Tag Archives: mystery

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Book Review: Fortune Favors the Dead, by Stephen Spotswood

I borrowed and audio copy of Stephen Spotswood’s Fortune Favors the Dead through Hoopla.

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Introducing Pentecost and Parker, two unconventional female detectives who couldn’t care less about playing by the rules, in their cases and in their lives.

It’s 1942 and Willowjean “Will” Parker is a scrappy circus runaway whose knife-throwing skills have just saved the life of New York’s best, and most unorthodox, private investigator, Lillian Pentecost. When the dapper detective summons Will a few days later, she doesn’t expect to be offered a life-changing proposition: Lillian’s multiple sclerosis means she can’t keep up with her old case load alone, so she wants to hire Will to be her right-hand woman. In return, Will will receive a salary, room and board, and training in Lillian’s very particular art of investigation.

Three years later, Will and Lillian are on the Collins case: Abigail Collins was found bludgeoned to death with a crystal ball following a big, boozy Halloween party at her home–her body slumped in the same chair where her steel magnate husband shot himself the year before. With rumors flying that Abigail was bumped off by the vengeful spirit of her husband (who else could have gotten inside the locked room?), the family has tasked the detectives with finding answers where the police have failed. But that’s easier said than done in a case that involves messages from the dead, a seductive spiritualist, and Becca Collins–the beautiful daughter of the deceased, who Will quickly starts falling for. When Will and Becca’s relationship dances beyond the professional, Will finds herself in dangerous territory, and discovers she may have become the murderer’s next target.

my review

I really quite enjoyed this. You’ve got quite a few sorts of women who don’t often get lead billing making decisions and effecting change. There’s the bisexual assistant private detective and POV character, the elderly lead detective with Multiple Sclerosis, the lesbian possible love interest, the impoverished woman taking charge of her life, the mousey professor who may be more than she seems, the talented scam artist, etc. Women not only exist in this novel, they excel (not always for the betterment of mankind, but they still refuse to sit back and passively exist). I adored that about it.

I wasn’t super shocked to discover who the murder turned out to be, but more in a ‘where is the eye not turned’ kind of way than a ‘the foreshadowing gave it away’ way. I had no “I know who it is moment,” so, I got to the pleasuring of not knowing, but also no shock of never seeing it coming because it’s too out of left field. It’s a good balance to end a mystery with, “Oh yeah, I can totally see that,” than either “I knew it” or “no way, you just made that up.”

The story’s narrator, Will, has a marvelous voice and sense of humor. The writing is sharp and the audiobook is well done. I’ll be looking for more of the Pentecost and Parker mysteries.

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Other Reviews:

Review: Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotswood

Fortune Favours The Dead (2020) by Stephen Spotswood

a light to kill by

Book Review: A Light To Kill By, by Mikel J. Wilson

Reading A Light To Kill By (by Mikel J. Wilson) was a bit of a spur of the moment decision today. It has been promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight several times in the run-up to publication day and I’d intended to get hold of it at some point, as I enjoyed the previous books in the Mourning Dove Mysteries series. (I’ve previously reviewed Murder on the Lake of Fire and Death Opens a Window.)

But I happened to notice that it was on sale today, so I grabbed a copy. And when I also noticed that the author was doing a whole ‘track my release day stats’ thing because it was, in fact, the actual release day, I decided to just go ahead and give it a read. Sometimes it’s the small things that prompt me to action.

a light to kill by

Moments after construction tycoon Blair Geister’s death, a mysterious wandering light kills someone on her Southern estate. Is the avenging spirit of the millionairess on a killing spree, or are other forces threatening those in her inner circle? As the will is read, suspicion and jealousy arise, and fingers point to the heirs of her fortune. Private investigator Emory Rome and his Mourning Dove partners accept an invitation to stay at Geisterhaus and unravel its secrets before more lives are lost.

my review

As with the previous books in this series, I quite enjoyed this. I did think it was perhaps not quite as elegantly plotted (with several instances of coincidental knowledge). Jeff came across not as the difficult character he’s been, but as quite unlikable for some of the book. And Wayne’s sudden change of heart was simply too sudden to be believed. But Emory is still a marvelous character. He pairs well with free spirited Jeff and Virginia. Plus, I’m super invested in figuring out the mystery of Phineas and of Emory’s history. There are also several examples of genuinely good people, which is harder to come by than you might think. The writing is readable and the editing pretty clean. I’ll be ready and waiting for book four, whenever it comes out.

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Book Review: Death Opens a Window, by Mikel J. Wilson

Some time ago, I won copies of Mikel J. Wilson‘s Murder on the Lake of Fire and  Death Opens a Window (Mourning Dove Mysteries, #1 & 2) on Instagram. I read and reviewed book one, Murder on the Lake of Fire, last year, but never got around to Death Opens a Window. However, with book 3 soon to come out, the series  was promoed on Sadie’s Spotlight recently, which reminded me Death Opens a Window was buried on my shelf. So, I pulled it out.

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As he struggles with the consequences of his last case, Emory must unravel the inexplicable death of a federal employee in a Knoxville high-rise. But while the reticent investigator is mired in a deep pool of suspects – from an old mountain witch to the powerful Tennessee Valley Authority – he misses a greater danger creeping from the shadows. The man in the ski mask returns to reveal himself, and the shocking crime of someone close is unearthed.

my review

I quite enjoyed this. I like Emory as a main character and Jeff is possibly the most abrasive partner ever. But they make a good straight man / wise guy duo. I didn’t even guess the murderer. I’d started to suspect, but I wasn’t sure and that’s a pleasant rarity for me. The editing is clean and writing is sharp. I thought the use of names or endearments in dialogue cropped up on occasion, but not too often and mostly with the same characters. So, maybe it’s just supposed to be a speech pattern of them in particular. Then that reveal at the end…well, I guess I need book three now.

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