Lowcountry Boil

Lowcountry Boil (A Liz Talbot Mystery #1) by Susan M. Boyer

So I first became aware of the Liz Talbot Mysteries with the third book, Lowcountry Boneyard. I was a book reviewer for a blog, we didn’t get paid but I did get free books to read, like that gum commercial.

I tried to get the rest of the series but the libraries didn’t have it and I thought about buying it but I really wanted to read it first. I finally got my hands on the first book, so here we go!

Liz Talbot left Stella Maris Island, her hometown, for college and marriage and has hardly been back. Her high school sweetheart, Michael Devlin, married her evil cousin Marci Miller (seriously she has some screws loose), and then she married, Scott Andrews, turned out to e a narcissistic conman.

She is divorced and now runs a successful private investigator team with her ex-brother-in-law Nate Andrews. (It is obvious he has feelings for her but Liz doesn’t see it and still carries a torch for her high school sweetheart).

Everything changes when she sees the ghost of her high school friend, Colleen Stevens. She warns her to come back to the island as her grandmother, Gram is dead.

At first Liz thinks her grandmother died by accident, but soon she and her brother. Blake Talbot, Police Chief, decide there was something more happening.

Liz inherits her Gram’s house and Colleen, a guardian spirit who is connected to the island. As long as Liz remains on the island, Colleen is there to guide and protect her-but if Liz doesn’t stay then terrible things will happen.

As Liz says goodbye to Nate and her other life, she sets out to make Stella Maris her new home and solve who killed Gram.

She finds herself in a wasp nest of developers, fighting city council, blackmail, hired guns, domestic violence, choosing between her old flame or starting something new, and more! Will she find out the truth, or end up joining Colleen in the spirit world?

Thoughts After Reading:

It was a great read. I love how classy and ladylike Liz is, as a Southern woman should be, along with how tough and resourceful she is.

This novel is great read as it gets intense in the middle and I was flipping pages trying to get to what happened next.

I loved it and can’t wait for book 2!

For more private investigators, go to The Case of the Invisible Dog

For female private investigators, go to Innocent in Las Vegas

For more Southern mysteries, go to Design for Murder

For more supernatural mysteries, go to Christina’s Ghost

Let Me Call You Sweetheart

Happy Valentine’s Day!

So today we celebrate with a romantic murder mystery!

letmecallyousweetheart

Let Me Call You Sweetheart by Mary Higgins Clark

This is the first Mary Higgins Clark book I had ever read, so it is special to me. Years back I was just watching TV shows and movies on Youtube on my phone while I was working on something on the computer. The movie Let Me Call You Sweetheart came on, and I started watching it.

I got so into the film, I decided to read the book.

Kerri McGrath is a divorced mother and works for the D.A. Her ex-husband left her to trade up for a new wife/partnership in a law firm and has been pretty absent in Kerri and their daughter Robin’s life.

One day he was taking Robin out and she didn’t have her seatbelt on. They were in an accident and she gets her face damaged. Kerri takes her to the best plastic surgeon, Dr. Charles Smith. While they are waiting, Kerri sees a beautiful woman that looks so familiar to her, but she can’t remember where or why. She asks about her name, but doesn’t recognize it.

It sticks with her, and she keeps thinking of roses. It continues to trouble her until one day it hits her like a flash! The woman was a dead ringer for Suzanne Reardon! The Sweetheart Murder!

Eleven years ago, Suzanne Reardon was found dead in her home, sweetheart roses thrown everywhere. Her husband was arrested for her murder and the case quickly sewn up. It bothers Kerri that Dr. Smith would make a lookalike, and not one but TWO, as she discovers another woman done over the same way. She calls for the old files and begins to research into the case.

Geoff Dorso is pleased she is interested, as he is the defense attorney for Skip Reardon, Suzanne’s husband. He never believed that Skip was guilty and has been trying for the last eleven years to find something that proves it and help him get his freedom. He eagerly goes over the case with Kerri, hoping they find something new, along with falling head over heels for her.

