Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Lost Husband by Katherine Center

Libby and her two young children have lived with her mother for the past two years, following the death of her husband, Danny. When her Aunt Jean, owner of a farm in Atwater, Texas, asks her to come and live with her, Libby jumps at the chance to escape her mother's criticism, even though she doesn't know anything about farming.  Libby is pleased to milk the goats, get to know her aunt and see her children adapt well to a more rural lifestyle. However, she still finds it hard to get over Danny, even though she's attracted to O'Connor, a man who helps run Jean's farm.  Slowly, with the support of friends and her Aunt Jean, Libby finds herself anew.  The Lost Husband is the fourth novel by Katherine Center and is perfect for people who have enjoyed Gil McNeil's Jo Mackenzie series and Kissing Games of the World by Sandi Kahn Shelton.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Death of a Dyer by Eleanor Kuhns

Weaver Will Rees is asked by the authorities to help investigate the death of his childhood friend, Nate Bowditch. Nate is found in a cottage on his property, beaten to death by a scutching knife.  Since Will hasn't kept in touch with Nate, he has a lot of ground to cover in terms of finding out what was going on in Nate's life.  The prime suspect in Nate's murder is his son, Richard, who quarreled regularly with his father. In the Bowditch family and beyond, Rees finds much discord--illegitimate children, extramarital affairs, and gambling--meaning that a number of people could have wanted Nate dead.  Rees also is trying to repair his relationship with David, his teenage son, decide if he should ask Lydia to marry him, and deal with the after effects of kicking his sister's family off his land (including his alcoholic and violent brother-in-law, Sam). This second book of the Will Rees series is an okay read, but feels like it's a bit too long.  However, I'm intrigued enough by the characters and the post-Revolutionary War time period to want to continue reading the series.  It will be published in June.

Monday, April 22, 2013

There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron

Evie Ferrante gets a phone call from her sister, Ginger, who says that their mother, Sandra, is in the hospital.  Sandra is an alcoholic and her house has now been declared a health risk by the authorities.When Evie gets to her mother's home in the Bronx, she is stunned by how run down and dirty it is.  She is also surprised to find lots of expensive vodka (not Sandra's brand) and cans of cat food--even though Sandra doesn't own a cat. Evie wonders what's been going on in her mother's life.  Sandra's 91-year-old next door neighbor, Mina Yetner, feels that her neighbor across the street, Frank Cutler is up to something.  However, Mina may not be reliable--she discovers her purse in the refrigerator and objects moved around her house.  Is she losing her mind or is someone trying to make her think that she is?  Her nephew, Brian, has been trying to get her to move to a retirement community for a while.  Is something sinister going on in the neighborhood of Higgs Point? If so, who is responsible?  In There Was an Old Woman, Ephron has written a softer-edged suspense novel that's hard to put down.  She fills the story with characters you care about in Evie and Mina and an interesting secondary story involving the two of them.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Tuesday's Gone by Nicci French

Psychotherapist Frieda Klein finds herself working with the London police again, after a decomposing body is found in the apartment of a woman named Michelle Doyce. Michelle is mentally ill and cannot give the authorities any information about who the man is and how he died.  Frieda doesn't believe that Michelle is a murderer, neither does DCI Karlsson, but his bosses have closed the case, since Michelle is off the streets and in a psychiatric hospital.  Frieda, however, continues to pursue the matter, trying to figure out the identity of the dead man and his killer.  She also has nagging doubts that the killer she helped to apprehend in the series' first book, Blue Monday, is actually dead.  She believes that he's out there watching her....  I was anxiously awaiting the publication of Tuesday's Gone, since I loved Blue Monday.  While the first half of the book is first-rate, it lagged a bit in the second half for reasons about which I have to remain coy.  Definitely still worth a read, but reading the series in order is essential.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Death of Yesterday by M.C. Beaton

Art student Morag Merrilea reports that she believes that she was drugged and raped at a local pub.  Police officer Hamish Macbeth tells her that there's nothing he can do, since Morag won't go to the hospital to be checked out and she doesn't have any other details about the evening. She is also incredibly rude to Hamish. Later she disappears and is found dead in a bale of t-shirts. Hamish wonders if perhaps she had drawings in her sketchbook that someone didn't want anyone else to see. Soon, more deaths occur and Hamish finds himself in a familiar fix: trying to solve crimes while steering clear of his superiors' wrath--yet also still hoping for love.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo

An Amish family's buggy is involved in a hit and run accident and all the occupants are killed, except for a young boy. Chief of Police Kate Burkholder struggles to keep her emotions intact when she discovers that the deceased are the family of her childhood best friend, Mattie.  Things become even more intense when it becomes clear that the driver of the other vehicle hit them deliberately.  Kate is at a loss, both for suspects and a motive for wanting an Amish family dead.  She's also on guard when the remains of the man who raped her as a teenager are found.  Her father and brother had buried him more than fifteen years ago. Kate worries that the authorities will find out her family's role in the man's death.  As if Kate didn't have enough to worry about, she's also feeling pressure from her boyfriend Tomasetti to move in with him. In this the fifth book of the Kate Burkholder series, Castillo writes another story that keeps the reader turning the pages.  I only wish that Kate would get over her hesitation about Tomasetti.  Even though the five books have taken place within a year or so, the reader has had to be patient for over four years with Kate's waffling.  Her Last Breath will be published in June.