Saturday, September 14, 2019

Review: The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets by Molly Fader

The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets
by Molly Fader
Release Date: July 16th 2019
2019 Graydon House
Kindle Edition; 368 Pages
ISBN: 978-1525834240
ASIN: B07FTK6FXN
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary
Source: Review copy from publisher

3.5 / 5 Stars

Summary
It's been seventeen years since the tragic summer the McAvoy sisters fell apart. Lindy, the wild one, left home, carved out a new life in the city and never looked back. Delia, the sister who stayed, became a mother herself, raising her daughters and running the family shop in their small Pennsylvania hometown on the shores of Lake Erie.

But now, with their mother's ailing health and a rebellious teenager to rein in, Delia has no choice but to welcome Lindy home. As the two sisters try to put their family back in order, they finally have the chance to reclaim what's been lost over the years: for Delia, professional dreams and a happy marriage, and for Lindy, a sense of home and an old flame--and best of all, each other. 


My Thoughts
The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets was a book that I enjoyed quite a bit and thought the author did a fantastic job with the setting and the descriptions.  I liked the characters and how they interacted with each other and while the ending was okay, I just thought it seemed off from the rest of the novel.  A good novel about family and working through issues though.

First of all, I really loved Lindy as a character; she was my favourite. I would have been quite happy had the whole book been about her, her life, and dealing with her own issues.  Because the story was split four ways, I really feel like I didn't get Lindy's full story nor was her personality allowed to shine quite as much as it could have.  Frankly, she was the interesting one in this story.  It's not that I didn't like the other characters, but Delia, despite her issues, was kind of...I'm not really what she was, but I didn't really find her character all that interesting.  And I think it's just the way she was portrayed by the author as there was so much going on in Delia's life that it should have been fascinating.  Plus, she was dealing with post-partum depression, something I don't think was developed as much as it could have been.  Don't get me wrong though, I liked the characters, I just felt there was more that could have been told.

I did think the author did a great job with the story though, unveiling the story line slowly and letting the reader figure out what happened all those years ago.  I do feel however, that the reasons for Lindy leaving for so long were rather weak.  I was expecting this big build up and when I discovered the why, I was a bit disappointed. I get that families can have huge issues over the smallest things, but for Lindy to avoid Delia all these years seems a bit out of place for what actually happened. I also get that people cope with trauma in many different ways, but you'd think a strong support system would have been much better than just running away.  For whatever reason, I just felt like the reasons were flimsy at best and didn't really seem to fit the personalities of the characters that were developed for the first two-thirds of the book.  Plus, I really liked the way the characters interacted with one another, so the big reveal was a bit of a letdown.  I just really enjoyed their relationships in this book.

Verdict
The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets definitely had the potential to be a fantastic book as the relationships between the characters was interesting and fun.  I liked how the author dealt with Lindy and Delia's mother's failing health as their care and sympathy was so nice to see.  The little habits that sisters tend to develop over the years don't really disappear so it was nice to see the author reflect that in this book and I really enjoyed those 'trip down the memory lane' scenes.  Although I wish the reasons for the difficulties between the sisters had been somewhat different, the book was still good and I do recommend it to anyone who is interested in contemporary fiction featuring sisters and relationships. I am looking forward to reading her next novel, The Bitter And Sweet of Cherry Season, when it is released in June.
Friday, August 30, 2019

Review: Mulberry Mischief by Sharon Farrow


Mulberry Mischief (A Berry Basket Mystery, Book #4)
by Sharon Farrow
Release Date: August 27th 2019
2019 Kensington
Kindle Edition; 352 Pages
ISBN: 978-1496722614
ASIN: B07L2FVR11
Genre: Fiction / Cozy Mystery
Source: Review copy from Great Escapes Book Tours

4.5 / 5 Stars

Summary
With the Harvest Health Fair in full swing, Marlee makes sure to stock up on elderberry products for cold and flu season. But this year there's also a run on mulberry when an eccentric customer wants to use the dried berries to ward off evil forces. True, it's almost Halloween, but something else seems to be spooking Leticia the Lake Lady, Oriole Point's oddest resident. She believes someone plans to kill her—and the ghost. Only mulberries can protect them. Marlee doesn't take her fears seriously until a man named Felix Bonaventure arrives in the village, asking questions about a mysterious woman.