But not all are happy that Kerri is looking into it. Her boss Frank Green made his career on that case and he is up for promotion, one that could go away if it turned out he sent an innocent man to jail. He encourages Kerri to let it go as she has a ton of current cases that are in need of looking into.

State Senator Jonathan Hoover, and friend of Kerri’s, is not interested in her dragging this up as he and the party were interested in elevating Frank Green and appointing Kerri to judgeship, but that won’t happen if she keeps looking into this.

Don’t mess with it

Jimmy Weeks, Mafioso, is dead set against any investigation into the Suzanne Reardon case. Right now he is going on trial, Kerri’s ex-husband, Bob, being his defense attorney. He tells Bob in no uncertain terms that he needs to get his ex-wife to quit or else bad things will happen.

Kerri is waffling between looking into the case and letting it go, especially with the threats against her, her job, and her daughter. But then she uncovers something and believes that the real killer is still out there. Will she be able to figure it out in time? Or will this be her last case?

Hmmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

I love this book. I enjoy it so much that I reread it a lot. I definitely recommend it to anyone.

For more Valentine’s Day posts, go to This Pen for Hire

For more on Mary Higgins Clark, go to Voices in the Coalbin

For more mysteries in retrospect, go to The Disappearance of Edwin Drood

For more Not in a Series Mysteries, go to The House on Foster Hill

Dying for a Date

18616483

Dying for a Date (Laurel McKay Mysteries #1)

Laurel McKay is a divorced mom of two. Laurel had been with her husband since high school and after his betrayal of leaving her for another woman, Laurel has found it difficult to trust or date again.

However, her best friend Liz convinced her try her hand at a matchmaking site, The Love Club, and get out there again.

Tonight is her first date. She heads out to the restaurant and meets up with Garrett, an accountant. He seems nice, although a little boring. Afterwards, Garrett walks Laurel to her car only for her to discover she left the keys and cell phone in the car.

She asks Garrett to borrow his phone, heading to his car. After she makes her call, Garrett attacks her, and Laurel grabs the first thing she can-his cell phone-and pops him in the nose.

Laurel leaves and heads back into the restaurant to await AAA, all the while bemoaning her date and feeling as if she never wants to date again.

She stops at a McDonalds for a coffee and heads home for the night. The next day she heads to the headquarters of The Love Club to let them know about Garrett. When she talks to the secretary she discovers that Garrett was murdered the night before, from being hit in the head.

Seriously?

Laurel is positive that her wap in the nose could not have killed him, but that doesn’t stop her from becoming a suspect.

Because she was his last date, and last planned meeting, Laurel has to come down for questioning. There she meets Detective Hunter; a very attractive, single dad, who’s daughter happened to have a scuffle with her son at their last soccer game. A very embarrassing moment as Laurel fought with him during that game, and now she has to hope he believes in her innocence.

Detective Hunter has an open mind and warns Laurel that she could have been killed and might still be on the hit list. Detective Bradford, Hunter’s partner, on the other hand, thinks Laurel is a stone cold killer and is set to prove it.

Laurel never wants to date again through The Love Club, but she has paid for the service and had already requested a few more dates. She decides to have a lunch date with a doctor named Jeremy. Jeremy is sweet, a tad bland, but Laurel decides to agree to another date to give him a chance.

Barbara Bingham, Laurel’s mother, is constantly trying to set her up with different guys. This time is no different as she has an agent from her company, Peter, is who she thinks is perfect for her daughter. When Laurel goes to pick her son up from his time with grandma, she meets Peter and sees that he is kind and sweetly entertaining her son.

Hmm…

Laurel’s ex comes back into the picture unexpectedly, and upsets everything. He tries to hint that they should get back together (as if) and tells her she needs to stop dating. Weird.

