Review: Blood Hollow by William Kent Kreuger

Blood Hollow by William Kent Kreuger

Blood Hollow by William Kent Kreuger

Series: Cork O’Connor #4

Genre: Mystery

Setting: Northern Minnesota

Source: Audiobook, Library (11 hours, 15 hours)

Narrator: David Chandler

Publishing Date: 2004

512 pages

Synopsis: When the corpse of a beautiful high school student is discovered on a hillside four months after her disappearance on New Year’s Eve, all evidence points to her boyfriend, local bad boy Solemn Winter Moon. Despite Solemn’s self-incriminating decision to go into hiding, Cork O’Connor, Aurora, Minnesota’s former sheriff, isn’t about to hang the crime on a kid he’s convinced is innocent. In an uphill battle to clear Solemn’s name, Cork encounters no shortage of adversity. Some — like bigotry and bureaucracy — he knows all too well. What Cork isn’t prepared for is the emergence of a long-held resentment from his own childhood. And when Solemn reappears, claiming to have seen a vision of Jesus Christ in Blood Hollow, the mystery becomes thornier than Cork could ever have anticipated. And that’s when the miracles start happening….

My thoughts

I read the first three of this series in 2017 and really liked them. I’ve meant to get back to the series and finally did. I listened to the audiobook and though it was 11 hours long it only took about three days to finish it! The narrator is great and the mystery is very good. It kept me guessing! Just like Cork I had many suspects throughout the course of the book!

The setting in the series is also one I really like. The books take place in northern Minnesota among lakes and forests. The main character is the former sheriff of his county and is part Irish and part Ojibwe Indian. The Ojibwe people and culture play a big part in these books and I love that. Cork O’Connor is very human, makes mistakes, but has strong ethical beliefs. He was raised Catholic, but no longer goes to church. Things happened in earlier books that caused him to doubt the existence of God. This book really explores different beliefs as well as miracles and spirituality. What is real when it comes to God? And how do we really know? How do we interpret “signs” from God? Are they real or not? Is God real? I like how this book talks about these things during the course of this mystery without preaching and without taking anything away from the mystery.

I also like that these books have lots about the relationships of the characters–especially Cork’s family. They have their ups-and-downs in and they’re not perfect, but they love each other. Cork has Ojibwe friends as well as white friends. There are tensions between the two groups of people in this book (as in earlier books), but Cork tries to have good relations with both groups.

I recommend this series if you like mysteries set in interesting places along with compelling characters and ideas.

My Rating: B+

Narrator Rating: B+

Awards

Anthony Award for Best Novel (2005)

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge hosted by the POPSUGAR website — A book I borrowed (from the library)

Review: Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman

Note: I’m going out-of-town for a couple of weeks and I don’t know that I will have internet very much. I have a few posts I’ve scheduled, but I probably won’t get to check my blog very often. I was just starting to finally answer some of the comments people have posted and visit a few blogs, but that may not happen again very soon.

Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman

Series: Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito #21

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Setting: Arizona and New Mexico and the Grand Canyon

Source: Audiobook, Library

Narrator: Christina Delaine

Publishing Date: 2017

293 pages; 10 hours, 12 minutes

Synopsis: A deadly bombing takes Navajo Tribal cops Bernadette Manuelito, Jim Chee, and their mentor, the legendary Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, back into the past to find a vengeful killer in this riveting Southwestern mystery from the bestselling author of Spider Woman’s Daughter and Rock with Wings

When a car bomb kills a young man in the Shiprock High School parking lot, Officer Bernadette Manuelito discovers that the intended victim was a mediator for a multi-million-dollar development planned at the Grand Canyon. 

My thoughts

I’ve read the Leaphorn & Chee books written by the late Tony Hillerman for years, but this book is written by his daughter, Anne Hillerman, and it’s the first book I’ve read by her. I was a little worried when I saw she was continuing the series, but I loved this book. I feel it’s a great continuation of the series and I’m very happy she has written more books in this series.