The next day, Marlee finds Bonaventure dead on Leticia's property—shot through the heart with an arrow made of mulberry wood. And Leticia has disappeared. Marlee soon learns the Lake Lady has a deadly past that is connected to the famous Sable family who are in town for the health fair. A bunch of clues start to come together—and figuring out what's going on puts Marlee in a real jam …


My Thoughts
Mulberry Mischief is the fourth entry in the A Berry Basket Mystery series and is a very enjoyable read.  There is a delightful group of characters, each with their own personality quirks, which makes the story fun and interesting.  The author likes to set her books around events, so in this one, the story line is centered around the Haunted Halloween Harvest Health Fair, a dichotomy to be sure.  As I love stories about Halloween, the concept definitely piqued my interest.

Marlee is a lovable heroine, always looking out for others, but because of this often becomes someone whom others can trust with their secrets, some of which become dangerous.  Leticia the Lake Lady, an eccentric resident, believes that someone is trying to hurt her and subsequently confides this information to Marlee.  I really like how the author gets Marlee involved without making her seem like a busybody or becoming really annoying, it just seems to happen naturally.  I think this is one of the things that makes these books so enjoyable.  Marlee naturally becomes involved because she cares about people so when Leticia goes missing after Marlee discovers a body, her caring nature leads her to look for Leticia simply because she's worried about her.  Furthermore, there is a whole host of charming characters surrounding Marlee that makes the story rather interesting. I have developed a fondness for Old Man Bowman who insisted that Big Foot was the menace; and I have to say, his scene at the end of the novel was rather a hoot.  

The story line turned out to be rather more involved than I expected, and although I didn't figure out who did the actually killing, the sad story behind Leticia's fear was a fairly predictable one.  What I liked though, was how the author unveiled the story line, bit by bit. I read a LOT of mystery novels so I was able to guess the events, but I'm not sure if it was that easy for everyone. Despite this, I thought the author did a fantastic job balancing the murders with Marlee's life and life in this Michigan town.   I especially like learning about the different things happening in small towns and the day-to-day life happenings rather than just mystery, mystery, mystery.  And things just seem to happen naturally with Marlee which is how she discovers information.  I would think that it takes a lot of planning for an author to be able to do that in a book.

Verdict
Mulberry Mischief is another great entry in a fantastic series.  The characters, the plot line, the mystery, and the everyday events make this a very enjoyable read.  And I am really glad the author does not give away too much from previous books either in case readers have not read them.  And while this could be read as a standalone, I do recommend they are read in order just to get background information on the other characters.  Besides, I love learning about the different berries in these books.  Thousands of different strawberries? Who knew. Very interesting information and great recipes included. I am already looking forward to the next book in this series.
Friday, August 23, 2019

Review: The Cliff House by RaeAnne Thayne

The Cliff House
by RaeAnne Thayne
Release Date: March 26th 2019
2019 HQN Books
Kindle Edition; 384 Pages
ISBN: 978-1335004901
ASIN: B07CS6BDRS
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

Summary
After the death of their mother, sisters Daisy and Beatriz Davenport found a home with their aunt Stella in the beautiful and welcoming town of Cape Sanctuary. They never knew all the dreams that Stella sacrificed to ensure they had everything they’d ever need. Now, with Daisy and Bea grown, it’s time for Stella to reveal the secret she’s been keeping from them—a secret that will change their family forever.

Bea thought she’d sown all her wild oats when she got pregnant far too young. The marriage that followed was rocky and not destined to last, but it gave Bea her wonderful, mature, now eleven-year-old daughter, Marisol. But just as she’s beginning to pursue a new love with an old friend, Bea’s ex-husband resurfaces and turns their lives completely upside down.

