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review 2019-07-29 13:43
Thoughts: Devil in the Deadline
Devil in the Deadline - LynDee Walker

Devil in the Deadline

by LynDee Walker
Book 4 of A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller



A human sacrifice unlocks a chilling mystery, and leads Nichelle Clarke into a world of unimaginable danger.

When Richmond Police find a young woman's bloody remains spread across a candle-lit altar in an abandoned power plant on the banks of the James River, they give crime reporter Nichelle Clarke an all-access pass in exchange for her help.

But the information Nichelle gets from the victim's friends only draws her deeper into the mystery.  Where did Jasmine come from?  How did she end up on the streets of Shockoe Bottom?  And why doesn't she have any dental records?

The answer trail stops at the front doors of a sprawling compound in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, where Nichelle finds a secretive cult leader and his devoted following.  It is a world where lies become truth, and money is the true idol. Money some people would do anything to keep collecting...

Even if it means murdering a nosy reporter.

Another solid entry into the Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller series by LynDee Walker that drew me right into the book.  The murder mystery itself is a bit gruesome in this one, and the subject matter was as dark and gritty as in previous books.  The truth is, this series feels less cozy mystery and more crime thriller, which makes it all the more intriguing.

I appreciate that our heroine, Nichelle is a level-headed, resourceful, smart, and tough main character.  None of that weird accident-prone traits for the sake of a few laughs that I've seen in other cozy mysteries.  Nichelle knows what's she's doing with herself and doesn't draw attention if she doesn't need to, and you can count on her to do her job properly.  She still has her moments of stepping into situations that she knows damn well are dangerous... but as an investigative crime reporter, I suppose I'll have to accept that it's all part of the job.

The murder mystery itself was quite twisty, and there were a lot of possibilities for the whodunnit.

As much as I enjoyed reading this book, there were a few quibbles that didn't work for me.

The murder mystery, while outlined rather well, ended up also including a lot of side tangents that felt a bit chaotic.  I didn't expect that some of Nichelle's personal history would be touched upon, and I'm glad that it happened, concerning her absent father and a brief mention of the tension between her and her mother and her grandparents... but the introduction of that felt a bit sudden.  Maybe we'll expand on that in the next book?

Meanwhile, I'm still not feeling the love triangle, if only because I'm still not feeling any chemistry between Nichelle and either of her two potential love interests.  And also, the truth is, I don't really care for love triangles, so I'm doubly not feeling this continued dragging out of the love triangle.  And even though we can clearly see that Nichelle is leaning more towards one man over the other... it's still not quite working for me.

On the other hand, when Nichelle and Kyle are bantering as friends, I'm quite enjoying, probably because the two have a history.  But when the romance swings around, it's hard to take it seriously if only because even Nichelle herself isn't feeling that spark with Kyle.  On the other hand, I'm personally not feeling the spark with Joey...  I was still holding out hope for Grant Parker... but he barely makes an appearance in this book, so no go on that one, and also he's got a serious girlfriend already, so boo... because I'd be loathe to make Nichelle an "other woman" character.

And so I'm glad that this book is more than just romance, and that the murder mystery as well as Nichelle's work as a reporter are the main focus.

I'm also extremely happy that we've finally got a satisfying conclusion to the newsroom "Mean Girls" stuff going on with Shelby.  Truth is, great female relationships are hard enough to find in a lot of books without purposefully including one as toxic as the one between Shelby and Nichelle.  From book one, I've felt that this particular part of the character interactions were unnecessary.  It's already been hard enough that there are upper administration, outside reporters, and lots of other influences threatening Nichelle's ability to do her job.  We didn't need a Mean Girl Shelby, and we didn't need the slut-shaming.  So I'm glad that Shelby and Nichelle have finally called a truce and have stopped sniping at each other.

Otherwise, like I'd already mentioned, the murder mystery and the writing and the book itself, is extremely solid, and enjoyable, and very exciting.



Booklikes-opoly 2019

Roll #16d:
Square: Who? (3) | Read a mystery or detective story, or a book with the word "who" in the title.