There are earlier books I haven’t read (by both Hillermans) so I’m going back and reading some of those. Some things have obviously happened in these books that I haven’t read about yet!

The Grand Canyon

This is a really good mystery involving environmental issues and development in the Grand Canyon area. Lots of different groups want to weigh in on the issue of building a hotel near the Grand Canyon. Different Indian tribes may have different views as well as the many different views of the non-Indians. When the mediator’s car is bombed and someone dies the questions abound. Was the bomber killed? Is this ecoterrorism? Is the mediator in danger?

This is a part of the United States I love so I always enjoy books that take place in the Southwest. I think the book does a good job showing the beauty of that part of the country.

Bernie Manuelito

It was so fun to read about Manuelito as well as Leaphorn and Chee. I like that the narrator for Anne Hillerman’s books are narrated by a woman. That makes me feel Manuelito is getting equal billing with Leaphorn and Chee . (The cover of this book says “A Leaphorn, Chee & Manuelito Novel” even though Goodreads doesn’t show that with their listing.) I like the way the three of them work together deciphering clues and depending on each other. It’s a really good mystery and I can’t wait to read more. And I like the part the lion plays in the story!

Audiobook

I listened to the audiobook and enjoyed the narrator–Christina Delaine. She did a great job with the different voices. A lot of the voices were male and I always thought they were male. Now I want to read and/or listen to more books in this series very soon!

My Rating: B+

Narrator Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge hosted by the POPSUGAR website — A book with an animal in the title

Review: Modern Crimes by Chris Nickson

modern crimes by chris nicksonModern Crimes by Chris Nickson

Series: WPC Lottie Armstrong Mystery #1

Genre: Historical Mystery

Setting: Leeds, England, 1924

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2017

288 pages

Synopsis: 1924: still reeling from the effect of World War I, life in the city of Leeds is hard: poverty is rife, work is scarce, and crime is becoming more sophisticated. Bravely entering this maelstrom is one of the city’s first policewomen to walk the beat, the resourceful, inquisitive, and practical WPC Lottie Armstrong. Eager to prove herself and determined to succeed, Lottie faces apathy from colleagues and the general public alike until she suddenly finds herself on the trail of a missing girl that leads to the underbelly of the city and to murder. As Lottie uncovers a plot involving high level corruption, CID reluctantly find they need her knowledge and people skills, but as the truth is slowly laid bare Lottie’s bravery is tested to its limit in a breathtaking climax. 

My thoughts

I liked this book, but was disappointed when I found out the next book takes place twenty years later. I wanted to read more about Lottie in the 1920’s. I probably won’t read the second book at this time since it’s expensive and I’m not as interested in reading it.

I thought the mystery in this book was very good and I enjoyed reading about Lottie and her fellow female police constable Cathy Taylor. I could understand how frustrating it was for them to work only with women’s problems and then have to hand anything serious over to the male police officers. And they didn’t receive much respect or help from any of the male officers. This was a very difficult position for both of the women police constables.

Even after Lottie makes significant contributions to a murder case and works with one of the detectives she doesn’t receive much thanks–and is even reprimanded. I enjoyed this a lot.

Chris Nickson writes other mystery series which sound great and I will look for one of those to read more books by him.

My Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

Review: The Sinister Pig by Tony Hillerman

the sinister pig by tony hillermanThe Sinister Pig by Tony Hillerman

Series: Leaphorn & Chee #16

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Setting: U.S. Southwest, Washington, DC

Source: Ebook, Purchased

Publishing Date: 2003

352 pages

Synopsis: Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police is troubled by the nameless corpse discovered just inside his jurisdiction, at the edge of the Jicarilla Apache natural gas field. More troubling still is the FBI’s insistence that the Bureau take over the case, calling the unidentifiedvictim’s death a “hunting accident.”

