My Review of Rest Haven by Erik Therme for #RBRT


I gave  Rest Haven by Erik Therme  3* out of  5*

I received a copy of Rest Haven in return of a fair review as part of #RBRT

 The Blurb:

The last thing Kaylee wants to do is participate in a childish scavenger hunt–especially inside the abandoned retirement home on the edge of town. When she finds a bruised, deaf boy hiding inside one of the rooms, she vows to lead him to safety . . . only to discover the front doors are now padlocked, and her friends are nowhere to be found. Kaylee is about to learn that not everything that goes ‘bump in the night’ is imaginary, and sometimes there are worse things to fear than ghosts.

 My Review:

Rest Haven is quite short and I finished it in one session.  I haven’t read YA fiction before and it’s not really my thing so I’m trying to be fair.

Erik Therme’s writing style flows well and is easy to read. But the story is light on both descriptions of setting and of characters. As a reader,  I much prefer  descriptions to give me a sense of place and I like to, to some degree, to be able to picture a character.

The book is an interesting one of mystery and suspense, with various themes on peer pressures, friendship, life struggles, cruelty and death.

However it’s a slow starter; the plot only takes shape well into the book; perhaps not so much a plot as a series of action scenes with many twists and turns.

I found it difficult to empathise with any of the characters, even  Kaylee (who takes on the first person point of view). I think this is because they are presented all at once and, at first, there is very little to distinguish one from another except by name. Although, I need to say, this is remedied later on in the story where they become rounded as the reader learns more of each character’s past and current lives.

Even so, I think it would help if the characters were re-worked to be given more depth and different backgrounds from the beginning. The characters all seem to derive from unhappy, almost dysfunctional circumstances.

However, the dialogue seemed realistic enough for a group of fifteen year olds; the slang, the throw away sarcastic comments fitted in well with the characters.

On the whole I think this book would appeal to any teenager who wants a quick read of mystery and suspense. I think I’m just too old!

Links to buy

Amazon .co. uk 

Amazon .com:

My Review of Death By Didgeridoo (A Jamie Quinn Mystery) by Barbara Venkataraman for #RBRT


jamie quinn


I gave Death by Didgeridoo 3* out of 5*

I received this book  in exchange for a fair review as a member of #RBRT

 The Blurb:

Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, still reeling from the death of her mother, is pulled into a game of deception, jealousy, and vengeance when her cousin, Adam, is wrongfully accused of murder. It’s up to Jamie to find the real murderer before it’s too late. It doesn’t help that the victim is a former rock star with more enemies than friends, or that Adam confessed to a murder he didn’t commit.

My Review:

This is a short, straight-forward murder mystery; easy to read. Overall, it is well written and the pace is steady. The characters are well portrayed  (and unusual!) within the action of the book but I would have liked more character development; to know their backgrounds and have more insight to their personalities.  I liked the way the  protagonist, Jamie Quinn, is  shown with her dark humorous outlook on life but I never really felt I understood the character and struggled to have any empathy with her. .

Most of the dialogue  helped  towards revealing, to round out the characters as the plot progressed but sometimes it seemed a little contrived, too ‘quick-fired humour’ if you know what I mean; striving too hard to funny to sound realistic.And I didn’t think the text conversations worked too well. But the latter is probably me, I’m not  (as I’ve often been told!) into text speak

I’m a reader who loves settings; descriptions, however simple, however short, that give a sense of place. And in Death by Didgeridoo there are few  of these for me to place the characters in the world they move around in. And I found that disappointing.

It’s difficult when reading to review. If I’d picked this book up as something to entertain me for a short while, I would say that this first book  of the Jamie Quinn series is a good read; it does the job. Much in the way a short story is enough. Death by Didgeridoo is fun. But I felt there could be so much more to the characters and the plot. I think I will need to read the next two to see how the protagonist develops.

So, would I recommend it? Well, for those readers who are looking for something a little different; fast action, quirky characters, humour, I would. And I would give the others ( The Case of the Killer Divorce, Peril in the Park) a chance.

Buying links here:



My Review of Back Home by Tom Williams for #RBRT


I gave Back Home 5* out of 5*

It is with thanks to both Tom Williams and Rosie Amber that I received this book as part of #RBRT for a fair review.

