<i>The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy</i>: An Online-Exclusive Excerpt The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy: An Online-Exclusive Excerpt Jacopo della Quercia Comment for a chance to win! <i>A Colder War</i>: A New Excerpt A Colder War: A New Excerpt Charles Cumming MI6 agent Tom Kell returns hoping to rid the Western intelligence of a murderous mole. <i>City of Ghosts</i>: A New Excerpt City of Ghosts: A New Excerpt Kelli Stanley From San Francisco to Reno, Miranda's journey includes murder, Nazis and her troubled past. <i>Death, Taxes, and Silver Spurs</i>: A New Excerpt Death, Taxes, and Silver Spurs: A New Excerpt Diane Kelly IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway is head over heels...in trouble.
From The Blog
July 29, 2014
New Trailer for Nightcrawler: The City Shines Brightest at Night
Joe Brosnan
July 28, 2014
Tourist Trap: Mexico's Super-Creepy Island of the Dolls
Crime HQ
July 27, 2014
The Movies of 1944: Laura
Jake Hinkson
July 25, 2014
Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing: First Trailer for The Imitation Game
Joe Brosnan
July 24, 2014
Erotic, Gothic, Belgian Vampires: Daughters of Darkness (1971)
Brian Greene
Showing posts by: Leigh Neely click to see Leigh Neely's profile
Thu
Jul 17 2014 3:00pm

Fresh Meat: The Oleander Sisters by Elaine Hussey

The Oleander Sisters by Elaine Hussey is an emotional story set in 1969 Mississippi that follows four sisters through the ups and down of the changing times (available July 29, 2014).

Let’s hear it for skeletons and Southern comfort.

I had a banner year in 1969. In January, I met my future husband on a blind date; in May, we became engaged; in June, I graduated from high school and began going to secretarial school; and in August, I had a wedding. Almost forty-five years later, we’re still celebrating anniversaries, and I just finished a book I absolutely loved that was set in 1969.

The Oleander Sisters by Elaine Hussey is like sitting down and devouring warm chocolate cake. It’s delicious to the last bite, and you hate when you have to put the empty plate in the sink.

[Make sure you rinse! (The plate, not the book!)]

Mon
Jun 23 2014 4:45pm

Fresh Meat: Strange Gods by Annamaria Alfieri

Strange Gods by Annamaria Alfieri is a historical mystery set in early 20th century British East Africa about a missionary's daughter who yearns for adventure, but struggles to escape her parents' strict rules (available June 24, 2014).

I’ve been in many distant locales with my reading these days, but this book presents the most exotic setting—the Protectorate of British East Africa. It’s 1911, and Vera McIntosh is chafing under the control of her Scottish missionary parents. Though her mother longs for Vera to be a proper English lady, the young woman is more at home with the Kikuyu her father strives to bring into Christianity.

The thoughts of this British miss, however, are often occupied with Assistant District Superintendent Justin Tolliver. Seeking to find his way in the world, Justin came to British East Africa for a brief visit and ended up falling in love with the lush country and finding his heart no longer longing for England. The added benefit of cheap living and plenty of opportunities for work added to lure of the place.

[From Africa, with love...]

Tue
Jun 17 2014 10:15am

Fresh Meat: Cradle to Grave by Eleanor Kuhns

Cradle to Grave by Eleanor Kuhns is the third historical mystery featuring Will Rees, a Revolutionary War veteran braving a winter trek to New York with his wife to save a Shaker friend accused of murder (available June 17, 2014).

I confess. I knew nothing about the Shaker community except that they made beautiful furniture until I read this book. What I found is their world is bound by different rules and objectives, but their problems are the same ones faced by other communities every day.

Cradle to Grave is the third book in Eleanor Kuhn's historical mystery series featuring Will Rees. The first book, A Simple Murder, won the MWA Best First Crime Novel in 2011. It was followed by Death of a Dyer the following year. Eleanor has picked a focused and fascinating setting for her books. Though Will Rees and his wife, Lydia, are not part of a Shaker community, Lydia was before their marriage. They are drawn back to Zion with a letter asking for help from a friend.

[A crime committed with good intentions is still a crime...]

Mon
May 19 2014 4:30pm

Fresh Meat: Lost by Laura K. Curtis

Lost by Laura K. Curtis is a novel of romantic suspense featuring a former police officer and an FBI agent who both end up undercover in a rural Texas cult (available May 20, 2014).

