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Shake Down–reality TV is so fake!

Shake Down

by Kendel Lynn

Shake DownElliott Lisbon is the director of the billion-dollar Ballantyne Foundation and is also a very frustrated PI-in-training. There are plenty of cases to work on, but her boyfriend Lieutenant Ransom and other law enforcement officers do not share much information with her. So, Elliot enlists her best friend Sid, and the pair hone their investigative skills in the complicated search for Daphne who has a reputation for going missing and following her whims without warning. Would she do that with her friend’s wedding less than a week away?

In Shake Down by Kendel Lynn, lots of plot lines intersect. The Ballantyne Foundation is sponsoring a BBQ fundraiser honoring families who host the homeless. We are also introduced to Daphne who disappears shortly before she is to be maid of honor for her best friend Juliette. The girls met on a reality TV show where they were competing for an eligible bachelor. Much of the plot is centered around the town’s search for Daphne. That part of the book drags just a bit, but the pace and action pick up later and culminate in a conclusion I could never have predicted.

I would like to extend my thanks to Edelweiss and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #5 in the Elliott Lisbon Mystery Series but OK as a standalone as characters from previous books in the series are clearly reintroduced.

Publication:   March 17, 2020—Henery Press

Memorable Lines:

She stopped as if her soles had been superglued to the asphalt. She seemed to be experiencing the second half of fight or flight. Freeze or faint.

“He’s being all cagey and friendly. Helpful in a distinctly not very helpful way.”

The shot was beyond loud. Like saying a hurricane was breezy or a ghost pepper had a little kick.

Low country Boomerang–investigative reporter murdered

Lowcountry Boomerang

by Susan M. Boyer

Lowcountry BoomerangDue to a sleep deficit causing me to repeatedly nod off and a several day reading gap, I chose to skim the first third of Lowcountry Boomerang by Susan M. Boyer again before I plunged back in where I left off. I absolutely enjoyed the second reading as much as the first, maybe more, since I was not concentrating on staying awake. I highlighted multiple passages that defined the characters, their backgrounds, and their relationships because there were so many and the web was so complex. I had only read two of the books in the series previously, and I found I needed to really focus to keep up.

Liz and her husband, Nate, are private investigators in South Carolina with family ties to law enforcement agents and a helpful guardian spirit giving them an inside edge. In this cozy mystery, they are tasked with proving the innocence of a “down home,” folksy TV star who has just returned to his roots. There is lots of good investigating, albeit much of it illegal, set in tourist friendly Charleston. Southern dialogue will transport “y’all” to the land of sweet tea, Geechie fries (french fried grits sticks), heat with humidity, and ferries. There are a lot of possible suspects, but the ending is a complete surprise to the dynamic duo of investigators as well as the reader.

I would like to extend my thanks to Edelweiss and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #8 in the Liz Talbot Mystery Series and probably best read as part of the series, but could be enjoyed as a standalone

Publication:  September 3, 2019—Henery Press

Memorable Lines:

Regardless of who paid for my time, I always viewed the victim as my ultimate client.

“However, in this particular case, budget is not a concern. If you need to book llamas to Machu Picchu, Mr. Baker’s retainer will cover it.”

“How’s Calista?” “Madder than a feral cat being baptized.”

Reason to Doubt–stopping a serial killer

Reason to Doubt

by Nancy Cole Silverman

Reason to DoubtIn Reason to Doubt, Carol Childs, a forty year old divorced mother of two works as an investigative reporter for a small southern CA talk radio station. She is currently involved in trying to find the serial killer known as Model Slayer because of his choice of victims and his trademarks at the crime scene. This investigation takes Carol into some seedy places and dangerous situations. It also puts her in direct conflict with her daughter Cate at the same time she is trying to prove Cate’s boyfriend’s innocence. She finds herself in conflict with the official investigation as she protects her confidential sources.

The plot is complicated and although the crimes are solved, the psychological motivation is hinted at but not specified. At times it feels like the investigation is circular, not really going anywhere. Cate is a major driver of the storyline, but she is not well developed. What I knew of her, I didn’t like; she is immature and selfish. On the positive side, she does  stand up for the person she believed in, but she could be a poster child for a “love is blind” movement. The ending is a surprise because it is not a conclusion you would expect from Carol’s research, but I had my suspicions about that character from the time of his introduction into the plot. Despite those criticisms, I did like the book and would recommend it.

I would like to extend my thanks to Edelweiss and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #5 in the Carol Childs Mystery Series

Publication:  November 6, 2018—Henery Press

Memorable Lines:

As a reporter, it was my job to take what a confidential informant gave me, verify that information with a second and third source, and report it. If word got out a reporter had rolled over and given up to the police what information had been given to us in confidence, that reporter would be burned and the station toast.

I had reported on enough police investigations to know how overworked many LAPD detectives were and how easy it was to coerce a nervous witness. Under the right circumstances, people confessed to all kinds of things.

Tyler didn’t have to tell me reporters who squealed to the police about their confidential sources and what they told them would be out of luck when it came to finding another job. Sources wouldn’t trust them, and potential employers had a pool of fresh young talent to choose from as opposed to a reporter who had burned her sources.

Ivy Get Your Gun–mystery with an “Annie Get Your Gun” twist

Ivy Get Your Gun

by Cindy Brown

Ivy Get Your GunWith Ivy Get Your Gun, don’t expect a suspenseful thriller with a philosophical bent. Look for a fun cozy mystery with lots of humor. Ivy Meadows is a medium level actress who also works as an apprentice private investigator in her Uncle Bob’s office. Being a part of both worlds opens up opportunities for the author to explore more diverse plot threads as Ivy engages with people she knows from both arenas. A third dimension is added as Ivy deals with the consequences of a youthful mistake, her difficult family relationships, and a blossoming romance.

Mystery is the priority of this book as Ivy combines her theatrical skills with her admittedly too naive and trusting nature. She goes undercover to play Western characters in a melodrama at Gold Bug Gulch, getting involved with some interesting but dangerous personalities. The short chapters and fast pace will have you flying through this book. Even when I knew I had to put it down, I couldn’t resist a peek at the next page!

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery, General Fiction (Adult)

Notes: 

  1. #4 in The Ivy Meadows Mystery Series, but worked great as a standalone 
  2. Includes information contrasting Annie Oakley in the musical Annie Get Your Gun and the historical Annie Oakley

Publication:  May 16, 2017—Henery Press

Memorable Lines:

We ate in silence for a minute. Or I did. Frank chewed his Fritos noisily, with his mouth open. I got the feeling he’d lived alone for a long time.

Uncle Bob had taught me that most drives could be put down to power or passion. Power included money, prestige, and the need to one-up someone. Passion covered revenge, sex, and love.

Theater had been my safe place ever since Cody’s accident. A place I could relax and be myself, which seems odd considering that I was always playing a role onstage.

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