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

 

Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got Nobody

Yep, posting Saturday instead of Tuesday. Couldn’t help it, it is in the title.

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Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got Nobody (Page Turners Novel #1) by Jennie Marts

Sunny is a second grade teacher and is involved in a book club full of her eclectic friends. There is Maggie, a lawyer, recently divorced, and mother of two teenage boys; Cassie, mom of two, married since college, PTA perfection; Edna, a elderly, loud talking, in search of a good time, and crime show addict; and Paige, teenage niece of Cassie who is dealing with the rejection of her mother and hides her feelings under a goth appearance.

They meet every Wednesday for good food, gabbing, movies, and a bit of discussion on whatever book they read.

Lately the book club has two missions they have thrown themselves into:

One, Sunny and Edna’s neighbor hasn’t been seen in quite some time but a young man has come and set up in the homestead. Edna is convinced he has a gun, is a criminal, and murdered Walter. Sunny thinks he is to die for handsome and wants to spend more time with him. However, as much as Sunny likes him, there is something that rings false about him; and the crew start looking into where Walter is and what Jake is up to.

Second, the Page Turners have decided that it is time Sunny got involved with someone. It has been two years since her last relationship so they decide to set her up for six Saturdays, in the hopes that she finds Mr. Right.

This summer Sunny dates a rich but boring stockbroker; a single dad who can’t take no for an answer; a friendly video gamer; a laid back cowboy; a health foodie fisherman; and a mysterious yet friendly FBI Agent.

While all this is going on, Sunny receives hang up phone calls and has a stalker who wants to take their relationship to the next level.

Will Sunny discover who Jake really is? Will she find the perfect date? Or will none of that matter as she becomes victim to an insane stalker.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I received this book free in return of an honest review.

I thought this mystery was only okay. It had an interesting premise, but the development of the characters were extremely shallow and it felt as if the author was going in different directions. Instead of a concise story it was more of a slapdash of different elements.

We have the possibility of the neighbor being a killer which doesn’t really go anywhere, and his character having no real substance.

The dates set up by the book club friends were just too extreme and overdone in an attempt to get you to laugh (which you don’t). I mean really, what women wearing Jimmy Choos would walk in the grass on her lawn instead of the pathway and accidentally step on dog poo without realizing it?

What WOW date would ever risk bringing someone along on a raid without finding out if she even knew what she was doing? They were just dumb.

That’s it?

How could she fall in horse poop and not tell?

The stalker of Sunny was interesting, but again the reveal wasn’t done well as it felt the author didn’t take time to fully craft it but chose a character to wrap it up. The ending was cheap, boring, and cliché.

They call this “page turners” but the women hardly even read, mostly gossip, eat, and watch movies. Maybe they should have gone with a film name instead of literary as they don’t seem to really enjoy it.

It had some fun parts, but those weren’t enough to rescue this book. Another one I’d pass on by.

For more blind date-themed mysteries, go to Dying for a Date

For more stalking mysteries, go to Candy from a Stranger

For more reviews, go to The Cold Dish

Candy from a Stranger

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Candy from a Stranger by Daryl Buckner

I received this book free from Netgalley, in return for an honest review.

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Ben Cain has his Phd in psychology and teaches at the community college in a town where he can do the teaching he loves, but take off and go fishing on the weekends. Him and his family live an ideal life.

That all changes when his eight-year old boy disappears on his way to the park. Being unable to cope without having the answers, without having his son; Cain sets off to find the person who took him and make him pay.

Sadly, the police have no leads. After investigating whether or not Cain actually murdered his own child they have come up empty.

Cain will not let it go, even though his wife has left him and returned to Washington to her parents. Cain instead launches his own investigation, believing that this is a serial kidnapper/killer and starts searching to see what other children fit this profile.

He starts tracking down families and going out to question them; when he ends up being in the places as the abductions happen. And the number one suspect for the Police and FBI.

Cain has a suspect based on the food wrappers, and starts searching for the guy, trying to follow him and find more information on him.

