Review: A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths

a-room-full-of-bones-by-elly-griffithsA Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths

Ruth Galloway #4

E-book, purchased

Mystery

Set in Norfolk, England, A Room Full of Bones embroils, once again, our brainy heroine in a crime tinged by occult forces. On Halloween night, the Smith Museum in King’s Lynn is preparing for an unusual event — the opening of a coffin containing the bones of a medieval bishop. But when forensic archaelogist Ruth Galloway arrives to supervise, she finds the curator, Neil Topham, dead beside the coffin. Topham’s death seems to be related to other uncanny incidents, including the arcane and suspect methods of a group called the Elginists, which aims to repatriate the museum’s extensive collection of Aborigine skulls; the untimely demise of the museum’s owner, Lord Smith; and the sudden illness of DCI Harry Nelson, who Ruth’s friend Cathbad believes is lost in The Dreaming — a hallucinogenic state central to some Indigenous Australian beliefs. Tensions build as Nelson’s life hangs in the balance. Something must be done to set matters right and lift Nelson out of the clutches of death, but will Ruth be able to muster herself out of a state of guilt and foreboding in order to do what she does best?

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Since I read the first book in the series in October 2016 this series has become one of my favorites! Ruth Galloway is such an interesting character–both as a person and as a forensic archaeologist. I recommend you read the books in order. I think you’ll enjoy them a lot more and they are all so good!

Recurring characters in the books

Cathbad–a Druid, but also a scientist who works in the Chemistry Department at the university. He seems to have some uncanny abilities–especially when Ruth, Kate or Nelson are in trouble.

DCI Harry Nelson–He’s a no-nonsense copper and doesn’t believe in “hocus-pocus.” However, he’s a friend of Cathbad, much to his own amazement. He’s a good policeman–conscientious and honest. He pushes his team hard, but pushes himself just as hard. Nelson comes from Blackpool–“…[he] still thinks of himself as a Northerner, which, in his mind, is synonymous with sharp wits and a proper sense of humour.”

Michelle Nelson–Nelson’s wife. She’s beautiful and Nelson still is in awe that she married him. Michelle owns a beauty shop and they have two college-age daughters.

Shona–Ruth’s best friend. Shona is living with Ruth’s married boss and is now five month’s pregnant. Shona is an English professor. Sometimes Shona isn’t that reliable a friend, but Ruth doesn’t have too many friends.

Ruth–Forensic archaeologist and university professor. Ruth is called by the police occasionally to consult with them when bones are found to help determine if the bones are recent or hundreds or thousands of years old. That is how she met DCI Nelson in the first book.

Kate–Ruth’s one year old daughter. Ruth is raising her alone and has little experience with babies, but she and Kate are muddling along. Ruth is doing the best she can for Kate even though she has “the working mom’s guilt” and is often tired and uncertain. Kate is developing her own personality and it’s a strong one. When Shona suggests Ruth have a birthday party for Kate’s first birthday….

“Kate doesn’t play with her friends,” Ruth had protested. “She hits them over the head with stickle bricks mostly.” But she had allowed herself to be convinced. And part of her does think that it will be a lovely occasion, a rare chance for her to sit back and watch Kate tearing off wrapping paper and shoving E-numbers in her mouth and think: I haven’t done such a bad job of being a mother, after all.

My thoughts

Ruth is called to consult about the bones in a coffin in a museum, but when she finds the museum curator dead beside the coffin Harry Nelson is called in.

I like the intelligence Ruth shows and the love she has for her profession. Now that she is a mother she is often pulled several ways–in her professional life as a teacher and an expert and her life as a mother. The birth of Kate has made Ruth’s life much more complicated, but it also enriched her life and she’s so happy she made the decision to keep Kate. I also like her friendships with various characters in these books–especially Cathbad and DCI Nelson.

The mystery

The museum also has Australian Aborigine bones and a group calling themselves the Elginists is demanding the bones return to Australia for burial. Ruth is appalled when she views the room full of bones in the museum. The bones are jumbled together in a small room in the museum basement. They were collected by the present museum owner’s great-grandfather–apparently dug up in Australia from graves. Ruth believes in treating human bones respectfully. But the great-grandson is rather proud of his great-grandfather and has no intention of returning the bones.