But if a hunter was involved, Chee knows the prey was intentionally human. This belief is shared by the “Legendary Lieutenant” Joe Leaphorn, who once again is pulled out of retirement by the possibility of serious wrongs being committed against the Navajo nation by the Washington bureaucracy. Yet it is former policewoman Bernadette Manuelito, recently relocated to Customs Patrol at the U.S. — Mexico border, who possibly holds the key to a fiendishly twisted conspiracy of greed, lies, and murder — and whose only hope for survival now rests in the hands of friends too far away for comfort. 

My thoughts

Background

I love Tony Hillerman’s mysteries. I’ve read them for years (though there was a time in the late 1990’s and 2000’s I stopped reading mysteries). I’m going back now to read some of the ones I missed and some of the older ones I don’t remember as well or that I just want to read again and enjoy.

This is one of the books I hadn’t read and I really enjoyed it. I’m reading the books as I find them for a price I can pay so I’ve been skipping back and forth with the books. Each book is a self-contained mystery, but the overall arc of the main characters’ personal lives changes throughout the series so this isn’t the best way to read the books! I’m not sure that I read the two books before this one so I’ll eventually read those.

The story

This mystery involves Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee when an unidentified man is found shot in their jurisdiction. The FBI takes over the case and the case is closed when the Feds say the man was a hunting accident victim. This is a tense mystery. There were problems even in 2003 (as there have been for years before and years after) with illegal immigrants and drugs coming over the U.S. – Mexico border. And any time there’s lots of money involved people don’t want to give that up–so they don’t care who gets hurt or killed in the process.

Bernadette “Bernie” Manuelito

Bernadette “Bernie” Manuelito is a main character in this book and I like her. She quits her job with the Navajo Tribal Police and  takes a job with the Customs Patrol at the U.S. – Mexico border. She’s curious about unusual things she sees during her patrols and that quickly gets her in trouble. Leaphorn and Chee begin to see that some of the things Bernie has seen may tie-in with their dead man even though no one at the federal level will talk to them.

One reason Bernie quit her job with the Navajo Tribal Police: she realizes she needs to get on with her life. She likes Jim Chee, but he doesn’t seem to notice her. I like that she realizes she has to be strong enough to leave that situation. She’s not only strong, but a smart, honest and conscientious law enforcement officer. And maybe Chee noticed her more than he let on!

A really good mystery and I recommend the series! I plan to read and review more of the books this year.

My Rating: A-

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

Review: A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny

A Trick of the Light by Louise PennyA Trick of the Light by Louise Penny

Series: Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #7

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Setting: Quebec, Canada

Source: Ebook, purchased

Publishing Date: 2011

352 pages

Synopsis: “Hearts are broken,” Lillian Dyson carefully underlined in a book. “Sweet relationships are dead.”

But now Lillian herself is dead. Found among the bleeding hearts and lilacs of Clara Morrow’s garden in Three Pines, shattering the celebrations of Clara’s solo show at the famed Musée in Montreal. Chief Inspector Gamache, the head of homicide at the Sûreté du Québec, is called to the tiny Quebec village and there he finds the art world gathered, and with it a world of shading and nuance, a world of shadow and light. Where nothing is as it seems. Behind every smile there lurks a sneer. Inside every sweet relationship there hides a broken heart. And even when facts are slowly exposed, it is no longer clear to Gamache and his team if what they’ve found is the truth, or simply a trick of the light.

My thoughts

This series is as much a study of humanity as it is a mystery series. A Trick of the Light takes place mostly in Three Pines–the little Quebec village near the Vermont border where most of these books take place. In this book Clara Morrow finally has her solo art show at the museum in Montreal. Afterward, the Morrows have a party at their home in Three Pines and the next morning a body is found in the garden. Gamache and his team search for the killer among the villagers and guests of the party. There are plenty of suspects available for Gamache and his team. The problem is sorting through them and trying to see the truth.