Then there’s Daisy—sensible, rational, financially prudent Daisy. She’s never taken a risk in her life—until she meets a man who makes her question everything she thought she knew about life, love and the power of taking chances.


My Thoughts
The Cliff House was an enjoyable book about two sisters and the aunt who raised them after their mother died figuring out new paths in their lives and taking chances on love.  Having read previous books by this author, I really felt like the characters and their stories were underdeveloped compared to what I have read previously.  Personally, I think the author took on too much and perhaps it may have been better to focus on one sister, or just the aunt, for this book.  There would have been plenty for three books.

I really liked all three women, although it did take a while for Daisy to grow on me as she was a bit surly in the beginning.  I also felt like Daisy's character was the least developed and would have liked a longer book, or one devoted to her story line as there was so much going on with her.  And you could say that with Bea and with Stella as well.  Because of this, I really felt there was not enough time to really develop their stories and tell them properly.  And while the story did bounce around quite a bit between the different characters, most of the time it was smoothly done. I do think it would have been better to have left the POVs to the women though, as there was just too much going on. I'm used to big plodding stories and don't typically mind them as I like the development and really getting to know the characters.  

The plot was fairly predictable and it wasn't hard to figure out what would happen in the end, but it was still a fun journey.  I actually liked Bea's ex-husband and thought he would be a great character for a future book.  The setting seems beautiful and I loved the descriptions of Daisy's house. I really felt like Bea got the least amount of attention though, which is why I still think three story lines was too much for this book despite the good writing.  I also tend to hate melodrama and there was a point where the book was heading in that direction, but luckily, it stopped.  Relying simply on misunderstanding to fuel a plot can be quite irritating. It really, really bothers me when characters can't seem to get their act together and communicate with each other.  And to be honest, I still can't quite figure out why the big secret in this one was an actual secret.  Seemed a bit childish to me.  

Verdict
The Cliff House was a busy book, but I still enjoyed reading it.  While the three love stories left all three characters underdeveloped, it was still interesting to read.  I was actually surprised the author did this as she usually tends to take her time with a character and really develop their stories and their personalities, but...oh well.  The author's writing style is engaging, so I do recommend this one.  If you are new to this author though, I highly recommend some of her other books as well.
Thursday, August 22, 2019

Review: The Summoning by Heather Graham

The Summoning (Krewe of Hunters, Book #27)
by Heather Graham
Release Date: May 21st 2019
2019 MIRA
Kindle Edition; 368 Pages
ISBN: 978-0778369912
ASIN: B07H5P1LQN
Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Paranormal
Source: Review copy from publisher

3 / 5 Stars

Summary
When Kristi Stewart inherits a property in the old part of Savannah, she knows it comes with stories of hauntings. But she doesn’t believe in ghosts, even while she runs seances for the guests of McLane House Bed-and-Breakfast. Until the inexplicable midnight appearance of one of her infamous ancestors. Terrified, she flees into the night—and right into the arms of Dallas Wicker.

Dallas is trying to uncover the truth about a colleague who died under suspicious circumstances. As strange happenings continue to plague Kristi’s home, it is soon clear that there’s a very living threat in the neighborhood—several people have disappeared without a trace. Dallas can’t find any connection between the victims, but someone wanted them gone, and it might be linked to the history of McLane House. And that means Kristi should be very afraid.


My Thoughts
The Summoning is the latest entry in the Krewe of Hunters series by this author. For whatever reason, I am drawn to this series and have read every book; I consider it my fluff reading in between those heavy hitters simply because I know it's formulaic and predictable and I am okay with that.  Basically, boy meets girl, one of whom sees ghosts, the other one suddenly sees ghosts, one is being haunted, someone is murdered, they investigate together, they fall in love, they solve the case, end.  Predictable, but I think I would be a bit upset if the formula changed at this point.  