The Blurb:

The final thrilling instalment in the Williamson Papers, set in a superbly drawn Victorian London. Back in England after surviving the horrors of Cawnpore, John Williamson returns to his hometown. On looking up an old friend, he finds the man hasn’t been heard of since his departure to London, the glamorous capital of the British Empire. Concerned for his friend’s safety, Williamson follows him to the metropolis, where he has fallen into bad company and now dwells in the notorious rookery of Seven Dials. Worse still, the intelligence services are on his trail, convinced that something worse than petty criminality is occurring in the slum: that foreign subversives are at work there, with catastrophic designs on Britain herself. Blackmailed into helping the investigation, can Williamson manage to save his friend from certain death – and survive himself, in a world that condemns him for his sexuality?

My Review:

This is a brilliant read; a fascinating story tale of mystery in the slums of Victorian London.  And the research done by Tom Williams into the social, business, industrial changes of this era and the study of the environment of both city and countryside is both obvious and admirable

 As this is the third of John Williamson’s story and, as I have yet to read the first two books, I appreciated the explanatory Foreword; a very useful summary for the reader a good account of the protagonist’s previous life and background that immediately brings the character to life. It made it easier for me to begin to understand his motivations and decisions.

 Told in the first person point of view of the protagonist this is a man who has lived for many years in different countries and, although now rich and respected, his return to Britain becomes fraught with many dangers.

 The dialogue, especially the internal dialogue of John Williamson is excellent. Although, in many circumstances, ‘showing’ any action, detailing parts of a story, is a preferable way of writing, in this novel the ‘telling ‘ is essential and adds to rounding out the character. And the dialogue and language of the other characters give a real flavour of the era and their status in society.

 The sense of place is evoked succinctly through both the words of the protagonist and the descriptions; the atmosphere of despair, the bleakness of the world of these characters, the depths of poverty, conspiracies and lack of morals underpins the whole of the book. There is even an appearance of Karl Marx to add authenticity to the times.

I loved everything about Back Home and have no hesitation in recommending this book.

Buying Links:





My Review of You Wish by Terry Tyler

I gave You Wish 5* out of 5*

The Blurb:

YOU WISH was the winner of the “Best Chick Lit/Women’s Lit” in the eFestival of Words 2013.

Do we control our own destiny – or might it be determined by fate, coincidence, luck…or even magic?

Ruth, an amateur psychic with a husband who smokes cannabis for breakfast, is haunted by a tragic event from her teenage years which, she suspects, was the result of a wish she made on an allegedly enchanted stone. Too embarrassed to admit her fears, she keeps her secret to herself for twenty-five years.

Petra is the perennial singleton amongst her friends, unable, she thinks, to fall in love. She comes across the stone at a Psychic Fair and makes a wish, just for fun. As the wish begins to come true she wishes she had chosen her words with more care.

Spoilt, weight-obsessed Sarah wants nothing more than to be “size zero”. As her life spirals downwards into the seedy world of drug abuse and addiction, she remembers the day at the Psychic Fair when she wished for her heart’s desire.

When Ruth learns of the fates of Petra and Sarah she is forced to confront her guilt and discover the truth about the Wishing Stone…

Terry Tyler’s début novel is a quirky contemporary drama exploring the themes of family affairs, infidelity and guilt, incorporating jealousy, drug abuse and the obsession of a Facebook stalker, against a backdrop of secrets and superstition.

I’ve read a few of Terry Tyler’s books and was looking forward to reading You Wish. I knew this was her first novel so, though I expected the plot, the themes and the characters to be as diverse, as multi-layered, as interesting as her later stories, I thought that her writing style would not be quite so polished; it’s well known that the more we write the better we get (usually!).  “Practice makes perfect”  they say ( I never found out who said it but it’s something that was drummed into me as a child with anything I did).

But I was wrong; this author hit the ground running with her début novel; not only does You Wish have all the ingredients I’ve enjoyed with her other books, but the writing is as superb, as individualistic as ever. Structured, as is usual with Terry Tyler, with each character’s story being smoothly interwoven with the others  but in separate chapters, the book is as unpredictable and enjoyable as any other I’ve read of hers.  I’m not in the least surprised it won the Best Chick Lit/Women’s Lit” in the eFestival of Words 2013.