Laurel goes shopping for her upcoming date and prepares for it. Jeremy takes her to one of the fanciest restaurants and orders Dom Perignon champagne. They begin talking, when Jeremy gets a call. He leaves to answer it.

Laurel sits waiting, drinking, to pass the time. Every time she takes a drink, the waiter refills.  Soon Laurel is starting to feel a little sick and heads to the restrooms, stopping outside and spotting two gentlemen, one who looks like Jeremy. She then heads to the bathroom, pulling herself together and nodding off.

When she wakes she returns to her table only to see that the room is pretty deserted and everyone is occupied by the windows overlooking the river. When she questions what has happened it appears that someone drowned in the river. Laurel tries to find Jeremy, thinking that he might be down trying to help out. As she tries to find out more information she runs into Detective Hunter.

He questions what she is doing there and she tells him about her date and how he disappeared. She tells him that she won’t be seeing his rude self anymore in the future. Detective Hunter agrees, as Jeremy is dead.

Yes Laurel has had not one date die, but two. This puts her high on the suspect list, even though there is no clear motive. With Detective Bradford set on pinning the murders on her and Detective Hunter having no other options but to look at her as number one suspect.

Laurel decides to take matters into her own hands. She recruits her mother, best friend Liz, and coworker Stan to follow, research, and track down the killer before she finds herself wearing prison stripes.

So who could the killer be? Is it someone who doesn’t want Laurel to date? Such as her husband who was heard saying that he would kill anyone who was with her? Plus he as a contractor, so he has access to the weapons that killed the men.

Could it be her boss Earl? He is interested in her as more than just an employee and hates the fact that she is dating. To add to his creepy interest, he also has a file on Jeremy.

Hmm…

Could it be Jeremy’s partner in the practice? He is harsh, rude, and has a gambling addiction; embezzling funds from the company. Did he kill Jeremy to keep him from finding out?

Then Peter asks Laurel out. Is it safe for them? Or will there be a third dead body?

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

***Spoiler Alert***

Thoughts After Reading;

I thought it was it was cute and a good mystery. I had narrowed it down to two suspects, and while I guessed correctly who the real killer was there were several twists and turns which delighted me.

The only thing I didn’t like was that the author described every article of clothing that her main character wore, which I thought drew one out of the story.

I also didn’t like how the detectives focused solely on her as it seemed she had a good alibi. I mean with Garrett, there is the restaurant workers, AAA, McDonalds, etc; and with Jeremy the waiter and the women who came into the bathroom.

I really liked the conclusion. I thought the way they wrote Laurel’s mom saving the day was fun and just a great ending to the story.

For more mysteries with Serial Killers, go to Miss Polly Had a Dolly

For more mysteries with blind dates, go to Sunset Reads: William & Cristina

For more mystery reviews, go to The Girl in Alfred Hitchcock’s Shower

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

itsybitsyspider

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.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

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?.”

200_s

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?”

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

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 October Game

original

“The October Game” from Long After Midnight by Ray Bradbury

*Contains Spoliers*

Thoughts Before Reading:

Long After Midnight is a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury. While most of his work is science fiction, every now and then he writes something we can post on this blog. Originally I was just going to post something tomorrow, but thought hey what the heck! Why not post on Halloween? Espechially as I have one creepy and spooky story for you all.

witch

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Mich wants his wife dead.

gunshooting

But he doesn’t want to shoot her, it is not the right way to do it. She must be in agony, it must take time.

halloween-michael-myers-gif

It is Halloween night, Mich’s least favorite time of the year.

PumpkinHalloween

That night they are having a Halloween party and his wife, Louisa is getting everything ready from treats to games.

She flits around from room to room always leaving the room that Mich enters. Mich thinks of it as a game, following and asking for things but all the while thinking about killing her.

She finally locks herself in the bathroom and Mich cannot follow.

His daughter Marion approaches him, dressed as a skeleton. To further his anger, Louise had never wanted a child, but became pregnant with a girl. A girl that looked nothing like Mich and only like Louise, growning up following in her ways. And afterwards she could have no more. No child that looks like Mich. No son.

