Chocolate Mousse Attack by Sally Berneathy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Chocolate Mousse Attack is my first Sally Berneathy chocolate mystery, and I’m hooked. Divorced chocolatier Lindsay is awoken at 2 am by an urgent phone call from a neighbor Fred. The woman who just moved in across the street a few hours ago has sleepwalked straight into Fred’s house, wearing only a thin nightgown. Fred can’t get her out of his bedroom closet, and he needs Lindsay’s help. But when the two of them manage to get Sophie Fleming out of the closet, they discover it’s more than a little sleepwalking.
Sophie had a nightmare that Lindsay and Fred soon realize must be more than fantasy. It’s murder.
Sally Berneathy has created a very likeable amateur detective character with Lindsay, and great sidekick in Fred-the-neighbor with his old car, sober manner, and hacker’s knack for digging out secrets online. Add King Henry, the stray cat who adopted Lindsay and knows more than a feline should, and Lindsay’s boyfriend – a cop who refuses to cancel her speeding tickets – and it’s no wonder I’ve just fallen in love with Berneathy’s Death by Chocolate series.
I won’t add any spoilers, but if you like your mysteries with a touch of laughter, and a great cast of characters, you can’t do better than to check out Chocolate Mousse Attack.
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Stalking Season by Maryann Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Detective Sarah Kingsly’s new partnership with Angel Johnson certainly isn’t a match made in heaven, but the two homicide cops have no choice but to work together when the corpse of a young girl from an upper-class family is found in a sleazy motel. Sarah and Angel have just begun investigating when the killer strikes again, and the two women struggle with their own differences, trying to find a balance of trust for each other and nail the killer before someone else dies.
I read Maryann Miller’s “Stalking Season” knowing it was the second book in a series, and wondering if I should read book one first. I needn’t have worried, Stalking Season caught my interest from the first page. I loved the complex realism of the personal and family issues facing Angel, and Sarah’s determination to come to terms with a past she can’t change and a partner she doesn’t understand.
High stakes, a difficult partnership, and a fight for justice – Stalking Season is an intriguing mystery with a satisfying conclusion, and a crime-fighting pair who achieve a realistic blend of conflict and mutual respect that should keep the series going. I’m looking forward to reading more.
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Recently EC Sheedy suggested I try Lee Child’s Jack Reacher mystery series. Any recommendation from EC is gold, so I went looking for Jack Reacher and I found fictional gold.
Years ago I began writing my own stories because I love great characters and I’d exhausted the local library’s ability to satisfy my hunger for a good story. But like every writer I know, I treasure the experience of falling in love with a new-to-me author as I’m drawn into the life of an amazing character.
Lee Child’s Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, No. 1) opens with the mysterious Reacher handling his own bewildering arrest with the calmness of a master-strategist. The story quickly mushrooms onto a big-canvas with fast-moving events that don’t let up, yet the pace is breathlessly relaxed because both Reacher and his creator know exactly what they’re doing.
Lee Child has created a brilliant character in Jack Reacher. He gave his protagonist a respectable high-profile military background that taught him all the skills a tough hero needs, gave him the motivation to be a rambling loner, then set him up in Book One of the series as a detective character I can’t wait to read again. The plot is brilliant, the characters well-motivated and fascinating. Reacher’s personal motivation drives the story and kept me hooked throughout. I guessed a couple of the key pieces of the bad guys scenario along the way, which stroked my ego nicely, but I had lots of surprises as Reacher followed the twists of a master villain’s plot, rescuing the innocent and devastating the guilty.
My hat is off to Lee Child for creating one of the best “first episodes” of a continuing character mystery I’ve read in a long time! The author’s skill and the connection I felt to Reacher reminds me of Lawrence Block’s masterful Matt Scudder mysteries.
I just had a birthday the other day and I feel like I’ve been given a rare birthday present. I’ve fallen in love with an author’s detective character, and there are still fourteen published Reacher novels I haven’t read yet!
From one writer to another – Thank you, Lee Child.
This posting is also available on the Pen Warriors Blog