The themes are more or less listed in the blurb. (Bit too much information here? I try not to give spoilers in my reviews – does this blurb, Hmm?). Themes of addictions, obsession, superstition, family issues and secrets, infidelity, guilt, jealousy are all encompassed in You Wish.

 I usually forget to say anything about the covers of the books I review but I do love the image of the stone here.

 The wish-stone is a metaphor for all the main characters’ hopes and dreams, initially unfulfilled. But while the  supernatural aspect of the book lurks throughout the story and within the characters’ sometimes reluctant belief in its magical powers, it doesn’t detract from the gritty reality of their lives. Told from a third person omniscient narrator’s  point of view the various aspects of each character’s mind-set is exposed by their actions, and their dialogue. These are well-rounded characters, each identifiable by their dialogue even without the tags. I found myself empathising, disliking and feeling irritated with each in turn.

The descriptions of the various settings are  well  portrayed; the reader is taken from ordinary domesticity to plush surroundings to seedy environments. All give a believable sense of place.

 This is yet another of this author’s books I  would recommend. I finished reading with just the one thought in my mind; we should all take note of the sub-title of You Wish: “just be careful what for.”


My Review of Silent Sentry by Theresa Rizzo for #RBRT

silent sentry

I gave Silent Sentry 5* out 0f 5 *

The Blurb:

Dr. Joe Scarfili runs. He’s a runner. It’s how he copes with emotional pain. When his wife was murdered, he ran from violent Detroit to insular Grosse Pointe. He ran from his smothering, caring family to long hours in the operating room. But when he falls for Gianna, another run could cost him everything. Nurse and entrepreneur Gianna Donnatelli is on the verge of making her dreams come true. Her company is poised to go public with a product guaranteed to revolutionize medical care and at the same time help revitalize Detroit, only she’s attacked, stalked, and flattened by an explosion. Then the danger escalates. With Gianna’s life at stake, Joe can’t run. Despite the fact that he has no police or tech experience… Despite the fact that Gianna’s penchant for aiding Detroit’s underprivileged is the same kind of altruism that got his wife killed… Despite the fact that Gianna pushes all his insecurity buttons… This time, Joe will do whatever it takes to keep her safe. And Gianna protects those she loves just as fiercely. Together they’ll fight to save each other and their love… Or die trying.

To say I enjoyed Silent Sentry is an understatement. Normally a slow reader anyway, I savoured each and every aspect of this novel. Theresa Rizzo’s writing style is outstanding; her ability to put together a series of complex plot-lines, populate the story with fascinating characters, place them against such  brilliantly described diverse settings as  run down, inner city Detroit and the rich trappings of  Grosse Point, is exceptional.

The impeccable research is obvious on each and every page: from medical knowledge to comprehensive expertise in the IT field, the intrigues of the Italian and Russian Mafia,  to the machinations of business and families; each layer builds the world her characters live and work in.

And what characters! They leap off the page. Joe and Gianna  are rounded characters, each  with flaws and strengths, honesty and deceits.  Portrayed  with depths  that is revealed in both their spoken and internal dialogue, the reader is shown how they think and why they act as they do. Yet, every now and again I was taken by surprise by the direction that they suddenly move in. And the supporting secondary characters are equally well portrayed, given characteristics, personalities and habits that bring them to life.  There is humour in the description of some (take Aunt Rosie for example), a sinister element in others. But don’t be taken in; sometimes what is written about one or the other of these secondary  characters turns out to be a ploy; what we read is not what we initially understood. And that’s just one aspect of what makes this such a good read.

And just look at that cover! Say no more.

There were only two things that occasionally brought me out of a suspension of disbelief. I’m used to there being double spaces between time-shifts and flashbacks. In the edition I read this novel, there were none. But that might have been down to the  formatting, so I’ll leave that there. The other problem for me, and this is a personal one probably. I do enjoy reading novels that are told by an omniscient narrator such as this is. I really enjoy those where chapters are devoted just to one character’s point of view. Those are my favourite. But I also read and enjoy a roving omniscient narrator, if it’s consistent throughout the story. In Silent Sentry however, the bulk of particular chapters is following one ( or even two) perspective when , all at once, another character’s short viewpoint pops in. As I say, this is a purely personal preference- but it did distract me.