It's not fair.

It’s not fair.

Divorce wouldn’t hurt her,she would be free to marry someone else. No the only thing to really hurt her would be to get rid of Marion!

you're evil

That’s it Mich has decided to take her child away from her.

perfectplan

By 10 the party is winding down. Apples bobbed, the donkey’s tail pinned, the bottle spun, musical chairs completed, etc.

1920sparty

Mich is in the center of it all, playing along with the kids all the parents commenting on him.

wow

It was then time to go down to the cellar for the Haunted House.

Sabrina the teenage witch salem dum di dum dum dum

Mich has the room pitch black. The witch is dead he says. She has been killed and here is the knife that she was killed with. And passes it around.

stabknife

He says the witch is dead and this is her head passing it on.

creepyew

One of the kids calls out that they know what this is all about.

gotthis

Chicken skin is used for skin, clay mold for the head, grapes for eyes, noodles for innards, etc. They tell him to shush and continue listening.

Mich then says, the witch came to harm  and this is her arm, passing it around. The witch is cut apart this is her heart.

clockwork_heart

And on it goes with each item being passed from person to person.

creepytumblr_mvlf7wEoGk1qcwyxho1_500

Some of the kids freak out and call to their parents, with them calming him. Louise calls to Marion, don’t be afraid it is all okay. But Marion doesn’t say anything.

That'sOdd

She’s calls out to her, but still no answer.

somethingisnotright0

Mich tells her to calm down that all is fine. But Louise continues to call out for her and everyone looking.

What'sHappening?BigBangTheory

One parent says to turn on the lights, and a boy goes upstairs to look.  Louise cries out while the items stop being passed along the room.

And then someone turns on the light.

scream

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

So in case you didn’t get it, he killed her. He killed his daughter.

Uh-oh-dexter-9352138-275-155

And passed around her body parts.

ouch-gif

I know, what a psychopath.

It is a creepy story, well-written, and incredibly sad.

feelspain

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

For more mystery reviews, check out The Murder at the Vicarage

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Whatever you do, I hope you have a safe and happy Halloween.

Catering to Nobody

269746

Catering to Nobody (Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery #1) by Diane Mott Davidson

So I was first introduced to this mystery series when I scored a free copy of Chopping Spree. One day I was going to eat dinner alone when I realized I forgot the book I had been reading. I searched my car for something to read when I came upon Chopping Spree. I started reading it and became hooked! I then decided it was time to start at the beginning.

So this book takes place on Halloween, making it perfect to review in October.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Plot Synopsis:

Goldy has had a hard time of it lately.

BigBangTheoryMyliferightnow

After she and her abusive/cheating husband divorced; she discovered that even though he makes plenty of money he still hates parting with it. Instead of relying on his childcare payments (most of which never come) Goldy started her own catering business.

cookingfood

It hasn’t been easy, but Goldy has been working hard making a name for herself in Aspen, Colorado.

Lordoftherings LifeisGood

However, things have gotten grimmer as her son Arch’s favorite teacher just committed suicide. And Goldy is the one in charge of catering the wake.

Aw...

Aw…

But she does have some good in her life. Pomeroy, is a good friend, and her honey supplier. And she has her best friend Marla, one of her husband’s, John Richard’s, previous wives.

friend

She’s supposed to have an assistant, who gets a free room for helping cook, but the girl, Patty Sue isn’t very smart and can’t do anything without making a mess or destroying what she is doing.

2013-11-27-bradpitt friends ugh slap face stupid

All Patty seems to do is see Goldy’s ex-father-in-law, Dr. Fritz. Supposedly she suffers from some severe medical problem and Fritz is the only one who can treat him. His wife, Goldy’s ex-mother-in-law asked if she would be willing to assist Patty. And Goldy being incredibly kind, agreed.

what have i gotten myself into star trek next gen

So Goldie works hard catering, her business subsidized by cleaning homes, and trying to do a great job with her horrible ex-husband and family there.

