The Company You Keep

The Company You Keep (A Kendra Clayton Mystery) by Angela Henry

I received this book free on BookBub. Lately those books have been a miss so let’s see how this one goes.

Plot Summary:

Kendra Wilson tried to leave her hometown, but found herself stuck there and working. She lost her job as a teacher due to cutbacks and instead spends her time split between working as a GED instructor and as a waitress at her uncle’s restaurant.

She loves both places, but wishes she could teach full time. Also her uncle’s restaurant is great but there is an annoying mean, boorish server-Joy and her uncle’s eclectic, high strung, dramatic girlfriend (I love her wigs and outfits, it makes me think of Iona in Pretty in Pink)

Kendra’s problems start with her best friend Bernie, who is dating a cad and jerk-Jordan Wallace. He’s just after her for money and someone to take care of him. They are waiting for him to pick Bernie up from the Literary Center’s Annual Recognition Program. His car was in the shop so he borrowed hers.

Jordan

Bernie says she’s done this time-Kendra has heard that before. Everyone knows how Jordan has been cheating on Bernie, especially with Vanessa Brumfield, their old mean girl from high school.

Jordan you are such a jerk.

The two go to the rental house that Bernie owns and has been renting to Vanessa (and she of course providing to Jordan along with herself.) Bernie goes to get her car and Kendra then goes home.

Later she is awoken by a phone call, Bernie telling her that Jordan is dead! Found dead in Vanessa’s house.

The two call the police, but Bernie ends up being the number one suspect. Kendra believes her to be innocent, but then discovers there is a whole lot more to Bernie than she realized!

I thought I knew Bernie, but I was wrong.

In fact, Kendra discovers that about all the company she keeps-Joy the waitress, Bernie, Bernie’s sister-in-law Diane Gibson, even her uncle: are hiding a lot more than she realized and all hated Jordan. There are lots of possibilities as to who could have killed Jordan but they all seem to point to Bernie.

Kendra wonders if Vanessa might be involved in all this, finding her “disappearance”, later claiming to be on “vacation”, very suspicious. She tries to investigate her and even goes out with Vanessa’s soon-to-be ex-husband, an extremely handsome lawyer. Kendra really falls for him, but it turns out someone doesn’t want them to together.

One of the two has a stalker that is determined they stay single for them. Will Kendra find out the truth and outwit this psycho? Or will she be joining Jordan in eternity?

Thoughts After Reading:

I really enjoyed this book and the characters. I thought Kendra was funny and extremely interesting and that the plot was well written and well paced.

The only thing I didn’t care for was Kendra dating someone that may or may not have murdered someone (never get involved with a suspect!!!) but otherwise I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to see what is next in her investigations.

For more BookBub books, go to Weak Flesh

For more stalkers, go to The Wife Between Us

 

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Weak Flesh

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Weak Flesh by Jo Robertson

Thoughts Before Reading:

I got this book for free off BookBub and thought it would be this really interesting mystery.

The book is set in 1901. Pretty, voluptuous Nell Carver has no want for attention and is involved with many men.

One of them has murdered her and left her body in the Pasquotank River.

Marshal Tucker Gage is trying to solve the case, with the unwanted help of Nell’s best friend, and the girl he is very attracted to, Megan Bailey.

Thoughts After Reading:

Turns out I was wrong.

It started off strong, but then just turned into a “bodice ripping” romance novel. The mystery was really interesting until it was totally obvious who the killer was.

Not my cup of tea at all and I wish I hadn’t wasted time reading it.

Don’t read it!

For more historical fiction mysteries, go to A Talent for Trouble

For more not in a series mysteries, go to Alias Grace

For more BookBub books, go to Death by Marriage

For more mysteries, go to Tragic Toppings

Death by Marriage

Death By Marriage (Caribbean Murder Mystery #3) by Jaden Skye

Thoughts Before Reading:

I received this book free from BookBub an amazing site that you can get free ebooks from. You know me and free things.

Since the last book and solving the last case, Cindy and Mattheus have formed a detective team together. He is all logistics and contacts, she can put people at ease and get information the police and others can’t get.

They get called into Saint Thomas to investigate a case of a prominent lawyer who was found dead in a back alley. There is a hurricane coming, and the police are looking to close the case quickly, focusing on his wife who no one likes. Cindy doesn’t think she is guilty and wants to help her, even though her personality makes it hard to want to help.

As they try to adapt to working with each other and creating this new team, they discover there is a lot more to this case than meets the eye. Gambling, vendettas, multiple enemies, mistresses-even his own kid doesn’t even like him.