What I think draws me to these books is the settings; haunted places all over the United States and as I tend to be drawn to those places when I do the tourist thing, so am I drawn to them in books.  I've been to Savannah and was quite happy to see another one of these books set there.  I've always thought one of this author's strengths is the way she describes the local areas and highlights the history, something I love.  This book focused more on the Civil War and the Revolution around the area and you got an idea of what the area might have been like during that time period.  And since I have been in downtown Savannah, I could picture where the characters were going and what they were doing.  

Kristi and Dallas were all right as main characters; and by that I mean they weren't annoying as some of them can be.  I liked that Kristi was strong and didn't frighten easily, checking things out for herself. I tend to have a dislike for those wimpy characters who do nothing but cringe and cry and are afraid of everything.  There is nothing wrong with being afraid, and Kristi was afraid, but she didn't hide in her room and let the 'men' do everything.  And like I said, the plot was totally formulaic, so if you've read most of the Heather Graham books you would have been able to figure out who the murderer was quite easily.  This is probably the only part where I wait hoping there would be that one last twist, but it doesn't usually happen the way I would love it to happen.  I also tend to dislike the romance in these books simply because I feel that a couple of days is not enough to really develop a relationship.  But then, I don't really read these books for the romance. What I did enjoy about these books though, are the ghosts.  A ghost with a sense of humour and who watches Netflix? Funny.

Verdict
The Summoning was another addition to the Krewe of Hunters and I definitely get why these books are so popular.  I did enjoy it and I thought the ghosts were funny; I also thought Kristi's reaction to seeing them was quite funny too.  I was actually glad to see a bit of humour injected into this one.  And I do want to reiterate something here: just because something is formulaic doesn't necessarily make that a bad thing.  If it works, why fix it?  And for this author, it definitely works.  However, as a reviewer, it is something that does need to be pointed out.  Am I going to read another one? Already did, and yes, for sure.    
Thursday, August 15, 2019

Review: The American Agent by Jacqueline Winspear

The American Agent (Maisie Dobbs, Book #15)
by Jacqueline Winspear
Release Date: March 26th 2019
2019 Harper
Kindle Edition; 384 Pages
ISBN: 978-0062436665
ASIN: B07B7K973K
Genre: Fiction / Historical / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Summary
When Catherine Saxon, an American correspondent reporting on the war in Europe, is found murdered in her London digs, news of her death is concealed by British authorities. Serving as a linchpin between Scotland Yard and the Secret Service, Robert MacFarlane pays a visit to Maisie Dobbs, seeking her help. He is accompanied by an agent from the US Department of Justice—Mark Scott, the American who helped Maisie escape Hitler’s Munich in 1938. MacFarlane asks Maisie to work with Scott to uncover the truth about Saxon’s death.

As the Germans unleash the full terror of their blitzkrieg upon the British Isles, raining death and destruction from the skies, Maisie must balance the demands of solving this dangerous case with her need to protect Anna, the young evacuee she has grown to love and wants to adopt. Entangled in an investigation linked to the power of wartime propaganda and American political intrigue being played out in Britain, Maisie will face losing her dearest friend—and the possibility that she might be falling in love again.


My Thoughts
The American Agent is the fifteenth entry in the Maisie Dobbs mystery series and I was so happy to see the return of Mark Scott. Scott is the American agent who helped Daisie escape from Munich in 1938 and yes, there is a bit of history there.  While I don't think you necessarily have to have read the previous books in order to understand this one, it certainly helps put their relationship in perspective and gives you an idea of Maisie's thoughts and why she was so determined to know what Scott was up to in London.  The author does assume that you have this previous knowledge.

I love this series and have been reading it since the first book was published all those years ago.  And while I really liked this book, and thought it did a good job highlighting the Blitz and the terror of that time-period, I really felt like there was something missing from this one, just that little something that I just can't quite put my finger on.  Maisie seems a bit different in this installment, but in all fairness, she does have a lot going on; she volunteers as an ambulance driver and rescue worker, has to deal with the enormous paperwork required for her to be able to adopt Anna as her own, has an investigation to run, and still has a business to maintain.  And while Maisie is definitely dogged in her pursuit to find the murderer, she also seemed distracted by everything happening around her. And while the author masterfully intertwined descriptions of the Blitz with descriptions of daily life, and people around them got seriously hurt, including her best friend, it was the investigation that felt a bit muddled and made the characters, and the investigation, seem a bit...flatter than usual. Don't get me wrong, I love all the characters in this book, but it is the character development that has really drawn me back time and again to this series.  I just didn't feel or see that development as much in this one.  Typically, I can't put one of this author's books down once I've started them, but this one I could, and needed to. The investigation was interesting, but I'm wondering if the author got too caught up in all of the story lines that were happening and the plot kind of got muddled up.