From my sister blog janeaustenrunsmylife.wordpress.com

Except she drinks espresso.

But then something happens that destroys everything. Her father-in-law drinks poisoned coffee at one of her events!

AAAAHHHHH

Because of that her catering business is shut down.

luke-noooo-o

But Goldie won’t let that go without a fight. She sets out to prove she wasn’t the one poisoning Fritz.

don'tneedsleepneedanswers

Along the way, she starts to come across some information that makes her question whether the teacher, Laura, actually committed suicide or if she was murdered.

Murder

To further heat this up, Officer Tom Shultz has taken an interest in Goldie and hopes to cook up some romance.

urkelgif interesting hmm

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

I loved it.

loveitSupernatural

I thought the characters were great and enjoyable.

ilikeyou

The mystery wonderful.

oooh 101 Dalmations

And I can’t wait to read the next one.

ReadTimeandPlaceforBooksMyhandnow

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

For more caterers who start investigating a murder, go to Cherry Cheesecake Murder

For more suicides as covers for murder, go to Cookie Dough or Die

For more poisonings, go to The Postman Always Purls Twice

For more mystery reviews, go to The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train

22557272

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Thoughts Before Reading:

Goodreads has been pushing this book on me non-stop since it was published. It kept recommending it, had all these ads I would accidentally click on (I think Goodreads did it on purpose), I think they might have even run a contest for it.

I mean they wouldn’t leave me alone.

hughappy

So I added it to my to-read list, but we all know what that is like; am I right?

Agatha Christie, surrounded by some of her 80-plus crime novels.

Times a million

But then I saw the movie is coming out Friday and decided I should read it before I watch it. Here goes, but don’t worry I won’t reveal any spoilers.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Plot Synopsis:

So the book is told by three different female narrators, through a series of flashbacks and present time. It can get rather confusing, but that’s the tool Hawkin’s chooses to fog over the book and leave you guessing.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

1) Rachel

la-et-cinemacon-2016-universal-unveils-the-girl-on-the-train-20160414

Rachel Watson was married to her husband Tom for five years. He had an affair with a younger woman, Anna, got her pregnant and divorced Rachel. Rachel is still incredibly in love with him and hasn’t gotten over him, wishing they were together still.

Every day she rides the train from the house she is renting a room from to her work in a public relations firm in London. As she looks out the window she watches this couple she thinks is absolutely perfect; one she calls Jack and Jessie.

I wish I had that.

I wish I had that.

It reminds her of how she and her ex-husband Tom used to be.

Aw...

Aw…

Speaking of Tom, every day she passes their house, her old house! Tom moved his new wife in there, and they have a little girl. Everything about it upsets her and makes her so furious how he left her.

It's not fair.

It’s not fair.

Rachel is also an alcoholic, and when she drinks she completely black out losing that time and never recovering it or knowing exactly what took place.

whid1

She continues to drink and ends up losing her job. She tries going into London to the library to find another, but instead spends more of her time just riding the train back and forth and watching “Jack and Jessie”. Wanting that life.

Aw, how cute.

Aw, how cute.

But on one Friday she looks out and Jessie isn’t with her husband. Instead she is kissing another man.

ohnoyoudidn't

Already thick with drink, Rachel continues on and becomes more and more angry. So furious at Jessie’s betrayal as it is so:

wrong

It reminds her of her own betrayal and she starts thinking about how she would like to go over there and hit her or tell her to stop, like she should have done to Anna at the time. Instead of continuing on to her destination, she gets off on that stop and…

animated-light-bulb-gif-28

The next day Rachel wakes up bloody and vomiting. She has a giant bump on her head and some of the blood on her is not her own. And she can’t remember anything.

whathaveIdone

It turns out that late that night Jessie, who is really Megan, has vanished. No one knows where she went. Of course the police are looking at her husband (the one Rachel named Jack but is really Scott). Rachel can’t believe Scott would do such a thing and injects herself into the investigation and Scott’s life.

