Murder Aboard a Cruise to Nowhere

 

Murder aboard a Cruise to Nowhere, Sand in my Shoes Publishing copyright and written by Owen Parr.

 

This book is Novella 2 in “A Jack Ryder Murder Mystery Series” and follows an episode where the protagonist, along with Miami Beach Police Detective Logan Robert are guests aboard a privately engaged luxury cruise ship where the Head of the family, Gustav Inglenorth, is scheduled to announce changes in his estate plan, a matter involving several billion dollars. Jack and Logan have been invited, along with their ‘significant others’ as substitutes for four cancellations of original invitees. The invitation assumedly as a result of Jack’s reputation. He is a middle aged, former financial analyst now a prominent author of considerable reputation whose ability to detect minor and only slightly noticeable details has positioned him frequently to provide necessary material to Logan and positioned him to become a valuable consultant to the Miami Police Major Crimes Division. As a divorcee, his life style is rather ‘free-swinging’ and his abode is a sizeable yacht, his present ‘significant other’ is Logan’s sister. The plot emerges from the first night of the family cruise when the family patriarch is stabbed to death and a hurricane requires the ship to continue away from American waters where the crime can be turned over to the American authorities. Further acceleration of the storm finally makes them seek sanctuary in Cuba. It is incumbent upon Jack and Logan to discover the crime perpetrator(s) before return to American waters and surrender of the case to their authority.

Discussion: The author has set forth a quite interesting plot with an involved set of clues the reader can simultaneously attempt to correctly assemble. Regrettably, one feature of the book is the almost incredible lack of proper proofing. The number of missing, misspelled, misused and repetitiously employed words are almost impossible to believe. Thus, the reader will need to decide whether this mystery is sufficiently enjoyable to wade through the almost boundless proofing errors.

5* engaging mystery, -4* huge Caveat as discussed; Prospective reader’s choice.

Murder Aboard a Cruize to Nowhere

 Murder aboard a Cruise to Nowhere, Sand in my Shoes Publishing copyright and written by Owen Parr.

This book is Novella 2 in “A Jack Ryder Murder Mystery Series” and follows an episode where the protagonist, along with Miami Beach Police Detective Logan Robert are guests aboard a privately engaged luxury cruise ship where the Head of the family, Gustav Inglenorth, is scheduled to announce changes in his estate plan, a matter involving several billion dollars. Jack and Logan have been invited, along with their ‘significant others’ as substitutes for four cancellations of original invitees. The invitation assumedly as a result of Jack’s reputation. He is a middle aged, former financial analyst now a prominent author of considerable reputation whose ability to detect minor and only slightly noticeable details has positioned him frequently to provide necessary material to Logan and positioned him to become a valuable consultant to the Miami Police Major Crimes Division. As a divorcee, his life style is rather ‘free-swinging’ and his abode is a sizeable yacht, his present ‘significant other’ is Logan’s sister. The plot emerges from the first night of the family cruise when the family patriarch is stabbed to death and a hurricane requires the ship to continue away from American waters where the crime can be turned over to the American authorities. Further acceleration of the storm finally makes them seek sanctuary in Cuba. It is incumbent upon Jack and Logan to discover the crime perpetrator(s) before return to American waters and surrender of the case to their authority.

Discussion: The author has set forth a quite interesting plot with an involved set of clues the reader can simultaneously attempt to correctly assemble. Regrettably, one feature of the book is the almost incredible lack of proper proofing. The number of missing, misspelled, misused and repetitiously employed words are almost impossible to believe. Thus, the reader will need to decide whether this mystery is sufficiently enjoyable to wade through the almost boundless proofing errors.

5* engaging mystery, -4* huge Caveat as discussed; Prospective reader’s choice.

Don’t Mess with Jess

Don’t Mess with Jess assumed published, copyright and written by Kim Hamilton.

The author states that this is Book #1 of “An Accidental Lawyer Short Read in a series of short reads inspired by the full-length novel, Accidental Lawyer.”

Jessica Snow, a recently graduated young lawyer works with Kari Cruz, part black and other races and seemingly ‘Girl Friday/ jack of all trades’ for work required in and around the office.  Both work for boss Dawson who has a still newer employee whom he is grooming to partner with him in a most important (purportedly) golf tournament. The legal practice is of a typically described ambulance chasing variety and the office is in a depressed section of town as is Jess’s only slightly better situated place of abode. Jess has a well-deserved reputation for aiding in a criminal investigation, and once more is involved in finding the perpetrator of a hit-run incident that involves drugs.

