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review 2018-10-22 20:30
Thoughts: Buried Leads
Buried Leads (A Headlines in High Heels Mystery #2) - LynDee Walker

Buried Leads

by LynDee Walker
Book 2 of A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller

 

 

It wasn't the first time I'd smelled a dead body, but the faintly sweet, acrid stench didn't get less putrid with repeated exposure.

The scene was quiet for a body recovery, just as I'd hoped.  Not another reporter in sight.


When an Armani-clad corpse turns up in a shallow grave in the Virginia woods, Nichelle Clarke is the first reporter on the scene.  The victim is a tobacco lobbyist with a mysterious past, and Nichelle suspects that his shady business connections are what's driving local politicians to push for a quick arrest.  She soon uncovers a web of astonishing corruption: A dark trail of illegal kickbacks and high-end call girls that stretches all the way to Washington, D.C.

For Nichelle, it could be the news story of the year.  But the power players at the center of the plot have everything to lose, and Nichelle's crusade for the truth lands her right in the crosshairs of the killer.



This second book in the Nichelle Clarke series was maybe a little bit more disappointing than I had hoped.  Sure, it was still written well, and I still like Nichelle.  But I think I would like her better if she didn't blatantly ignore warnings of danger just to trudge forward without a care.  As much as I hated the scene with the stuffed Pomeranian toy, I'm glad that it kind of gave her a wake-up call... even if she still didn't really see the danger in the story she was pursuing.  At least she was taking some action to keep her puppy safe, even if she wasn't taking steps to keep herself safe.

The story pacing and the writing is still winning, though.  As I stated, I still like Nichelle.  I like that she's smart, resourceful, and has a way with puzzles.  I didn't really care for her trying to edge into another co-worker's area though, because it left me feeling like she was trying to steal someone else's job.  She'd been spending time complaining about Shelby trying to steal her job since book one, so it felt a little contradictory.  At the very least, she DOES finally admit that she's not trying to steal Trudy's political beat, and goes to Trudy with questions as well as offers the scoop to her co-worker.

It's a little too convenient, however, that Trudy dismisses Nichelle's insights, thus giving Nichelle a green light for continuing her investigation, conscience-free.

I AM glad for the fact that Nichelle covers more than just the "mystery of the week."  In fact, there are more mysteries going on in this book than I'd expected, and enough to keep readers guessing for hours.  Simply the mystery of the missing white chocolate syrup was lingering in the background.

But to be totally honest, the ending wasn't really all that surprising to me, even if I didn't see it coming.  And I felt like it was kind of abrupt.  All the other incidents that Nichelle covered in this book felt like they should have been separate incidents, but everything tied together in the end, though.  I'm not sure if I like that everything ties together in the end, or if I would have preferred to see Nichelle working an article on an incident that had nothing to do with the "mystery of the week," just to show us that there's more going on in this world than the one big convoluted scandal that serves as the main conflict in this book.

Meanwhile, I'm not a big fan of love triangles, but I could smell this one coming a mile away.  I don't know how to feel about it at the moment, because not a whole lot of character is given to either male love interest--at least not enough for me to like one over the other.  And since I don't like triangles, I'm really hoping that this one doesn't keep up for too long and Nichelle either chooses one guy... or chooses no one.  At this point, you can kind of see her leaning more towards Mr. "Call Me Joey," though it could have just been because of the fact that she and ATF Agent Kyle have a history she's reluctant to get into.

At this point, I am kind of glad that Nichelle's world doesn't revolve around her love interests.  They're really just afterthoughts for her at the moment, even if she finds both of them attractive and alluring.

I'm still not digging the color commentary about Shelby's bedroom habits--nor am I feeling the necessity of Shelby's "Mean Girl" act.  I don't feel like it brings much to the table--Nichelle's urgent deadlines still stand whether or not there's someone actively vying for her position.  The fact that she's got a friendly rivalry going on with Charlie from News Channel Four also serves to keeps her on her toes as is.

