Book Review of “Gone Mother” by Karin C Vah


Blurb

Gone Mother is a crime written in the compelling spirit of Gillian Flynn’s novel “Gone Girl”, but in shorter novella form. Alice’s mother Lucille goes missing on a rainy, foggy night. At first, Alice is annoyed but not particularly concerned. Her depressed, eating-disordered mother often rushes off in a huff after fighting with her husband, Alice’s stepfather Richard. However, this time, Richard has called the police, something he has never done before. When Lucille is found strangled and dumped in the same river where, years before, the body of a young child, Nicky Peterson, was found, Alice goes in search of her mother’s killer. She now puts more credence in Lucille’s story that she had seen a neighbour, Mr Wilson, carrying the body of the little girl toward the river. Where indeed had Mother gone, before she died, and why? The answer is not what Alice expects…

Genre: Thriller / Mystery / Short Story / Crime
My Review

When you see the title, the first thing that comes to your mind is “Gone Girl”. You expect the book to be on similar lines. However, except for being a thriller, there is very little similarity of “Gone Mother”to “Gone Girl”. This is a short thriller story whose main characters are Alice and her mother Lucille.

Lucille was never a normal mother since the time Alice’s neighbor kid went missing. However, now Lucille is missing and Alice’s step dad is worried. At first, Alice thought her mother might just have gone in a fit of anger, like she is known for doing. But when she turns up dead, the stakes go up high.

The story is written nicely and captivates the readers to the mood completely. The language is easy but at the same time powerful so the short story is enough to give you the punch a full fledged thriller novel provides. The suspense comes slightly dramatic but totally unexpected. The way the mystery was crafted and finished was beautiful.

Star Rating : 5 Stars
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Book Review of “I Let You Go” by Clare Mackintosh


Blurb

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world is shattered. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape her past, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of the cruel November night that changed her life for ever.

DI Ray Stevens is tasked with seeking justice for a mother who is living every parent’s worst nightmare. Determined to get to the bottom of the case, it begins to consume him as he puts both his professional and personal life on the line.

As Ray and his team seek to uncover the truth, Jenna, slowly, begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating .

Genre: Mystery / Thriller / Psychological Thriller / Suspense
My Review

After reading all the reviews about the debut mystery, there is a normal tendency to have very high expectations. Sometimes it is good to have second opinions about the book you are about to read and sometimes, it is not. This time it was not a good idea. Because of the high praise and supposedly amazing twist which was written in the reviews, even after the twist, I kept expecting something more to turn up. And it created a prejudiced image.

The story is good. The twist was, for the want of a better word, twisted. The suspense drills you till the very end. The transition from Part I to Part II was brilliantly written. The suspense there really takes the cake.

But the story harbored too much on a lot of coincidence. The 2nd part could have been better. The ending was slightly predictable. The unpredictable part was too much coincidental. Ian seeing his child at the exact time when he was feeling what he was feeling was a bit too much of a stretch.

For me, I cannot go beyond 3 stars for the story.

Star Rating : 3 Stars
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Book Review of “Ladies of Class” by Marjorie Owen


Blurb:

Murder is no respecter of persons. Richard Hayward’s promotion and move from the big city life to the sleepy town of Burshill, England has been shattered. Sir John Bury needs a murder solved. The results of Richard’s investigation cause a ruckus when several ladies of a particular ‘class’ become part of the inquiry. As the facts begin to unfold, they not only amaze Richard and the community of Burshill but extend all the way to the top brass of Scotland Yard.

Genre: Mystery / Crime / Detective / Police / Murder
My Review:
Immediately after reading an Agatha Christie novel, when you read some other murder mystery, unknowingly you do end up comparing it to the master writer. Although it is a very wrong thing to do, sometimes some books comes almost up to the mark and gives you  tremendous satisfaction after finishing. Ladies of Class is one such book.
Chief Inspector Hayward is one of the most efficient detectives I have come across in fictional characters. He is compassionate yet stern, and is a very good judge of character. The case is a very interesting one. Multiple murders, seemingly unconnected, were brilliantly linked with such a frail link. The writing is impeccable and the old England feel is subtle and nice.
It is truly unfortunate that Marjorie could not see how her books are fairing. She has such a grand fan following, thanks to Richard Hayware. However, I believe she is with us through her books and the best way for us to appreciate it is by spreading word on how great her books are. Nothing less than 5 stars for the brilliant master piece.
Star Rating : 5 Stars
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Book Review of “Dane Curse” by Matt Abraham