KeepCalmSleuthOn

She tries to tell them about the affair and what she saw, but soon she is thrust out, her alcoholism labeling her unstable and her obsession with the couple making her a person of interest. Maybe she killed Megan because of her anger? Maybe she thought she was Anna, they do look similar, especially at night and in a drunken state?

I wonder...

I wonder…

Rachel realizes that she doesn’t really know Scott or Megan, just the people she made them up to be; and that she has nothing helpful about that night. She starts going to therapy to help her figure out her life and maybe shed light on what happened. But does she really want to know?

Uh-oh-dexter-9352138-275-155

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

2) Anna

GOT Props000850.RAF

Anna Watson was a real estate agent when she meet Tom Watson. She instantly liked him and decided he was the one for her, not caring that he was married.

giphy

She loved being the other woman and never cared about Rachel’s feelings. Rachel was a real witch anyway. She was abusive; always getting drunk and embarrassing, manipulating, or trying to hurt Tom. And man he was such a saint, taking care of her that long. Thank goodness they had a baby and Tom was finally able to free himself from her.

You_know_thats_right

So everything is blissful in the new Watson home; except they are living in her (Rachel) old house with all her things, the baby is driving her crazy with all it crying, and Rachel won’t leave them alone. She calls all the time, she comes by, and even at one point she got in the house and took the baby out; probably trying to kidnap her!!

thenannygasp

Anna wants the police involved, a restraining order, something! Anything! But no, Tom always goes and talks to Rachel promising that it will be the last time. But it never is.

creepytumblr_mvlf7wEoGk1qcwyxho1_500

In fact, it has gotten so bad that Anna is feeling completely paranoid and unsafe. In fact she saw Rachel the night that Megan disappeared and is completely sure that she is involved, why else would she be hanging around Megan’s husband Scott.

IDon'tlikeit

Anna knew Megan as she just lived down the street and used to nanny for her. Megan quit suddenly one day, saying she got another job; but where in their tiny suburban town?

doesn'tmakesense

And then as people search more into Megan’s life a lot of skeletons come out of the closet. Megan wasn’t the person Anna thought she was, maybe she was lucky she quit.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

3) Megan

335ef05400000578-3548954-jealous_blonde_haired_megan_seems_to_have_it_all_beauty_a_husban-m-82_1461170977165

Megan is a beautiful, vivacious, blonde. She looks perfect, her husband looks perfect, her life looks perfect…but this woman has an intense past.

plotthickens

Megan was traumatized over the death of her brother Ben and ran away from home. She was picked up by an older boy and lived with him; drinking and getting high. Eventually she left that and moved on working at a gallery, and later managing that. She meet Scott and married him, ever since feeling lost in Suburbia. Especially after the gallery she opened closed.

Aw...

Aw…

She can’t sleep, and all she does is spend her life in her head. After her husband’s nudging, she begins to see a therapist, Dr. Kamal Abdic.

After seeing him, she becomes attracted to him. The two pushing the boundaries of the doctor-patient relationship.

Blog-Child-Support-Oh-No

This hasn’t been Megan’s first affair, (whether emotional or physical). She loves her husband but at the same time doesn’t feel as if it is enough. She has been with lots of men, always covering her tracks as to what she is doing behind her husband’s back.

gotthis

She has many, many secrets hidden inside her; but which one is the reason she has been killed? And who did the act? Rachel? Scott? Dr. Kamal Abdic? One of her lovers?

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought it was very well written although it reminded me a lot of Gone Girl.

GoneGirl

In Gone Girl you had a hard time figuring out fact from fiction, because the first narrator, the husband, introduces himself  having a face that makes himself always look as if he is lying. As you read you start wondering if he is a liar, otherwise why is he so defensive? On the other hand, the second narrator, his wife, tells her story through writing a journal. But is it the truth? After all a journal is where you release your emotions. It is just a moment and selective in memory.