Are the deaths of the curator and the owner of the museum plus DCI Nelson’s mysterious illness related to the bones and a curse? Or is it a curse related to the coffin of the medieval bishop? And is there something paranormal going on, too? What is The Dreaming?

Rating: B+

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Sunday Post: Feb 19

Sunday-Post

Presidents Day this week and feels more like spring!

Kimba hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Home and Blog

Busy week

I sorted papers this week. Recycled a lot and now I have to file the rest of it. Also unpacking some more boxes that had been left in the garage. That all seemed to take a lot of time!

My daughter and I are planning a day out on Sunday. We’re driving to Ames, Iowa–about an hour north of us– (home of Iowa State University) to have brunch first, then going to Reiman Gardens and finishing off at a winery we both like! My husband doesn’t feel like going so he’s staying home to rest.

My daughter has Monday (Presidents Day) off from work so we are thinking of going to the State Historical Museum of Iowa here in Des Moines. It’s in a beautiful building and we’ve wanted to visit for awhile. I’m hoping my husband will feel like doing that. We all like history so it will be fun to see what exhibits the museum has.

Weather

We are having a week of beautiful weather–around 70 degrees and lots of sun most days. Very unusual for February and lots of people are out biking and walking enjoying it while we can! By next Friday the forecast is for snow flurries!

The visit to Reiman Gardens seems very timely since the nice weather makes me want to garden! It’s much too early to do that here in Iowa. However, I’m planning some plants to buy for some of the flowerbeds. Unfortunately, the previous owners put various types of rocks over landscape fabric. I’d rather just use mulch to keep the weeds down. So I may start raking out the rocks.

Blogging

I got some blogging done, but didn’t visit many blogs. It seemed like every day I was pulled away from my computer. I’m hoping this next week to catch up on some of my favorite book blogs as well as find some new ones to read.

Blog posts last week
Blog posts planned next week
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Book review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading

To Dwell in Darkness by Deborah Crombie

The Merchant’s House by Kate Ellis

What I read last two weeks

Nightshades by Melissa Olson

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

What I bought or borrowed

The Rise of Io by Wesley Chu

City of Wolves by Willow Palecek

Swiss Vendetta by Tracee de Hahn

What did you do last week? What did you read? What books did you collect? What are you planning?

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Review: Nightshades by Melissa F. Olson

nightshades-by-melissa-f-olsonNightshades by Melissa F. Olson

Nightshades #1

e-book, purchased

Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Alex McKenna is the new Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations—the division tasked with investigating crimes involving shades.

Or vampires, as they’re more widely known.

Children have been going missing, and agents are routinely being slaughtered. It’s up to McKenna, and some unlikely allies, to get to the bottom of the problem, and find the kids before it’s too late.

………………………..

Melissa F. Olson is an author whose books I’ve read and liked before. This book is the beginning of a new series and is a novella (208 pages) published by Tor.com (which is publishing novella e-books). I’ve read several others they’ve published and enjoyed the ones I’ve read. (Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire is a Tor.com book, for example.)

I thought this book was quite different from others I’ve read by Ms. Olson. For example, the main character is male and the other two series I’ve read by her had female protagonists.

The setting

This book takes place in the Chicago area in a new division of the FBI (called the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations–BPI). Shades–or vampires as people who hear about them often call them–have only become known to humans within the last couple of years after a shade was captured alive by humans. He is being held and studied by the FBI in a secure prison. However, he’s legally still considered a human so only certain tests can be done–blood drawn, but no dissections!

Changes in Shade behavior

Before this book opened the shades kept a low profile. Now they have changed in the Chicago area and are acting more openly. A number of teenagers near Chicago have been kidnapped and other people killed all in what look like Shade attacks. In the first few pages of the book a number of Bureau of Paranormal Investigations agents are killed. New agents are posted to Chicago including a new Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office.