For me Silent Sentry  crosses different genres: crime, thriller, mystery, romance. And it works perfectly. This is one book I would thoroughly recommend.

I reviewed this book as part of Rosie Amber’s Review Team: #RBRT



The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller by M Pepper Langlinais #RBRT

The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller

I gave this book 3,5* out of 5

The Blurb:

“In 1960’s London, British Intelligence agent Peter Stoller is next in line to run the Agency—until he falls in love with cab driver, Charles, and his life goes off the road. When Charles is accused of treason, Peter is guilty by association. Peter manages to extract them both, but the seeds of doubt have been planted, putting Peter’s mind and heart at war. Is ignorance truly bliss or merely deadly?”

This is the first time I’ve read a ‘Spy’ book. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it at first; it took me until around the 10% mark to really get into it. (My own fault, I think; I should have read the blurb again before I started. After all it does say  the story is a cross genre of love and spy mystery!)

Written by M Pepper Langlinais the book is divided between sometime in the 1940s and in the 1960s; so I felt it important to try to remember what I knew of the social and political eras.

What struck me most about the whole of the book is the way the author writes from the protagonist’s, Peter Stoller’s, point of view; the way the story is told by him, the internal dialogue, his thought processes,  and his internal body language, which reveals so much of his emotions. I’ve never read a book where so much of the protagonist is revealed in such minute detail.

There are a lot of characters in this book and, sometimes, because of this, I initially found them quite confusing and I had to flick back to see where I’d read of them before. As the story unfolded, though, I began to recognise each from the author’s way of subtly adding in a short description of a characteristic.

The dialogue defines each character most of the time and the language and slang within the dialogue excellently reveals Britain at the time.

The settings, both of the Castle, where the British Intelligence offices are, the various places of residences, and the countries the characters move around in, are well described and kept me interested in the action, although I sometimes found the pace a little slow.

Would I recommend The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller? Yes, I think I would, to all readers who enjoy this genre.

I received a copy of The Fall and Rise of Peter Stoller  from the author and  as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT  in exchange for an honest review.

Find a copy here: 


My Review of What Jennifer Knows Kindle Edition by Wendy Janes #RBRT

What Jennifer Knows

I gave What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes 5* out of 5*

 The book blurb

“A vital member of her Surrey community, Jennifer Jacobs is dedicated to her job as a dance therapist, helping children with special needs to express themselves through movement. Wife of a successful though reclusive sculptor, Gerald, she is known for having a deep sense of empathy, making her a trusted confidante. So when two very different friends, Freya and Abi, both share information with her that at first seems to be an awkward coincidence, she doesn’t tell them. But as the weeks roll by, the link revealed between the two women begins to escalate into a full-blown moral dilemma – and also brings to the surface a painful memory Jennifer believed she had long since forgotten. What is the right thing to do? Should she speak out or is the truth better left unsaid?” 

I started off liking What Jennifer Knows by Wendy Janes; I finished the novel loving it.

To say this is an easy book to read could sound derogatorily, but, believe me, that is not what I mean; the author’s writing style is relaxed conversational and draws the reader in.  The story is told mainly in the first person from the protagonist’s point of view (which gives us an insight to her opinion and relationship with the other characters), but there is also omniscient narrator’s viewpoint from the other characters’ point of view. The clever use of texts between three of the characters, the flashbacks that reveal the protagonist’s past, are innovative and revealing.  It sounds complicated but it works so well.

The dialogue is true to each character and is skilfully handled, especially the internal dialogue of the character of Freya, a vulnerable young woman, susceptible to self-doubt and with a dread of returning to the mental unstable state she once found herself in – and of Jennifer’s friend, Abi, an outwardly confident career woman. And, as the story progresses, the initial portrayal of all the characters subtly changes as their personalities are truly revealed.  

The various settings are drawn with an economy of description, yet still give  a sense of place for the characters to move around in; the reader is given no doubt that this is a story placed slap bang in a Surrey community that is, in essence,an English upper middle-class society. And the small details, revealed mostly through the dialogue, show the amount of research the author has carried out to give a true sense of the era.