This series keeps getting better and better. I’ve read two books in the series so far in 2018–Bury Your Dead and A Trick of the Light. These two books are among my favorite books of the year so far. I recommend reading the books in order. Some things won’t make sense otherwise and the books build on each other depending on what has happened in earlier books. I’ve been slowly reading the series for the past two or three years and am so glad–and that I still have more books to read before I catch up.

Chiaroscuro

He trotted out a word, he’d heard someone use that evening, a word he’d never heard before and had no idea what it meant. He’d turned to the painting of the Three Graces, the elderly and joyous old women, and said–

“The only word that comes to mind is, of course, ‘chiaroscuro.'”

Not surprisingly, the artists looked at him as though he was mad.

Because of Clara’s art show and the party in Three Pines after the show for friends as well as the art crowd there is lots of art talk in this book. The word “chiaroscuro” is used several times in the book–sometimes humorously. I had to look up the word. It means “the treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting.”

Clara’s paintings seem very straightforward and simple at first, but a discerning eye can see so much more in her paintings. Her treatment of light and shade captivate some people, but leave others wondering what all the fuss is about. Is it all just “a trick of the light?” Ms. Penny does such a great job in this book slowly showing the secrets and motivations people hide and how hard it is to sift through secrets and motivations to figure out what is “a trick of the light” and what is really true.

Relationships

There are many undercurrents from events that happened in earlier books. The relationship between Gamache and his second in command Jean-Guy Beauvoir was damaged during a previous book and that damage shows up in this book. Beauvoir must work through issues toward a better, more realistic relationship. We also discover more about Beauvoir in this book. I have a feeling that’s going to cause problems in some future books!

Characters in this series are neither all good nor all bad. Reading about the villagers in Three Pines is always so interesting. They’re all unique and they all have flaws. Some of those flaws are huge. For example, Peter Morrow is jealous of Clara’s success. Clara has struggled for years to find success as an artist whereas Peter found his artistic success early. Now it appears Clara will be a bigger success than Peter.  He does try to fight his jealousy, but is sometimes unsuccessful. Sometimes he subtly tries to undermine her confidence as an artist and Clara doesn’t have much self-confidence in her abilities to begin with. She has always seemed oblivious to Peter’s jealousy though Gamache has certainly seen and understood Peter’s feelings. Peter and Clara have to figure out what their relationship is really all about in this book. And does their relationship have something to do with the murder?

I compulsively read this book and got to the end and thought–“Wow!”

My Rating: A

Awards

  • Anthony Award for Best Novel (2012)
  • Macavity Award Nominee for Best Mystery Novel (2012)
  • Dilys Award Nominee (2012)
  • Agatha Award Nominee for Best Novel (2011)

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

Review: The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths

The Woman in Blue by Elly GriffithsThe Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths

Series: Ruth Galloway #8

Genre: Mystery

Setting: Norfolk, England

Source: Audiobook, purchased (9 hours, 44 minutes)

Narrator: Jane McDowell

Publishing Date: 2016

358 pages

Synopsis: Known as England’s Nazareth, the medieval town of Little Walsingham is famous for religious apparitions. So when Ruth Galloway’s druid friend Cathbad sees a woman in a white dress and a dark blue cloak standing alone in the local cemetery one night, he takes her as a vision of the Virgin Mary. But then a woman wrapped in blue cloth is found dead the next day, and Ruth’s old friend Hilary, an Anglican priest, receives a series of hateful, threatening letters. Could these crimes be connected? When one of Hilary’s fellow female priests is murdered just before Little Walsingham’s annual Good Friday Passion Play, Ruth, Cathbad, and DCI Harry Nelson must team up to find the killer before he strikes again. 

My thoughts

One of my favorite mystery series. Ruth Galloway is such a good character in these books. She’s a forensic archaeologist, a college professor, a single mom and helps the police on occasion. It sounds like she would be obnoxiously organized and efficient. However, she’s like most of us–she feels constantly busy with never enough time! She does love her life though–being a mom and teaching with occasional archaeology digging and police consultations. The book takes place in Little Walsingham in the county of Norfolk in England. It is known as a village with many shrines to the Virgin Mary and that features strongly in this mystery.