How it fits:  This book is a cozy mystery.
Page Count:  282
Cash:  $3





Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/07/thoughts-devil-in-deadline.html
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review 2015-03-02 23:41
Devil in the Dealine (Headlines in High Heels, #4)
Devil in the Deadline - LynDee Walker

In my opinion, this is the quality of writing cozy mystery writers should strive for.


Because she's cooperated with the Richmond police in the past, Nichelle is owed a favour and it's paid in the form of an exclusive on a gruesome murder scene - with a request attached: the 911 call came from two homeless people who won't talk to the cops and her police contact is hoping she'll be able to coax their stories from them.  Her efforts, coupled with the inability of the police to identify the victim, pulls her into the story and leads her to some pretty unexpected places.


First - this isn't your grandmother's cozy.  It isn't gruesome, in spite of the opening scene, but there is language and the theme is more sophisticated than the bog standard "that old biddy deserved it!".  No actual sex scenes either, although the author does an outstanding job speeding up a reader's pulse rate when Nichelle finally decides to fish-or-cut-bait.  


Second - and I can't emphasise this enough - Nichelle is an investigative reporter whose job is to interview and question people and she still manages to investigate this mystery without resorting to sledgehammer tactics.  She researches, she digs around, and when she does interview people she does so with empathy and intelligence.  Writing like this just makes those other cozy MC's using bull-in-a-china-shop methods look all the worse in comparison.


Nichelle and all the characters in this series are the kind of people you'd be likely to find living in your neighborhood, or working in your office.  Even the office witch, Shelby, gets a bit more dimension in this book (in previous books she was around merely for the smack-down entertainment value of watching her and Nichelle have at it).


Finally - the mystery itself.  Complicated.  Maybe too complicated, but I think it worked.  What I loved best about it is the way the author used a not-unpopular plot setting but didn't lead us or Nichelle down the obvious path.  It was interesting, and not impossible for such a scenario to exist in reality.  The resolution also sets up the possibility of some interesting conflicts for Nichelle in future books.


Why not five stars?  There's a love triangle.  It's been there since the beginning, so the author scores points for not screwing with an existing relationship, but it's still a love triangle and both men have their allure.  I believe it's been settled in this book, but there's enough question at the end to make me wonder if the decision is somewhat temporary.   I also would have liked to have known what happened to some of the secondary characters, like Elaine.  It's a small thing though and didn't make me feel like the story ended incomplete.


This series shot up my list of favorites almost from the start, and I wasn't at all disappointed in this one.  Ms. Walker is an excellent story teller and writer and kudos go to the team at Henery Press for consistently putting out great mysteries with highly professional editing.  



[PopSugar 2015 Challenge:  A book with a love triangle.]

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text 2015-01-29 08:48
TBR Thursday - the Birthday edition!
My Family and Other Animals - Gerald Durrell
The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia 9th Edition - Frank Knight,Graham Pizzey
Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s - James Lileks
Devil in the Deadline - LynDee Walker
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
The Dress Shop of Dreams - Menna van Praag
Twilight of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Picasso, Stravinsky, Proust, Renault, Marie Curie, Gertrude Stein, and Their Friends Through the Great War - Mary McAuliffe
The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays - Oscar Wilde

If they all arrived the week of my birthday, they count as birthday presents, right?  That's my story anyway...


The first three up there were actual presents: The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia 9th Edition was from my husband; a supremely thoughtful gift and likely a small act of self preservation on his part.  Now when I go "what's that bird??" he can direct me to my own bookshelf.  My brother-in-law and his wife got me My Family and Other Animals and Interior Desecrations: Hideous Homes from the Horrible '70s.  I've flipped through Interior Desecrations and it has absolutely lived up to its title; I was cackling at how god-awful some of those interiors were.  Who does that?!?!


I have been accused of having a concerning number of copies of P&P.  This is possibly true but I admit to nothing.  I read the front cover of this gem, Pride and Prejudice and died laughing, so it got added to the "happy birthday to me" list.  I'd like to share this snipped from the back cover:


"Mrs. Bennet is on a mission to marry off her five daughters to rich men.


Enter, Mr. Charles Bingley and his rather fit friend, Darcy."


"..his rather fit friend" had me cackling with laughter all over again.


The cigarette, though, is the crowning touch, IMO.


