as Katie starts to investigate, the case reveals itself to be much bigger and more shocking than she feared. Hidden deep in the forest she unearths a makeshift cemetery: a row of graves, each with a brightly coloured teddy bear.

Katie links the graves to a stack of missing-persons cases involving young girls—finding a pattern no one else has managed to see. Someone in Pine Valley has been taking the town’s daughters for years, and Katie is the only one who can stop them.

And then another little girl goes missing, snatched from the park near her home.

Katie’s still haunted by the friend she failed to protect, and she’ll do anything to stop the killer striking again—but can she find the little girl before it’s too late?”

A little detective fiction to start off my fall.

This was a solid mystery. There is a bad guy killing young girls, a flawed detective must use all her wiles to figure out who he is.

I thought this was a good beginning to a new series. Katie, a veteran, returns home with her canine friend and is able to jump into a new career with the help of her family. As the story progresses, we get to meet other people from Katie’s past and new people she will be working with throughout her story. And the weird part at the end could make for some interesting future experiences. (Read the story and you will know what I am talking about, no spoilers here).

There were plenty of twists and developments to keep a slow burn feel to this novel. I do not have issues with the pacing, but this was not a fast-pace thriller. Plenty of suspicion flung in a multitude of directions made this one a little harder to figure out; but the guilty party was certainly not too low on my list of possibilities.

I had not read anything by Jennifer Chase before this, but I will be looking at reading both her earlier novels and additional titles in this series.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book and share my honest opinion.

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Wendy Walker’s The Night Before

The Night BeforeThe Night Before by Wendy Walker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book kept me guessing!!!

I did not want to walk away from the story of Rosie’s missing sister Laura. Although, as life will have it, I did have to put the book down and participate in my own life from time to time. The mystery in this story was kept taut and the suspense was fabulous. I think Wendy Walker has crafted another great story for mystery, suspense, and thriller readers.

I enjoyed the alternating between points of view and time line disorienting in the best possible way. This structure kept me off-balance and unsure of who I should trust throughout the story. This lack of trust in the characters, made it hard for me to *like* any of them, but I did care about how the story concluded. This is a fine line for me. I wanted to see justice for all, but did not feel myself rooting for any of the protagonists, and probably would have been satisfied with any of them being the guilty party.

There was suspense and story a plenty here, and certainly a satisfying conclusion that did not require any stretch to believe it was true. I will watch for future titles by this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this e-book!

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