I listened to the audio version of this book and like the narrator a lot. She did a good job with the different voices and was easy to hear and understand. Made the story even more interesting.

Throughout these books one of the best things are all the friends Ruth has. In this book Cathbad, a long-time friend of Ruth’s, appears in the beginning of the book since he’s in Walsingham taking care of a cat and house sitting for a friend. When the cat escapes from the house Cathbad rushes in pursuit and sees a woman in blue in the graveyard near the house. He wonders if he has seen a vision of the Virgin Mary, but the woman later is found strangled.

It’s great to see DCI Harry Nelson and Sergeant Clough again. There are many pieces to the mystery. Ruth gets involved when a friend from her university days comes to Walsingham for a conference and gets in touch with Ruth. Hilary says she has a problem and wants to talk about it with Ruth. Hilary has received a number of threatening letters from someone who doesn’t like the fact she’s a woman priest. A good mystery which kept me guessing. And if you haven’t read the books before this be sure to read the earlier books first as each builds on the one before

My Rating: A-

Narrator Rating: B+

Have you read any books by this author?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

April & May Wrap-Up

I’ve decided to do a monthly wrap-up post each month to see how I’m doing on my blog and what’s going on in my personal life. I plan to link-up to a couple of blogs that host wrap-ups and reviews of their months. The Month in Review is hosted at The Book Date, and the Monthly Wrap-up Round-up is hosted by Feed Your Fiction Addiction.

Personal life

The first part of May we  got a call that my father-in-law had had a massive stroke. My husband and I quickly got ready and left to drive the 3+ hours to the hospital. My FIL didn’t want extreme measures taken to keep him alive and the doctors said he wouldn’t regain consciousness due to bleeding in his brain. He died the next day. It’s hard when a loved one dies, but he was nearly 90 and had lived a good life. We tried to celebrate his life and remember the good times we had with him. He loved his family including his extended family and many were able to come to his funeral. He was a veteran and we had a military ceremony at the graveside. It was all very moving and right for him. My husband is the executor of his estate so we stayed longer to sort out the papers he needs and so he could visit local people and businesses. We’ve made more trips as things move along. It’s a big job, but many people are helping.

My daughter who lives in the same city as I do interviewed for another job in her company. She got the job and moves to Indianapolis at the end of June. I will miss her so much, but it’s a great job and a promotion so I’m also very happy for her. She got the job offer at the end of May so she’s very busy getting her house ready to sell and getting ready to move. That means we’re busy, too, helping her when we can.

TV & Movies

We saw a couple of movies in the theater–Ready Player One and Solo–and enjoyed them both. We’re happy Elementary is back with another season and we’ve watched some of that. We watched the short season of Dancing With the Stars, but I was disappointed the season was so short. I hope they don’t have another four-week season. I feel like I didn’t get to know the people at all.

Yard & Garden

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After a very cold spring–we even had a little snow in April–we have gone straight to summer. In May we had a number of 90+ degree days. We’ve planted new plants this spring and the bulbs I planted last fall came up. Yay!  The daffodils bloomed and now Allium is blooming and my lilies will bloom later in the summer. We also planted a few new plants during May.

I love our yard and the crabapple trees are especially beautiful when they bloom in spring. Daffodils are my favorite spring bulb since deer, squirrels and bunnies leave them alone. Plus they are such cheerful plants.

Blog life

I read quite a few books in April and May and am ahead of my Goodreads goal which makes me happy. However, I didn’t get many books reviewed or other posts done and during May about the only things done were posts that I’d scheduled. I had the April wrap-up mostly written when we received the call about my father-in-law.

Thanks to all the people who comment on blog posts. I owe many people comments and hope to visit many blogs during June to see what you all are doing and then leave comments.

I still have to finish a privacy policy for my blog, but it may take a few more days since my husband and I are taking care of more estate business at the end of this week.

