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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-05-30 03:37
The Grey Man Comes
Whispers in the Mist (A County Clare Mystery) - Lisa Alber

Finished it a day late of my deadline. Ah well. Still finished it before the due date, which is a relief. 

 

Whispers in the Mist is an Irish mystery taking place in County Clare. When a unknown boy ends up dead in a field, the members of the small village he's found in can't help but rumor that the Grey Man, a Slenderman like figure, is responsible. Detective Danny Ahern tries to solve a growing string of Grey Man murders, the key to which may be a mute girl who is also an outsider to the village. Things get dramatic, no one is quite what they seem, and the mystery just keeps growing. 

 

I have to admit, when I first started getting into the book, I was a little let down. I thought the Grey Man would have a really creepy presence. I wasn't expecting it to be a supernatural mystery necessarily, just creepy. Sort of like the Slenderman stabbing a few years ago. He didn't have much a presence at all, though. Aside from people calling the killer the Grey Man, the book hardly mentioned him. I feel like Alber missed out on an angle that could have been really fun.

 

That said, I really enjoyed this novel. It's one of the better mysteries I've read and my heart was hammering in my chest as I was finishing it. Alber was really skilled at dropping clues throughout to the point where I was able to connect them just enough to figure out a who-done-it, but not so much that everything was given away. Even with the clues I didn't completely guess right, which I appreciate. It really was a skilled mystery.

 

The characters themselves were okay. I didn't dislike Danny, the main character, but I wasn't too interested in him either. He was just a bit to angsty for my tastes. Merrit was also okay but she felt a little unnecessary, like the novel could have functioned mostly well without her. I absolutely loved Alan and Gemma though. Gemma especially was such a sweet, amazing character to me. I loved the descriptions of her anxiety since those felt so real to me. Her and Alan's relationship was absolutely adorable and I'm glad this book is part of a series so I can continue to see it bloom. 

 

The biggest drawback to this book is it had a slow start. Like, when I first started reading it I wasn't too into it. It just felt like a summary of village drama, more of a Desperate Housewives kinda thing than the mystery I expected. I almost gave up on it. I'm glad I didn't though because once you push through and the mystery heats up, it became really amazing. So stick with it if you choose to read it. Don't let the slow set up in the beginning keep you from finishing. 

 

Final rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Little slow and misleading in the premise, but the payoff was well worth the build up. I'd read it again.

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text 2017-05-26 22:18
Reading progress update: I've read 156 out of 336 pages.
Whispers in the Mist (A County Clare Mystery) - Lisa Alber

Currently on vacation in Canada but hoping to finish it before I get stateside again. So far though, decent mystery.

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review 2016-10-06 23:51
Whispers in the Mist by Lisa Alber
Whispers in the Mist (A County Clare Mystery) by Lisa Alber (2016-08-08) - Lisa Alber

If you read the review I wrote just prior to this, you’ll see that it was for the first book in the A County Clare Mystery series. Whispers in the Mist is Book 2 of this series by Lisa Alber.

 

I thought the first book was a quick read but not well-developed and I wasn’t wholeheartedly enthused about reading book two in the series. But I’m glad I did. To me the tone of this book was so different that I felt as if I were reading a completely different author. In this book, the characters are fuller, richer. The atmosphere soaks you in. From the time you read the book blurb, you can tell that this book is much different from the first:

There's a whisper in the mists

 

In Lisfenora, Ireland, a strange fog has rolled in off the Atlantic. Along with the fog comes tales of Grey Man, a predatory faery of local lore who snatches innocent souls into his deadly gloom.

 

And with the mists come murder

 

When a teenage boy dies in Detective Sergeant Danny Ahern's arms, Danny finds himself pursuing his own grey man, a killer who becomes more elusive the closer Danny gets to the truth. A mute woman may be the key to solving the murder and helping Danny heal his own broken life, but first she must unlock the memories from her past.

 

Part psychological suspense, part mystery, Lisa Alber's haunting tale of family secrets and broken love won't let you go until the final twist.

We are introduced to new characters that are well-developed and sympathetic this time. I even like Merrit McCallum a bit better than I did in the first book. She seems like a kinder, less self-involved person because she shows more compassion in this book. But let me tell you, I really like the character of Danny Ahern and for me he is the real star here. As I read, I was so caught up in his emotions and the turbulence of his life. I’m super anxious to see where Lisa Alber takes us next and I do hope it has more to do with Danny Ahern and the new characters we’ve been introduced to here.