Otherwise, this second book of the series wasn't bad.  It wasn't incredible, nor was it as exciting or entertaining as the first, but it was still enjoyable, and fast-paced enough that I finished it in a breeze.

 



 

Halloween Bingo 2018
(any murder mystery)


Other possible squares:  Cozy Mystery; Amateur Sleuth; Terrifying Women

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/10/thoughts-buried-leads.html
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review 2018-10-22 20:07
Up from the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Up From the Grave - Jeaniene Frost

Great final book. 
Bones and Cat were back. I loved their banter and Cat's thoughts and sayings were humorous. There were some really unexpected turns, truly heartwrenching moments, and a lot of action. My favourite characters Marie, Vlad, and Ian were also back. Loved it.

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review 2018-10-22 19:59
One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost
One Grave at a Time - Jeaniene Frost

The storyline was rather good but ...
How clueless can a person be? I am so disappointed right now. Cat used to be such a bright girl. In this book she didn't have the edge, didn't use her brain, and wasn't as witty as before. Actually, she was quite annoying at times. And Bones ... where was the fierce vampire hottie I've learned to love? There were times when the villain seemed to be the only intelligent person. Finally about ten pages before the story ended Bones proved he had brains, too. I was actually impressed because all through the book I waited him to start discussing pension plans, wear comfy slippers or something similar. It was so weird. Even sex scenes didn't have the usual spark. Did I mention how disappointed I was?
If it weren't for the other characters it would be a 2-star book. Fortunately Tyler, Dexter, Ian and Spade managed to entertain me enough to finish the book and even enjoy some of the chapters.

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review 2018-10-22 13:49
Review: “Dead in the Garden” (Grasmere Cottage Mystery, #1) by Dahlia Donovan
Dead in the Garden - Dahlia Donovan

 

~ 4 stars ~

 

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review 2018-10-22 13:01
The Library at the Edge of the World (Finfarran Peninsula #1) by Felicity Hayes-McCoy
The Library at the Edge of the World - Felicity Hayes-McCoy

As she drives her mobile library van between villages of Ireland’s West Coast, Hanna Casey tries not to think about a lot of things. Like the sophisticated lifestyle she abandoned after finding her English barrister husband in bed with another woman. Or that she’s back in Lissbeg, the rural Irish town she walked away from in her teens, living in the back bedroom of her overbearing mother’s retirement bungalow. Or, worse yet, her nagging fear that, as the local librarian and a prominent figure in the community, her failed marriage and ignominious return have made her a focus of gossip. With her teenage daughter, Jazz, off traveling the world and her relationship with her own mother growing increasingly tense, Hanna is determined to reclaim her independence by restoring a derelict cottage left to her by her great-aunt. But when the threatened closure of the Lissbeg Library puts her personal plans in jeopardy, Hanna finds herself leading a battle to restore the heart and soul of the Finfarran Peninsula’s fragmented community. And she’s about to discover that the neighbors she’d always kept at a distance have come to mean more to her than she ever could have imagined. 

Amazon.com

 

 

 

Twenty years into marriage to a London barrister, Irish native Hana Casey gets hit head on with the news that he's been unfaithful to her pretty much from the beginning. She decides to pack up their daughter and move back to her hometown to try to start her life over. Now three years later, Hana is still living with her mother while daughter Jazz is traveling around the world as a flight attendant. Feeling stifled, with her mother driving her mad, Hana decides it's time to be on her own -- fully on her own -- once more. 

 

At the start of divorce proceedings, Hana had told her ex (in anger) that she didn't want a cent of his money. Now those words are coming back to bite her as she struggles to find housing on her paltry income as the town's librarian. Hana contacts her ex, presenting her case as to why he should help her all these years later. Her plea is not well received, in fact he quickly shuts her down with an ol' "you made your bed." That's right, this is coming from the unfaithful one himself... Malcolm is a true piece of work in this story. He somehow manages to shirk much of his responsibility in their breakup, instead accusing Hana of being a terrible mother for ruining their daughter's life with the sudden move back to Ireland. This guy! Divorcees, brace yourselves! 