Discussion: A tale of mystery and criminal investigation involving stereotypical characters but the tale is saved by the authors approach and the zany activities – a light, amusing style. This is the first of a proposed series of short stories, each easily consumed in a couple of hours.

4* A short bit of mystery in an amusingly described situation with zany characters.

Fire in the Barley

Fire in the Barley, Dan Mallett Investigations Saphere Books copyright and written by Roger Longrigg writing as Frank Parrish.

The plot of this book places the reader in a typical British setting with the protagonist a handyman son of a gamekeeper/poacher. Dan Mallett is an unusual young man who completed schooling and worked successfully in the business world to please his mother until she finally suffered so severely from arthritic hips as to need a greater degree of physical help. He left to follow the life he loved and had learned from his father. He became the local repair/maintenance man for the area providing for the constant needs of locals while having more time to care for his mother. Unfortunately, he also followed his father’s tendency toward poaching and even theft, if needed, which kept him constantly under the watchful eye of the constabulary. As yet, nothing had been proven against the well-liked young man, but when a series of vicious crimes begin under the guise of paying for ‘protection of one’s property’, Dan is the obvious main suspect. The story evolves as he extracts himself from any involvement in the criminal activity. Presentation of further details of the intelligent manner in which he reasons with his extensive knowledge of the land, its people and wildlife, would be a disservice to prospective readers.

Discussion: The author has set forth a fascinating tale that takes place in a rural area of Scotland. The protagonist’s knowledge of the terrain, its wildlife and the residents of area, plus his intellectual ability to search out and amalgamate the manner in which the facts and activity intermesh present an unusual tale of mystery. The pace and setting may not be acceptable to some, but I believe most readers who enjoy mystery stories will enjoy this book.

5* Enjoyable, well-thought-out and acceptably presented Mystery.

 

The Haunting of the Falcon Creek Lodge

The Haunting of the Falcon Creek Lodge published, copyright and written by Roger Hayden.

The story opens with three relatively wealthy men of different careers having a festive dinner at an opulent hotel in a heavily forested section remote from the nearest popular summer vacation town of Cedarville. This was their second meeting of old friends and missed only one member, Bryce Phillips. He had pleaded illness, unfortunately, and was the only one of the four who still resided in the town of which he was the Mayor. As the evening progresses, the three friends continue to indulge in alcoholic beverages, are served dinner and then accosted by a young waiter who kills one of the members with a hunting rifle, driving the others out into the snow storm to escape where they freeze to death. The youth is tried and convicted of murder, although he claims to have memory of the incidents as they occurred. This is followed in 1950 by visitation to the now vacant and reputedly haunted hotel by a TV host famous for his presentations of from such structures. He and his entire crew are completely destroyed by what appears to be unknown sources rumored again to be from some occult source.

The scene shifts to the present when Greg Barrett visits from Syracuse, N.Y., a four hour drive away. Tom Schultz and old buddy and top resident real estate agent of Cedarville, has invited him to see a property that presents a ‘fantastic opportunity’. The former owner of the Lodge has passed away, his son has completely rebuilt and restored the Lodge to its former splendor and has placed it on the market at an exceedingly attractive figure. Greg is a trained hotel/restaurant manager with a responsible position in Syracuse, but anxious to expand beyond. He visits, decides he wants to buy it, bring his wife and her son, with whom he has been able to establish a more or less empathetic relationship, to visit. She concurs reluctantly with his decision, but the son is quite unimpressed. Regardless, they move to the Lodge and the story again unfolds with weird and even dangerous occurrences gradually escalading in appearance. Their occurrences, causes, and results all provide the substance of the rest of the book. Activities that this reviewer agrees with the author’s request that any further description would be a complete disservice to the anticipated readers.

Discussion/Summary: The plot if this book is worthy of interest for the prospective reader of the occult and more especially ghost stories involving ‘haunted houses’. All of the required elements are included including a considerable amount of graphic violence and its result. Regrettably however, the presentation is quite flawed. It is somewhat fragmentally presented, characters indulge in seemingly uncharacteristic manner upon occasion, the pragmatist last owner of the Lodge and his cavalier-like like approach is difficult to endure and missing and/or misspelled words are abundant. In summary, for the reader who enjoys the ‘haunted’ elements that are described to be included in this book. it will be quite enjoyable. Regrettably for those who are disturbed by the editing and proofing oversights, this is not an easy read.