Books read in April

The Green Man’s Heir by Juliet E. McKenna (ebook)

Red Bones by Ann Cleeves (audiobook)

Hive Mind: Perilous by Janet Edwards (ebook)

This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong (library ebook)

Blue Lightning by Ann Cleeves (library audiobook)

The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey (library ebook) — (new author)

Catseye by Andre Norton (ebook)

Hive Mind: Defender by Janet Edwards (ebook)

Dry Bones by Peter May (audiobook) — (new author)

Wolfskin by W.R. Gingell (ebook)

The Star Beast by Robert A. Heinlein (library audiobook)

Books read in May

Weave a Circle Round by Kari Maaren (ebook) — (new author)

The Darkest Thread by Jen Blood (ebook) — (new author)

Dog With a Bone by Hailey Edwards (ebook)

Inside the Echo by Jen Blood (ebook)

Spindle by W.R. Gingell (ebook)

Song of the Lion by Anne Hillerman (library audiobook) — (new author)

The Pride of Chanur by C.J. Cherryh (ebook) — (new author)

Under a Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes (library ebook) — (new author)

Books reviewed

Review

White Nights by Ann Cleeves (ebook) — B+

Mini Reviews

Summon the Keeper by Tanya Huff (ebook) — B-

The Furthest Station by Ben Aaronovitch — (ebook) B+

Rivers of London: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Cartmel (graphic novel/library) — B

A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch (audiobook) — B-

My Challenges update

Goodreads Challenge

Goal–90 books read

By the end of May I’ve read 46 books toward my goal. I am 10 books ahead of schedule! Yay!

Cloak & Dagger Reading Challenge

Goal–read 26-35 mysteries 

I’ve read 22 mysteries so far, but have only reviewed six of those mysteries so far.

Discussion Challenge

Goal — 1 -10 discussion posts

I haven’t written any discussion posts yet. I have a couple started so I hope to get one done in June.

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

Goal — 40 prompts to the challenge

I’ve read seven books which match prompts

Swords & Stars Reading Challenge

Goal — 20 prompts for the challenge

I’ve read and reviewed three books which match this challenge

What were April and May like for you?

Review: White Nights by Ann Cleeves

White Nights by Ann CleevesWhite Nights by Ann Cleeves

Series: Shetland Islands #2

Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural

Publishing Date: 2005

416 pages

Ebook, purchased

Synopsis: It’s midsummer in the Shetland Islands, the time of the white nights, when birds sing at midnight and the sun never sets. Artist Bella Sinclair throws an elaborate party to launch an exhibition of her work at The Herring House, a gallery on the beach.

The party ends in farce when one the guests, a mysterious Englishman, bursts into tears and claims not to know who he is or where he’s come from. The following day the Englishman is found hanging from a rafter, and Detective Jimmy Perez is convinced that the man has been murdered.

My thoughts

Bella Sinclair is a famous artist in the Shetlands and beyond so when she plans an exhibition of her art everyone is surprised when few people show up. Bella asked Fran Hunter (a character from the first book) who is also an artist to show her work at the exhibition, too. Fran is excited to have a show with Bella since she is still an unknown artist. Fran is really disappointed when so few people show up. Discovering why people didn’t show up at the opening is one of the mysteries Detective Jimmy Perez must figure out after a dead stranger is found. The stranger showed up at the exhibition party acting very strange and claiming to have lost his memory.

Fran and Detective Jimmy Perez are slowly working toward a romantic relationship which could present a problem for Jimmy as he investigates the death of the stranger. Jimmy is at the opening as Fran’s guest, but when he has to investigate the stranger’s death Fran is part of the investigation.

Bella lives in the very small community she grew up in. Many of those people are still living there. This is a book about secrets. And who knows your secrets and what you will do to keep your secrets. Perez discovers that secrets from the past may be the reason for the events happening now. Trying to discover what those secrets are isn’t easy.

