Heard it Through the Grapevine by Lizbeth Lipperman is the first book in the new “Dead Sister Talking” mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, May 2013
Sisters Tessa and Lainey Garcia weren’t on speaking terms. But now that Tessa’s dead, her wisecracking ghost is making up for lost time.
Lainey Garcia left Texas nine years ago after her sister Tessa married the only man Lainey ever loved. So when Tessa’s house explodes, the last thing anyone expects is for her to appear to Lainey . . . as a ghost.
Formerly a part owner of the biggest vineyard in the region, Tessa’s got the goods on every fake, floozy, and two-faced liar in town. But Tessa doesn’t know who killed her, and she asks the remaining Garcia girls to uncover the truth. Setting out to fulfill their sassy sibling’s wish from beyond the grave, the sisters discover a mile-wide list of suspects who wanted Tessa dead. Learning the hard way that killers don’t like snoops, Lainey fears she’ll be the next Garcia sent to the big vineyard in the sky.
After being estranged from her older sister, Lainey comes back to Vineyard, Texas for her funeral and guess who’s standing next to her as she’s viewing the body…yes, it’s her sister Tessa who gives her the shock of her life when she asks her to find the person who killed her and this takes Lainey on a journey of self-discovery and a familial homecoming.
This was a fun read that I could not put down. The author did a great job in delivering a knock-out mystery with plenty of suspects and I love how the backstory between the two sisters were evenly woven into this whodunit that kept me on my toes as I had to know what happens next. The humor in this book was entertainingly spicy that had me laughing out loud at the witty repartee between the cast of characters. There are some adult situations contained in this story, but overall I enjoyed the tender-hearted romance that has me eagerly waiting for the next book in this well-written and fantastically terrific series.
Death’s Last Run by Robin Spano is the third book in the “Clare Vengel Undercover” mystery series. Publisher: ECW Press, May 2013
A young snowboarder turns up dead on the Blackcomb Glacier. The local police are calling it suicide, but the victim’s mother, a U.S. senator, is not convinced. At the senator’s request, the FBI sends in undercover agent Clare Vengel to infiltrate the world of ski bums and snow bunnies and find out what happened to Sacha. Clare soon discovers that not only was the victim involved in an LSD smuggling ring, but also the uncooperative top cop in town is in cahoots with the smugglers. With her cover dangerously close to being blown Clare must solve the case before she finds herself in the deep freeze permanently.
I have to tell you, I’ve read the first two books in this series, but this third one is the best one yet. Clare goes undercover and what she must do to protect her identity was very interesting and I liked how the author portrayed that moment. I love the way each chapter features a character with a continuous flow where not one scene is missed is a testament to a great writing style. This is an intensely riveting drama that I could not put down and kept me on my toes as the search for the truth escalated to a surprising revelation. Clare’s free-spiritedness sometimes gets her into trouble in both her professional and personal life, but she is lucky to be surrounded by a great cast of characters who accept her for what she is. Again, this is a great read and I look forward to Clare’s next adventure.
Blood, Ash & Bone by Tina Whittle is the third book in the “Tai Randolph” mystery series. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, March 2013
Tai Randolph doesn’t want to hear about homicide. She’s had enough of the dark and the dangerous, and decides some time out of Atlanta is exactly what she needs to put the recent spate of corpses behind her. It‘s a idyllic vision —selling her wares at the Savannah Civil War Expo, attending a few Confederate re-enactments, perhaps a little romantic rendezvousing with Trey, who has agreed to put aside the corporate security agent routine and join her for a long weekend in her hometown.
But in the South, the past is never past. It tends to rise again. In Tai’s case, it shows up as her tattooed heartbreaker of an ex-boyfriend, desperate for her help. He spins a tale of betrayal, deceit, and a stolen Civil War artifact that Tai agrees to help him recover. Suddenly, Trey’s on the case too, representing a competing — and well-moneyed — client with eyes on the same mythical prize. As the lovers square off against each other, Tai discovers that her complicated boyfriend makes an even more intriguing adversary, revealing a ferociously competitive streak under his cool Armani exterior.
But where there‘s money, there‘s usually murder, this time involving the KKK and Tai‘s unapologetically unreconstructed kinfolk. As she unravels the clues to a 150-year-old mystery, she digs up secrets from her own past — and Trey’s — forcing a confrontation with a ruthless killer, and with her own willingness to do whatever it takes to save everything that matters.
Tai is after a Civil War artifact which takes her back to Savannah where danger and adventure awaits her. With Trey by her side, the duo will take on a group bent on destroying what they have. What a great read in this well-written drama that exudes a strong plot, engaging dialogue and a very determined heroine where the action never stopped from the first page until a finale worthy of this riveting tome. This is my first adventure with Tai Randolph and I look forward to more exciting exploits with this dynamic duo.
Some Like It Hot by K.J. Larsen is the third book in the “Cat DeLuca” mystery series. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, March 2013
When an old friend buys a trenchcoat and opens his own detective agency, PI Cat DeLuca sees a train wreck. Because everything Billy Bonham knows about being a private dick, he learned from Humphrey Bogart. And that’s just enough to make him dangerous.
The bungling detective is way over his head on a case involving murder and a stolen pair of Marilyn Monroe’s dazzling diamond earrings. His outrageous client, Cristina McTigue, is pursued by men who want her dead. Five minutes after meeting the woman, Cat would cheerfully kill her too.