With Lost, Laura K. Curtis gives us the story of two of her secondary characters from her exciting first novel, Twisted. Like that one, this novel is a complicated, satisfying romantic suspense with enough mystery to keep me reading when I should have been doing other things.

Tara Jean Black is now known as Serena, because she has become a part of the religious cult, the Chosen. Members live a simple life, growing their own vegetables, getting electricity from solar power, making their own clothing, using scraps to make quilts, and other back-to-the-basics activities that separate them from “out there” in the real world. They seek to follow the dictates of the Leader and learn the will of the Powers.

[Cult has such a negative connotation these days...]

Mon
Apr 28 2014 3:00pm

Fresh Meat: Murder on the Hoof by Kathryn O’Sullivan

Murder on the Hoof by Kathryn O'Sullivan is second cozy murder mystery in the Colleen McCabe series about the Fire Chief from North Carolina's Outer Banks (available May 6, 2014).

With Murder on the Hoof, Kathryn O’Sullivan did something that always excites me about a book. She sent me looking for information about the book’s setting. When I find a story interesting and entertaining, I enjoy getting to know the setting a little better.

Corolla, North Carolina, is in the beautiful Outer Banks, and along with the majestic ocean and the sand dunes, are the wild horses that are watched over and protected by a special group of caring people. The wild Banker Colonial Spanish Mustangs play a key role in both of the books O’Sullivan has done for this series. The first book was Foal Play, which I plan to read now.

Fire Chief Colleen McCabe is overseeing a disaster drill with her crew of firefighters and performers from the local theater group. Everything goes smoothly until Doris, one of the older ladies in the group, turns out to be a real corpse.

[The twists and turns are coming...]

Fri
Apr 18 2014 1:00pm

Fresh Meat: The Furies by Mark Alpert

The Furies, a thriller by Mark Alpert, introduces us to a family like any other, with the exception of a genetic mutation that they've been forced to hide from the world for hundreds of years (available April 22, 2014).

They Walk Among Us!

Nothing is more chilling than hearing those words. Whether they are supernatural, extraterrestrial, or just plain spooky, thinking about a being that’s different from our human selves always feels creepy when everything around you looks normal.

The prologue of Mark Alpert’s The Furies gives us a glimpse of Elizabeth Fury and her family, a family so different that the other people in town are determined to kill them for fear that they’re the ones who’ve brought the recent troubles people were dealing with. It’s 1645, and Elizabeth has escaped with her children, but she can still hear the cries of her husband being tortured.

We move from there to modern-day New York City, where John Rogers sits in a bar nursing a single beer as he thinks about how many ways his life is a mess. A former gang member and military loser, only the faith and grace of a local priest helped him turn his life around. However, turning from the street life to life of service didn’t exactly fill his pockets with gold.

[A girl is about to change his life...]

Fri
Feb 28 2014 2:30pm

Fresh Meat: Wrecked by Tricia Fields

Wrecked by Tricia Fields is the third book in the series about West Texas Chief of Police Josie Gray, who is tasked with finding her lover, a man who is missing and suspected of murder (available March 4, 2014).

Josie Gray, Chief of Police of a small West Texas town, is a tough, capable woman, but her strength is put to the test when her lover, Dillon Reese, goes missing. Dillon’s secretary is dead, his office ransacked, and his car is gone. Did he flee for his life? Or did he flee from the crime?

Distraught as she is, Josie has to maintain her professional composure and proceed with the investigation in her normal, methodical way. However, to do this, she has to turn the investigation over to her lead detective, Otto, allowing him to take charge. Though it’s for the best, it still grates against her need for control and leadership.

Adding to her troubles, the mayor, who dislikes women in leadership roles, is dragging her into his dirty little affairs, providing another distraction.

[Maybe the mayor did it...]

Sun
Jan 26 2014 11:00pm

Fresh Meat: Beyond Belief by Helen Smith

Beyond Belief by Helen SmithBeyond Belief by Helen Smith is the fourth book in the contemporary mystery series featuring amateur sleuth Emily Castles (available January 28, 2014).

I love a mystery with a spunky amateur sleuth, and Helen Smith has created a great little cozy series with the charming Emily Castles. Emily can’t seem to find a job where she’s truly happy so she works for a temporary agency doing various office jobs around London—until an opportunity comes along to add to the mix and her job becomes more interesting.

