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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.

fortune favors the dead audio

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

tad md neu

Book Review: T.A.D., by M.D. Neu

I was given a free Audible code for a copy of T.A.D., by M.D. Neu.

t.a.d. m.d. neu

Tad bounces around in time and watches mankind grow and change. He loves humanity and helping when he can. However, his job isn’t conducive to helping people—he’s an Angel of Death.

Doug is a fun-loving drama queen. He’s an amazing drag queen and hairstylist with big dreams, but despite his witty exterior, he has a dark history and is prone to self-destruction.

When Tad pushes the boundaries of his duties too far, his wings are stripped away from him, and he is sent to New York City to live as a human. Lost and alone he ends up meeting Doug, and they start a friendship that shapes them both and may last a lifetime. But nothing is simple when you’re dealing with a former Angel of Death and a Drag Queen. Could these two cause the fabric of our world to collapse or will they manage to keep the future as it should?

I thought that this was really quite sweet. I love platonic love stories. Not that no characters find romance or not even that the characters don’t have sex. But the primary love of the story isn’t a romantic love and I adored that. Given this fact, I think some people might quibble with it being called a romance. But I think it fits the genre, even if on the edge. Love is certainly the point.

Set in 2002, amidst the global unrest post September 11, the book has an emotionally charged setting. And Neu uses it to it’s fullest giving us characters who call New York home. I thought Doug is a lovely character, if a little emotionally messy for much of the book. Tad is more complicated, for obvious reasons, but I liked him too (though not all the time(s)). And there are a host of fun side characters, though you don’t get to know them too well.

The writing is quite readable and it’s well narrated. It did feel a little slow at times. But not enough to drag too badly. All in all, a strong showing, even if it probably won’t top my favorites list.

tad photo


Other Reviews:

T.A.D by M.D. Neu

T.A.D by M.D. Neu #LGBT #Review #Paranorml #GayFiction

TAD by M.D. Neu [Book Review]

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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