I really like the way Ann Cleeves uses the Shetland Islands (which are quite a ways north of Scotland), the weather and the time of the year in these books–almost like another character. The first book took place during the winter and the storms, snow and darkness all factored into the story. In this book fog delays the Inverness crime scene personnel and investigation team who are sent to help the Shetland police and who must fly in or take a ferry to the Shetlands from getting to the scene very quickly. This book takes place during the summer when there’s very little darkness and lots of tourists.

“It’s the time of year,” he said. “The light nights. It makes us all go a little mad.”

This is a difficult case for the police since the man found murdered is a stranger to the Shetlands. They don’t know for a while who he is or why he acted the way he did before he was murdered. The stranger is found wearing a mask and hanging from a rafter in a building in the village. This mystery is very good. Ann Cleeves also does a great job writing about the characters in her mysteries. They’re all interesting, unique people.

I read the first book in this series–Raven Black–about three years ago. I’m not sure why it took me so long to read the second book, but I’m glad I finally read it and I’ve already read books 3 and 4!

My rating: B+

Have you read any of this series or other books by Ann Cleeves? How do you like them?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

Mini reviews: from Ben Arronovitch’s Peter Grant series

I read several stories in Ben Arronovitch’s Peter Grant series since the first of the year. I’ve grouped them together since they are all short works. One is a novella, one a graphic novel and the other a short audiobook. I’ve also only written mini reviews for each work.

The Furthest Station by Ben Arronovitch

Series: Peter Grant #5.5

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Police Procedural, Novella

Setting: England

129 pages

Synopsis: There have been ghosts on the London Underground, sad, harmless spectres whose presence does little more than give a frisson to travelling and boost tourism. But now there’s a rash of sightings on the Metropolitan Line and these ghosts are frightening, aggressive and seem to be looking for something.

My thoughts

This is short, but the author tells a complete story. I enjoyed reading about ghosts on the London Underground. Mostly the ghosts on the Underground are harmless, but now there are more ghosts appearing and they’re very aggressive. They’re scaring passengers so PC Peter Grant is sent to investigate. This is a quick read and a good one for Peter Grant fans.

My Rating: B+

Rivers of London: Body Work by Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Cartmel

Series: Peter Grant/Rivers of London Graphic Novels #1

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Graphic Novel

Setting: England

Synopsis: Peter Grant having become the first English Apprentice wizard in fifty years must immediately deal with two different but ultimately inter-related cases.In one he must find what is possessing ordinary people and turning them into vicious killers and in the second he must broker a peace between the two warring gods of the River Thames.

My thoughts

This is the first graphic novel I’ve read in a while and I enjoyed it. I think the fact that I read the Peter Grant print series helped me understand the characters better in the graphic novel–especially since I don’t read graphic novels very often. This graphic novel is a new story, not just a retelling of a story in the print series. I like that a lot. It’s always fun to read a new Peter Grant story and the illustrations gave the story a different dimension. I still like print stories better than a graphic novel since I like to picture the events in my head as I’m reading. However, it’s always nice to broaden my horizons a bit.

My Rating: B

A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch

Series: Peter Grant #6.5

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Audiobook

Narrator: Kobna Holdbrook-Smith

Length: 29 minutes

Setting: The British Library

Synopsis: Somewhere amongst the shadowy stacks and the many basements of the British library, something is very much amiss – and we’re not talking late returns here. Is it a ghost, or something much worse? PC Peter Grant really isn’t looking forward to finding out….

My thoughts

This is very short–only 29 minutes–but it’s fun and I enjoyed listening to the audio. I haven’t listened to any of the other books in this series. The narrator is excellent and makes me want to listen to the next book in the series rather than read it.

Within a minute or two of the start of the story something larger than Peter’s dog Toby and with lots of legs runs past and the librarian asks “Tell me that wasn’t a spider?” When Peter reassures her it wasn’t, the librarian comments, “Thank God for that. I can’t stand spiders.” This is funny and a bit of a creepy story!

