Tag Archive | books

Book Review: Day of the Dead by J. A. Jance

Book Review: Day of the Dead by J. A. Jance

I picked this book up from the library of our townhouse complex. I’ve been a Jance fan for a long time and this proved to be a typical action thriller with her usual depth of character and complicated plots. However, it might have been a bit too complicated to fully absorb and follow.

I have to be honest and say that I had to pop back and forth to keep track of everyone and what they were doing. I kept forgetting who was who and what they were up to when we last touched on them in the storyline, so that was a bit of a drag. It also seemed to proceed a bit slowly in the beginning and took awhile to kick in gear. Once it got going it maintained the pace.

Another issue I had was with the inserted ancient stories of the Tohono O’odham people, (which were, according to the author, originally recorded by Harold Bell Wright in the early 1900s). There seemed to be three different ones, staggered in sequence at the beginning of what appeared to be randomly chosen chapters throughout the novel. I reread them a few minutes ago by themselves and I still, for the life of me, don’t have any idea what they have to do with the modern plot. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m thick. But it should have been really obvious. I don’t have time to reread the book to figure them out, nor do I desire to.

It was exceedingly gory almost from the beginning, and while I can handle gore, I just felt sad that the author felt she needed to put it all in. I think there are ways to allude to a violent death, just as one can allude to raunchy sex, without actually spelling it out. I’m just not into it. I like the thrill but not the nausea.

The storyline proposed something that I hope is not actually going on anywhere. I’m not sure with the way the U.S. border is patrolled these days that the events of the story could happen. At least I hope not. But once again, the author chose to offer a potential blueprint for a serial killer. At one of the workshops I attended, sometime over the last few years at the Surrey International Writers Conference just up the road, we discussed moral responsibility of writers in regard to their work. Of course, many felt you should write whatever the heck you want and just fling it out there for all to see, but I am not a believer in that behaviour. I think writers need to be morally responsible to hold back some of the gory details or potential blueprints for crime, including murder and kidnapping, in case some wacko decides to copy your ideas.

There’s so much violence online, on the TV and at the movies, that I think it’s time we held ourselves back a little and used some discretion. Of course this novel was written in about 2004, and a lot has happened since then, so Jance probably did not foresee the coming of the no-holds-barred world of the present.

It is a good story, of course, by a very famous and extremely prolific and well-read author. Just not my favourite of her work. So I’m going to give it 3 stars *** out of 5 for all the reasons I’ve stated above.

Back Cover:
Thirty years ago, the butchered body of a local Papago girl was found stuffed into a large cooler on the side of Highway 86. No one was ever charged for the crime. Few even cared.

And no one suspected it was just the beginning.
Retired Pima County Sheriff Brandon Walker’s work with The Last Chance—an exclusive, nationwide fraternity of former lawmen investigating unsolved homicides—has brought new purpose to his life. But a gruesome, three-decades-old cold case is leading him into a strange world at the unlikely border between forensic science and tribal mysticism—a place where evil hides behind a perfect façade. A long-forgotten murder in the Arizona desert now threatens to bring home a new horror for Walker and his family, who have already survived the dark hunger of two human monsters. And suddenly the relentless ex-cop is the only person who can still unravel a blood knot of terror and obsession before the innocent die again.

Overview from Jance’s Website
Cut loose from a job he loved, retired sheriff Brandon Walker is adrift in retirement until attorney Ralph Ames offers him a lifeline. The Last Chance, a volunteer organization made up of retired law enforcement and forensics experts, devotes its efforts to solving cases long gone cold. Brandon’s good friend, a Tohono O’odham medicine man named Fat Crack Ortiz, brings just such a case to Brandon’s attention–the thirty year-old unsolved murder of a young Indian girl.

In a case that crosses cultural lines, Brandon brings to bear the modern tools of DNA identification as well as the ancient wisdom of the Desert People as he pits himself against a pair of remorseless killers who have sown decades of death across the Arizona desert.

 

 

From the Author:

Mysteries are primarily puzzles. Thrillers lend themselves to the examination of good and evil.
In “Day of the Dead” good is represented by Brandon Walker, his family, and friends. A dying medicine man, Fat Crack Ortiz, is willing to trust his Anglo friend, a retired Pima county sheriff, with a long neglected murder, despite the fact that reopening the case goes against the grain of tribal tradition and taboos. Brian Fellows, Brandon’s not-quite foster son, has followed in Brandon’s law enforcement footsteps and helps from inside the department Brandon no longer heads. Lani Walker, Brandon’s adopted Indian daughter, a medicine woman in her own right, sees inexplicable images in the sacred crystals given to her by her beloved godfather and mentor, Fat Crack.