When Billy is gunned down on the street, it’s up to Cat to save his crazy client and nail a murderer. She soon finds herself dodging bullets, knee-deep in trouble, and chasing diamonds. Before it’s over, she’ll be helped by her sexy FBI boyfriend, a hunky ex-spy, her outrageous Italian family of Chicago cops, and her interfering Mama who keeps the cannoli coming.
With a cast of zany characters and a pace that’s unrelenting, this laugh-out-loud mystery is best served hot.
Now I know why I love this series, it’s Cat DeLuca herself, the intrepid and gutsy PI who knows how to catch a cheater, but always winds up investigating a murder with great aplomb. When her friend is murdered, Cat is on the prowl for a killer in this engaging story that entertained me from beginning to end through the streets of Chicago. The author did a good job in keeping this mystery light and exciting as Cat does what she does best and that is getting the job done with using all the resources available at her disposal. With a gun-toting faux-partner, her crazy family and a sexy FBI by her side, this was a very enjoyable read and I can’t wait for the next book in fantastic series.
Veiled Threat by Alice Loweecey is the third book in the “Falcone & Driscoll Investigation” mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, February 2013
It’s private investigator Giulia Falcone’s second Christmas since leaving the convent. She’s happy to be spending it with Frank Driscoll, even if his switching from boss to boyfriend and back again is giving her whiplash. But Giulia’s holiday is darkened with disturbing news from her friends Anya and Laurel—their adopted baby girl has been kidnapped. When she learns that two kidnappings in nearby communities, both involving same-sex couples, ended with devastating fatalities, Giulia is more determined than ever to return the infant girl to her mothers. With Frank reluctantly backing her and the understaffed police offering little assistance, Giulia goes undercover to snare the kidnappers before they can do further harm.
This was very enjoyable and I love that Guilia is becoming a more confident person in charge of her life and will stand her ground in order to do that right thing and that she does when the agency take on a baby kidnapping case that has Guilia going undercover once again. The flow of the drama was a good one as each chapter spurned me onto the next as the suspense kept me turning the pages in the intriguing mystery. The side interaction with Guilia, Frank and Sidney was fun as well as the internal dialogue that Guilia has with herself. The ending left us with possibilities and I can’t wait to read the next book in this engaging series.
A Plain Scandal by Amanda Flower is the second book in the “Appleseed Creek” mystery series. Publisher: B&H Publishing, February 2013
The people of Appleseed Creek in the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country are under attack. Soon after the dust has settled on a buggy accident that turned out to be murder, an unknown assailant begins cutting off the long hair of Amish women and the beards of Amish men.
New to the area, computer specialist Chloe Humphrey may not share their customs, but she is certainly alarmed over these crimes against the Amish and worries how such events will impact her growing number of friends who are more connected to that way of life.
In this small community, when Chloe discovers the body of an Amish businessman who was stabbed in the back and whose beard was cut off, she knows that finding the murderer and restoring peace to Appleseed Creek is as much her responsibility as anyone else’s.
Whenever I read a story by Amanda Flower, I know that when I turn that last page, it will leave me with a heartwarming feeling. This is a great read that quickly became a page turner as I had to know what happens next. The mystery kept me guessing and every time I thought I knew who was behind the incidents, the author changed directions with some twists that were pleasantly surprising. With Chloe leading the way and surrounded by a great supporting cast in this wonderfully crafted drama, this is the best book thus far in this delightfully charming series.
Murder at the Blue Plate Café by Judy Alter is the first book in the new “Blue Plate Café” mystery series. Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press, February 2013
When twin sisters Kate and Donna inherit their grandmother’s restaurant, the Blue Plate Café in Wheeler, Texas, there’s immediate conflict. Donna wants to sell and use her money to establish a B & B; Kate wants to keep the Café. Thirty-two-year-old Kate leaves a Dallas career as a paralegal and a married lover to move back to Wheeler and run the café, while Donna plans her B & B and complicates her life by having an affair with her sole investor.
Kate soon learns that Wheeler is not the idyllic small town she thought it was fourteen years ago. The mayor, a woman, is power-mad and listens to no one, and the chief of the police department, newly come from Dallas, doesn’t understand small-town ways. Worst of all, blunt, outspoken Donna is not well liked by some town folk. The mayor of Wheeler becomes seriously ill after eating food from the café, delivered by Donna’s husband, and the death of another patron makes Kate even more suspicious of her grandmother’s sudden death.
When Donna’s investor is shot, all signs point to Donna, and she is arrested. Kate must defend her sister and solve the murders to keep her business open, but even Kate begins to wonder about the sister with whom she has a love-hate relationship. Gram guides Kate through it all, though Kate’s never quite sure she’s hearing Gram—and sometimes Gram’s guidance is really off the wall.
I like it. This evenly paced drama quickly became a page turner as I got caught up in the lives of Kate Chambers and her family and friends. The backdrop of the café played an important role in Kate’s determination in making a go of her new lifestyle while trying to solve the question of who killed her grandmother. The author did a good job in keeping me guessing with each clue leading closer to the truth with some surprises in store for Kate. This was a good read and I look forward to the next book in this pleasantly appealing series. Bonus recipes are included.
FTC Disclosure – I bought this book.