My Rating: B

Have you read any of the Peter Grant series? How do you like it?

Reading Challenges

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! — The Furthest Station

Swords and Stars Reading Challenge hosted by MsNoseinaBook — Read an SFF graphic novel 

Review: Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Promise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz

Series: Cutler, Sutter & Salinas #2

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Setting: Seattle, Washington and San Juan Islands

Publishing Date: 2018

Source: Ebook from library

Synopsis: Seattle gallery owner Virginia Troy has spent years battling the demons that stem from her childhood time in a cult and the night a fire burned through the compound, killing her mother. And now one of her artists has taken her own life, but not before sending Virginia a last picture: a painting that makes Virginia doubt everything about the so-called suicide—and her own past.

Like Virginia, private investigator Cabot Sutter was one of the children in the cult who survived that fire… and only he can help her now. As they struggle to unravel the clues in the painting, it becomes clear that someone thinks Virginia knows more than she does and that she must be stopped. Thrown into an inferno of desire and deception, Virginia and Cabot draw ever closer to the mystery of their shared memories—and the shocking fate of the one man who still wields the power to destroy everything they hold dear. 

Jayne Ann Krentz is a “comfort read” author for me and this book didn’t disappoint. I haven’t read the first book in the series and though there were a few references to characters from the first book I didn’t feel lost. I am considering reading the first book since I enjoyed this book.

A little background

I enjoyed reading about Virginia Troy who owns an art gallery in Seattle. Even though she had a traumatic childhood, twenty years later she has managed to put a lot of that behind her and is a success. However, she’s aware of some others who survived the cult her mother was a member of who haven’t managed to get past the trauma. When Hannah Brewster, one of the few adults who survived the fire the night the cult was destroyed, dies and her cabin burns to the ground everyone thinks it’s suicide, but  Virginia thinks she might have been murdered. Hannah Brewster was an artist, but her paintings never sold in Virginia’s gallery. They are just too dark for most people. Hannah always painted scenes from the night of the fire at the cult. They always show the children who were at the cult as well as the cult leader. Before Hannah died she sent Virginia a digital camera with a photo showing a wall she painted in her cabin. Hannah notices that this painting of the fire is a little different from others Hannah painted. Since the police and everyone else thinks Hannah committed suicide and that she was crazy, Hannah decides to go to a private detective agency.

Cutler, Sutter and Salinas isn’t just any agency. The private detectives are also survivors of the cult and the police officer who was there that night and who saved the children. Cabot Sutter is one of the surviving children and he’s inclined to agree with Virginia that Hannah’s death should be investigated. Cabot and the rest of the investigators of the agency believe that although Quinton Zane, the leader of the cult, was declared dead that he might have faked his death and that he’s still alive. Cabot is eager to see if he’s behind Hannah’s death.

The romance and the mystery

Cabot and Virginia work together to solve the mystery and though they don’t want to like each other at first they admire each other. The admiration grows as they get to know each other and see the honesty and bravery both show. They were both scarred by their time in the cult, but they have managed to rise above it even though they both have issues. I like the way Ms. Krentz shows their angst as well as their integrity and courage. I felt the romance was real and that it didn’t overtake the mystery.

I also really like Anson Salinas also who was the policeman who saved the children and adopted three of them whose relatives wouldn’t or couldn’t take care of them. He’s very honorable and intelligent. There’s obviously a strong bond between him and the boys he adopted.

There’s a lot of action and adventure in the book that I liked. I didn’t like the parts that are in the antagonist point-of-view as well. I understand why at least some of it was necessary for the story, but still didn’t like those parts as well. The book also surprised me several times which is always fun.

I don’t like romantic suspense as well as a book that’s just a mystery, but thought this was quite well-done. I really do like Jayne Ann Krentz’s writing. These books continue the mystery of the cult and how it’s affecting the present day throughout the series.

My rating: B

Reading Challenge

Cloak and Dagger Reading Challenge hosted by Stormi @ Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!