Alex McKenna, Special Agent in Charge

Alex McKenna is known as “the legacy agent” since his mother was the first female director of the FBI. Alex grew up in the Hoover Building and the FBI doesn’t want him killed. However, Alex is ambitious and though he’s only in his early thirties he gets the Special Agent in Charge job even though it’s a very dangerous job. He has a better chance to get this job because other agents don’t want this very dangerous job! Plus he feels someone has to figure out what is going on with the shades.

Once Alex and his best friend–Chase Eddy (who becomes Alex’s number two in Chicago)–set up their team and arrive in Chicago everything moves very fast in the book.

My thoughts

The first part of the book deals with setting up background for the characters and getting to know them. We learn about the world building slowly and I would guess we will find out more in future books. By the end of the book more is known about shades and there are several confrontations with the shades. Ms. Olson has plenty more avenues for future books!

This book doesn’t end in a cliff hanger which pleased me. It’s a quick read. The story has a number of familiar parts as an urban fantasy about vampires. However, it has a few unique parts which helped keep my interest. Ms. Olson’s characters are well-written and we get several points-of-view. Two more books in the series show up on Goodreads, but they have no publication date or cover yet.

Rating: B

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Waiting on Wednesday: Feb 15

I am participating in Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives me a chance to show the books I’m looking forward to in the next few months.

Check out Breaking the Spine for more information.

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called-to-justice-by-edith-maxwellCalled to Justice

by Edith Maxwell

Series: Quaker Midwife Mystery #2

Genre: Historical Mystery

Publication date: April 8

Synopsis: Quaker midwife Rose Carroll is enjoying the 1888 Independence Day evening fireworks with her beau when a teenaged Quaker mill girl is found shot dead. After a former slave and fellow Quaker is accused of the murder, Rose delves into the crime, convinced of the man’s innocence. An ill-mannered mill manager, an Irish immigrant, and the victim’s young boyfriend come under suspicion even as Rose’s future with her handsome doctor suitor becomes unsure. Rose continues to deliver babies and listen to secrets, finally figuring out one criminal—only to be threatened by the murderer, with three lives at stake. Can she rescue herself, a baby, and her elderly midwifery teacher in time?

.…………………………

The reasons this book appeals to me:
  • I haven’t read the first book, but hope to before this book comes out.
  • Reading a historical mystery about a Quaker midwife sounds interesting.
  • I like the cover!

What about you–have you read the first book in the series?

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Sunday Post: Feb 12

Sunday-Post

Kimba hosts the Sunday Post each week. I like to take part because it gives me an opportunity to look back at last week and forward to next week in both my personal life and my blog and book life! I also love to see what other people are doing and what books everyone is reading.

Home and Blog

Busy weeks

My husband had chemo treatments this week. He’s doing great, but it’s hard not to worry. Now he’s in the time period where he feels really tired so he’s not doing too much except rest. The doctor is doing more scans next month. Our son was still here so he helped out a lot during the chemo week. Our oldest daughter came to visit over the weekend and we had a wonderful time with all of our kids here. We went out to eat several times–celebrated my husband doing well and I had a pre-birthday celebration since the kids were all here. So fun.

This last week our son was in LA and Denver and we took care of his dog. Donnie, his mini-dachshund, missed our son and needed extra love and patience so I spent a lot of time with him on my lap which meant I didn’t get very much done–except when I went out somewhere. I had several appointments and those took most of two days. As I said, busy weeks.

Crazy weather

We had days in the 50’s and days of snow all within a couple days of each other the last couple weeks. Our snow melted very fast! Next week we’ll have more warm weather and by the weekend they’re forecasting some 60 degree days!

Blogging

Not much blogging done. Not much web surfing either. The internet was down again some. We moved the router to a more central location in the house and that seems to help. My year commitment to this internet company ends in April and I’m looking for other options.

