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review 2016-09-13 04:33
Plantation Shudders (Cajun Country mystery, #1)
Plantation Shudders - Ellen Byron

almost gave this 4 stars but there were a couple of small logic failures that weren't important to the plot but noticeable nonetheless.


The Crozats have an inn full of guests for the local food festival--elderly honeymooners, the Cajun Cuties, a mysterious stranger from Texas, a couple of hipster lovebirds, and a trio of Georgia frat boys. But when the elderly couple keels over dead within minutes of each other--one from very unnatural causes-- Maggie and the others suddenly become suspects in a murder. With the help of Bo Durand, the town's handsome new detective, Maggie must investigate to clear her name while holding the family business together at the same time. And the deeper she digs, the more she wonders: are all of the guests really there for a vacation or do they have ulterior motives?


I liked Maggie and her parents a lot; most of the time I liked her grandmother too, although Byron uses her too blatantly as a device to further Maggie's investigations. There's a nemesis in this story in the form of the Chief of Police; the result of an old, old family dispute a la Hatfields and McCoys, but Byron manages to make this antagonism believable; while his antagonism is unhidden and dishonourable, he never breaks the law or does anything beyond believability.  This realism makes his nastiness more effective.


The atmosphere is fantastic; very recognisable as Louisiana's bayou country, complete with strangling humidity.  There's a thread of romance running through the story that's good: well-balanced and realistic.


The murder plotting felt manipulated, as though the author thought "I'm going to twist this up so much NOBODY is going to get it!".  I didn't get it, that's for sure, but I'm not sure I actually bought it either.  It left me thinking "oh.", not "oh, wow!".


Plantation Shudders was an Agatha finalist for Best First Mystery, and I can see why; even though it might not be the strongest in plotting, the author infuses a depth into the story and the characters by seamlessly interweaving topics like autism and cancer that never feels overdone.  There's a richness to the writing that is definitely appealing and I enjoyed this book enough to eagerly look forward to her second.


I'm using this book for my Genre: Mystery square in 2016 Halloween Book Bingo.

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review 2016-02-26 00:00
Plantation Shudders
Plantation Shudders - Ellen Byron description

This was a fairly good read. I loved the setting, and most of the characters were well written and interesting. The mystery aspect kept me guessing until the end.

The reason why it is only a 3 star read as opposed to a 4 star, was Maggie. She really came across as a judgmental bitch a lot of the time. Some of her inner thoughts, and the way she reacts to people and situations really made me dislike her.

In any case, I enjoyed it enough to probably read book two in the future.
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review 2015-10-25 00:00
Plantation Shudders
Plantation Shudders - Ellen Byron This is like a cajun plantation style edition of a murder mystery weekend or game of Clue. Murders are happening. It looks like one is guilty. Then it appears it's another. There's subpar law enforcement checking it out and quite a bit a sleuthing from the main character. It was a fun read.
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review 2014-03-24 19:28
The picture is slowly coming together, piece by piece (or pieces) *shudder*
Cruelty: Episode Three (Cruelty #3) - Edward Lorn

*Book source ~ Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.


Episode Three takes us back a bit to give us an idea of who John Landover is and how he’s connected. I’m glad because that loose end was bugging me a bit.


The investigation proceeds with Trooper Holden and SI Markum leading the charge.


Trooper Morgan is still in surgery and his wife, Nell is introduced.


Innis is still in Hell. I can’t revisit that, so I’m not gonna.


Will is in danger from more than Cruelty, but he doesn’t know it yet. He heads out to see what is up with Kirk and why he’s in the hospital.


Ending this episode with Cruelty’s POV was diabolical. All I can do is shudder and shudder some more.


Layer upon layer this picture is growing like a giant painting being laid out on a once white canvas, the creepy spine-tingling-lose-bladder-control kind of picture that can’t be unseen. I’m not sure I want to see the next layer, yet I know I won’t be able to resist continuing. I will want to know what happens even if it means running the risk of nightmares. Bring it!


Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2014/03/saturday-shorts.html
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review 2014-03-24 19:19
Layer upon layer, this serial is building
Cruelty: Episode Two - Edward Lorn

*Book source ~ Purchased on Amazon


Cruelty Episode Two picks up right after Episode One left off. This is a serial after all. This episode contains more about the people who have been forced into Cruelty’s path either directly or indirectly, so we revisit old friends and gain some new ones.


Turtle is the meth addicted boyfriend of Jennifer the prostitute of Episode One. The description of his addiction is…frightening. But he is only a stepping stone for more characters, Twon and Ollie who are the ones behind the meth operation in the area.


Kirk is Will’s roomie and seriously addicted to working out. He can thank Turtle for sending Twon and Ollie his way.


Will has so many questions to answer when the police show up at the gas station where he dialed 911. The investigation of the seriously fucked up shit that has gone down this night is only beginning and we’re introduced to Sheriff Randy Miser, Deputy Nick Wuncell, Trooper Natalie Holden and State Investigator Frank Marcum.


Innis is in a nightmare, both waking and sleeping. Sweet Baby Jane! And we get Cruelty’s skin crawling POV as well. *shudders*


The book ends on Merlo’s POV and I’m beginning to wonder what role the dog is going to play in this tale.


Another well-written episode and Lorn is really layering an excellent story here. Having several POVs to follow gives me a chance to see and hear how other characters/players are connected in this seriously fucked up story about a baby doll serial killer. Again, I’m not very freaked out about Cruelty’s appearance, but being in its mind? Oh yeah…makes my skin crawl. Bring on Episode Three!

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2014/03/saturday-shorts.html
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