These were all characters I had met before–in “Hour of the Hunter” and “Kiss of the Bees”, and they wouldn’t let me loose. They stuck with me, nagging me, requiring that I write another book to find out what had been happening in their lives in the years since I had last written about them.

Evil is represented by Gayle and Dr. Lawrence Stryker. Operating without restraint or conscience, these are people for whom boundaries are made to be crossed and rules to be broken. They kill and torture helpless young women simply because they can. They operate with impunity behind an unblemished facade that portrays them as do-gooding pillars of the community.
JAJ

Links:

https://www.jajance.com

Book Review: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

 

 

Book Review: Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

This was one of those weekends when the sun poured in the bedroom window, providing enough light and warmth, on a pair of particularly cool and breezy days, to make stretching out on the bed and relaxing, surrounded by two dogs and a cat, the perfect way to spend some off time.

I normally don’t take time off. My mother was one of those “idle hands are the devil’s playground” types of people, though she never worded her opinion like that. It went more like: “Don’t you have anything better to do?” So usually I feel tremendous guilt when I just sit and read. My Hawaiian-born husband is always reminding me that I’m nuts and need to chill. So I’m working on it. This weekend I did what he would have liked to do.

I actually don’t remember where or when I got this book—though it did have a Costco price tag on it, so maybe there—but when I finally finished the last novel, which I’ve yet to write about, I was feeling in a certain kind of mood: real world but soul touching. So I scanned the many many many tomes on our shelves and this one jumped out at me. Wow, what a good choice it turned out to be.

 

 

This is the story of an orphan train, a piece of history about which I and the author ( until she wrote this book) had absolutely no knowledge. It is also the story of two people, one very elderly lady who lived through the orphan train personally, and a seventeen-year-old First Nations foster girl, who is struggling to survive the Foster Child world and its nightmares. It bounces back and forth in time from the 1920s and ’30s in the Midwest of America, to 2011 in Maine.

Most is written in the present tense, and part in first person. It took me a little while to get used to the feel of present tense with the 2011 story. It seemed to settle better into place with the 1920s tale which was recounted in first person. But once I finished the book, I realized it was the best way to tell the story. It made it so much more deep and heart-wrenching than a distant and more observational voice might have. In first person and present tense, we feel the pain of the main characters deep in our own hearts and can really relate to all their troubles and the obstacles to their survival.

Although it’s a hard plot to wade through because of the story itself, there are tremendously uplifting sections as well. It makes one remember that even in the most horrific times, people come through and change lives for the better, even when we are sure there isn’t a chance for anything good to come out of what so far has been a series of tough situations. I felt the modern tale of Molly, the girl in foster care, was right on the money, having been indirectly involved in the foster care system and it’s potential insanities a few years ago. I saw what can happen when so-called foster parents take on many children, essentially just for the money this choice can provide, and the damage both short and long term that this can do to the children. And the 1920s tale was consistent with stories my mother and dad had related of their growing up in that time.

I would definitely describe the book as a five-star ***** read. It’s absolutely wonderful, soul moving, and drives you forward, wanting more. I highly recommend it.

The book is available darn near everywhere, especially on amazon.

 

 

From the Back Cover
Between 1854 and 1929, so-called orphan trains ran regularly from the cities of the East Coast to the farmlands of the Midwest, carrying thousands of abandoned children whose fates would be determined by pure luck. Would they be adopted by a kind and loving family, or would they face a childhood and adolescence of hard labor and servitude?

As a young Irish immigrant, Vivian Daly was one such child, sent by rail from New York City to an uncertain future a world away. Returning east later in life, Vivian leads a quiet, peaceful existence on the coast of Maine, the memories of her upbringing rendered a hazy blur. But in her attic, hidden in trunks, are vestiges of a turbulent past.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Ayer knows that a community-service position helping an elderly widow clean out her attic is the only thing keeping her out of juvenile hall. But as Molly helps Vivian sort through her keepsakes and possessions, she discovers that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they appear. A Penobscot Indian who has spent her youth in and out of foster homes, Molly is also an outsider being raised by strangers, and she, too, has unanswered questions about the past.