The Importance of Being Earnest and Other Plays by Oscar Wilde was purchased because A. I've never read any Wilde and feel remiss and B. it fits the "over 100 years old" prompt in the PopSugar Challenge.


After reading Dawn of the Belle Epoque, I needed to know what happened next so...Twilight of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Picasso, Stravinsky, Proust, Renault, Marie Curie, Gertrude Stein, and Their Friends Through the Great War - Mary McAuliffe  


I'm a devoted fan of LynDee Walker's Headline in High Heels series (stupid name for such a good series) so Devil in The Deadline - LynDee Walker  has been on the list for months.


Last, but not least, I first started eyeing The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna van Praag  because its story line is similar to a favorite cozy series (Magical Dressmaking by Melissa Bourbon) and then after reading Obsidian Blue's review, that 'buy now' button sort of just pushed itself.  I swear.



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review 2015-01-10 00:00
Devil in the Deadline
Devil in the Deadline - LynDee Walker In the last book, Small Town Spin, we started to delve into Nichelle's familial background. Much more is hinted at, guessed at and finally revealed. Plus there is some set up for coming books, left dangling at the end. Not really a cliff hanger... more of a teaser of things to come.

Let's not forget the love triangle, which I am not normally a big fan of, but has worked in this instance for me. We have the former high school boyfriend and ATF agent Kyle, and the super sexy mafia connected Joey. There is one scene where the two guys once again meet face to face at Nichelle's. They are giving each other the old hairy eyeball and emitting Alpha pheromones all over the place. Nichelle's response? She got in her car and left them to it. How I would love to have been a fly on the wall of the conversation between them... Just sayin'. I can't wait to see how this is going to play out in the end.

Regulars make appearances. Of course, we have the return of Aaron, the police officer spokesman and Exclusive Tip giver, and Bob, her editor, father figure and one of my favorite people. We also get some face time with Parker and many of their Richmond Telegraph co-workers. Nichelle's relationships really help to give her depth and come alive on the page.

The Nichelle Clark books just keep getting better and better. I went back and looked to see what I gave the last book, Small Town Spin, (5 stars) because wowzers, this book surpassed it. I had a guest post with LynDee back when Buried Leads came out in October 2013. LynDee stated that she had been given the advice to “Write a better book next time. And the time after that. That is how you build a career.” Mission accomplished! I am still totally hooked on this series. Another 5 star read.
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review 2015-01-06 04:26
Devil in the Deadline-Dialed back my enthusiasm a bit
Devil in the Deadline (A Headlines in High Heels Mystery #4) - LynDee Walker

Sigh. I am really enjoying this series but this one, book 4, definitely made me dial back my enthusiasm a bit.


Nichelle is one the trail of a murderer who committed what seems to be a ritualistic killing of a homeless woman. Her contact at the police station is giving her exclusive information in return for some of the help she can provide but it’s not just her rival, Charlie, at the TV station that is challenging her for scoops. There is a blogger reporting on crime in Richmond that seems to have some type of inside track. She’s feeling like every minute is a deadline these days.


Her investigation leads to her to a televangelist’s organization and that can be a pretty tough nut to crack. She shows her usual flair for following a story and in the course of it, learns a huge amount about her family history. We get to know her mom better and Nichelle become a more fully-rounded character.


If you’ve not read the other books in the series, you can read this as a stand-alone but I think you will enjoy it more if you read the series in order.


So here are the problems.


  1. There is a lot of talk about the church hiding donations from the IRS. The problem is, churches aren’t required to report their donations to the IRS. Some do, some don’t. The vast majority don’t. Income made from a bookstore or coffee shop has to be reported but donations absolutely do not. I know exactly what I’m talking about with this. This isn’t even a little bit in question. This is such a glaring issue that my enjoyment of the book was interrupted as I kept checking this on different websites to see if something had changed that I didn’t know about. It hadn’t.
  2. The love triangle has taken exactly the turn we didn’t want it to. The two guys have become open rivals and it needs to stop now. This could really tank the series for me if it’s not ended really quickly.

I really love this series and these problems won’t stop me from reading more but it did dial back my enthusiasm a bit. I’ll actually be eagerly awaiting book 5 to see how this progresses.


This book was provided by Netgalley and I appreciated the opportunity to read and review it.

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