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review 2017-05-22 06:40
DARK CRIMES a gripping detective thriller full of suspense - Michael Hambling

A woman found dead on a footpath in a Dorset coastal town is the first case for a new DCI - Sophie Allen. I love the setting (Swanage) plus the other familiar places in Dorset, so I would read other stories for that reason alone. I liked the team and the way they worked together to solve the crime but although the villain did horrible things to the victims didn't really come across as frightening or menacing which is a pity and when arrested it was an anticlimax which left me thinking "is that it?" as the character did or said very little afterwards. A promising start and I shall look forward to meeting DCI Allen again!

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review 2017-05-19 00:58
Thoughts: Two Guys Detective Agency
Two Guys Detective Agency - Stephanie Bond

Two Guys Detective Agency

by Stephanie Bond

Book 1 of Two Guys Detective Agency



Linda and Octavia are estranged sisters.  The stay-at-home mom and socialite have never had much in common...until now.  When they suddenly find themselves husband-less and broke, they reluctantly agree to combine their talents and take on a faltering P.I. agency in a strip mall.  Old emotional wounds keep the two at odds and both sisters think they've made a huge mistake. But soon they realize all their clients have secrets...and who better to help them than two women who have secrets of their own?

I think I had been expecting a whole lot more from this book than a simple teasing introduction.  While the book is tagged as a mystery, and the cover even suggests that this is a "Humorous Mystery Series," I certainly did not find any part of that title to be true.

It's probably why the series was renamed to simply Two Guys Detective Agency?  The concept was going to be a nice one, even if a little overdone.  Two sisters, down on their luck when they find themselves husband-less and broke, reluctantly team up to take on a private investigation agency.

The summary suggests so much more than what actually happens in the book.  We spend a good 60% of the book itself setting up the "What will Linda and Octavia do now?" part of their failing marriages and broken families.  And while I liked the whole aspect of them maybe finding a niche in taking over Linda's husband's investigation agency, starting off by helping him close a few domestic cases, the entirety of that story line maybe comprised about 10% of the book... if even that.

I was even hoping that maybe the two would stumble upon a criminal case and a murder and help solve that case, and maybe make a name for themselves.  But aside from closing a few insurance fraud cases, and maybe helping to find patient zero for a spreading STD case in a nursing home (the conclusion they came up with was both, a long stretch, and not at all able to be proven with anything but speculation), nothing that these two women do suggest that they are cut out for investigative work.

Which makes me extra resentful that I felt righteous indignation on their behalf that everyone else also snapped to the judgment that the two of them couldn't possibly be good investigators, for other reasons that I didn't like.  Because it's the truth, but the other people didn't know that they were doing a laughing-stock of a job being investigators.  They were just all, "Well, you're just a stay at home mom and wife.  What could you possibly know about investigative work?"


To be honest, Two Guys felt like a drawn out introductory of sorts.  The only true mystery was the question of what happened to Octavia's husband, Richard, and what he ended up getting himself involved in.  Then there was the very, very open-ended conclusion regarding Richard's dealings, which turned out much more chaotic than I had expect... and also wasn't quite concluded, if we were to really be honest with ourselves.

Virtually nothing is really solved in this book, but the characters convene and close out the story as if everything is just wrapped up nicely with a bow on top.  And I probably would have been less upset if everything had been wrapped up nicely with a bow on top.  But there are so many loose ends, and so many more questions that need to be answered, and even so many turn of events in the entire story that made absolutely no sense.

The missing case files that the D.A.'s office is still requesting from Linda's husband, Sullivan's agency and how they relate with a murder case labeled "Foxtrot" was never closed out.  The mysterious evidence bag that Richard left with the maid, who was then killed, and which now leads to an even bigger mysterious twist in the book was, again, also still left hanging.

Then there's the death of Linda's husband, Sullivan, which I kept getting vibes that there was much more to it than a simple heart attach.  I keep trying to connect the "Foxtrot" case with his death, and my line of thinking when it comes to crime thrillers, or even cozy mysteries, is that there is definitely a connection.

And then, for some reason, I find Dunk Duncan--the private investigator who works on more high-end cases--kind of shady.  Mainly, the fact that he offered to pick up all of Sullivan's open cases seemed a little sketchy to me.  Or maybe I'm just paranoid.  And then I'm even seeing some sketchiness in Detective Oakley Hall as well--something about him gives me bad vibes.

Unfortunately, as I already stated, there were so many things left unanswered, so many loose ends that had no tie up.  And the ending was so abrupt that it might as well have been a cliffhanger--it almost feels as if our author just sort of needed to wind things up and turn in a manuscript because she was meeting a deadline, and screw the quality of the book.

Anyway, I'm contemplating reading the next book whenever it finally gets published, though, to be honest, it's kind of a stretch, and I might just stop here.  Aside from the children and the dog, and maybe Brittany, the Waffle House waitress, I didn't really care for anyone else in this book.  Octavia was driving me insane with her self-absorbed selfishness, and Linda really, really needed to grow a backbone.

But I DO find the parallel of both women, having molded their entire lives around their respective husbands, then finding themselves in a quandary when they both lose their husbands, kind of a great premise to bounce off of.  If anything, it gave the two a chance to rekindle their estranged relationship.




Roll #10:
This book is tagged 'mystery' on GR.