Blog posts last two weeks
Blog posts planned next week
  • Waiting on Wednesday
  • Book review
  • Sunday Post

My books

What I’m reading

Nightshades by Melissa Olson

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

What I read last two weeks

Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine

Winding Up the Serpent by Priscilla Masters

E-books & Audiobooks Purchased


The Hanging Tree
by Ben Aaronovitch

Garden of Lamentations by Deborah Crombie

Goldenhand by Garth Nix

An Accidental Death by Peter Grainger

Meet Me at Malmo by Torquil MacNeal

The Edge by Dick Francis

Princess Elizabeth’s Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal

The Girl at Rosewood Hall by Annis Bell

Canyon Sacrifice by Scott Graham

The Man in the Green Chevy by Susan Rogers Cooper

Are  you doing anything special for Valentine’s Day? My husband and I went out to dinner this last week to avoid the rush!

What did you do last week? What did you read? What books did you collect? What are you planning?

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Waiting on Wednesday: Feb 8

I am participating in Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives me a chance to show the books I’m looking forward to in the next few months.

Check out Breaking the Spine for more information.

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down-among-the-sticks-and-bones-by-seanan-mcguireDown Among the Sticks and Bones

by Seanan McGuire

Series: Wayward Children #2

Genre: Fantasy Novella

Publication date: June 13

Synopsis: Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

.…………………………

The reasons this book appeals to me:
  • I read the first book in this series and liked it. Plus the October Daye series is one of my favorite series.
  • I like many of the novellas Tor.com publishes. Sometimes it’s nice to read a shorter science fiction or fantasy.
  • I like books which twist a fairy tale or nursery rhyme around. And there were many twists in the first book.

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Review: One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

One-fell-sweep-by-ilona-andrewsOne Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews

Innkeeper Chronicles #3

E-book, purchased

Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Romance

Gertrude Hunt, the nicest Bed and Breakfast in Red Deer, Texas, is glad to have you. We cater to particular kind of guests, the ones most people don’t know about. The older lady sipping her Mello Yello is called Caldenia, although she prefers Your Grace. She has a sizable bounty on her head, so if you hear kinetic or laser fire, try not to stand close to the target. Our chef is a Quillonian. The claws are a little unsettling, but he is a consummate professional and truly is the best chef in the Galaxy. If you see a dark shadow in the orchard late at night, don’t worry. Someone is patrolling the grounds. Do beware of our dog.

Your safety and comfort is our first priority. The inn and your host, Dina Demille, will defend you at all costs. We ask only that you mind other guests and conduct yourself in a polite manner.

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Serial beginnings. One of the unique things about these books is that they’ve been available on the author’s website as a serial book as the author writes it. Once the book is finished it’s no longer available to read for free. The book gets edited, additional material might get added and it is then published. I always wait for the published version, because I don’t like to wait for new chapters! I want to read it all at once.

My thoughts. I’ve read the first two books in this series and love them all. This is a fun series and I like the characters a lot. The concept and world building are well-done. I like the idea of inns on Earth for aliens to come and vacation. There’s also more romance in this book than in the others and it didn’t detract from the fantasy which is a problem for me if the romance overpowers the story.

Some of the characters (mostly returning characters):

Dina with her broom is so much more than she seems at first glance. Throughout the three books we find out a little more about her and her family. I like that it unfolds slowly. I love the broom as part of Dina’s power. The broom doesn’t mean she’s a witch, it means she’s an innkeeper!

Beast, Dina’s Shih Tzu, is a fun character. He can definitely be more than he seems. At first, he doesn’t seem like much of a guard dog, however….

Arland, the Lord Marshal of a vampire clan, shows up again. He’s such a fun character to read about. Very powerful, ethical and proud.

Sean, Dina’s werewolf neighbor is also back. He’s been through hell, but managed to come back and though he’s haunted by experiences he’s also stronger because of them.

Caldenia, the inn’s permanent guest, has a huge bounty on her head and is a very dangerous character, but also very interesting. I’d like to find out more about her in future books.

Orro, the inn’s chef, is a Quillonian. “…Quillonians resembled terrifying monsters who stood upright, had hands armed with savage claws, muzzles filled with fangs, and backs covered with foot-long black quills….” However, he is a wonderful chef! He’s a Red Cleaver chef–one of the best of the best–but Dina can afford to employ him since he was disgraced because of a poisoning accident.