The various strands of the plot and sub-plots are shrewdly drawn together, each character sharing an almost equal portion of the story. By the end of the novel I felt as though I knew each character, their lives, and how they viewed the world and those around them.

 I finished the book with a sense of sadness; one that I had read the last page – always a good sign for any reader I suppose, and also a sense of sadness for the characters – so much did they seem to become real people. I’m not sure how I wanted it to end but …

 If I have any reservations about the novel it’s the instant friendship between, Jennifer and Freya, And the speed with which it grows. Yet, on reflection, I suppose, given the inner need of both these characters, it is plausible.

 I have absolutely no hesitation recommending  What Jennifer Knows. It’s a lovely début novel from Wendy Janes.

I received a copy of What Jennifer Knows from the author and  as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team #RBRT  in exchange for an honest review. 

Find the book here:

My Review of Do Not Wash Hands In Plates by Barb Taub #Tuesdaybookblog


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Do n ot wash hands


I gave Do Not Wash Hands In Plates 5* out of 5*

To use an adjective favoured by the author, this is a “honking” good read

The Book Blurb (much condensed!)

“Once upon the Land Before Time (or at least before mobile phones), my two best friends and I decided to leave the US from separate locations and meet up in Europe. To everyone’s shock, Janine, Jaya and I pulled it off—mostly because we went to Luxembourg, a country so small the odds in favor of chance street encounters were almost 100%, but also because Jaya was carrying the BS, a blue suitcase so enormous it took up approximately a third of the country’s square footage and was visible on satellite images. We couldn’t possibly miss…

It took over thirty-five years before—in a combination of optimism and failing memories— we recklessly decided to repeat this feat. Hey, we reasoned, now we’ve got smartphones, better credit ratings, wheeled suitcases, medical insurance, and the ability to drink legally. Just to make it more interesting, this time we chose to meet in India, where the odds against the three of us actually linking up were approximately a bazillion to bupkis…

This is the story of three women eating our way across India in search of adventure, elephants, temples, palaces, western toilets, monkeys, the perfect paratha…and the kindness of Indian strangers.”



“Despite blizzards, cancelled flights, de-icing delays, and an adjacent passenger who had made unfortunate food choices resulting in alarming gastrointestinal events, I arrived in India. The theory was that I would fly in from my home in Scotland, Janine would come from Washington DC, and Jaya would meet up with us at the airport. Nobody who knows any of us thought for a second that this could really occur.

Actual conversation at Passport Control, Mumbai:

Janine: “Well no, I don’t have my friend’s address or phone number. But she’s going to pick me up at the airport. She lives in Gujarat. That’s in India.”

Passport Control: [SO not impressed

I arrived before Janine. As far as I could tell, the Ahmedabad Airport was staffed by the entire Indian army, each soldier carrying a honking huge gun. I grabbed my suitcase and exited baggage control into India. Noise. Chaos. People, dogs, honking horns, more people. More soldiers. More guns. Dozens of sincere men who called me “Sister” and suggested they could take me anywhere on the planet I might want to go.

No Janine. No Jaya. And, apparently, no way to get back into the airport. After several failed attempts at international texts, I realized I could (at heart-stopping expense) send email to Jaya, who soon confirmed that she was on her way and that it was 3:00AM so I should go back inside. Except there were signs everywhere saying you couldn’t go back in.

“No problem.” Jaya explained that rules in India are more like guidelines. “People in India are very kind. Just ask.”

I’ve been living in the UK where rules are inviolate and graven in stone, so I didn’t believe a word of it. But the soldier at the door listened to my plea and waved his AK-Humongo to usher me back inside. There I found Janine attempting to send email or text. I reminded her neither option was likely for two technologically-challenged, jet-lagged, middle-aged ladies in a foreign country at 3:00AM.

In the end, we wandered over to the door and to our mutual amazement found Jaya waiting for us along with a hired driver and a van. Apparently lightning does strike again, because just like thirty-five years earlier, the three of us actually managed to meet up in another continent.

What could possibly go wrong from here?”

Warning: Do not read this book in public.

In true Barb Taub style we are taken along with these three friends to sample the richness of India. We share in the travelling, the people – and the food. Described in such detail that each journey, each experience, each shopping expedition, each meal, instantly conjures up an image. And it is delivered with witty humour, so much so that I was unable to stop cracking up into loud laughter. (hence the above warning!)