Blurb:

If you lose a black cape, and can’t go to the cops, then you come to me because that’s what I do. I’ve been in the game for years. I know all the curves and all the angles, and if it gets rough then so be it, I got plenty strength, I’m double tough, and I never quit. And if need be I’ll pull my artillery to get you some answers, because I don’t care about the mistakes you’ve made or how you chose to live your life, sometimes even the unjust deserve a little justice.

At least that’s how it was before.

When a mysterious murder threatens to plunge Gold Coast City into a super powered war I only have five days’ time to find the killer, but getting to the truth won’t be so easy. I’ll have to face ruthless black capes with secrets to hide, a powerful government agency bent on national expansion, and even teams of white caped heroes whose intentions are less than pure.

No easy task for a small time PI, so I’ll need every bit of my strength and guts if I’m going to find the killer, save my city, and maybe even get some justice for the greatest hero the world has ever known.

Genre: Mystery / Fantasy / Crime / suspense / Thriller / Super Hero / YA Fantasy
My Review:

Super Hero and villains exchange their roles and everyone becomes the good guys for one novel. But if everyone are good guys and there is still a crime committed, that means someone is hiding behind a mask. And that is where Dane Curse comes in. Dane Curse is a super Villain turned detective for anyone who has an interesting case. And what can be more interesting that to investigate the murder of the city’s beloved White Caped Hero?

The story is interesting and different. The scene setting of the entire book feels right out of Starling City or Gotham City or any other city from comics. The Super Hero – Super Villain fights are constant irrespective of what either of their intentions are. It is like cat and mouse. They are enemies no matter who is doing what. But that adds to the fun element of the story. The language used is nice and humorous. Dane Curse as a character must have been very difficult to create. He is a bad ass villain who is so used to being a bad ass but suddenly becomes good for his mother.

The only thing I felt as a drawback was the length of the novel. Considering super hero and super villains, children or Young Adults would have loved to read it. But the story is a bit too long for young  people to maintain attention. Only someone who absolutely adores to read can manage to finish the entire book patiently. The pace of the story slacks at places which diverts the reader’s attention. It could have been shorter and more crisper than the current state.

Other than that, it scored in all the avenues. It is definitely a fun and unique reading experience.

Star Rating : 4 Stars
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Book Review of “The Mystery of the Missing Actor (A Clarissa and Paw Mini Mystery, #5)” by Sandra Baublitz


Blurb:

What has happened to Robert Roberts, the new actor in town? Clarissa, Paw, and their friend, Shelbee, discover the back door of his house wide open. It is evident that a struggle has occurred in his kitchen. Where is he? Where is his cat, Kathleen? And why does his parrot keep yelling, “No! John. No!” It will be up to Clarissa and Paw to follow the trail to find Kathleen. Will they find Robert as well? And in time? This is a 7000 word mini mystery/short story. It is the fifth book in the Clarissa and Paw Mini Mystery series. The first book is The Mystery of the Blue Dolphins.

Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Short Story
My Review:
Clarissa and Paw are out with another mystery. Sandra never ceases to surprise the readers with totally new and exciting short stories of the two most lovable characters of mystery genre. This time, Clarissa and Paw are out to search for a missing stage actor, after he mysteriously vanishes leaving all his belongings behind.
Clarissa is developing with every book. The depth of her character shows maturity with every story. Paw becomes more and more of an expert in hunting for clues. By reading the stories from the start, you can see how the characters grow with each book and how the author gains experience and improves with every mystery. This book keeps up with the expectations I have come to set up with Clarissa and Paw. In the last book, I wanted a bit of romance for Clarissa and I found it this time. It is perfectly flaw less. Wonderful read for anyone who loves adventure and mystery of any age group
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Book Review of “The Case” by Marc Hirsch


Blurb:

A divorced legal assistant in 1955 New York City, Alice White, travels to a small upstate mountain community to investigate the violent death of a doctor. What at first appears to have been an accident, unfolds into a deadly power play of greed and marital discord that threatens to end her life, just as she has begun to thaw.

Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Crime / Detective / Legal
My Review:

The Case is legal detective story of a Divorced Legal Assistant who is hired to investigate the murder of a doctor. The case appears to be a simple matter of negligence.

The story was good. The mystery was a good old-school murder mystery with a variety of characters of different shade. The suspense was well hidden throughout the story and the author made a good effort to maintain the suspense throughout the book. The language of the book was also good enough with almost no obvious mistakes.

However, the characters were too shallow. Alice gave too much credit to her being beautiful and a woman. The author made it look like these characters are enough to gather evidence as apparently, people talk freely when a woman is beautiful or sexy or both. The flow of the story was also a bit flawed. A lot of times, the thoughts of the characters were explained out loud which, I felt, was needless and side tracking the issue. This was basically due to improper narration.

The story overall was very good. The concept was gripping. If the narration style and character depth was changed, the story will do really good.

2 out of 5 points

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Book Review of “Crooked House” by Agatha Christie


Blurb:

In the sprawling, half-timbered mansion in the affluent suburb of Swinly Dean, Aristide Leonides lies dead from barbiturate poisoning. An accident? Not likely. In fact, suspicion has already fallen on his luscious widow, a cunning beauty fifty years his junior, set to inherit a sizeable fortune, and rumored to be carrying on with a strapping young tutor comfortably ensconced in the family estate. But criminologist Charles Hayward is casting his own doubts on the innocence of the entire Leonides brood. He knows them intimately. And he’s certain that in a crooked house such as Three Gables, no one’s on the level…

Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Detective / Murder / Police / Family / Thriller
My Review:

Yet another proof that Agatha Christie is a legend. Crooked House is a stand alone story, apart from the series of Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Tommy and Tuppence etc. This one has criminologist Charles Hayward as the narrator. Charles tells us the story of his girlfriend and why she refused to marry him when he proposed. Agatha Christie has the tact of making something fabulous in the way of narrating a story.

The narration is flawless, the story is flawless, the characters are perfectly flawed, and the twist is admirable. You would never have seen it come, the way it came and hit you. Agatha Christie stories are those which are to be read when you want to know what real suspense / mystery / thrillers feel like. She paved the path for all mystery writers after her. The way her stories are – supple, intense, delicate and engulfing – describes an ideal mystery novel, like absolutely no one else can. And as for today’s mystery writers, there is only one thing to say – You can go high indeed, but you can never surpass your teacher, the one who lead the way.

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Book Review of “The Mystery of the Missing Bear (A Clarissa and Paw Mini Mystery, Vol. 4)” by Sandra Baublitz


Blurb:

Clarissa and Paw, her Saint Bernard, are visiting their friend, Mrs. Booksteen, when her neighbor boy’s bear goes missing. Where could it have disappeared to? Paw soon finds the bear, but then the real mystery begins. Why is there a key inside the stuffed bear? What does it go to and who put it there? More importantly, why is the boy’s stepdad so determined to get the bear back?

Clarissa and Paw will have to dig up clues to solve the case.

Genre: Mystery / Short Story / Animal Detective / Amateur Detective / Woman Detective / Woman Sleuth / Adventure / Series / Crime / Detective
My Review:

And Sandra Baublitz is back again with another Clarissa and Paw adventure. Before I start the review, let me tell you that it is going to be completely biased. I am a huge fan of Sandra and her books and can never find any fault in it. Volume 4 of the book totally lives up to the expectations once again. It shows the talent of an author when they are able to provide a complete package with adventure, mystery, and thrill in 5000 words and less. Be it this or any of the other 3 books of Sandra, the way a complete detective story is said in just 5000 words really gets to you and amazes you in multiple ways.

On that note, let us go to the book. In this volume, Clarissa and Paw encounter a smuggling racket right next door to their friend, Mrs. Booksteen. There is also a slight romance budding for Clarissa in this book. I hope it catches up in the next book (wink). The mystery brings out yet another way in which Paw shows how clever he is and Clarissa shows how much faith she has in her knight i.e. Paw.

There is a nice humor touch in the writing which makes reading very enjoyable. With Clarissa and Paw, of course, you cannot help but love them for their kindness to others, protective nature and love for each other. The bond between them is truly amazing. Sandra created yet another magic with Volume 4. I am always looking forward to Sandra’s next magical adventure.