But then the real shocker-it turns out that the lawyer had another family. Kendra and her daughter were the second family, on another island was his first wife and son Paul-same age as Kendra’s daughter.

This adds a whole new dimension. Did the wives know? Did the kids know? Who killed him? One of them? Two? Or is that a red herring and it was someone else?

Hmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

It was an okay book. The plot was similar to the previous one and the writing and characters were not good. But it did have a great twist in the end.

For more Caribbean Murder Mysteries, go to Death by Divorce

For more by Jaden Skye, go to Death by Honeymoon

For more BookBub, go to This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies

For more cheating husbands, go to Run Run As Fast As You Can

Death by Divorce

Death by Divorce (Caribbean Murder Mystery #2) by Jaden Skye

Thoughts Before Reading:

I received this book free from BookBub an amazing site that you can get free ebooks from. You know me and free things.

Plot Synopsis:

So Cindy Blaine has solved the death of her husband in Death by HoneymoonCindy is lost at what to do next with her life when she is called by an old school friend Dalia who’s husband has gone missing.

Understanding how her friend feels, unsure that she can solve this crime too, she still heads down to Grenada. There she teams up with police detective Mattheus and sets out to solve the disappearance.

This is a tricky case as Ames was very unfaithful and would leave for weeks at a time, could he have left Dalia for another woman, like he did the wife before?

It also turns out that while Ames is very rich and lives a high life, most of his money has come from Dalia-who has refused to fund him any longer.

Oh

There is much more than meets the eye with drugs, deception, and a complex web of lies and other lives.

Hmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

This was a good follow-up novel. The mystery and characters were very interesting with some good twists and turns.

The combination of Cindy’s inexperience but emotional clarity, matched with Mattheus’ weary experience and logical thinking was great. I thought it was a good read sans all the awful spelling mistakes.

For more Caribbean Murder Mysteries, go to Death by Honeymoon

For more BookBub books, go to This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies

For more cheating husbands, go to Run Run As Fast As You Can

For more mysteries involving disappearances, go to The Night Sister

For more investigative reporters, go to Loose Screw

Death by Honeymoon

Death by Honeymoon (Caribbean Murder Mystery #1) by Jaden Skye

Thoughts Before Reading:

I received this book free from BookBub an amazing site that you can get free ebooks from. You know me and free things.

Plot Synopsis:

Cindy and Clint have just been married.

They decide to head out to Barbados for their honeymoon.

But instead of the high class side that are on the rougher, more rugged side as Clint prefers it for surfing. Things might not have gone well in the engagement, mainly his family hates her, but Cindy is so happy that this wedding marks the beginning of a new and long life.

But one morning, Cindy come down with food poisoning and stays in the room, planning on resting and meeting Clint on the beach in an hour. She accidentally oversleeps, and run down to the beach.

On the beach she finds Clint’s body. Death on their honeymoon.

Cindy returns to New York but can’t go back to her job investigating facts for a major newspaper. She can’t leave things alone as their turns out to be too many questions. First Clint’s family start accusing her of murder and threatening her and trying to control Clint’s stuff and his money.

Then it turns out that Clint was lying to her about some things. He said he went to a conference to talk on a paper, but went to a completely different city with a friend.

It turns out that he also has a child with an ex-girlfriend.

What?!

For Cindy the last straw is when her sister borrows her car and crashes due to cut brake lines, almost dying.

After that, Cindy heads back to the island to find out the answers to what really happened to her husband. But can Cindy navigate an island she knows little about and not only solve this case-but survive?

Thoughts After Reading:

I enjoyed this book.

At times Cindy seems a little plain and wooden but I thought it did well as a first novel in trying to capture your attention, develop characters, etc.

It is an interesting mystery and as the rest of the series was free, I’m interested to see if it stays good or goes downhill. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

For more BookBub book reviews, go to This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies

For more books that take place in the Caribbean, go to High Sea Adventure

For more island mysteries, go to Everbody Loved Roger Harlan

 

This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies

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This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies (Reed Ferguson Mystery #1) by Renée Pawlish

Thoughts Before Reading:

I belong to a site called BookBub in which you can be redirected to get  Kindle books cheaply or for free. This was one that was on the free section of the site.

I picked this book because every facet of it intrigued me. The cover was interesting in its 1940s noir feel, the title with it instantly bringing to mind a character who loves film (especially noir) as much as me; and the synopsis sounded great. Now did it live up to its expectations?

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Reed Ferguson loves old film noir. He’s favorite is The Big Sleep starring his hero, Humphrey Bogart.