Did I mention mention the food? Barb does … a lot!! Seems wherever the three friends went, their hosts were determined to fatten them up!

This short book is also greatly enhanced by the photographs, courtesy of Jayalakshmi Ayyer and Janine Smith,,we see beautiful buildings, stunning views, indigenous animals and birds, the lovely Indian people – and mealtimes.


In halcyon days BC (before children), Barb Taub wrote a humour column for several Midwest newspapers. With the arrival of Child #4, she veered toward the dark side and an HR career. Following a daring daytime escape to England, she’s lived in a medieval castle and a hobbit house with her prince-of-a-guy and the World’s Most Spoiled AussieDog. Now all her days are Saturdays, and she spends them traveling around the world, plus consulting with her daughter on Marvel heroes, Null City, and translating from British to American. ]

I’ve been a follower of Barb Taub’s blog and she is one of the funniest writers I’ve come across in a long time. I fully expected the book to be written in the same style and I wasn’t disappointed. I can’t recommend Do Not Wash Hands In Plates highly enough. If you don’t rush off and buy this book, you’re missing out on a great read.

Find copies here:

My Review of A Suitable Young Man by Anne L Harvey

A Suitable Young Man

 I gave A Suitable Young Man by Anne L Harvey 4 out of 5*

I really enjoyed  A Suitable Young Man by Anne L Harvey; it’s my kind of book. It’s a story reflective of its times, well written and filled with good rounded characters.

Here’s the book blurb:

A nostalgic tale of friendship, family, love, loyalty and loss, set in a Lancashire mill town in the new Elizabethan era of the mid-1950s. One dark December night, Kathy Armstrong is rescued from two thugs by Nick Roberts, whom she’d known as a schoolgirl. But Nick is a Teddy boy, hell-bent on having a good time in the pubs and dance halls of the era. Shortly after, she meets accountant John Talbot at a party and is captivated by his middle-class charm. To the background of the new rock and roll, a mounting crisis over the Suez Canal, family and personal crises, Kathy struggles with a wayward attraction to Nick and her incubating love for John. But which one is ‘The Suitable Young Man?’

It is obvious the Anne L Harvey has researched the era scrupulously; the setting of each scene is evocative and brought alive by the compelling writing style of this author. The reader is taken into each diverse tableau: the towns, the interior of the houses, the dance halls, the work places.

And the characters fit right in. The descriptions of them bring them truly to life; they are well drawn, believable and rounded. There is a strong build-up of their backgrounds throughout which demonstrates their familial differences and adds to the reality of the times; of the‘still-held beliefs of class differences in the nineteen fifties.

The dialogue, both spoken and internal, are convincing and diverse; even without the attributes I could immediately tell who was speaking..

The two storylines of Nick and Kathy run both parallel and interwoven. I enjoyed following each throughout the novel.

I had only two problems with A Suitable Young Man: I thought it was a little predictable sometimes in its plotline (I can’t say any more about this because I don’t want to spoil it for future readers).

My other problem was actually about the excellent research carried out by the author. As I’ve said earlier, the research is meticulous and provides such a great sense of place. But in parts I felt there were too many facts crammed in what I would call, ‘authorial information dumps’, which took me out of the story. Don’t get me wrong, they are often brilliant additions to set the scenes but sometimes there were just too many details there for me.  But that might be just the way I read.

But there is no doubt this is a good read, written with style and conviction. I look forward to reading more from this author and would thoroughly recommend A Suitable Young Man by Anne L Harvey.

This book was read by me as one of Rosie Amber’s Review Team and was given to me by the author through #RBRT in exchange for a fair review.

To buy a copy:

ROSIE’S BOOK REVIEW TEAM #RBRT My Review of Justifiable Homicide by Gerald Darnell

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Justifiable Homicide by Gerald Darnell


I gave Justifiable Homicide 3.5* out of 5*

Justifiable Homicide is the first book I’ve read of Gerald Darnell’s Carson Reno Mysteries. It’s an enjoyable, easy read, a good entertaining mystery of blackmail and murder.

The author has inserted war portraits and photographs, , images, drawings and maps within the text; an unusual but interesting idea. I loved studying these; the people, the clothes, the backgrounds, all helped with giving the settings a sense of place, a flavour of the sixties in Tennessee, USA and of the Second World War.