But this doesn’t deter Cain as he finds a boy that fits the profile and moves next door watching and stalking him, in order to protect him and catch the killer, along with hoping to discover the truth about what happened to his son.

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I liked the idea of the tale of the missing child being told from a father’s point of view as that is not something really seen. However, I did not enjoy this book.

I felt the character was hard to connect to as they appeared so distraught that they had behavior that was really out there. From a character view it was well-done, from being the narrator of the story it made it difficult to read.

I also dislike that the author reveals who the kidnapper is so early on in the book, along with the way they portray police.

For more mysteries featuring disappearances, go to The Turquoise Trail Mystery

For more mysteries featuring kidnapping, go to Iced

For more serial killers, go to Psycho

For more not-in-a-series-mysteries, go to The Disappearance of Edwin Drood

In other news this is my 300th post

To go to the 200th post, go to The Murders in Rue Morgue

Thorns of Rosewood

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Thorns of Rosewood (The Rosewood Series #1) by G. M. Barlean

In the Thorns of Rosewood, by G. M. Barlean, Gloria Larsen is an intelligent and talented reporter, and she’s out to find her birth mother.

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She only knows three things about her mother: she grew up in Rosewood, Nebraska; was over forty when she had her, and gave her up when she was accused of murder in 1974.

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Gloria loves her adopted parents, but has always wondered about what really happened with her family. When Gloria comes across the information that Rosewood is looking for a new editor of their newspaper, she jumps at the chance and heads to the small town, eager to find her “real mom”.

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However it won’t be that easy, as four women were accused of murdering the judge’s wife, Naomi Waterman Talbot. Which one is her mother? Betty? Debbie? Tanya? Josie?

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She’s read numerous reports on the women, but they all seem one-sided and eager to paint the women as villains. But were they? Or were they innocents vilified?

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Gloria is eager to find out.

As she looks into whether the women are alive and where they might be, she discovers that they are all still alive and living in a rest home in Lincoln, Nebraska. One hour away.

fantastic

She journeys out to talk to them.

When she gets there she blows the whole thing. She demands to know their story behind the accusations and gets tossed out.

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A few weeks later Gloria calls the rest home back and apologizes telling them the real reason she wants the story, she wants to know her mother. A week later, she gets a call back inviting her to tea.

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The women agree to give Gloria a full confession, but only if she promises to publish after their deaths.

What?

Gloria isn’t happy, but agrees.

It turns out that the women were all in the same class together with Naomi and their friend Mari. Each woman tells a portion of their story, starting in 1950 when they first met Naomi.

Their friend Mari used to date Doug Talbot, who was the son of the most influential man in town. Naomi came to town with her red hair, curvy body, low cut tight fitting clothes, and promiscuous ways. She was with Doug, got pregnant, and married him netting her spot on the top of the social circle.

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Naomi had multiple run-ins with the girls as she hated that they wouldn’t play by her rules. She was a master manipulator, inviting Debbie to her reception and then getting her thrown in jail for “assault”.

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Naomi is given a position at the bank as Chief Lending Officer even though she knows zip. She also ends up being Tanya’s boss.  Tanya is very intelligent and has worked hard to have a good position, but Naomi makes everyday at work horrifying. She ends up being demoted to teller.

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Josie is a teacher, in fact the one who is instructing Naomi’s child. She notices that Doug Junior is very lonely and having some issues. She believes that Naomi is the root of it all. When she tries to talk to her about it, Naomi almost gets Josie fired.

Hate her that's so raven

The more time that Gloria spends with the women the more she enjoys their company an who they are. She loves them all, but doesn’t know which she would want as a mother. And she can’t help but wonder if they really did kill Naomi.

HMMM

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Thoughts after reading:

This is a very different mystery as instead of having something happen and you try to solve it, we instead get the whole story piece by piece. It is almost more of a regular fiction story than mystery.

And it was a truly compelling read and near impossible to put down.

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You should definitely read it for yourself.

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For more Midwestern mysteries, go to Strawberry Shortcake Murder

For more stand alone mysteries, go to The Missing Mah Jong Player

For more book reviews, go to Grime and Punishment