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Book Review of “Green Witch, Dead Witch” by Renee Benzaim


Blurb:

WITCHES IN BAKERSFIELD???
Two women, one man, are dead. All three were solitary green witches who met from time-to-time to share rituals and festivals. Not a coven, just a group of like-minded individuals who preferred to practice their witchcraft alone.

The first two deaths appeared to be accidental, but the third death was an obvious murder. Each death occurred in a different area of Kern County – in different jurisdictions – which made it unlikely any connection would be made between the deaths.

The third body was found in an outlying area of Kern County, which put it in the jurisdiction of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office. The detective team assigned to investigate this homicide consists of Lead Detective Annie Avants and her partner, Detective Tom Weston. As the initial investigation begins, they find nothing to make them suspect that this murder is connected to any other death in Kern County.

Clem Moonstone is a solitary green witch who owns a metaphysical shop in Bakersfield. She and Annie Avants have been friends for many years. When Annie and Tom attend the funeral of the victim whose death they are investigating, Annie is surprised to see Clem there. Clem explains to Annie that the young woman whose funeral they are attending is the third person in her circle of friends to die during the past few months.
Annie’s gut instinct tells her to look into the previous two deaths. Clem gives her the names of the other two people and the locations where their bodies were found. After Annie obtains the files and begins to research their deaths, she comes to the chilling conclusion that the first two deaths may not have been so “accidental” and that all three victims may have died at the hands of a serial killer.
It appears someone is killing the witches of Bakersfield

My Review:

This story is entirely about Magick – Green magick. The concept is put across very strong that witches do exist among us today and most of them are good witches. The idea is put across very subtly and nicely. In fact it makes you want to meet a green witch.

Witches are being killed and it all appears to be accidents. Only someone is suspicious that they are not accidents and witches are in fact being murdered. Detective Annie Avants is dealing with a personal crisis of her own. This case gives her a break from her crisis and she dives nose down into it. However, the murderer appears to be someone of Magick background. Will Annie be able to catch hold of the murderer? Or her lack of magick lead to the murderer going scott free?

Annie is not someone you instantly tend to like. She has all the features of a detective – fierce, independent, brave and at the same time, a bit too careful. Her thinking process is relatable, but there are times through the book when you feel like telling her it is OK to let go and live life spontaneously. And that makes Annie a human. Renee has done a good job creating a detective who is as much human as anyone of us. She is afraid of making mistake, just like any one us.

The book is really nice. I am looking forward to understanding the characters more by reading the previous parts of the series

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Book Review of “Cause of Death (Det. Annie Avants #1)” by Renee Benzaim


Blurb:

A Serial Killer. A black widow spider. A race to catch the perp before someone else dies.

Amazon Best-Selling author, Renee Benzaim, writes about the ultimate female detective fighting against time to catch a serial killer in Bakersfield, CA before a new victim is found.

Meet Robbery/Homicide Detective Annie Avants and her partner, Detective Tom Weston, of the Kern County Sheriff’s Office in California. In the dusty farm community of Bakersfield, someone is abducting and killing young Hispanic females. The killers weapon of choice – black widow spiders. Can these two dedicated Detectives catch the killer with the help of their peers and friends, Deputy District Attorney Jesse Greyeyes and Technical Investigations Chief Laine DelMonte?

CAUSE OF DEATH is a spine-chilling thriller that keeps you guessing right up to the last minute – and makes you wonder about the “normal” people in YOUR daily life.

My Review:

Cause of Death is the first in the series of Annie Avants Mysteries. A serial killler is on the loose who kills Hispanic women with black widow bites – a very painful way to die. Detective Annie Avants along with her partner Detective Tom Weston team up with Deputy District Attorney Jesse Greyeyes and Technical Investigations Chief Laine DelMonte to figure out who the killer is before another woman gets killed.

The mystery is really interesting and almost fast paced. The psychological aspect of the serial killer is shown only at the end. Till then, the reader is left wondering who is the killer and what is his motivation. There are some dead ends on the way but the route diverts soon and the race goes on. Annie Avants is a nice female detective with the right elements of feminine traits with a nice strong blend of courage and bravery.

Annie Avants is here to stay and so is Renee Benzaim.

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