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review 2017-08-13 15:38
Book Review: Assassin's Victim
Luc Bertrand: Assassin's Victim (Deadly ... Luc Bertrand: Assassin's Victim (Deadly Studies Book 1) - A. F. Grappin

*I received this book from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Luc loves playing lacrosse but wishes he was taller and bigger. Maybe he'll have a growing spurt. Luc is then offered a chance to study with great players if he joins the Knights Templar, a place that the recruiter claims Luc's father works. A wedge of distrust starts between Luc and his parents, and Luc finds himself doing things he's never done before. Will Luc see the truth of the Templar before he's drawn in?

This book is Luc forming into the person he becomes. He's young, 15 years old, and given an opportunity in something that could help him in what he loves - lacrosse. But he learns it's a lie, to get to him. When his family life is destroyed, he vows to find the people who did this.

This is a short, quick read. The story felt like a prequel to me in a way because it starts at the beginning, telling us what happens in Luc's life. With doing this it's a slower read at the start. We get to see Luc in his life with an offer to help make it more. After I finished the book, I read the notes from the author and found out that this is the back story for a character in another series. So, it is sort of a prequel view into the characters life. I'm thinking now that I'm past this introduction, the remaining novella stories will move faster.

This book is of a Young Adult nature, as Luc is 15 years old. There are things that kids face - bullying, desire to be better at something, and more. Yet, there is a big fight that's deadly. We don't get the gory details but we do know the bodies are dead. And sadly there is a terrible event in Luc's life that's hard for Luc to digest mentally. I can't blame the kid.

I noticed that most of the book is Luc's thoughts and view of things. We get some interaction but most isn't. This fits with the feel of Luc and where he is in his mind after what he lives through. Like he's on the outside looking in which moves time by quickly.

Luc has interactions with Templars. The interactions grow in intensity each time Luc meets them. They are a great deal different than they originally lead on.

By the end of the story, Luc is ready to move into the next stage of his life. This leads us into the next novella story of Luc.

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review 2017-06-16 04:37
The Sixth Victim (A Constance Piper Mystery) by Tessa Harris
The Sixth Victim (A Constance Piper Mystery) - Tessa Harris

The Sixth Victim (A Constance Piper Mystery) by Tessa Harris is brilliantly written and a fast, mesmerizing book to read. I gave it five stars because this author made me feel as if I were on the foggy, frightening streets.

 

I received a complimentary Kindle copy from Kensington Books and NetGalley. That did not change my opinion for this review.

 

Link to purchase: https://www.amazon.com/Sixth-Victim-Constance-Piper-Mystery-ebook/dp/B01LJKQGX4

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review 2017-05-20 14:13
The Sixth Victim (A Constance Piper Mystery) - Tessa Harris
** spoiler alert ** Set in London during the days of the Jack the Ripper frenzy, this book was both entertaining and creepy. The murders of Jack the Ripper, while important to the story, are mostly in the background.

The main story is told of two characters. One is Constance who thinks she may be clairvoyant as she keeps dreaming things and seeing things while in a desperate attempt to find her friend, Emily Tindall. Emily is the second major character who has become Constance's friend. She has been trying to educate her in all things regarding being a lady. In the meantime, Constance comes to be introduced to a lady of means who is looking for her sister and inquires about Constance's help in her journey.

Suddenly Emily disappears and Constance is on the hunt to find her friend. This leads to the start of Constance's dreams and sets her on a path of regarding a sixth victim who has been found murdered. This murder is much different than the one's left behind by Jack the Ripper. However, is he the culprit and two women are missing? Could the body be one of those people that Constance is looking for?

A creepy, suspenseful and tragic read that held my interest way into the night.

Huge thanks to Kensington Books and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley to read and review with an honest, unbiased opinion.
 

 

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review 2017-04-17 21:08
Police-procedural with touches of domestic noir and many stories to keep the intrigue going.
Cleaved: Grafton County Series, book 2 - Sue Coletta

I’m writing this review as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team and I was provided with a copy of the book that I freely chose to review.

I have just finished reading Sue Coletta’s Marred and I wanted to see what happened next. Reading the two books back-to-back allowed me to think a bit more about the genre, the characters and the style.