In Beyond Belief, Emily is hired by the Royal Society for the Exploration of Science and Culture to be a “future crimes investigator” at their “Belief and Beyond” conference. The purpose of the conference is to discuss and present a basis for belief in paranormal abilities. They’re calling Emily’s investigation a future crime because Perspicacious Peg, well-known psychic and horoscope writer, has seen a vision of a man dying by drowning. Peg is convinced the victim will be the famous magician, Edmund Zenon, who’s planning to “walk on water” to awe and impress his followers and doubters. Edmund, a known skeptic of psychic and paranormal abilities, has also offered fifty thousand pounds to any paranormal specialist who can prove his or her ability is real.

[We love a good debunking...]

Mon
Nov 25 2013 7:00pm

Fresh Meat: Hostage by Kay Hooper

Hostage by Kay HooperHostage by Kay Hooper is the sequel to 2012's Haven, featuring Bishop and the Special Crimes Unit, using psychic gifts to hunt a dangerously unstable felon through the Appalachian wilderness (available November 26, 2013).

I am fascinated by Kay Hooper’s FBI agents that have special abilities and the way she uses these abilities to help them catch criminals. Bishop’s Special Crimes Unit is back in this book and better than ever. I give it extra stars because it’s set in the mountains of Tennessee, a place very close to my heart with a town aptly named Devil’s Gap.

Two sets of agents are the focus of this book, and it’s a story that might keep you up at night if you scare easily. Get ready for demons, ghosts, and, of course, bad guys!

Luther Brinkman is a Haven agent sent to find escaped bank robber, Cole Jacoby. Luther is hampered by the steep slopes of the Appalachian Mountains. He finds the felon, but is badly wounded and left to die. He’s rescued by Callie Davis, an agent for the SCU, who was put in place by Noah Bishop. The wily director of the SCU/Haven uses his agents with the finesse of a champion chess player.

The problem the agents have with Jacoby is more than his weapons and his dogs, there’s something evil that bars their movements and keeps them trapped in Callie’s cabin, cut off from the help they need. Then they become the hunter’s prey.

[Something wicked lurks in these woods...]

Fri
Sep 27 2013 12:30pm

Fresh Meat: Silencing Eve by Iris Johansen

Silencing Eve by Iris JohansenSilencing Eve by Iris Johansen is the final book in the Eve Duncan trilogy, where James Doane and Eve's saga comes to a close (available October 1, 2013).

At long last, we’ve received the final book in the Eve Duncan trilogy.

***SPOILERS AHEAD, regarding earlier events in the trilogy, but if you're caught up, let's discuss the exciting conclusion!!!

 

 

 

 

[Can Eve finally beat Doane...?]

Mon
Aug 5 2013 11:45pm

Fresh Meat: Artifact by Gigi Pandian

Artifact by Gigi Pandian is a traditional mystery debut and the first in the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt series, in which a historian's led by a jewel-encrusted Indian artifact to a Scottish legend of lost treasure. (available August 6, 2013).

With Artifact we meet the lively Miss Jaya Jones, a study in contrasts. She’s a distinguished professor who loves to wear stilettos to heighten her five-foot frame, studies trade routes and military skirmishes of the British East India Company, plays the tabla drum in a local restaurant two nights a week, lives in a small apartment above her eccentric landlady, and eats like a stevedore.

I think she must look somewhat like an ant when carrying the tabla case over her shoulder. Like most mystery heroines, however, there’s more to Jaya than meets the eye. I really liked her. She’s ambitious and doesn’t allow something as tedious as danger keep her from finding what she’s seeking.

Pandian brings us into the story at midnight. Not only does this add to the sinister atmosphere, it makes for a great exchange between Jaya and Nadia, her landlady.

Convinced Jaya has blood on her shoe, Nadia doesn’t hesitate to speculate how it got there:

[In this mystery, everyone's a detective...]

Thu
Jul 11 2013 10:00am

Fresh Meat: Hunting Eve by Iris Johansen

Hunting Eve by Iris JohansenHunting Eve is the second book in the Eve Duncan trilogy by Iris Johansen (available July 16, 2013).

Eve Duncan is literally in the middle of a big mess in Hunting Eve, the second book of Iris Johansen’s trilogy. Kidnapped by Jim Doane and forced to reconstruct his son Kevin’s head in Taking Eve, our intrepid heroine is in big trouble. She had angered her captor by tossing the clay head over an embankment and taking off in the woods.