I wonder...

I wonder…

Hawkins does a similar thing with her narrators. First we have Rachel, who is unreliable. She drinks far too much, and a lot of her memory is broken, uncertain, fuzzy, or unknown. Besides that she has an overactive imagination and the things she has seen might not have even occurred. They could just be in her mind.

HMMM

Anna is biased against Rachel, discussing how she does feel her a threat (to her body and marriage) and is planning on doing anything necessary to hold on to Tom. Could she lie or make things up to try and get Rachel out of their life? Will she lie or hurt others to ensure Tom stays with her and her only?

IndianaJonesHmmMaybe

And then there is Megan. She talks a lot, but most of it is shallow things. The deep she keeps tucked away with us not knowing the whole story. Or if she does allow the reader to glimpse her innermost parts, she still keeps key things buried. How will we ever know if her account is correct or whole?

paris-whenitsizzlesaudreyhmmHepburn

I thought it captured your attention, kept you going, and was very enjoyable.

I did figure it out:

I'm that good

I’m that good.

But was still enjoyable and recommend trying it out. The end was really good. I promised no spoilers so I’m only going to say this one thing and try to be very vague.

With each of the characters, especially Rachel, there is a label of untruthfulness or liar; due the lies they tell, giving half-truths, or withholding by keeping secrets. While I figured out which character was the killer early on, I never thought the author would take those themes of lying/liar as far as she did; giving us an interesting twist. Plus that very last part with how the killer is stopped was completely unexpected.

cluelesstravistwothumbsup!

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

For more not in a series mysteries, go to The Winter People

For more mysteries that involve a disappearance, go to Cookie Dough or Die

For more mystery reviews, go to Sleeping Beauty

Cookie Dough or Die

cookiedoughordie

Cookie Dough or Die (Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery #1) by Virginia Lowell

After Olivia Greyson’s divorce to a renowned surgeon, she moved home to Chatterley Heights, Maryland. While she was trying to figure out what to do next with her life Olivia was befriended by Clarisse Chamberlain, entrepreneur and businesswoman, who encourages her to buy the historic Gingerbread House and follow her dream to open a cookie shop.

cookies

Since then she and her best friend Maddie have been running the shop together. Olivia runs the numbers and planning; while Maddie is the creative one who is in charge of the baking and making fantastical creations.

cookiessabrinatheteenagewiitch

Olivia is catching up on her beauty rest when she hears something downstairs. It’s not a robber, but Maddie coming over to create something fun and wonderful for Spring. After her, the hunky Sheriff Del comes with a a sad message for Olivia; Clarisse was found dead, and it looks like suicide.

luke-noooo-o

Olivia knows that Clarisse would never kill herself and sets off to discover who murdered her.

KeepCalmSleuthOn

The suspect list is long and complicated. There are her two dueling sons; Hugh and Edward; that have always wanted to inherit the full power of the business. Could they have killed her for the inheritance? Before one was written out of the will?

HMMM

Tammy, Olivia’s old best friend from elementary school, also has a strong motive. She has been in love with Hugh for as long as she can remember. They dated at one time, but Hugh was distracted by another, Jasmine, and Clarisse was set against Tammy from that day on. Even when Jasmine left the picture, Clarisse hated any girl that wanted Hugh. Could Tammy have killed Clarisse in order to marry Hugh?

Very fishy

Hmmmmmm?

And what of Jasmine who just mysteriously disappeared? Is she somehow involved with this?

I wonder...

I wonder…

When a local postman hints that he knew Clarisse received some information from a private detective; he ends up on the hit list.

coincidenceithinknot

It turns out he was poisoned by one of Olivia and Maddie’s cookies.

You know what that means...something is about to happen

Now it is clear that they are the next target. Can Olivia solve the murder before she is killed too?