Moving between contemporary Maine and Depression-era Minnesota, Orphan Train is a powerful tale of upheaval and resilience, second chances, and unexpected friendship.

 

 

The #1 New York Times Bestseller. From Amazon.ca

Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train is an unforgettable story of friendship and second chances that highlights a little-known but historically significant movement in America’s past—and it includes a special PS section for book clubs featuring insights, interviews, and more.

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse…

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

 

 

 

About The Author from her website: http://christinabakerkline.com/bio/ 

A #1 New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, Christina Baker Kline is published in 40 countries. Her latest novel, A Piece of the World, explores the real-life relationship between the artist Andrew Wyeth and the subject of his masterpiece Christina’s World. An instant New York Times bestseller, A Piece of the World was awarded the 2018 New England Prize for Fiction and the Maine Literary Award, among other prizes. Kline’s 2013 novel Orphan Train, about a little-known but significant piece of American history, spent more than two years on the NYT bestseller list. Hundreds of communities, schools, and universities have chosen it as a “One Book, One Read” selection. Both novels have been optioned for film. Kline has written five other novels — Orphan Train Girl, The Way Life Should Be, Sweet Water, Bird in Hand, and Desire Lines. A resident of New York City and Southwest Harbor, Maine, Kline serves on the NYC Center for Fiction, the Bar Harbor Jesup Library, and the Roots & Wings (NJ) advisory boards and on the gala committees of the Authors Guild and Friends of Acadia. Her new novel, about Australia’s complicated convict history, will be published in 2020.

In addition to her novels, Kline has commissioned and edited two widely praised collections of original essays on the first year of parenthood and raising young children, Child of Mine and Room to Grow, and edited a book on grieving, Always Too Soon. She is coeditor, with Anne Burt, of a collection of personal essays called About Face: Women Write About What They See When They Look in the Mirror, and is co-author, with her mother, Christina Looper Baker, of a book on feminist mothers and daughters, The Conversation Begins. Her essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Money, More, Salon, and Psychology Today, among other places.

Kline was born in Cambridge, England, and raised there as well as in the American South and Maine. She is a graduate of Yale, Cambridge, and the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow in Fiction Writing. She has taught fiction and nonfiction writing, poetry, English literature, literary theory, and women’s studies at Yale, NYU, and the University of Virginia, and served as Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University for four years. She is a recipient of several Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Fellowships and Writer-in-Residence Fellowships at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is on the advisory board of Roots & Wings, a foster-care organization in NJ; The Criterion Theatre in Bar Harbor, ME; the Montclair Literary Festival in Montclair, NJ; the Jesup Library Honorary Campaign Committee in Bar Harbor, ME; and the Montclair Animal Shelter, and supports a number of libraries and other associations.

Kline lives in New York City with her husband, David Kline. They are the parents of three sons, Hayden, Will, and Eli. Kline spends as much time as possible in Southwest Harbor, Maine.

Links for more info on the orphan trains:

Orphan Trains

Welcome!

https://www.pbs.org/video/ozarkswatch-video-magazine-the-orphan-train/

http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net/encyclopedia/entry-detail.aspx?entryID=2400

Book Review: The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi

Book Review: The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi

Wow, what an amazing book. I have been intrigued by stories about women and their lives in Afghanistan and the Middle East for years. This one was a mix of an incredible story, or shall I say two stories of parallel lives a century apart, and the nightmare which is the life of many women in that nation. When I read these stories, I am incredibly grateful that I was born into the nation of Canada where women are treated as equals and have the same rights as men.

Can you imagine a life where you are completely under the rule of the male of the household? Can you imagine a life where you are not allowed to go out even to shop for food without a male companion? And what do you do if there are no men in your life? Well, you can starve to death. Can you imagine a life where if you violate laws you will be executed, stoned to death? Take a moment and imagine yourself in that situation. They are throwing rocks at you, hitting you and inflicting incredible pain upon your body, over and over until you are finally knocked out and killed. Good grief! What kind of world is that?

