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by Annette Dashofy
If all mysteries were as good as Til Death, readers would be glued to their easy chairs and no work would get done. Annette Dashofy continues her series with main character Zoe Chambers being promoted to Chief Deputy Coroner and giving up her job as an EMT. This is a huge change with lots of responsibilities, a big learning curve, and people and events that challenge her.
The story opens with County Coroner Franklin Marshall collapsing in the autopsy suite—and not out of a squeamish response to the procedure. The action takes off from there and doesn’t stop until the last period. There are several deaths, a cold case, attacks on law enforcement, and berserk ex-wives. Among all the cases could there be more than one criminal? There are three modes of murder, so maybe? Or do they all somehow tie together?
Philandering Dustin Landis is released from prison when a judge overturns his conviction. The D.A. is going to try him again. Dustin has always insisted on his innocence. Now pieces are coming to light that indicate a serial killer was operating in the area at the time. When Franklin’s most recent ex-wife explodes on the scene, chaos follows her. She tears Franklin’s office apart, apparently in search of a document, and summarily kicks out Zoe and the Coroner’s Office with her.
Zoe’s attention is divided as she and Police Chief Pete Adams are getting married in two weeks, an event that brings seemingly inevitable family drama to the forefront. A staff romance in the Vance Township Police force causes a crisis of a different sort. Meanwhile Zoe and Pete have to work together and independently to fit all of the puzzle pieces together with the goal of solving all those mysteries simultaneously.
I would like to extend my thanks to Edelweiss and Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: #10 in the Zoe Chambers Mystery Series, but holds up well as a standalone.
Publication: June 16, 2020—Henery Press
If Loretta Marshall’s dark hair had been half white, Zoe would’ve warned her friends who owned Dalmatians.
“Good old Dr. Davis. Politician first. Forensic expert second. Human being? Somewhere way lower on the list.”
Zoe collapsed onto her stacked boxes, staring out the dirt-streaked window, thoughts and emotions racing inside her skull like deranged bumper cars.
Some Choose Darkness
by Charlie Donlea
I am very conflicted as I finish Charlie Donlea’s Some Choose Darkness. The reason? It turned out to be more of a thriller than I had anticipated. This reader’s taste leans towards Agatha Christie and cozy mysteries. I cut my teeth on Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I avoid thrillers because they stir me up too much. I chose to read Some Choose Darkness because I had read a book by Donlea previously and enjoyed it. Somehow I did not expect an intense work of fiction about a serial killer. The problem is that although in some ways I didn’t enjoy reading it, I felt compelled to finish the tale, to make all of the pieces fit together. Donlea has masterfully crafted a thriller with so many layers and connections that rapid page turning is a necessity. Add to the plot not one, but two characters with autism and obsessive/compulsive disorder and this retired teacher is all over it.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: Mystery and Thriller
Publication: May 28, 2019—Kensington Books
With Lane’s reputation as a forensic psychologist and criminal profiler for the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, and Rory’s credentials as a reconstructionist who pieced together the very findings the algorithm looked for, they made the perfect team. Police departments listened to their conclusions, and many had started using Lane’s software to track homicides on their own.
Like a tuning fork that has been tapped, the vibration from the mystery surrounding the woman was at once barely audible but yet impossible to ignore.
Rory’s greatest gift was her ability to piece together cold cases, to pore over the facts and discover things other investigators missed until a picture of the crime—and sometimes the perpetrator—became clear in her mind. Her understanding of a killer’s thinking and motive came from examining the carnage he left behind.
Reason to Doubt
by Nancy Cole Silverman
In 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.
Notes: #5 in the Carol Childs Mystery Series
Publication: November 6, 2018—Henery Press
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.
by Mary Daheim
I was amazed when I saw the list of books Mary Daheim has written in the Emma Lord Series. She has already been through the alphabet once with titles in ascending order and has started again. I know I would have enjoyed the book more had I read the previous 26 books because there must be a lot of back story to Alpha Alpine, but Daheim does a great job of cluing the reader in on the many characters mentioned and how they relate to each other and to the current story. In fact I would say she is a master at making the book understandable and interesting to the new reader without being redundant.
Emma Lord is the editor and publisher of a weekly newspaper in Alpine, Washington, where if everyone is not related to everyone else, they are at least all related to Vida who is the House and Home editor and makes it her job to know everyone’s business. Emma is married to Sheriff Milo Dodge, giving her an inside edge and also causing friction when Dodge can not disclose information she wants. This mystery contains the murder of young girls, an unexpected assassination attempt, an explosion, domestic abuse, and a visit by Dodge’s brother in his Texas sized RV. All of these events keep both Emma and Milo quite busy in their jobs and at home.
The paper has an interesting staff, and the story is also fleshed out with deputies, townspeople and visitors, but despite the large number of characters, I never felt overwhelmed by them. The setting is well defined as mountainous Alpine seasonally moves from hot to cooler weather. Along with Emma and Milo, the reader is continually evaluating characters and their motives as new information and more crimes come to light. When you get to the end, you will be happy with the resolution, but you may find yourself wanting to know more about Alpine and its inhabitants.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Random House (Alibi) for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery
Notes: #27 in the Emma Lord Series but works well as a standalone
Publication: December 12, 2017— Random House (Alibi)
But promises are flimsy things and easily broken.
She’d been bitten by the need-to-know bug. Sometimes that bite can be fatal.
I knew when to shut up, focusing instead on Hercule Poirot grooming his elaborate mustache while exercising his little gray cells. Ten minutes and a second murder later, my eyelids felt heavy. Milo turned off the light. I curled up next to him and fell asleep in the sanctuary of his arms.