 

Everything about this book is much more haunting and will stay with me longer. I did figure out who the murderer was early on but the details behind who, what and why made for a good story that kept me reading. This one is more in the tradition of a good Tana French or Maeve Binchy read, and this time I did get that comfy, cozy feel that I love when reading books that take place in Ireland. The jump in this author’s writing talent from one book to the next is astonishing. If Lisa Alber’s writing keeps improving like this, she will be at the top of the best-seller lists in no time.

 

I want to thank the publisher (Midnight Ink) for providing me with the ARC through Netgalley for an honest review.

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review 2016-10-06 19:56
Kilmoon by Lisa Alber
Kilmoon, A County Clare Mystery - Lisa Alber

It’s June 28, 2008 and the setting is Northern California where we are introduced to Merrit McCallum who is staring at the empty syringe lying beside her on the rug.  Beside her is dead body of the man she called father.  Her mother committed suicide years before.  Merrit is feeling guilty, lost and possibly irredeemable.

   

With her mother’s journal in hand, Merrit travels from California to Lisfenora, a small town in Ireland.  She arrives during the annual matchmaker’s festival that the small town is so well-known for.  Merrit has big plans to meet her real father, Liam Donellan who is known as Liam the Lion, The Matchmaker of Lisfenora. 

 

Upon arrival, Merrit bides her time while trying to figure out how to introduce herself to her father.  She reads snippets from her mother’s journal hoping to unravel the secrets of the past.   As the matchmaking festivities get underway, Merrit braces herself to meet her father.  But things quickly go awry.  Merrit is being blackmailed by Lonnie, and when Lonnie turns up dead, all signs point to her as the murderer.  Her troubled past is catching up to her and she has learned that she’s not the only one who claims to be Liam’s long-lost biological daughter.  Merrit finds herself caught up in a web of deceit and mystery as she struggles to uncover the truth behind what kind of man her father really is. 

 

Kilmoon is a tale of murder, lost love and people yearning to feel like they belong somewhere in a world where life has taken a lot of unexpected turns.  I can’t say I was completely hooked.  It was a fair read but Merrit is just not a very likeable character and I don’t think that the book ever really answered the matter of whether she murdered the man who raised her.  The uncertainty of this creates a main character that is a bit shady and it’s difficult to feel sympathy for her plight.  The town drunk, Marcus, whom Merrit has befriended is a more sympathetic character.  I also didn’t find Liam to be the charismatic character that he was cracked up to be.  Apparently he lost a lot of his charm through the years.  The most interesting character to me is Danny, the town Garda officer, who has been assigned to work the murder, but also has strong loyalties to Liam.   Pay attention to this character, he is the real star.

 

I also generally love any books set in Ireland.  Something about the atmosphere touches my soul, and I usually settle in comfortably, feeling at home.  However, the atmosphere here lacked depth and didn’t give me that cozy feeling.

 

I read this book because I got the ARC of the second book in the series, Whispers in the Mist, from Netgalley.  Having already moved on and read the second book (review to come), I can tell you that the series is worth sticking with.  I liked the second book so much better.  Kilmoon is a quick read and worth reading for the introduction to the A County Clare Mystery series.  The characters and atmosphere of Lisfenora become much stronger as the series expands.

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review 2016-08-19 19:36
Good Story and Characters
Whispers in the Mist (A County Clare Mystery) - Lisa Alber

Danny had been married to Ellen but their marriage was failing after two years of turmoil Danny had moved out that had been one year ago. Ellen’s and Danny daughter’s youngest daughter had died and Danny was sure he was why Ellen wasn’t healing. Danny was a detective sergeant.  Danny was called to see a dead body when Danny got to the scene the boy wasn’t yet dead but he died as Danny tried to perform CPR on him. The boy looked like a city boy not more than seventeen. Danny thought of his son talking about the “ Grey Man”. The other officers had nicknamed the boy “ lost boy” as he had no identification. After a couple weeks a local young man went missing and then was found dead. His name was Branden he was his father’s- Seamus-  pride and joy. Now another stranger to the area- Gemma was missing and Danny’s wife had been attacked and in the hospital not in good shape.

This story dragged a little in places. But I still liked the story. It had alot to it: myth, intrigue, betrayal, murder, physical attacks, an affair, suspense, a matchmaker. A festival, a mute woman, a dog, a gift shop, a jewellery line and so much more. It was a good mystery that i did enjoy. I liked the twists and turns of the story alot. I recommend.

I received an ARC of this story for an honest review.

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