On the case!

In fact, Reed wants to be just like his hero that he has decided to start his own detective agency.

investigate

As he lives in Colorado, he doesn’t have to be licensed. Now Reed may dream of being the next Sam Spade or Phillip Marlowe; but hasn’t hit it big on a case really. He spends most of his time watching old movies or sitting around reading detective novels.

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Unfortunately, Reed’s dad doesn’t view things the same way.

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He thinks of Reed as playacting and wants him to concentrate on a “real” job.

What?!

So Reed is hoping that he will get a “real” case to prove that it is a “real job”.

One day a beautiful blonde walks into his office. She is straight up a femme fatale out of his movies. Her name is Amanda Ghering and she wants Reed to find her dead husband. She’s willing to pay anything.

Right off Reed smells something fishy, but agrees to investigate. As he has his first case, he is raring to go.

Amanda Ghering’s husband, Peter, traveled a lot and was quite the wanderer. However, that lead dries up quickly as none of those women appear to be involved.

Hmm…

Reed also hears conflicting information and begins to follow Amanda, knowing that there is a whole lot more to the tale than what she is saying.

When Reed gets his life threatened, that seals the deal for him. He’s in this to the final stretch.

He follows Amanda to a restaurant where she passes a comic book to a waiter, who passes it along to another woman.

Hmm…

After a bit more investigating, and pressure on Amanda, Reed discovers that he’s been made a patsy. Amanda was behind the disappearance/murder of her husband. She hired this group of avengers of women’s rights and injustice, the X Women, by lying and saying her husband is abusive and controlling. When they discovered the lie, they let her husband go, and he has been missing ever since.

Seriously?

Reed tries to help aid Amanda, but she has pissed off the wrong people. These women will not be treated as such without a fight.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I did not like this mystery which made me sad as I thought it was going to be a winner. I mean I love classic noir, ’80s music, comics; etc. But this was just boring and badly written. And don’t be using Spider-man if you don’t even know who he is or how he acts.

I really didn’t care for Reed as he was boring and lazy, I mean we read more about him eating  than his actual investigating.

Ugh

The side characters were too numerous and annoying. The goofball brothers, ugh please no more.

Pretty much a fail for me. 0 out of 0 stars.

I hate it.

For more on private investigators, go to The Red Headed League

For more BookBub books, go to The Itsy Bitsy Spider

For more book reviews, go to Psycho

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

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The Itsy Bitsy Spider (An Emma Frost Mystery #1) by Willow Rose

So I was first introduced to Willow Rose when I was checking out the site BookBub, and saw the book Miss Polly Had a Dolly (An Emma Frost Mystery #2) was on sale for free.

FREE!

It sounded good, although I have to admit when I read Emma Frost the first thing that popped in my head was the X-Men character. Even though this is not how Emma is described I am unable to get this image out of my head when reading.

So Willow Rose is a Danish writer, and not to rude or mean or anything (I’m part Danish myself), but I’ve noticed that Scandinavian writers tend to go real, real, dark in their writing. Something that won’t be for everyone.

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Synopsis:

The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the water spout
Down came the rain and washed the spider out
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain
And the itsy bitsy spider climbed up the spout again

So the book begins with a flashback. A women, Astrid, is stuck in a bunker. She’s not mentally all there, emotionally abused by her mother, and all around disliked by everyone and herself. This makes her the perfect mark with a guy who pushes for more than just hanging out. Astrid is sixteen and has fallen for Christian, but is now pregnant and trapped underground.

Flash-forward to present day. So Emma Frost is a journalist, divorced, and mother of two. Her grandmother (father’s mother), who she has only met once has just died and left Emma her house on Fanø Island. Emma decides the change of pace will be good for them and three move, at the great displeasure of Emma’s father.

It is a cute little island that depends on tourism. A sweet and nice place to live. Emma picks up the keys to the house from the police officer Dan Toft and remarks how nice it will be to leave in a small-town place.

“You must not have much crime here on the island. Must be kind of nice, right?.”

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Famous last words

You notice that always happens. It is a nice quiet community; someone moves there or moves back and the next thing you know bodies are dropping and they are investigating.

Her daughter Maya feels the same as her grandfather, but Victor is pleased. Victor is Emma’s youngest and suffers from the doctors don’t quite know what. Some say aspergers, some autism, some say he just needs attention; all she knows is that he has some mental issues and she needs to do all she can to try to keep him on a schedule. He doesn’t like touching, not being in his room, likes trees, etc.