In this book we meet Dina’s sister, Maud, and that opens a whole lot more information about Dina’s family. We find out what she has done while Dina was opening an inn.

The book is action-filled and exciting right to the end. The heroes are often in peril and must learn to trust each other more than ever to survive. I like that each book is a complete story, but has tantalizing bits for future stories.  I like that Ilona Andrews writes these books because they are fun to write.

Rating: B+

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Have you read any of the books in this series? How do you like them? Have you read other series by Ilona Andrews?

February books on my list

These are February books on my list. I keep a list of all the books I might want to read and add to it as the year goes on. As each month comes along I create a list on my blog for others and for me to keep track of asbooks-on-my-list the months go by.

I don’t buy all these books–since I already have way too many books to read and some of the new books are expensive. I’m trying to stick to a budget.

I hope people reading my post may find some new books to read. I also hope these people will point me toward books I missed.

January 31

Snowblind

by Ragnar Jonasson

Series: Dark Iceland #2

Published by Minotaur Books (originally published in Iceland, 2010)

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

320 pages

Synopsis: Where: A quiet fishing village in northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors. It is accessible only via a small mountain tunnel.

Who: Ari Thor is a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik. He has a past that he’s unable to leave behind.

What: A young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed elderly writer falls to his death. Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and secrets and lies are a way of life.

Past plays tag with the present and the claustrophobic tension mounts, while Ari is thrust ever deeper into his own darkness―blinded by snow and with a killer on the loose.

Taut and terrifying, Snowblind is a startling debut from an extraordinary new talent.

February 1

The Shivering Turn

by Sally Spencer

Series: A PI Series set in Oxford #1

Published by Severn House Publishers

Genre: Historical Mystery

224 pages

Synopsis: ‘My daughter’s not just run away – she’s dead!’ When Mary Corbet walks into private investigator Jennie Redhead’s rundown Oxford office one pleasant spring day in 1974, she is a desperate woman. Although she’s convinced her daughter has been murdered, she can get neither the police nor her husband to agree with her.

Jennie is not convinced either, but more out of compassion than conviction agrees to take the case. The only clue she has to go on is a fragment of an obscure 17th century poem she finds in Linda’s bedroom: Or will you, like a cold and errant coward/Abandon all and make a shivering turn. But from that one clue Jennie’s investigations will lead her beyond the city’s dreaming spires to Oxford’s darker underbelly, in which lurks a hidden world of privilege, violence and excess.

February 7

Garden of Lamentations

by Deborah Crombie

Series: Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #17

Published by William Morrow

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

432 pages

Synopsis: On a beautiful morning in mid-May, the body of a young woman is found in one of Notting Hill’s private gardens. To passersby, the pretty girl in the white dress looks as if she’s sleeping. But Reagan Keating has been murdered, and the lead detective, DI Kerry Boatman, turns to Gemma James for help. She and Gemma worked together on a previous investigation, and Gemma has a personal connection to the case: Reagan was the nanny of a child who attends the same dance studio as Toby, Gemma and Kincaid’s son.

Gemma soon discovers that Reagan’s death is the second tragedy in this exclusive London park; a few months before, a young boy died in a tragic accident. But when still another of the garden’s residents meets a violent end, it becomes clear that there are more sinister forces at play. Boatman and Gemma must stop the killer before another innocent life is taken.

While his wife is consumed with her new case, Kincaid finds himself plagued by disturbing questions about several previous—and seemingly unrelated—cases involving members of the force. If his suspicions are correct and the crimes are linked, are his family and friends in mortal danger as well? Kincaid’s hunch turns to certainty when a Metropolitan Police officer close to him is brutally attacked. There’s a traitor in the ranks, and now Kincaid wonders if he can trust anyone.

As Gemma begins to see a solution to her case, she realizes she holds a child’s fate in her hands. Can she do the right thing? And can Kincaid rely on his friends, both inside and outside the Scotland Yard force, to stand beside him as he faces the deadliest challenge of his career?