While the good news is that Eve has escaped, the bad news is she’s out in the cold, deep in woods in the Rocky Mountains, with nothing but her will and wits to survive. She’s fighting hunger, the elements, and the demonic voice of Kevin in her head. Doane is stalking her and is close enough she can hear his vapid taunts. All in all, it’s a very unpleasant situation.

Johansen keeps the tension up as the book moves along at a fairly rapid pace. Everyone Eve loves is searching for her in their own way. Kendra Michaels is joined by the somewhat quirky Margaret Douglas; Jane MacGuire, who’s recovering from being shot, is being watched over by Mark Trevor and Seth Caleb; Joe is looking for Zander, who he knows is hunting Doane, so Jane has her own posse out searching for her.

[But we're still left hanging!]

Mon
Jun 24 2013 9:30am

Fresh Meat: The Eye of God by James Rollins

The Eye of God by James RollinsThe Eye of God by James Rollins is the ninth military thriller of apocalyptic proportions in the Sigma Force series featuring a doomsday sentence and the one team that stands in the way (available June 25, 2013).

I never thought much about physics until I became a fan of the TV show, The Big Bang. Now I actually watch programs that explain elements of physics to someone as dumb as me and I find it fascinating.

Physics is the heart of James Rollins’ ninth Sigma Force novel. It begins with a big bang—the explosion of a secret military satellite sent out to further the study of dark matter. While this is happening, a secret package arrives at the Vatican containing a skull and a book bound with human skin. DNA tests prove both belonged to Genghis Khan. While the crash of the satellite and the relics of the old ruler seem unrelated, they both carry a message of doom the world.

Members of Sigma Force are working with both teams on these two projects, and a cast of thousands is involved in all of it.

[I'm thinking team work might become a struggle...]

Wed
Jun 19 2013 9:30am

Fresh Meat: Lethal Treasure by Jane Cleland

Lethal Treasure by Jane ClelandLethal Treasure by Jane Cleland is the eighth Josie Prescott antique-themed traditional mystery (available June 25, 2013).

Jane Cleland’s latest Prescott Antiques mystery is another winner. Lethal Treasure packs a double punch with its fascinating antiques mystery and a baffling murder mystery.

Josie Prescott has come a long way since she was forced out of a prestigious job in New York City after revealing a price-fixing scheme. She settled herself in Rocky Point, New Hampshire, where her antiques business is thriving, and she’s receiving the recognition she deserves in those circles.

After a relatively calm auction for abandoned storage units, Josie and her friend Henri Dubois discover they’ve fared well with the day’s bidding. Henry finds beautiful silent movie posters that he immediately turns over to Josie for authentication and appraisal. Thrilled for the opportunity to explore such rare materials, Josie and her crew begin work immediately. Though she has tentative good news for Henri, Josie is surprised to learn he didn’t come home last night and is still missing. When his body is found in the unit he bought, Josie wonders if the rare posters were worth enough money to be a motive for murder.

[Who knew antiquing was so dangerous?...]

Thu
May 9 2013 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: Lucky Bastard by Deborah Coonts

Lucky Bastard by Deborah CoontsLucky Bastard by Deborah Coonts is the fourth in the Lucky O’Toole humorous traditional mystery series (available May 14, 2013).

If you’re looking for humor, glitz, and big money, you’ll truly enjoy the Lucky O’Toole Las Vegas series from Deborah Coonts. Lucky Bastard is the fourth book in a series that is funny, sexy, and features a damn good amateur sleuth. It’s been called Sex and the City meets Elmore Leonard. Not a bad description.

There’s no waiting for the action with Lucky Bastard, it opens with a grisly murder scene. A young woman has been left sprawled across the hood of a red Ferrari in the dealership inside Babylon, a top casino-resort in Las Vegas. Perhaps the saddest part of the display is that she was murdered with a stiletto attached to a beautiful red Jimmy Choo.

[What a fashion disaster!]

Tue
May 7 2013 9:30am

Fresh Meat: Silken Prey by John Sandford

Silken Prey by John Sandford places Lucas Davenport in the midst of a political scandal with deadly consequences (available May 7, 2013).

I have to tell you up front—I love John Sandford. I’ve read everything he’s written and even looked up some of his newspaper stories. He’s a gifted, eloquent writer who grabs me every time with his books.

I’ve had a longtime love for Lucas Davenport. He’s just about the coolest character I know, and I’ve come to know him so well I feel I’d recognize him if I passed him on the street. He’s a dedicated, hard-nosed cop to the core, and he’s like a pit bull that can’t let go of a bone when he gets the bad guy in his sights.