This story has all of it in it. The stoning, the fears, the loss of freedom, the beatings, the hopes and desires for something better. All mixed in together and covering more than just one woman’s life. The year is 2007 and the place is Kabul under the Taliban. Rahima is a young girl whose family is ruled by a drug-addicted father. The girls of the family rarely get to go out or to school. So they resort to an age-old tradition which personally, I had no idea existed. They dress Rahima up as a boy and send her out into the world as a male member of the family. The tradition is called bacha posh. But because Rahima learns all about the freedoms of men, she is almost ruined when she goes through puberty and suddenly finds herself married to a much older rebel fighter, a warrior who has successfully defeated Taliban. Her life descends into a living hell.

This is one of the best books I have ever read, especially one which outlines the day-to-day life of the average Afghanistan woman and their cultures and thought processes. It’s almost an ethnological study of their world. If you want to know what’s really going on in Afghanistan from a guts level, this is the book for you.

And, bottom line, this was extremely well written. Nice job for a first time author. Well written, well developed. Nice timing and flow. As an editor and crazed literary reader, I give it a five star rating. I couldn’t give it any less. ***** This isn’t just a story, it’s the kind of book which should be studied in school. I remember those kind. They were often life changing. This is one of those books. I plan to read her others.

Amazon.com Blurb:

“Afghan-American Nadia Hashimi’s literary debut novel is a searing tale of powerlessness, fate, and the freedom to control one’s own fate that combines the cultural flavour and emotional resonance of the works of Khaled Hosseini, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Lisa See.
In Kabul, 2007, with a drug-addicted father and no brothers, Rahima and her sisters can only sporadically attend school, and can rarely leave the house. Their only hope lies in the ancient custom of bacha posh, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a boy until she is of marriageable age. As a son, she can attend school, go to the market, and chaperone her older sisters.
But Rahima is not the first in her family to adopt this unusual custom. A century earlier, her great-great grandmother, Shekiba, left orphaned by an epidemic, saved herself and built a new life the same way.

Crisscrossing in time, The Pearl the Broke Its Shell interweaves the tales of these two women separated by a century who share similar destinies. But what will happen once Rahima is of marriageable age? Will Shekiba always live as a man? And if Rahima cannot adapt to life as a bride, how will she survive?”

I hope you will seek out a copy and read this. You won’t be sorry.
Lynne

 

Book Review: The Moai Murders by Lyn Hamilton

Book Review: The Moai Murders by Lyn Hamilton

Anyone who knows me, knows I am seriously addicted to library book sales. They are for me an opiate addiction. Very deadly. So it’s not surprising that at one of those things held somewhere in the Lower Mainland, I picked up a copy of The Moai Murders by the late, Canadian author, Lyn Hamilton. FYI Moai is pronounced Moe-Eye.

This is the first book I’ve ever read by Ms. Hamilton, but I can tell you, it certainly won’t be the last. I’m glad she wrote several before her untimely death. It had all of my favourite story contents in it: humour, action, adventure, history, mystery, a great plot and a well written storyline.

Hamilton had a nice, dry sense of humour which was sprinkled liberally throughout the story. The editing was pretty good, though there were a few typos missed. And you know I’m a stickler for typos. It kept me stumped right to the very end. And that, is a rarity where I am concerned. I love to profile books, TV shows and movies. I honestly couldn’t figure this one out, but then neither could the heroine, so I don’t feel so bad. Lol!

The only slow part of the story happened at the very beginning. The forward, titled Veri Amo—presumably named after a relatively famous woman from Easter Island who lived from 1830 to 1936, according to Stephen R. Fischer’s work Rongorongo: The Easter Island Script: History, Traditions,Texts—got me thinking and I had to read it twice. When Chapter One jumped into the present, I had to go through it twice as well to get the ball rolling. Once the characters started on their adventure, it was a great read. There were a lot of characters, but each was important to the plot. If you get momentarily lost, go back and check it again until you are caught up. It’s worth it.