Swiss Vendetta

by Tracee de Hahn

Series: Agnes Luthi Mystery #1

Published by Minotaur Books

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

368 pages

Synopsis: In Tracee de Hahn’s magnetic debut, Swiss police detective Agnes Luthi finds herself trapped in a chateau during the blizzard of the century when she’s called out on her first homicide.

Detective Agnes Luthi, a Swiss-American police officer in Lausanne, Switzerland, has just switched over to the Violent Crimes unit from Financial Crimes in an effort to shed all reminders of her old life after her husband’s death. Now, on the eve of the worst blizzard Lausanne has seen in centuries, Agnes has been called out on her very first homicide case. On the lawn of the grand Chateau Vallotton, along the edge of Lake Geneva, a young woman has been found stabbed to death. The woman worked for an art auction house in London, and had been taking inventory at the Chateau Vallotton, which is dripping in priceless works of art and historical treasures.

Agnes finds it difficult to draw answers out of anyone—the tight-lipped Swiss family living in the chateau, the servants who have been loyal to the family for generations, the aging WWII survivor who lives in the neighboring chateau, even the American history student studying at the Vallotton castle’s library. As the storm rages on, roads become impassible, the power goes out around Lake Geneva, and Agnes finds herself trapped in the candlelit halls of the chateau with all the players of the mystery, out of her depth in her first murder case and still struggling to stay afloat after the death of her husband.

The Stars Are Legion

by Kameron Hurley

Series:

Published by Saga Press

Genre: Science Fiction

400 pages

Synopsis: Somewhere on the outer rim of the universe, a mass of decaying world-ships known as the Legion is traveling in the seams between the stars. For generations, a war for control of the Legion has been waged, with no clear resolution.  As worlds continue to die, a desperate plan is put into motion.

Zan wakes with no memory, prisoner of a people who say they are her family. She is told she is their salvation – the only person capable of boarding the Mokshi, a world-ship with the power to leave the Legion. But Zan’s new family is not the only one desperate to gain control of the prized ship. Zan finds that she must choose sides in a genocidal campaign that will take her from the edges of the Legion’s gravity well to the very belly of the world.

Zan will soon learn that she carries the seeds of the Legion’s destruction – and its possible salvation. But can she and her ragtag band of followers survive the horrors of the Legion and its people long enough to deliver it?

In the tradition of The Fall of Hyperion and Dune, The Stars are Legion is an epic and thrilling tale about tragic love, revenge, and war as imagined by one of the genre’s most celebrated new writers.

February 8

Death & the Gravedigger’s Angel

by Loretta Ross

Series: Auction Block Mystery #3

Published by Midnight Ink

Genre: Mystery, Cozy

264 pages

Synopsis: When former army medic Tony Dozier is accused of killing a member of the hate group that disrupted his wife’s funeral, the prosecution charges premeditated murder and the defense claims temporary insanity. Former marine Death Bogart and auctioneer Wren Morgan think there’s more to the story.

They’re both led to the long-abandoned Hadleigh House, where Wren begins preparing the contents for auction but ends up searching for the story behind an antique sketchbook. As Wren uncovers the century-old tale of a World War I soldier and his angel, Death finds a set of truths that will change…or end…their lives.

February 14

August Snow

by Stephen Mack Jones

Series: Unknown

Published by Soho Crime

Genre: Mystery

320 pages

Synopsis: Tough, smart, and struggling to stay afloat, August Snow is the embodiment of Detroit. The son of an African American father and a Mexican mother, August grew up in Detroit’s Mexicantown and joined the Detroit police only to be drummed out of the force by a conspiracy of corrupt cops and politicians. But August fought back; he took on the city and got himself a $12 million wrongful dismissal settlement that left him low on friends. He has just returned to the house he grew up in after a year away and quickly learns he has many scores to settle.