3* Apropos Discussion/Summary.

Mine

Mine Published by Bloodhound Books print ISBN: 9781913942052 copyright and written by Kelly Florentia.

The story’s prologue opens in North London in late August when an unnamed person is evaluating the fact that the person she is looking at is a liar. She is aware of the fact that his drinking was the cause but it is immaterial. “I know what you did and you have to pay. All I’ve got to do is figure out a way to get rid of you. For good.” The first chapter opens with another anonymous voice berating herself doing something she regrets and worries mount when her phone is missing from its usual place. Before she can move, a 40ish man she knows joins her in bed and asks if she is alright? They are in her flat and knows him but cannot even remember his name. He turns out to be her friend Allison’ new yard man of a few weeks, and we hear the gruesome details of the night’s drunken escapade brought on by her just ex-husband’s divorce and her invitation to his new wedding to one of her formerly best friends. Finally, she remembers the man’s name and that he is the man her dearest friend has been wanting her to meet, he leaves and quite quickly thereafter, her ex-husband appears and we obtain details of his infidelity. She then gets an anonymous text saying: “I know what you did with your best friend’s husband”. Her ex-husband tells her she must sell the flat which she still owns jointly with her ex and a quickly accelerating series of events begins to involve Lucy in a series of events that threaten her with possible incarceration and even death. The ultimate solution to the extended series of activities provides an interesting twist that will give many readers pause for thought.

Discussion: The author has described a woman approaching forty who is carrying a large load of psychological baggage of unknown origin. The result is impulsive activity carelessly pointed in several directions simultaneously, accompanied by multiple thoughts in several directions frequently only vaguely pertinent to the situation in hand. Thus the reader is faced with a somewhat dysfunctional young woman with an intense need for close friendship, whose husband has left to marry a former close friend, a dependence upon other ‘close’ friends with whom she shares all of her most intimate thoughts, and an unfortunate inability to contain her alcohol consumption frequently at inappropriate times. A recipe for reoccurring disaster. A number of proofing errors are a little disconcerting.

4* Probably 4 ½* for readers who find tales of this type intriguing.

 

Resurrection Runner

Resurrection Runner ISBN: 9781734769821Tautly Sharp Publishing copyright and written by Robert Wood Anderson.

Listed as “A Steven Popoford Thriller”, the story opens with Steven as a very young man killing his love Gretchen on receiving orders from Home Office that he had been compromised because she was a master spy behind a sophisticated ring of enemy agents tasked with disrupting lives of American citizens. It was a messy kill but he would become more adept in the coming years. Apparently, he does become one of their best assassins, but is retired early for reasons that appear later, but only again to be recalled to provide a kill of unimaginable importance to save the country. Confusion develops after the kill because there is a considerable amount of evidence developing to show that he may have been sent to kill the wrong man. The tale continues to evolve in a rather confusing manner until the last quarter of the book where answers for much of the confusion begin to emerge. An ultimate climax is reached but leaves an opening for a probable sequel.

Discussion: The author has written a book that should appeal to individuals who enjoy sections of high octane action even though it is interspersed with lengthy sections of self-analysis by the protagonist. And as stated, the last quarter of the story provides adequate reasons for the earlier confused state in which the protagonist is enveloped and presents further fast action. For the more pragmatic reader, some of the action and its results are a little difficult to absorb.

3*  4*Politically oriented assassin mystery/thriller; -1* apropos caveat.

Redlined

Redlined, a novel of Boston ISBN: 978097282233Brunswick House Press, copyright and written by Richard W. Wise.