Verdict
The American Agent was a good addition to a stellar series, but I don't really feel it was as good as some of the previous entries.  While there was a lot going on, the character development seemed stunted and I really felt like the investigation was a bit muddled, although it did come out quite well in the end, with a couple of twists and turns that caught me off guard.  The author does have this brilliant way of describing the time period that makes you feel like you are right there, huddled in a basement shelter, listening to the bombs being dropped all night long, wondering if you will get hit. So I really think the descriptions of the Blitz were my favourite part of this book.  Do I recommend this book? Oh, definitely. And I am looking forward to what happens next to Mark, Maisie, and Anna.


 
 
Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Review: The Magnificent Mrs. Mayhew by Milly Johnson

The Magnificent Mrs. Mayhew
by Milly Johnson
Release Date: July 29th 2019
2019 Gallery Books
Kindle Edition; 352 Pages
ISBN: 978-1471178443
ASIN: B07DTHG979
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Summary
Sophie Mayhew seems to have the perfect life. The glamourous wife of a rising political star who is one step away from the highest position in the government, she matches her husband in looks, pedigree, and money. But he has made some stupid mistakes on his way to the top, and some of those mistakes are just now threatening to emerge. Still, this can all be swept under the rug so long as Sophie the Trophy plays her part in front of the cameras. But the words that tumble out of Sophie’s mouth one morning on the doorstep of their country house are not the words the spin doctors drilled into her head.

Bursting out of the restrictive mold that has been tightening around her since birth, Sophie flees to a small village on the coast, a safe haven from her childhood days, where she intends to be alone. But once there, she finds a community that warms her soul and makes her feel as if she is breathing properly for the first time in her life. Sophie knows she won’t be left in peace for long, though, so she must decide: where does her real future lie?


My Thoughts
The Magnificent Mrs. Mayhew turned out to be a really fun read, and I was really happy with the way this book ended. I wasn't too sure at the beginning, actually the first two-thirds, as there are a host of characters in this book that were just truly awful to Sophie and were so self-centered. I stuck with it and it turned out to be a sweet story at the end with characters to whom I could relate.

The way the story was set-up, you knew something big was going to happen with doorstepgate, but it took a bit of time getting here.  In hindsight, the background information leading to that disaster was important and necessary, and I really liked the flashback episodes to when Sophie was young and at boarding school with the rich and wealthy kids, and the story does come full circle which made me happy.  I really enjoyed Sophie's character and the way the author developed her personality throughout the book. I liked watching her learn to take her life back from those people who are sucking the life out of her with their needs and wants and Sophie deciding she doesn't want to deal with it anymore and wants something for herself.  Her character really grew on me after the 'episode' and she could truly be herself for the first time in a long time. The other characters Sophie meets while running away were also interesting and I liked them all.  I tend to like quirky characters so I especially liked Marshall and Roger and Sophie's interactions with them.  You could finally see her natural ability to draw people out, and if she had been given a chance, she would have been amazing in her role as a political wife instead of being thought of as a Trophy Wife.  