It’s not long before he’s summoned to the palatial Grosse Point Estates home of business magnate Eleanore Paget. Powerful and manipulative, Paget wants August to investigate the increasingly unusual happenings at her private wealth management bank. But detective work is no longer August’s beat, and he declines. A day later, Paget is dead of an apparent suicide which August isn’t buying for a minute.

What begins as an inquiry into Eleanore Paget’s death soon drags August into a rat’s nest of Detroit’s most dangerous criminals, from corporate embezzlers to tattooed mercenaries. From the wealthy suburbs to the near-post-apocalyptic remains of the bankrupt city’s factory districts, August Snow is a fast-paced tale of murder, greed, sex, economic cyber-terrorism, race and urban decay in modern Detroit.

The Dime

by Kathleen Kent

Series: Unknown

Published by Mullholland Books

Genre: Mystery

352 pages

Synopsis: Brooklyn’s toughest female detective takes on Dallas-and neither is ready for the fight.

Dallas, Texas is not for the faint of heart. Good thing for Betty Rhyzyk she’s from a family of take-no-prisoners Brooklyn police detectives. But her Big Apple wisdom will only get her so far when she relocates to The Big D, where Mexican drug cartels and cult leaders, deadbeat skells and society wives all battle for sunbaked turf.

Betty is as tough as the best of them, but she’s deeply shaken when her first investigation goes sideways. Battling a group of unruly subordinates, a persistent stalker, a formidable criminal organization, and an unsupportive girlfriend, the unbreakable Detective Betty Rhyzyk may be reaching her limit.

February 16

The Chalk Pit

by Elly Griffiths

Series: Ruth Galloway #9

Published by Quercus

Genre: Mystery

384 pages

Synopsis: Boiled human bones have been found in Norwich’s web of underground tunnels. When Dr Ruth Galloway discovers they are recent – the boiling not the medieval curiosity she thought – DCI Nelson has a murder enquiry on his hands.

Meanwhile, DS Judy Johnson is investigating the disappearance of a local rough sleeper. The only trace of her is the rumour that she’s gone ‘underground’. This might be a figure of speech, but with the discovery of the bones and the rumours both Ruth and the police have heard of a vast network of old chalk-mining tunnels under King’s Lynn, home to a vast community of rough sleepers, the clues point in only one direction. Local academic Martin Kellerman knows all about the tunnels and their history – but can his assertions of cannibalism and ritual killing possibly be true?

As the weather gets hotter, tensions rise. A local woman goes missing and the police are under attack. Ruth and Nelson must unravel the dark secrets of The Underground and discover just what gruesome secrets lurk at its heart – before it claims another victim.

February 21

Old Bones

by Trudy Nan Boyce

Series: Detective Sarah Alt #2

Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

352 pages

Synopsis: A timely and penetrating mystery about the intersection of policing, racism, and the community set in a city at its boiling point from an author who s been in the trenches and seen it all.

A senseless act of violence.

During a vigil calling for police reform, students from Spelman College, a historically black women s institution, are assaulted by rifle fire from a passing vehicle. On her way to interview witnesses, Detective Sarah Salt Alt confronts the fleeing vehicle of the suspects, but they get away.
A city in turmoil.

While other detectives take the lead on the Spelman murders, Salt is tasked to investigate the case of a recently discovered decomposed body. When she combs through the missing-persons reports, it becomes clear the victim is a girl Salt took into custody two years before, and Salt feels a grave responsibility to learn the truth about how the girl died. But before she can pursue any leads, Salt is called onto emergency riot detail in the wake of theassault on theSpelman students, Atlanta has reached the boiling point.

In a city burdened by history and a community erupting in pain and anger, Salt must delve into the past for answers. A gripping and astute story about what it means to serve and protect, Old Bones solidifies Trudy Nan Boyce as an evocative, authoritative voice in crime fiction.

The Crow Trap

by Ann Cleeves

Series: Vera Stanhope #1

New edition published by Minotaur Books (originally published 1999)

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

560 pages

Synopsis: Vera Stanhope’s first appearance was in The Crow Trap, published in 1999 and now available in a new edition; it forms the third episode of the TV series Vera, adapted by Stephen Brady.