Here’s a brief outline of the story from Amazon.
From Booklist:
“Antiques dealer Lara McClintoch and her friend Moira Meller head to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) to celebrate Moira’s return to health. When they reach their hotel, they find it’s the site of the Rapa Nui Moai Congress–an academic conference to exchange information on the moai, giant stone carvings that populate the island. After the two join the conference, planning to attend the lectures and field trips, one of the attendees is found dead, thought by police to have been trampled by wild horses. Lara disagrees with the verdict and begins her own investigation as further participants die. Fascinating details about the island’s history and the moai enhance this ninth adventure in the archaeologically rich series.” Sue O’Brien of the American Library Association.
Here’s a couple of links to interviews with her.
http://poesdeadlydaughters.blogspot.ca/2008/02/canada-calling-lyn-hamilton.html
http://typem4murder.blogspot.ca/2009/01/sundays-guest-blogger-lyn-hamilton.html

http://www.writerswrite.com/journal/oct03/a-conversation-with-lyn-hamilton-10036
I thought it was important to include some of Lyn’s obituary in this. If you read it, you will see she was an amazing woman who made a huge impact on a lot of people. We should all be so lucky.

“LYN ELIZABETH HAMILTON August 6, 1944 – September 10, 2009 Smart, funny, creative, strong, loyal and brave – Lyn was all these and more. Beloved daughter of John (deceased) and Gwen Hamilton and cherished sister and sister-in-law of Cheryl Hamilton and Michael Cushing. She is also fondly remembered by the Collins family, her uncle Harris (aunt Elizabeth is deceased) Collins and cousins Peter, Kelly and Nicki. Lyn had many friends. A group of the closest helped her celebrate her 65th birthday last month with a party filled with laughter and love. Lyn kept her battle with cancer private, but the few friends who knew provided wonderful support during her illness. She had a great career, moving back and forth between public service and the private sector, working in public affairs, communications and program management. Then at the age of 50, she decided to add a writing career, using her lifelong interest in archeology to create a mystery series. The first of 11 novels, The Xibalba Murders, was published in 1997 and was nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award for best first crime novel in Canada. The eighth, The Magyar Venus, was nominated for an Ellis for best crime novel. These books feature feisty heroine Lara McClintoch, who owns an antiques store in Lyn’s hometown of Toronto and travels the world for her business, solving murders along the way. Lyn managed to write and promote most of her novels during vacations, unpaid leaves and weekends. The books reflect her passion for heritage and culture, her sense of humour and her love of travel. She was Director of Public Affairs for the Canadian Opera Company, where she worked with many others to bring a new opera house to reality, an accomplishment that gave her much joy. Before that, she was Director of the Cultural Programs Branch in the Ontario government. In her earlier days in the government, she worked on women’s issues and was particularly proud of a ground-breaking public awareness campaign on domestic violence. She was involved in education and mentoring of new writers. Over the years, she worked with over 100 authors on their manuscripts. She was writer-in-residence for the public libraries in North York and Kitchener. She taught a mystery and suspense writing course at the School for Continuing Studies at her alma mater, University of Toronto.”

This is a five star *****read. Purchase or borrow it with confidence.
Have a great day!
Lynne

Book Review: Spellbound by Patricia Simpson

Book Review: Spellbound by Patricia Simpson

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This winter I’ve had one of the worst colds in years. I’ve spent almost ten days in bed now, and am barely starting to feel like a human being instead of a snot-filled zombie.
As most of you know, I’m a total book addict, but as an editor, I unfortunately seem to spend more time editing than reading for fun. So while I’ve been recuperating, I’ve also been reading some of the books stored on my kindle.

I couldn’t decide what to start with, so went to the bottom of the pile on my iPad and found this little number.

I’ve never read anything by Patricia Simpson before, but I must say I’ll certainly be checking out more of her work. I understand this is a self-published book. That always makes me nervous, especially in this day of indie publishing where everybody and his brother thinks they are a great writer and editing often means just checking for spelling and punctuation. But apparently, Ms. Simpson knows the meaning of the word and takes it seriously.

This was an extremely well-written piece. I caught only one typo near the end of the novel, and from what I can remember, only one misuse of a word. (It’s bollocks, not bullocks. That shows the American in the author.) It was darn near to perfection as far as the proofing was concerned.

The content was well done and the story-line was pretty plausible. Yes, there were a few vague moments of mystery and unexplained paranormal events, but the excitement level made up for it. And even though the ending seemed rushed—I’d have liked it dragged out and given a bit more explanation of what seemed like a pretty miraculous event to satisfy my inner Sherlock—it at least made the romantic aspect of the story come to a happy end.

I’m giving it a four-star rating **** just because as an editor I would have had Ms. Simpson fill in the paranormal blanks for those who need the facts sorted out. Like myself.