Meanwhile, a woman down the way has just been murdered. Attracted by the sirens, Emma tries to look into it, not receiving much; turns to a trick taught by an old boyfriend; hacking.

When she looks into the police reports, she discovers that the woman just wasn’t murdered; her heart and liver were also cut out. We are dealing with a cannibal.

Back in 1977, Astrid is pregnant but living okay in the bunker. Every so many months she runs out of the supplies and her captor delivers more. She also gives her magazines and information on being pregnant. Astrid goes through the whole 9 months and deliverers on her own. She gives birth to a boy she names Sebastian.

I have a baby!

Back in the present, Emma meets some neighbors, Sophia and Jack. She gets the lowdown on the island and discovers there is a church that controls the society on the island; once you are in you never can leave. Only a few manage to get out.

I’m scared.

Irene Justesen is the Danish Jane Fonda, known as the Queen of Fitness throughout the country. She is thought of as a success story as she started out poor but built a powerful company. However, she has lost most to her drinking; and can’t enjoy the wealth and success as she traded it for her daughter.

One night after she has been leading an exercise class, the killer comes for her. She tries to bribe the killer, but nothing works. He kills her, harvests her organs, and shoves a sweatband into her mouth after her death.

Victor is crying out in his sleep about spiders. Emma tries to calm him down, but all he will say is :

“Spider,’ he said. ‘Watch for the spider!”

Now I read up to book six in this series, before I started this blog and circled back to review. One thing I’ve noticed that they haven’t explained is that whatever Victor’s condition is, it gives him some type of ESP. He is able to give warnings and everything he says helps Emma and the police in solving this crimes.

Victor wants to sleep in Emma’s room; something strange and unlike him. When Emma asks him why, he tells her someone died in his room.

WHAT!

Meanwhile, Emma and Sophia have grown to be very good friends. They visit every week and it turns out that Sophia has a new boyfriend and is pregnant with her sixth child (all have different fathers.)

Emma continues to do research and discovers that the people who were all killed belonged to the same church.

Then something odd happens, Victor becomes really sick as it turns out he has been attacked by spiders when he was out in the backyard.

Back in the ’70s, Astrid is celebrating Sebastian’s birthday. Astrid has been careful, but it appears she went either ate too much, calculated wrong, or that the captor forgot to bring them food. They are running out, and even with Astrid giving up her meals and giving them to Sebastian there will soon be nothing. Something needs to happen or else they will be dead.

As Astrid grows weaker and weirded out by her son’s fascination with spiders, she makes Sebastian promise that if the bunker was opened at anytime; for him to run and escape.

Pastor Gotredsen, the minster of the church that controls the island, is very unhappy with the news of Irene’s death. Not because he liked her, but because he knows what this means. They are killing all involved and the minister is next. However, his ego chooses to ignore this and continues believing that he is going to only come out on top.

We also discover that this minister does not truly believe in what he is supposed to be preaching, as he is practicing every sin he is supposed to be against, and the leader of a human trafficking group.

The killer of course comes for the minister, adding one more to his nightly meals.

Emma does some more hacking and discovers that once again the organs were removed and a number two was marked on a wall. They all had numbers on the wall. Counting down to what? Or who?

Emma goes into Victor’s room and removes everything from the walls. As she looks closer at sites of the repainting, she can see that there was a five painted there. Her grandma was killed by this psychopath.

Back in the ’80s, Astrid continues to grow weaker, wondering when the food is coming. Up above she hears the sound of a siren…

Back in the present Emma’s dad is coming to visit. He has been lonely without his family, as after his wife took off for Spain with her lover, all he had was Emma and the kids.

Flashback to the ’80s, and Astrid dies from starvation. Sebastian is the only one left and has only one option left to survive. His mom.

In the present, Emma goes to dinner with Sophia and her chef boyfriend. They are having a great night until they discover what the meal is. Organs. Very fancy-schmancy; but could they possibly be the minister’s organs?

Back in the ’80s, Sebastian  has been alone and scared; his only comfort his pet spiders. One day he hears a sound from the doorway, creak. It opens up and in walks a beautiful blonde girl. She says hello and asks him to play. Sebastian refuses, remembering his mother’s words and taking off in a run. Meanwhile the little girl’s father calls to her, “Emma, where are you?”

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Thoughts After Reading

I thought this was a pretty good mystery. It was suspenseful, kept you guessing and had an intense resolution.

***Spoilers***

So a couple of things, how did Officer Dan pass his psych evaluation? He’s totally a psychopath.

Emma does one stupid thing over and over; she just goes off without telling anyone where she is going.