The plot itself was enjoyable, even if you could see what would happen almost right from the beginning.  So, yes, it was a bit predictable, but the writing was so good that it didn't really matter. And I have to say I loved doorstepgate a lot!!!  However, my favourite scene in the book actually had to do with Edward and his big bomb given during dinner as it came out of the blue.  While you could have predicted what would happen with Sophie, this was a bit of a surprise and I loved it.  Wish I could have been a fly on the wall afterwards.  There are some deeper discussions about God in this book, but I think they fit in perfectly as Sophie was trying to figure out who she was and what she wanted so the philosophical discussions worked.  Plus, the author does ask some profound questions: Would you be able to stick by someone who cheated one you and still be true to yourself? Are you happy with what you are doing? Are you content to be someone's trophy? How much should you put up with? It doesn't matter what you do, but your morals and values should never be compromised - some deep thoughts on that too. 

Verdict
The Magnificent Mrs. Mayhew definitely asks some interesting questions through Sophie's flight and attempt to get control over her own life.  I thought the story was enjoyable and I definitely liked the characters from the village who helped Sophie when she escaped from her political life.  The author was definitely trying to be philosophical, asking questions about morals and values versus power and the corrupting influence of power. It definitely made you think.  And while I thought this book was fun, and I would definitely recommend it, I don't think it quite lived up to some of the author's previous books. So if you haven't read any, get out there and do so.
Saturday, July 27, 2019

Review: Traitor's Codex by Jeri Westerson

Traitor's Codex (Crispin Guest Medieval Noir, Book #12)
by Jeri Westerson
Release Date: June 1st 2019
2019 Severn House Publishers
Kindle Edition: 224 Pages
ISBN: 978-0727892300
ASIN: B07MMNV45D
Genre: Fiction / Historical / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

3.5 / 5 Stars

Summary
Crispin Guest, Tracker of London, is enjoying his ale in the Boar's Tusk tavern - until a stranger leaves a mysterious wrapped bundle on his table, telling him, "You'll know what to do." Inside is an ancient leather-bound book written in an unrecognizable language. Accompanied by his apprentice, Jack Tucker, Crispin takes the unknown codex to a hidden rabbi, where they make a shocking discovery: it is the Gospel of Judas from the Holy Land, and its contents challenge the very doctrine of Christianity itself. Crispin is soon drawn into a deadly maze involving murder, living saints, and lethal henchmen. Why was he given the blasphemous book, and what should he do with it? A series of horrific events confirm his fears that there are powerful men who want it - and who will stop at nothing to see it destroyed.

My Thoughts
Traitor's Codex is the twelfth entry in the Crispin Guest Medieval Noir series, and while it is a fun and interesting entry in this series, I really felt like it was story meant to link the previous stage to the next stage of his career.  So, while the story was interesting and Crispin was able to lay some ghosts to rest, so to speak, I thought the mystery was a bit lacking.

First of all, what I did really like in this book. The author always does a really great job at developing her characters and this book is no exception.  I have been reading this series since the first book was published and Crispin has come a long way from the man he was in that book to the kind and thoughtful man he is now.  He actually thinks about other people's well-being and even regrets not knowing some people better before their deaths, taking the time to really get to know them, to sit down with them and discourse about things.  It was interesting to see his revelations and his personal strengths develops throughout the series and he has become a more interesting character because of it. I also liked to see some resolution between Crispin and King Richard II; I know my history very well and know what is coming so it was nice to see some association between Lancaster, Richard, and Crispin.  There was even some teaser moments that included Henry, Lancaster's son, which I think will build towards future books, and I can't wait to see what happens there.  

The plot itself was interesting and moved fairly quickly, most of it taking place within a few short days. However, this book is touted to be a mystery novel and while there was a mystery, with an old scroll literally being dropped in Crispin's lap, I really felt like the mystery was not the central theme in this one.  Crispin did a lot of running around to try and translate the scroll, but most of the events around that had to do more with his life and the people in his past than with the actual mystery.  I do want to highlight here though, the importance of that scroll during this time period.  Possessing a Gospel of Judas that contained different information from what was being preached would have landed one on a pyre and was so incredibly dangerous, something I don't think the author highlighted enough, despite the deaths. Written texts were so highly prized in a society where 90% of the population could not read or write.  I think if I had not read the other books in this series, I would have rated this one higher than I did, but I found the earlier books to be a bit more suspenseful and the mysteries to be a bit more complex than this one.