The idea of interweaving fact and fiction is a fascinating one for me.

 I did like the ‘conversational’ writing style of the author which takes the reader along with the plot which is interesting, if rather complex. I sometimes found the plot jumped around a little but like I said, this is the first book I’ve read of this author so perhaps when I try others it’ll be easier for me to get into his way of thinking.

Told initially from an omniscient narrator’s viewpoint the reader is taken directly into the action. The rest of the story is from the first person point of view of the protagonist, Carson of the Drake Detective Agency. Through his eyes we meet a whole host of various other characters, amongst them: Marcie, Alexis Kelley, Joe Richardson, a connection his friend, Jack Logan, Mason Brown, owner of the Peabody Hotel,  Sheriff Leroy Epsee, Deputy Nancy Oakland. His descriptions of the personalities of the characters are subjective and tell us more about Carson Reno and his view on the world and the people around him than the characters themselves. But there are some great descriptions of their outward appearances and the dialogue works well to both carry the story along and to give dimensions to each character.

I won’t give any spoilers but here’s the Book Blurb which gives an overview

Carson’s client is suspected of two murders, and desperately needs his help. After a night of drinking she wakes up in a hotel room with a dead man, but claims no memory of the previous night’s events. However, a gun found in the hotel room was used for another murder – used to kill a lawyer at the local Drive Inn Theater. Then…things get worse!

The murder gun belongs to his client’s husband and has her fingerprints all over it. The dead lawyer was blackmailing her and witnesses saw her at both murder scenes.

Interesting and dangerous characters surface, and somehow events from World War Two are playing a part in the mystery. To prove his client innocent, Carson must unravel a complex blackmail scheme and explain a few murders.

Follow Carson as he chases clues trying to solve this old fashion murder mystery. A mystery that has everyone looking the wrong way. This is an unusual case for Carson – a case of Justifiable Homicide.


The only things that slightly spoiled it for me was the formatting which skipped lines and split the occasional words. And sometimes the attributes in the dialogue took me away from the actual words, which was a shame. E.g. ‘snickered,’ ‘sniggered,’ ‘snorted,’.

Other than that, Justifiable Homicide is exactly what the blurb explains; it’s a crime thriller, a mystery to be solved by Carson Reno; it has a satisfying the denouement and I would recommend it for readers who enjoy this genre.

Find copies here:

My Review of Before The Dawn – Book Two in the Grayson Trilogy

Before the Dawn: Book 2 of The Grayson Trilogy

I gave Before The Dawn 5*out of 5*

Before The Dawn is book two in the Grayson Trilogy. It’s a cross over genre between mystery, crime and romance.

 Not wanting to give any spoilers in my reviews I’ve decided that I’ll include the blurb

There are testing times ahead for Grayson and Trent as trouble threatens Melton Manor. When an attack is made against those on the estate, Grayson gets caught in the middle finding herself and those around her in terrible danger. Terrified when she thinks tragedy has struck again she fights to protect those she now views as family and, suffering bloodshed and pain, confronts her fears – both brought by the enemy and by the one she loves.

This is a brilliant sequel to the first book in the Grayson trilogy “A Single Step”. The reader is taken straight into the plot from the end of the first novel and the tension is portrayed immediately with the anticipation of an imminent threat. The suspense ratchets up with lots of twists and turns, brilliant start and end hooks of each chapter and the increase in pace and thrilling events make this a gripping read.

 The characters are well rounded, especially those of the protagonist, Emma Grayson and Trent. There is some revelation of Emma’s childhood and a betrayal in her former marriage which makes a great backstory and explains much of her traits and adds to her actions within the storyline. She is private but empathetic, wary but eager to help other characters she identifies with. I wasn’t sure about Trent in the first book but here he is fleshed out and his character evolves brilliantly, making a good foil for Emma. The couple are in the foreground of an interesting group of secondary characters. And, throughout the dialogue is strong and believable to each.

 The settings are well described, especially of the various areas of Melton Manor and, without giving any spoilers of a later action scene, of local beaches and cliffs.

I love the unresolved mystery at the end of the book and straightaway reached for the third in this trilogy – Thicker than Water.

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