Uh-oh-dexter-9352138-275-155

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t really care for this book. I was a bit disappointed too, as I waited three months for the book to come in from a sister library to read but it wasn’t as good.

IDon'tlikeit

The mystery itself was good, but the way it was carried out was seriously lacking.

Not-Good

The story was okay except there is a lot of information about the characters that we aren’t given which make it a bit confusing. For a first book, it is best to not confuse the reader.

What'sHappening?BigBangTheory

I didn’t like the mom character as  felt she was far too cliché and boring.

A character like this again?!

A character like this again?!

The end wasn’t all that good either. The mystery was intriguing, but the resolution was too quickly wrapped up. It was very murky mysterious, and then all of a sudden crystal clear. I felt they need more leeway time, steps leading it up to the resolution.

seriously

It was also weird to have a mystery book that features dogs instead of cats. I’m not against dogs or anything, I like them too. But cats and mysteries just seem to go hand in hand. Having a mystery book without one and a dog instead is just so unusual. After all, cats are just so amazing.

loveofacat

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

For more mysteries involving a cookie shop, go to Cream Puff Murder

For more Southern mysteries, go to Bloom and Doom

For more suicides as a cover for murder, go to Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters

For more death by poison food, go to A Pinch of Poison 

For more Charles Dickens quotes, go to Gorgonzola Cream Cheese Log

For more mystery reviews, go to Sleeping Beauty

A is for Alibi

aisforalibi

A is for Alibi (Kinsey Millhone Mysteries #1) by Sue Grafton

So before I begin the review let me first say how upset I am at Sue Grafton. I’m signed up for all her news updates, but I received nothing about the newest addition to the series, X.

seriously

I was first was introduced to this series when I was reading an Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, seven years ago. One of the books they recommended was J is for Judgement.

jisforjudgement

Not too long after I found the book at a library sale, but after I bought it I realized it was part of a series.

So I decided the only way to read it would be to start from the beginning, with A is for Alibi.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

aisforalibi

So the book takes place in the ’80s.

bringback80s

Kinsey Millhone is thirty-two year old, twice divorced, no kids, private investigator living in Santa Teresa (parody of Santa Barbara), CA.

Every book starts off with this short piece of info and the closing remarks to her case. We then flashback to the actual mystery.

flashback

Nikki Fife was convicted of her husband’s murder eight years. She believes herself to be wrongfully accused and wants to hire Kinsey to find out who actually murdered him.

veronicamarsinvestigatesleuth

Nikki first became involved with her deceased husband when she was his mistress. She was married to him for four years, of which he was only faithful for six months. Nikki said that at first she was angry and listened in phone calls, followed him around, wrote down every infidelity; but by the time he had been murdered; Nikki didn’t care anymore. She just wanted to move forward with her life.

As Kinsey looks into Nikki’s case, she discovers that an accountant named Libby Glass, twenty-four, also died from ingesting ground oleander four days after Laurence Fife died. The police couldn’t tie the two cases together at the time. Libby’s boyfriend Lyle Abernathy believes that she was seeing some “Santa Teresa attorney”.

Who done it?

Who done it?

Kinsey starts questioning and looking in the case; from the cute laywer Charlie Scorsoni, Gwen Fife the ex-wife, Lawrence’s two children, and Nikki’s deaf son Colin.

WhoDoneIt?

As Kinsey continues to investigate she discovers that there are a lot of questions and a killer that most definitely does not want to be caught.

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

Thoughts After Reading:

I thought this was a good introductory novel. Kinsey was an interesting, different, and fun character. After I read it, I eagerly wanted to read the next books in the series.

mystery-clipart-Open-Book

I thought the book did have a few issues. It was easily solvable and Kinsey made one huge mistake. Getting involved with a possible suspect never turns out well.

bigmistake

But otherwise I really enjoyed the book.

likeit

bannerbooks-border-black-and-white

For more private investigators, go to Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters

More ’80s books, go to The Dollhouse Murders