Verdict
Traitor's Codex was an interesting and fun entry into a really great series.  I really wish the author had pushed the Gospel of Judas text a bit more and highlighted the dangers of such a text more in her story as I don't think it went far enough. Crispin and Jack continue to develop in interesting ways and I love both of their characters.  Knowing what is in store for King Richard II, I am really curious as to how the author will develop Crispin' story in the future and what will happen to Jack. There are definitely some interesting times ahead.  And while you don't necessarily have to start at the beginning of this series in order to understand what is happening, the earlier books are really good, and I would recommend them. If you like historical mystery, this is a good series in which to indulge.
Saturday, July 20, 2019

Review: No Safe Place by Patricia Gibney

No Safe Place (D.I. Lottie Parker, Book #4)
by Patricia Gibney
Release Date: March 22nd 2018
2018 Bookouture
Kindle Edition; 440 Pages
ISBN: 978 -1786814098
ASIN: B078JZZPFJ
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Summary
As funeral mourners stand in silence at Ragmullin cemetery, a deafening cry cuts through the air. Lying crumpled at the bottom of an open grave is the bloodied body of a young woman, and Detective Lottie Parker is called in to investigate.

Knowing the body can’t have been there long, Lottie wonders if it could be Elizabeth Bryne, a young woman who vanished without trace just days earlier. And with a new boss who seems to have it in for her, Lottie is under pressure to solve both cases quickly.

As two more women go missing from Ragmullin, Lottie and her team fear there is a serial killer on the loose. And the disappearances are strikingly similar to a cold case from ten years earlier. Could history be repeating itself?

As journalists begin to interfere with Lottie’s investigation, she fears the killer is about to strike again. Lottie is in a race against time to find the missing women, but the killer is closer than she thinks. Could Lottie be his next target?


My Thoughts
No Safe Place is the fourth book in a very good police procedural series feature Detective Inspector Lottie Parker. I actually have the next two books in this series for review, but having read this series from the beginning, I thought I should go back and read this entry before continuing the series in order to get the full scope of Lottie's continuing story.  And that is something that I would recommend for anyone interested in this series, start at the first book.

I love police procedurals but am always hesitant when trying a new author as they can be a bit of a hit or miss situation.  So when I do find a new one I like, I tend to be very loyal and this author does a great job at describing a complex mystery but also intertwining the personal lives of the investigators into the story.  Lottie is a favourite of mine and I think it's because of her flaws that she is so likeable. Don't get me wrong though, she can be just as tough as any lead investigator; I don't think you can be a lead investigator without having some bite, but there is a softer side to her as well, one who is struggling with managing her family after her husband's death and I like this about her.  The earlier books focus a lot more on Lottie's personal life, so it was good to see a bit more emphasis put on the case and the investigation in this one and I like the better balance here.  And Lottie has a lot on her place this time; an annoying boss, rape, women disappearing, fires, and an aggressive crime reporter who seems to have it out for her.  The author also takes the time to develop the secondary characters although I would love to know even more about them as they seem pretty interesting. 

Lottie is definitely the focus of the book and I like her a lot.  She is a bit of a mess in this one, popping anti-anxiety meds to help her get through the day and I wondered when it was all going to come to a head but that didn't quite happen so I need to wait for the next book.  The investigation itself however, kept me interested enough that Lottie's issues weren't at the center which was kind of nice.  And while there is always closure for the investigation, the reason I tell readers to start from the first book is the author has this way of keeping some things dangling at the end and this book is no exception.  However, the concept was started in earlier books and people may not fully understand the significance unless they had read the earlier books.  Normally I'm not a big fan of these types of endings but it seems to work in these books. 

Verdict
No Safe Place was a pleasure to read and I am looking forward to continuing this series.  The plot was fairly intricate and I really enjoy the secondary characters, although I would like to see even more character development with them as the series continues.  It also moved fairly quickly, with lots of twists and turns, and although I figured out who did it fairly early on, it didn't diminish my enjoyment one bit.  I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes good police procedurals.