Tag Archives: mystery

Review of Aftermath, by George Weinstein

Cover of Aftermath

I received an audio code for a copy of George Weinstein‘s Aftermath.

Description from Goodreads:

After her father’s murder, Janet Wright returns to her folksy childhood home to tie up loose ends and mend her broken heart. But the sassy heroine soon discovers that there is more than meets the eye within the enigmatic small town entangled in secrets, scandals, and lies. This suspenseful southern thriller will have Wright facing pieces of her broken childhood and fighting for her life. Mystery, murder, and romance converge to keep you listening section after section.

Can Janet Wright complete the deadly puzzle connecting her father, his murder, and the wary small-town setting?

Review:

I quite enjoyed a lot of this, but also thought it fell into some disappointingly cliched ruts too. There was the femme fatale who was literally described as a Jessica Rabbit clone (even down to the red dress). There was the Colonel Sanders-esque southern lawyer and all of the down-trodden and oppressed minorities that the main character desperately wanted to rescue. (White savior much?) The New Yorker with her brusque attitude and high priced branded clothing. The woman who was apparently obsessed with her relationship status and assessed every man as a potential partner. Etc. 

I also didn’t understand some of the events. Why exactly did Janet try and help Tara? That seemed beyond stupid. Why exactly did the inn keeper get so mad at Janet? The reaction seemed out of proportion and misdirected. Mostly, however, I thought the particular version of evil engaged in by the father was cliched and over-used. I had hoped for something a little more original. 

Having said all of that. I did find it engaging and I liked the characters a lot, especially Tim. And the narrator did a wonderful job of bringing it all to life.

Review of The Wolf at the Door (Big Bad Wolf #1) ,by Charlie Adhara

Cover of The Wolf at the Door

I borrowed an audio copy of Charlie Adhara‘s The Wolf at the Door from Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:

Hunting for big bad wolves was never part of Agent Cooper Dayton’s plan, but a werewolf attack lands him in the carefully guarded Bureau of Special Investigations. A new case comes with a new partner: ruggedly sexy werewolf Oliver Park. 

Park is an agent of The Trust, a werewolf oversight organization working to ease escalating tensions with the BSI. But as far as Cooper’s concerned, it’s failing. As they investigate a series of mysterious deaths unlike anything they’ve seen, every bone in Cooper’s body is suspicious of his new partner – even when Park proves himself as competent as he is utterly captivating. 

When more people vanish, pressure to solve the case skyrockets. And though he’d resolved to keep things professional, Cooper’s friction with Park soon erupts…into a physical need that can’t be contained or controlled. But with a body count that’s rising by the day, werewolves and humans are in equal danger. If Cooper and Park don’t catch the killer soon, one – or both – of them could be the next to go.

Review:

I generally really enjoyed this. I liked that it was mystery first, romance second. Honestly the romance barely develops. There is plenty of lust, but love….maybe not yet. But it’s coming and this book set the stage. I liked the characters and the theme of a guy trying to do the right thing and floundering a bit. I thought Dayton’s experience in the BSI could easily be read as an analogy for the way good people can enter a racist environment and slowly become so inoculated by the hate that he doesn’t even notice when he’s drowning in it. Here it’s human/werewolf, but it could easily be read more realistically. 

I had a few small niggles. I disliked that the first time they had sex it was while one was drunk. Consent was plainly and purposefully established (which I liked). But I dislike the get drunk, lose inhibitions to move plot along trope. The mystery also wasn’t hard to figure out. Lastly, I listened to the audio version. I thought it was a little too fast and flat. I wouldn’t say it’s bad by any stretch of the imagination. But I don’t have a lot of praise for it either. The story however is a winner for me. I’ll be looking for the rest of the series.

Note: Though I didn’t write individual reviews for them, I read and enjoyed The Wolf at Bay and Thrown to the Wolves too. I just haven’t been sitting down at the computer to review things for the last couple weeks. And if I don’t write a review shortly after finishing the book, I forget what I might say, especially with sequels.

Review of The Woman Who Spoke to Spirits, by Alys Clare

I borrowed a copy of Alys Clare’s book, The Woman Who Spoke to Spirits from the local library.

Description from Goodreads:

London, 1880. “I’m dreadfully afraid someone is threatening to kill my wife …” When accounts clerk Ernest Stibbins approaches the World’s End investigation bureau with wild claims that his wife Albertina has been warned by her spirit guides that someone is out to harm her, the bureau’s owner Lily Raynor and her new employee Felix Wilbraham are initially sceptical. How are the two private enquiry agents supposed to investigate threats from beyond the grave? But after she attends a s�ance at the Stibbins family home, Lily comes to realize that Albertina is in terrible danger. And very soon so too is Lily herself … 

Review:

I wasn’t thrilled with the first person, present tense narrative choice. I thought it really distanced the reader from the characters. But beyond that I mostly really enjoyed this book. I’ll grant that I wasn’t particularly surprised a the identity of the villain, having guessed it very early on, and I thought there was a subtle centering on Felix that made him feel more the main character than her (when I also sense it was meant to be her). But there was good writing, interesting characters, not-quite-banter (but working in that direction), and a couple moral quandaries I appreciated thinking on. Mostly though I really liked both Lily and Felix, as well as them together. I look forward to reading future books in this series.