Here we have again the married couple of Niko Quintano, now sheriff in Alexandria, Grafton County, New Hampshire, and his wife, crime novelist Sage. They moved trying to leave behind a tragedy but it seems it followed them, and in Marred there was more heartache and family loses for the Quintanos. Now, the couple has a child, their two kids (their beloved dogs, Rugger and Colt, which I didn’t mention in my last review although they play an important role), and they are enjoying life. The book doesn’t allow us to relax though, quite the opposite, as it opens with a terrifying scene, narrated in the first person from Sage’s perspective. She is locked up somewhere, small, dark and cold, floating in water, and can’t recall how she got there. And we, the readers, share in her anguish and fear and are thrown in at the deep end from the beginning. The book then goes back and we get to know how Sage ended up there. Her plight is linked to a new bizarre wave of murders that befall the county but there are several interrelated plots and all of them touch the different characters personally. What should have been a happy time for Sage and Niko turns into another nightmare and nobody is safe.

The story is told from several of the characters’ points of view, as was the case with Marred. Sage, the writer, narrates her story in the first person and is good at observing events, but especially at talking about feelings and analysing the impact their horrific experiences might have on all of them (including her 13 months’ old baby son, Noah, and their two dogs). Her husband Niko and Frankie, the deputy sheriff with attitude, wit and a fashionable sense of dress, also have their own stories, but these are told in the third-person.

I talked about genre in the previous review but I have to come back to it. Whilst the book works as police-procedural, due to the details about murder scenes and also to the lectures on the subject (the deputies in training come handy as a justification and a stand-in for the readers, and this time even Frankie gets to explain some aspects of forensic science), there is a lot of content that relates to family relationships and also to the effects of crime and trauma on the survivors, that put me in mind of what these days is called domestic-noir (although in standard cases, the guilty party tends to be part of the family. Not so here…). Although this aspect is more evident in the fragments narrated by Sage, Frankie also gets confronted with her own relationship and how it can be a source of conflict with one’s profession and moral stance (she’s still one of my favourite characters but she behaves in a more reckless manner that I had ever imagined she would and shows less concern for the law than I expected), and Niko also struggles to try to maintain his professional demeanour when faced with attacks on his beloved family.

There are several story strands and a variety of crimes, and readers will be kept on their toes trying to decide how they related to each other (if they do), how many criminals there are and what their motives are. Although the sheriff notes the difficulties and the limitations of law enforcement in the area as it is not a high-crime place, I couldn’t help but think of series like Murder, She Wrote or Midsomer Murders where a seemingly sleepy town is attacked by an epidemic of crime, courtesy of it being the setting of a series. Also, like in most stories where both members of a couple investigate crimes (professionally or not), at some point, one or both of them end up becoming victims, and this has been Sage’s lot from the beginning, perhaps more so in this book, as she has even more to lose now. This novel might cross over several genres but it does live up to the expectations of the readers and it will keep them turning pages.

The characters keep stumbling on the same stone over and over. If in the previous book they got into serious trouble for not completely trusting each other and lying (with the best of intentions at heart), they still do it here (perhaps not to the same extent) and there is a price to be paid for it. I felt like I do sometimes when watching a horror movie when you see the characters keep getting themselves into trouble, and you want to shout at them: ‘Don’t do that! Don’t be stupid!’ but they don’t listen. The murders are as gruesome as in the previous book and varied; we get a better glimpse at Frankie’s life and some of her connections, but there is more of the personal point of view and dramatic side of the story, at least in my opinion. The book has humorous scenes and the witty dialogue that’s one of the author’s trademarks, but it is also scary and tense, and even more terrifying if you’re an author yourself. (Beware of book signings is all I’ll say.)

Once again, the ending is satisfying (as a psychiatrist I’ll keep my peace rather than discuss the details) but has a hook and leaves readers with an eerie feeling. I wasn’t sure I was totally clear in my mind as to how the different strands fitted in, especially with so many things being hidden and not fully knowing who knew what.  I wouldn’t have minded one of those scenes à la Poirot or Sherlock Holmes, where the detective gives an explanation and everything is tied up with a nice ribbon. Although, perhaps it just shows that the rhythm of the novel is quite fast and if you blink, you’ve missed it.

Another novel by Sue Coletta with an irresistible story that requires a strong stomach but will be of interest to readers who like to dig into the character’s psyche and are after more than just a well-plotted book. Oh, and readers must like dogs too. Especially scary for writers.

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review 2016-09-25 01:35
Willing Victim
Willing Victim - Cara McKenna

First read April 2013.
Read again September, 2016. Just as great the second time.

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