At the isolated Baikie’s Cottage on the North Pennines, three very different women come together to complete an environmental survey. Three women who, in some way or another, know the meaning of betrayal…

For team leader Rachael Lambert the project is the perfect opportunity to rebuild her confidence after a double-betrayal by her lover and boss, Peter Kemp. Botanist Anne Preece, on the other hand, sees it as a chance to indulge in a little deception of her own. And then there is Grace Fulwell, a strange, uncommunicative young woman with plenty of her own secrets to hide…

When Rachael arrives at the cottage, however, she is horrified to discover the body of her friend Bella Furness. Bella, it appears, has committed suicide – a verdict Rachael finds impossible to accept.

Only when the next death occurs does a fourth woman enter the picture – the unconventional Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope, who must piece together the truth from these women’s tangled lives…

February 28

Murder at an Irish Wedding

by Carlene O’Connor

Series: Irish Village Mystery #2

Published by Kensington Publishing

Genre: Mystery

304 pages

Synopsis: The O Sullivan clan of County Cork, Ireland, are thrilled to be catering the matrimonial affairs of a celebrity couple until a cunning killer turns an Irish wedding into an Irish wake . . .
“Any wedding is a big deal in the small village of Kilbane even more so when the bride is a famous fashion model. It s also good for business. Not only has customer traffic picked up at Naomi s Bistro, Siobhan O Sullivan and her five siblings have a full plate catering for the three-day affair. And Siobhan s own beau, local garda Macdara Flannery, gladly steps in as best man after the groom s first choice makes a drunken arse out of himself.

Even if he hadn t been disinvited to the wedding, the original best man wouldn t have been able to show. He s been found murdered in the woods, casting a pall over the nuptials. And when a second member of the wedding party is poisoned by a champagne flute engraved with Macdara s name, the garda goes from being best man to prime suspect.

With a killer at large and a string of robberies plaguing Kilbane, Siobhan feels more than a little protective of her village. She vows to clear Macdara s name, but the suspect list is as long as the guest list. Like the bride walking down the aisle, Siobhan needs to watch her step. For as she gets closer to unveiling the truth, the murderer is planning a very chilly reception for her . .

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The books I plan to get (and hopefully read) soon:

Garden of Lamentations by Deborah Crombie (I’ve preordered an Audible edition–One of my favorite series!)

Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson (I’m intrigued by the Icelandic setting written by an Icelandic author. I might order this from Audible)

Swiss Vendetta by Tracee de Hahn (I’ve placed a hold at the library)

Old Bones by Trudy Nan Boyce (I’ve placed a hold at the library)

What books are you excited about this month?

Waiting on Wednesday: February 1

I am participating in Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Spine. This gives me a chance to show the books I’m looking forward to in the next few months.

Check out Breaking the Spine for more information.

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bitter-harvest-by-wendy-tysonBitter Harvest

by Wendy Tyson

Series: A Greenhouse Mystery #2

Genre: Mystery, Cozy

Publication date: March 7

Synopsis: Megan Sawyer should be shouting from the barn roof. Washington Acres survived its first year, the cafe has become a hot spot for locals, and Winsome’s sexy Scottish veterinarian is making house calls-and not just for the animals! But as summer slips into fall and Winsome prepares for its grand Oktoberfest celebration, beer isn’t the only thing brewing.

When the town pub’s owner is killed in a freak accident, Megan suspects something sinister is afoot in Winsome, but no one is listening. As nights grow longer and temperatures chill, Megan must plow through Winsome’s fixation with autumn festivities to harvest the truth, before another dead body marks the season.

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The reasons this book appeals to me:
  • I read the first book in this series–A Muddied Murder–and liked it.
  • I like the mix of building a business growing plants to sell and to use in the cafe Megan Sawyer starts. Although I don’t currently grow many vegetables, I like to grow herbs and cook with them so I found the first book fun and interesting to read. I also like the animals on the farm and Megan’s grandmother.
  • The mystery was quite good in the first book, too.