Jedediah Flynt is an ex-Marine with a considerable amount of hand-to-hand combat experience, an ex-wife and two small children for whom he pays support but seldom sees. Presently he is an ‘organizer’ in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts under contract to the Catholic Church for projects helping the poor and downtrodden in their fights against public projects such as a just completed victory against the Boston Building Commissioner. He still is a well-conditioned, attractive, somewhat charismatic individual who believes in what he is doing and has the ability to analyze and truthfully face a situation and manage it. Sandy Morgan is a newly hired young woman who he sends to watch a vacant building that he fears will be next for gutting by explosive arson in a developing pattern that, on the surface makes no sense. Sandy does not follow his orders and is killed by the arsonists. Thus begins a fascinating story that builds to a climax with involvement of: another new young woman replacement being heavily involved through excellent research activity and becoming threatened; a part of a local Chinese ‘tong’ group; a large Chinese Gambling Syndicate and representatives of a mainland Chinese ‘Mafia- like’ group; an immensely wealthy entrepreneur; several groups of local resident organizations; marine corps friends of Jed; and even several levels of the Catholic Church. The story builds to a fascinating climax that is logically thought producing on several levels.

Discussion: A tremendously well-written story with an excellent pace, well-developed characters and a plot that holds the reader enthralled until the end. A highly recommended thriller/mystery provided by an author who seems eminently qualified to produce such a tale.

5* Thriller/mystery highly recommended.

The Case of the Torn Yellow Socks

The Case of the Torn Yellow Socks Assumed published, copyright and written by Alan Hardy.   

Inspector Cullot of Scotland Yard Mystery Series Book 4 is a continuation of the cases in which he appears to be a commanding figure requiring respect bordering on submission of his subordinates including Detective Constable Stephanie, his daughter who is beautiful, adoring, sexy but mostly sufficiently subservient, Sargent Watkins, a not overly bright police investigator and Blunt, a typically story book “Bobby” who records by trusty pencil stub and paper notebooks the Inspector’s words as well as a running description of all that occurs during each investigation. The latter individual seemingly is even less gifted than the Sargent, and both are completely enamored of the Inspector’s daughter. The plot is of the contrived variety in which wealthy men are killed when visiting high-end brothels by a woman who actually is of one nationality while having changed identities with that of others in the same apartment building. The dead men each are dressed wearing colors contained within the flags of the countries each supposedly represents. The story continues presenting more involving details and ends in the Inspector’s solving the case in a manner suitable to the tale.

Discussion: The author has written a tale in a humorous fashion once referred to as ‘slap-stick’ where characters of questionable intelligence face un-understood activity or level of conversation, and often speak repetitively and/or deal with an array of amusing situations. A series of incidents similar to an episode offered by the once immensely well-known comedy team of Abbot and Costello in their skit “Who’s on First”. If this is your type of comedy, this book is for you, but with a caveat. From this reviewer’s perspective, editing to remove the somewhat excessive repetitive verbalization describing the same material would enhance the presentation.

3* no doubt more *’s for readers who already seem to enjoy the author’s books.

The Cascade Killer

The Cascade Killer ISBN: 9780999707586 Latah Books (production by Gray Dog Press) written by A Luke McCain novel by Rob Phillips.

A Prologue opens with a man and his son spotting and dropping a bear during the opening days of the states bear hunting season. Their elation was quickly dampened when accidently cutting the bear’s stomach while field dressing.. The spilling contents contained what appeared to be a human ear and pieces of clothing. Their call to 911 resulted in Luke McCain, veteran police officer with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in Yakima and his dog Jack once again to begin a search for a killer. Assumedly, a man who upon further investigation is discovered to be a serial killer removed from scenes of previous crimes, and one who’s presence in this, as well as the previous area, were in jobs that required his expertise and as a result offered no reason for suspicion. The investigation is turned over to the FBI, but as the first officer on the scene, Luke is ‘kept in the circle’. This position strengthened by mutual attraction between Luke and the quite attractive FBI investigator, plus activity by other locals gunning bears illegally because of black marketers who pay well for bear parts of value as medicines by members of certain races and for the skin. Luke and his suggestions and hunches are primarily responsible for attempting to find the killer as well as attempting to save the life of the FBI agent.

Discussion: The author has produced an interesting story of the unheralded work done by this branch of governmental service whose danger seldom is recognized. It is a branch that daily must face anglers, 80 % of whom are armed, as well as hunters and even similarly equipped hikers. His presentation no doubt is particularly appealing in his ‘laid back’ approach while proceeding through situations fraught with danger. There is considerable redundancy that may not appeal to those not enamored of the ‘laid back’ style and slow movement of the story. A Preview of the next volume is included.

3* Appealing for those who enjoy books written in this author’s style.