Silken Prey continues the story of Lucas and the wonderful friends and coworkers who make up his world. I’m always thrilled when Lucas and Virgil Flowers, one of his BCA agents featured in another Sandford series, work together, but in this book he also reconnects with Kidd, the famous artist and computer whiz. Then there are the usual suspects—Del, Jenkins, and Shrake who are joined by two female BCA agents we meet for the first time. So many good characters I put off reading the last page because I didn’t want the story to end.

[Hanging on to every word...]

Sun
Apr 21 2013 10:00am

Fresh Meat: The Bleiberg Project by David Khara

The Bleiberg Project by David Khara, translated from the French by Simon John, is a best-selling international thriller in its first English-language edition (available April 30, 2013.)

A Mossad agent, a CIA agent, and a Wall Street Trader walk into a bank. What happens next is no joke.

I loved this thriller. Written by former journalist David Khara, The Bleiberg Project, keeps you involved, whether you’re in the midst of a flashback to Nazi activities or following modern-day bad guys with links to some truly evil men from World War II.

Jay Novacek has more money than he’ll ever spend and he’s one of the unhappiest people on earth. One night of debauchery brought him a pain so deep it never leaves his conscious thoughts. Then, when two representatives from the United States Army show up to inform Jay of his father’s death, he finally has something to celebrate.

[So, not a happy childhood then...]

Sat
Apr 13 2013 10:00am

Fresh Meat: When the Devil Doesn’t Show by Christine Barber

When the Devil Doesn’t Show by Christine Barber is the third book featuring detective Gil Montoya and newspaper reporter Lucy Newroe (available April 16, 2013).

It’s Christmas and Santa Fe is beautiful. Farolitos line the streets and rooftops, making it look like an enchanted town. But the enchantment ends when two homicide detectives are called to the scene of a house fire. Inside they find three corpses—and only one of the men died as a result of the fire.

Farolitos (candles inside brown paper bags) are just one of the traditions I discovered in this entertaining book. Christine Barber gives readers history and information about this part of the country with her recurring characters, detective Gil Montoya and newspaper reporter/editor Lucy Newroe. The beauty of the story is she doesn’t overpower it with the history, but lets it blend naturally into events as they occur.

[Welcome to the Land of Enchantment...]

Thu
Apr 4 2013 9:30am

Fresh Meat: Taking Eve by Iris Johansen

Taking Eve by Iris Johansen is the start of a new three-part series featuring forensic sculptor Eve Duncan (available April 16, 2013).

This is a great year for Iris Johansen and Eve Duncan fans. Johansen is putting out a trilogy featuring forensic sculptor Eve Duncan. Taking Eve comes out April 17; Hunting Eve is out July 16; and Silencing Eve will be out October 15. There’s going to be a lot of expectancy in the air this year.

Though Taking Eve as a title pretty much gives away the subject of the book, it in no way detracts from the compelling and suspenseful story.

We’re given a glimpse into the bad guy’s warped psyche immediately, which lets you know he has a big plan he wants to complete. What we don’t know from this glimpse is what his ultimate objective might be and how determined he is to accomplish it.

[Bound and determined, we’re guessing...]

Wed
Mar 27 2013 12:00pm

Fresh Meat: Murder at the P & Z by Dorothy H. Hayes

Murder at the P & Z by Dorothy H. Hayes is a traditional mystery featuring a schoolteacher-turned-reporter-turned-amateur sleuth (available April 1, 2013).

It’s 1983 and hardworking reporter, Carol Rossi, is one of the busiest people in the small town of Wilton, Connecticut. One of her regular haunts is the local planning and zoning department, where there’s always a chance for disagreement and controversy.

Rossi’s paper, The Wilton Weekly, keeps the whole town in the loop as plans are made for new buildings, malls, and other projects that require permits. She’s been visiting the offices of Planning & Zoning twice a week since she got her job. Her journalism award was the result of an in-depth article about the need to protect local well water, which endeared her to the environmentally friendly staff.

In the midst of Rossi’s routine days comes a surprise that pulls her from her home after her workday is completed. Wilton has its first murder in 86 years and Rossi’s editor gives her the assignment. Her initial excitement turns into full-blown grief when she discovers the victim is her good friend from the P&Z offices. She vows to find the murderer.

[And we know she’ll get ’im!]