It’s five star ***** for excitement and very hot love scenes which had no porn in them—yay! I hate porn in the middle of a good love scene—but were written beautifully and made for a few fast page turns. There were the appropriate villains, more than one so we had to really think, and the hero was wonderful. I loved Tara the heroine’s thoughts and how she responded to the otherworldly events she was being drawn into. I probably would have reacted the same way.

There were only a couple of uncomfortable dialogue lines which seemed trite and not well thought out, but most of it was well done. I didn’t like the cover of the kindle edition. The fellow on the cover certainly held no resemblance to our hero, Hugh. I love the hard copy cover. That was great!

So, if you want a fast and interesting read with a lot of action, some romance and some otherworldly adventure, this is the one I’d choose.
Nice job.

Lynne

From Amazon.com:

“From award-winning author Patricia Simpson comes a haunting time-travel. A week before her wedding in Scotland, Tara Lewis stumbles upon a hidden tomb and accidentally awakens a spellbound knight. But Tara refuses to acknowledge the chivalrous shade. She doesn’t believe in the spirit world-or true love for that matter-until the touch of the handsome knight awakens her troubled heart. To gain his freedom, the knight must recover a valuable Psalter and deliver it to its rightful owner. But completing his quest proves difficult. Hugh finds himself hopelessly attracted to the woman who freed him and duty bound to protect her-from an ancient enemy, a modern threat, but most of all from a forbidden love that could ruin both their futures. As Tara’s wedding day dawns, she and Hugh must make a fateful choice. Will they keep their promises or follow their hearts? Or will the ancient spell that binds them destroy their one chance at happiness?”

Product Details
• Paperback: 264 pages
• Publisher: Patricia Simpson (February 14, 2009)
• Language: English
• ISBN-10: 0982344244
• ISBN-13: 978-0982344248

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Biography:
Patricia Simpson grew up in the wilderness of Western Montana, where it meant a 3-1/2 hour drive just to buy shoes. When she was young, the iPod hadn’t yet been invented, and there were no radio stations in the area, so on the many long drives for shoes, Patricia amused herself by reading novels or creating her own stories in her head. She was encouraged to write by her sister, who always asked to be read what she had written so far that day, her Egyptian-born English teacher in junior high, and then again by a creative writing professor at the University of Washington. Instead of seeking a writing degree, Patricia chose to pursue a BA in Art and has worked as a graphic artist/web developer at the University of Washington since 1982. Patricia still enjoys painting almost as much as she loves to write.

Ms Simpson has won numerous awards for her fiction, including Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, Career Achievement Award, and has been a finalist in the RITA awards and for Best Indie Paranormal of the Year.

Her Scottish husband encourages her to accompany him on his frequent business trips around the world, and whenever possible Patricia goes with him to scope out spooky historical places to use as the settings of her books.

Link to the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Spellbound-Patricia-Simpson/dp/0982344244

Book Review: Queen of the Night by J. A. Jance

Book Review: Queen of the Night by J. A. Jance

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First of all, I have to state without hesitation, I love J. A. Jance’s books. I’ve read almost all of the Joanna Brady series, and some, more than once.

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That being said, I have mixed feelings about this particular offering from the author.
I got lost almost immediately in the profusion of characters and opening scenes, each of which sounded like the start of a different novel. It took me awhile to determine what was going on and sort everyone out. I had to start the book a couple of times and go back and reread. Maybe it was just brain fog on my part, but even at the very end, I was momentarily confused, trying to remember who one of the characters was.

There are a lot of people in this book. Some are pretty amazing, and I can definitely see how they all fit together, but I kept praying someone would get killed off so I had fewer names to recall. Thankfully, murder mysteries usually satisfy that goal.
I also felt there were almost too many plot lines. But, they were all necessary—I think. At least everything wound up connected, somehow, in the end.

It was an interesting, suspenseful read, that’s for sure. And yes, very reminiscent of Tony Hillerman, whom the book was dedicated to. But, there were things as an editor which I would have liked to have seen changed. Too many “thats” for a fiction work, and way too much past perfect tense, plus too many characters, and plots, and openings.
Would I recommend it? You betcha. But be alert and keep your memory working. You might want to take notes or you could lose track.

I would say it’s a three star based on the confusion and editing points, and a four star based on thrill factor.

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Here’s a link to Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/hfp82bd

And Kobo: http://tinyurl.com/jogxn45

Have a great day!
Lynne