Page Count:  255
Cash Award:  $3.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $53.00













Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/05/thoughts-two-guys-detective-agency.html
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review 2017-05-16 13:08
Norwegian police procedural – engaging and thrilling
Faithless (Oslo Detective Series) - Kjell Ola Dahl,Don Bartlett



This Norwegian noir thriller deals with Frankie Frolich, a police officer, investigating a couple of murders and a disappearance with his colleagues. A host of possible suspects and other characters are introduced with the occasional red herring but this is mainly about solving the crimes. Friendships are strained and it does not end well for many of the characters, including the police officers.


I enjoyed this thoroughly and found it engaging and a page-turner. It took me two days to read and is well worth a look for all fans of detective fiction. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review


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review 2017-05-03 19:23
In the mood for some mystery
Trio for Blunt Instruments: A Nero Wolfe Threesome - Rex Stout

Trio for Blunt Instruments by Rex Stout draws us back into the world of Nero Wolfe and his loyal assistant, Archie Goodwin. The last time I visited with these distinguished detectives was back in 2015 (it's been too long!) so I was very happy to get a 3-in-1 with this book. This volume contains the following mysteries: Kill Now -- Pay Later, Murder Is Corny, and Blood Will Tell. As this is a collection, the stories aren't overly lengthy (Murder Is Corny was previously unpublished and was the last novella written by Stout.) but as with all of Stout's writings they pack a powerful punch no matter the length. I continue to maintain that Archie Goodwin is one of my favorite literary characters. His veracity, loyalty, bravery, and overwhelming likability mark him as a singular character that it's nearly impossible not to like. There is something so real about him and his narrative voice as the reporter of Wolfe's cases lends reality and humor. Of course, Wolfe is a singular character in his own right as a true 'armchair detective' in every way.


Kill Now -- Pay Later covers the story of Wolfe's shoe shiner who witnesses something (it's not too much of a shock for me to tell you it's related to a murder I don't think) and comes to Wolfe immediately afterward. Once Wolfe is on the case, it turns out that it's not as straightforward as the police think especially since a subsequent crime is marked as a suicide and the case is considered closed. It's up to Wolfe and Archie to continue the case to its bitter end no matter how winding their path becomes.


Murder Is Corny is an extremely corny title for one of Stout's mysteries as the victim works at a farm that produces corn. <pause for grimace> Archie is pegged as the main suspect after one of his prior flames indicates that he was at the scene of the crime. Wolfe at first demurs as it's 'Archie's private affair' but when he realizes that he stands a good chance of losing someone he relies on he steps in. This one has a lot of moving parts and quite a few memorable characters but what marks it as unique is that Goodwin isn't interested in the main female character. ;-)


And that brings us to Blood Will Tell which opens up with Archie receiving a rather strange package in the mail and snowballs into a dramatic story about spurned love, boorishness, and snappy dressers. I think this one was my favorite of the three because it provided a lot of sidestories to sink your teeth into and it kept me guessing up until the last.


Whatever your taste in mysteries, you can't go wrong with this 3-in-1 because it has a little something for everybody. If you haven't ever tried a Nero Wolfe mystery then this is an excellent place to start. 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-05-02 15:38
Triple Meh
Blood Shot - Sara Paretsky

Seriously. The first part of the book started off so well. Then it just descended into ridiculous levels of absurdity that I had a hard time overlooking.


Also, it just needs to be said, VI (Vic) just sucks. I don't particularly like her character. She is one of those people who will come up to you in a bar and tell you how edgy she is when in fact drinking whiskey and taking baths does not make you edgy. Also being a slob (housekeeping wise) also doesn't make you edgy. The main reason why I gave this three stars is that for one Paretsky doesn't have a love interest (there is something stupid with a cop) but for all intents and purposes, Vic is solo in this book.


When Vic is coaxed to come back to her old high school to suit up again (she played basketball) she is then nagged into taking a case from her former neighbor that she used to babysit. Vic is asked by Caroline (the neighbor) to please find out who Caroline's biological father is. Paretsky takes a long winding road to get there, but eventually readers figure out that Caroline's mother got pregnant as a teen and thrown out of her house. She somehow found a place to live and work, and gave birth to her daughter. Now that Caroline's mother is dying, she wants to reach out to find any other relatives she may have out there.

Vic is annoyed at the request and reluctantly starts a search. I won't get into it via this review. But honestly, how Vic gets to where she does that leads to some big conspiracy really didn't work for me. Vic is fired repeatedly by Caroline and asked to stop looking for her father and Vic just keeps going. It doesn't work for me since Vic complains incessantly about the case but is annoyed at Caroline and calls her spoiled and a brat from the beginning of the book until the end. She even shakes her at one point. 


There are some familiar characters in this one. I enjoyed Lotty, loathed Max, and got really sick of Vic's downstairs neighbor Mr. Contreras. I felt like Max is insufferable just like I did in the last book. And I hated how Mr. Contreras was way too involved with Vic's comings and goings. At this point, I think he harbors a crush on her and it just was making me feel slightly claustrophobic dealing with him around all of the time.


The writing was okay and in some cases made me cringe. Vic calls something oriental. She also mentions Lottie looking like a Mandarin due to her dark eyes and small face at one point. I just thought there were way too many plot holes in this book and the reasoning why Vic kept investigating did not ring true. Paretsky does this thing where VI is the way she is in order to prove she's tough, but she just proved she doesn't have a lot of common sense in this case. And I for one am sick of her and her constant back and forth with the the character of Bobby Mallory. Vic is in her 30s at this point, she still acts like a teenager around him and is too glib by far. 


The book ends, but it's not done in a satisfying way. You don't really know what becomes of the bad guys. And Vic has to fight off losing her home due to the machinations of one man. But that's about it. 

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