 

"A little discretion. A sense of responsibility. A willingness to look beyond your personal agenda. That's not a lot to ask, Hanna. Not of someone who claims to be a loving mother."

 

~ Malcolm, Hanna's ex-husband

 

(Can you imagine hearing this out of a man you'd just discovered had been having an affair for pretty much the entirety of your marriage?!)

 

Just as she's nearly at wit's end, a solution comes to our main lady. She remembers she was left an old derelict cottage by the sea by her great aunt Maggie. How one forgets that they own a piece of property on prime picturesque real estate in Ireland stumps me a bit, but there are parts of this novel that ask the reader to suspend disbelief a bit. Taking on the renovation of the place proves to not only solve the housing issue for Hana, but also provides her with an outlet for the depression she continues to battle, the hurt of having been a faithful wife left to feel "not good enough" by a greedy, emotionally immature husband. 

 

The project brings out numerous interesting characters in Hana's town, as they all come forward at different points to help her reach her goals. While overseeing the renovation of this small cottage, Hana also juggles trying to improve the relationship with her mother, Mary, (who comes off as harsh initially, but the reader comes to see it's more of a tough love thing... she might lack tact now and then, but the intent is generally coming from a caring place), continuing with the book mobile service throughout Ireland's West Coast counties, and taking on the town council as they threaten to possibly shut down her library in favor of more profitable real estate developments in the area. 

 

 

Glancing in the rearview mirror, Hanna saw her walking back to the house with a spring in her step. It had only been a few minutes spent with an acquaintance but the human contact and the prospect of a couple of books to read and chat about had obviously made her day. No matter how isolated the scattered farms and villages on the peninsula might seem, there was a web of personal and communal relationships that linked people together, offering mutual support. 

 

 

Library at the Edge of the World will appeal to many booknerds in general, but especially those who have worked as librarians or booksellers themselves. There are references to some of the crazier, more laughable customer service-type aspects to the industry, such as the shocking condition books are sometimes returned in or the aggravating, information deficit type of book inquires some readers bring to the help desk: "I'm looking for a book with a dog on the cover." (This particular patron of Hanna's is an entertaining recurring character as his diligent search -- on nearly zero information -- progresses).

 

What Hanna now desperately needed was to think. But inevitably, two women turned up in the last ten minutes of opening time and stood in a corner discussing the relative merits of Barbara Cartland and Barbara Pym. Hanna covered the computers, pulled down the blind on the door and announced that the library was closing. But the women took no notice. Eventually she had to chivvy them over the threshold, receiving the same outraged clucks and beady-eyed looks that she'd got as a child from the intrusive hens in Maggie Casey's kitchen. As soon as they were gone, she set the security alarm, locked up, and crossed the courtyard, wondering where to go to find peace and quiet. 

 

I was thoroughly engaged in the plot for the majority of this book but I struggled with the later chapters a bit. The plot started to feel a tad flimsy and dragged out. All in all, it was great fun getting to know this little community... but there was something about Hanna... I realized as I finished the book that there was just something about her that didn't sit quite right with me... something I wasn't noticing too much until I got to the end. It was almost but not quite a feeling of not entirely liking her. But why? She doesn't immediately come off as an immediately terrible person. But on further thought, I think I might have pinned what was bugging me. 

 

While most of the people Hanna interacts with in this story act civil enough toward her, very few seemed to honestly LIKE her. Her own behavior around town gave the impression that the feeling was mutual.... but suddenly she wants everyone to band together to save the community when HER job is at risk? She spends much of the story either trying to keep to herself or keeping social interactions to a minimum, yet for some reason the town as a whole later feels compelled to help her furnish her cottage? It was so subtle a thing, like I said, I didn't quite realize all the scenes that played out that way ... til I had finished the story. And now I struggle to be entirely comfortable with that....to the point where I'm now on the fence whether I want to continue this series. This book is the first in what's set to be a trilogy. I had fun visiting the town, and I may pop back in down the road for the later books, but I don't know that I'm in any major rush for it. 

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