Author Archives: Zarah Robinson

Review of Dead Eye (Tiger’s Eye Mystery #1), by Alyssa Day

I picked up a copy of Dead Eye, by Alyssa Day, during a freebie day on Amazon.

Description from Goodreads:

For Jack Shepherd, tiger shape-shifter and former soldier, life is heading for a dead end. Dead End, Florida, to be exact. When he learns that he inherited a combination pawn shop/private investigation agency from his favorite uncle, Jack’s first job is to solve his uncle’s murder. Because sometimes it takes a tiger’s eye to see the truth.

Review:

I thought this was amusing, but a little light on content. I liked the characters but didn’t think the romantic subplot was developed well enough. (Day seemed to be hinting at something interesting that never came to anything.) The plot stood alone, but I definitely felt the fact that it is a spin-off series. There were just too many references to past events the reader has no access to if they’ve not read the other series. The mystery was neatly set up, but the villain was dispatched with shocking ease and the whole thing felt anticlimactic. All in all, I liked it enough to read more of Day urban fantasy/ paranormal mystery writing, but not enough to call her a favorite.

Review of Murder on the Lake of Fire (Mourning Dove Mysteries #1), by Mikel J. Wilson

I won a copy of Murder on the Lake of Fire through a giveaway the author, Mikel Wilson, ran on Instagram.

Description from Goodreads:

At twenty-three and with a notorious case under his belt, Emory Rome has already garnered fame as a talented special agent for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. His career is leapfrogging over his colleagues, but the jumping stops when he’s assigned a case he fought to avoid – an eerie murder in the Smoky Mountain hometown he had abandoned. The mysterious death of a teen ice-skater once destined for the pros is soon followed by an apparent case of spontaneous human combustion. In a small town bursting with friends and foes, Rome’s own secrets lie just beneath the surface. The rush to find the murderer before he strikes again pits him against artful private investigator Jeff Woodard. The PI is handsome, smart and seductive, and he just might be the killer Rome is seeking.

Review:

I generally enjoyed this. I wasn’t surprised by the conclusion of the mystery in any sense, but I enjoyed the journey of seeing that I was right and I liked both the main characters. I thought very occasionally that names were tossed into dialogue too often and the similes weighed a little heavily at times. But for the most part, I’m glad to have read it and look forward to the next one.

Reviews of We Wear the Mask: 15 Stories of Passing in America, AND You Can’t Kill the Dream

You get two for one today. You Can’t Kill the Dream (by Ande Yakstis & Daniel Brannan) is only 56 pages and I wouldn’t normally even include a review on the blog. But since I read it while out on my solo demonstration directly after finishing We Wear the Mask (edited by Brando Skyhorse and Lisa Page), I figured I’d review them together too. Besides, both have pretty brief reviews from me. I’ll start with We Wear the Mask though.

Description from Goodreads:

Why do people pass? Fifteen writers reveal their experiences with passing.

For some, “passing” means opportunity, access, or safety. Others don’t willingly pass but are “passed” in specific situations by someone else. We Wear the Mask, edited by Brando Skyhorse and Lisa Page, is an illuminating and timely anthology that examines the complex reality of passing in America.

Skyhorse, a Mexican American, writes about how his mother passed him as an American Indian before he learned who he really is. Page shares how her white mother didn’t tell friends about her black ex-husband or that her children were, in fact, biracial.

The anthology includes writing from Gabrielle Bellot, who shares the disquieting truths of passing as a woman after coming out as trans, and MG Lord, who, after the murder of her female lover, embraced heterosexuality. Patrick Rosal writes of how he “accidentally” passes as a waiter at the National Book Awards ceremony, and Rafia Zakaria agonizes over her Muslim American identity while traveling through domestic and international airports. Other writers include Trey Ellis, Marc Fitten, Susan Golomb, Margo Jefferson, Achy Obejas, Clarence Page, Sergio Troncoso, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, and Teresa Wiltz.

Review:

If you had me if I understood what passing is, I’d have said yes. But now, having read these 15 essays, I realize what I had was a very shallow understanding of the concept of passing. The essays skew toward older, well-educated, well-traveled authors but they still cover a pretty broad array of peoples and types of passing. It certainly broadened my understanding of the phenomenon.

Description of You Can’t Kill the Dream:

“You Can’t Kill The Dream: People Living The Dream” is a book by Ande Yakstis and Daniel Brannan. Award-winning journalist Ande Yakstis walked with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the historic voters rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. Yakstis, who had a memorable personal experience with Rev. King, is co-author with acclaimed newspaper editor Daniel Brannan in a remarkable new book titled: “You Can’t Kill the Dream-people living the ‘dream.'” The two prize-winning writers tell the amazing stories of people who are living King’s dream today, in 2013, 45 years after the civil rights leader’s death on April 4, 1968.

Review:

I actually thought the writing here was pretty amateurish and repetitive. But I also thought the snippets of normal people meeting and remembering King and his death were endearing.