And how creepy that ending. Your half-brother was trying to rape his nephew, kill his sister, and kill his father. I would be utterly creeped out to see that I has an insane brother like that.

I felt so bad for the father. Impregnated a much younger girl knowing you took advantage of her age ad mental state; but then trying to do the right thing but it turns out your mom and her cronies locked her up in a bunker and lied saying she left. And then your sons tries to rape your grandson, kill his sister, and murder you! He’s gonna need a lot of therapy. That whole family will.

For more mysteries with investigative reporters, go to The Alchemy of Murder

For more mysteries with psychics, go to The Final Seven

For more BookBub books, go to The Saint Valentine’s Day Cookie Massacre

For more mysteries, go to Apple Turnover Murder

The Saint Valentine’s Day Cookie Massacre

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Yes I don’t usually post on Sundays, but as I just had the perfect book for this holiday I decided that I would post early.

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The Saint Valentine’s Day Cookie Massacre (A Hatter’s Cove Gazette #1) by Elisabeth Crabtree

So I got this book off BookBub for free, and as anyone knows who uses the site, it’s kinda hit ot miss. Sometimes the free books you get are fantastic, and others rotters. I really loved this character and the story. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.

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The Review:

Kat Archer is an investigative reporter.

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She was working in Miami at a newspaper, but after ten years began to get nostalgic. She decided to move back to her hometown of Hatter’s Cove, FL.

When she was 16 she interned at the Hatter’s Cove Gazette and had a major crush on one of the reporters, Hayden. Of course, as he was five years older, nothing happened between them.

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When Kat returned, she discovered that Hayden now owns the Gazette, but sadly it is in dire straits. It appears that someone else has opened up a newspaper in the town, and took almost all the reporters that worked ay the Gazette.

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While Kat was luckily able to get a job on the paper right away, she was unluckily given the Lifestyles section instead of the hard-hitting, investigative work she really wants. In the last three months she has covered every dog show, cat stories, bird expos, and reviewing the town’s restaurants.

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Sounds kind if sweet, huh? The cushy restaurant reviewer’s job? Well, Kat hates it. Apparently no one in her town that owns a restaurant can cook, causing her to get food poisoning, stale food, etc.

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The rest of the team is Rosie, sports extraordinaire and sports writer; Beatrice, cantankerous and a grumpity grump that does the crossword puzzle and other stories; and Simon, the new intern.

Today is Valentines Day, and Kat’s old family friend, Miss Dolly, has just switched from catering to opening up her own store: Dolly’s Cookie Jar and Sweets Emporium. She especially asked for Kat, and how can she refuse.

Aw, how cute.

Aw, how cute.

She heads out, taking Simon along with her.

At the opening, Kat and Simon run into Evan, a reporter that jumped from the Gazette to the new newspaper, The Herald. He thinks he is God’s gift to women, and wants to date Kat. She is definitely a no on that.

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Then Benny comes, Simon’s nemesis, and starts taunting him again. This opening is raring to go.

Not-Good

Dolly kicks Benny out as she can’t stand him after he messed up her catering business.

See ya!

See ya!

Dolly opens and the whole town seems to come, including Tiffany Wallace. Tiffany is a convicted killer.

What?

Six years ago on her 18th birthday, she killed her father, and she’s out now because her charge was knocked down from murder to manslaughter. Apparently she killed her father because he didn’t approve of her wanting to marry Benny Yates. He threatened to cut her off. It sucks for her, as she killed her father, she didn’t inherit any of his money.

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Vivian Wallace, Tiffany’s stepmother, is also there. She and Dolly had been in the catering business together, but Vivian made a mess of the fiance and the business closed, along with their friendship. Dolly went on and continued to thrive as she had talent, she also married Rich Fairchild, ex golf pro. Vivian’s business was utterly destroyed, but she managed to bag the wealthiest man in town.

Later that night Kat is planning on spending Valentine’s Day alone; but gets a call about some great information. Kat decides to follow the instructions and meet. When she arrives on the scene she finds Benny’s dead body…

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Right next to a bag of Dolly’s Cookie Jar and Sweets Emporium bag. Later to be revealed as full of poisoned cookies.

Why was Benny calling Kat? What information did he have? And who killed him? Kat is on the case!

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Thoughts after reading:

I loved it.

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The mystery was great! I I thought I knew what was coming, but then that twist got right in there and showed me that there was still a bit I did not catch.

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I also really, really want Officer Luke and Kat to get together.

Please!

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For more mysteries featuring investigative reporters, go to the Thorns of Rosewood

For more reviews, go to A Dark and Stormy Knit