Saturday, June 22, 2019

Review: A Shattered Lens by Layton Green

A Shattered Lens (Detective Preach Everson, Book #2)
by Layton Green
Release Date: July 16th 2019
2019 Seventh Street Books
ARC Edition; 304 Pages
ISBN: 978-1633885394
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Annalise Stephens Blue is a Creekville high school student with plans to become a world-famous filmmaker. As she begins filming an exposé of the town called Night Lives, she uncovers more than she bargained for: on the very first night of filming, she stumbles upon a murder in the woods, and flees the scene steps ahead of the killer.

Detective Joe "Preach" Everson is called to investigate the murder. The victim, David Stratton, is the town's golden boy and high school quarterback. A modern version of what Preach used to be. Not only that, the boy's mother is Claire Lourdis, a beautiful divorcĂ©e who Preach fell for in high school. She is also the main suspect in her son's murder.
Despite the cloud of suspicion hanging over her, old feelings resurface between Claire and Preach, straining the detective's relationship with his girlfriend Ari, a prosecutor in nearby Durham. As Preach delves into the secrets lurking beneath the surface of the town and searches for a missing girl who may have witnessed the crime, he must put his own feelings aside and pursue the answer to a terrible question: is a mother capable of murdering her own child?

My Thoughts
A Shattered Lens is the second book in the Preach Everson series and I liked it just as much as the first, if for different reasons. In this series, Preach has returned to the hometown he left as a teenager, due to circumstances that are still not quite clear, and accepted a position as a detective. Extremely experienced as he had spent over ten years investigating murders and crimes in the big city, he thoughts things may slow down as he dealt with the demons he left behind him when he fled.  I am a huge fan of this author, and while this book was somewhat slower than the first book, the story was still interesting, and we got to learn a bit more about Preach and his past.

First of all, I love Preach as a character.  He is humble but still exudes that confident air that you would think a successful detective would possess; he makes it known that he is very good at his job without being vain and conceited, which I like.  There is an air of vulnerability about him as well and the author develops this side of him as he struggles to deal with the person he is now with the person the town still perceives him to be from knowing him all those years ago.  Personally, I think it would be terrifying to have to live in the town where I was a teenager and I would never want to go back, but I definitely understand Preach's struggle with trying to get to know townspeople he knew as a young man and having them understand who he is now.  The underlying themes in this novel were quite fascinating and I enjoyed them tremendously.

One of those themes came about through the murder investigation as Preach was forced to investigate an old crush.  It's one of those things that makes you wonder if you could actually arrest someone you knew all those years ago, but also asks the question, How well do you really know someone? And Preach had been away all those years.  And then to deal with feelings of attraction to that suspect brought the whole novel on an entirely different level.  And this is where I had a problem.  While I got the attraction, I was not impressed with Ari\s reaction to it as well as her jealousy; I thought it lowered the book a notch or two and made it seem a bit juvenile and high schoolish.  Really? Either you trust your man or you don't and the texts didn't really seem all that bad to me.  The only thing I thought was that Preach should maybe have shared them with Ari; however, it was an active investigation and things are confidential.  So maybe he should have shown them to his boss instead? Not impressed with this scenario at all. And not impressed with Ari's reaction, nor Preach's, to what happened. I'm not against conflict in a relationship as that would be silly, but I don't like conflict that doens't really happen naturally, as two people try to adjust their lives to include the other, just to have conflict. It isn't really necessary.

That being said, the writing was great and drew you into the story.  I have always liked Green's style of writing (and really wish he would write another Dominic Grey novel, hint hint!!), and it was no different in this book.  I like how Preach is developing as a main character, and there is still so much to learn about him which makes it interesting.  I would love to learn more about the town and its other characters though, and I think there is so much potential here. The plot was interesting, with plenty of twists and turns, even if the action was toned down from the first.  I always like it when I guess wrong in a murder-mystery.

A Shattered Lens is a detective novel and is somewhat different than some of his previous work.  However, it still has a way of grabbing your attention and although it's very much a police procedural in nature, I liked that, as it showed a different side to this author and his writing ability.  The author has this way of describing things and people, of making you feel on edge, even when you think nothing is happening.  And there is a lot happening.  And while this book can definitely be read a s a stand alone, I do recommend you start with the first book in the series as there are things that I see building up in both these books that will be developed in future books.  And I can't wait!!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Review: Fatal Promise by Angela Marsons

Fatal Promise (D.I. Kim Stone Book #9)
by Angela Marsons
Release Date: October 19th 2018
2018 Bookouture
Kindle Edition; 409 Pages
ISBN: 978-1786816924
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

4.5 / 5 Stars

When the body of a doctor is discovered brutally murdered in local woodland, Detective Kim Stone is shocked to discover the victim is Gordon Cordell – a man linked to a previous case she worked on involving the death of a young school girl. Gordon has a chequered past, but who would want him dead?

As the investigation gets underway, Gordon’s son is involved in a horrific car crash which leaves him fighting for his life. Kim's sure this was no accident.

Then the body of a woman is found dead in suspicious circumstances and Kim makes a disturbing link between the victims and Russells Hall Hospital. The same hospital where Gordon worked.

With Kim and her team still grieving the loss of one of their own, they’re at their weakest and facing one of the most dangerous serial killers they’ve ever encountered. Everything is on the line. Can Kim keep her squad together and find the killer before he claims his next victim? 

My Thoughts
Fatal Promise is the ninth book in the stellar Kim Stone detective series, but this one broke my heart.  It took me along time to read this one simply because the events in the previous novel were devastating and heartbreaking and I just didn't have it in me to read the next installment until this week.  However, I am so glad that I did as it continued the story set up in the previous novel and dealt with some major issues that needed to be dealt with.

First of all, if you have not read the previous entry in this series, you should do so in order to really get a good grasp of the person who was murdered and to understand the importance of the events in this book, otherwise you will be left completely in the dark. At the beginning of the novel, which picks up several weeks after the events in book 8, the team is dealing with a tragic loss and are devastated.  I truly love how the author dealt with the loss and how she developed the scenario, especially when a new team member arrived to replace the hole left vacant.  While my heart was broken, I could still smile through a lot of the situations in which the team found themselves, and the banter that is usually there slowly found its way back as the novel progressed.  I though the author did a wonderful job showing how each person dealt with their grief and developed throughout the novel. This could not have been easy for her to write and I commend her for it.

The plot itself was great, as usual; fast, interesting, with a lot of twists and turns.  There was actually a secondary plot line that Stacey was investigating which really had nothing to do with the murder and it was interesting in itself, simply because of the ethics involved.  I think I actually enjoyed Stacey's story line more than the original murder scenario as I have always been fascinated by the concept, but both were compelling.  I like how the author tries to incorporate a theme into each of her novels, but also continues the story from the previous novels. Simply, if you had to make a choice, what choice would you make? And could you live with the consequences of that choice for the rest of your life? And should you have to make that choice when circumstances are dire? It was an interesting concept and left me thinking about it for a couple of days.  Having the story continue from previous novels allows for great character development and good interaction between the characters.  I have been following the series since book 1 and love how much they have grown as people and as friends.  

While the events in the previous novel were quite upsetting, I am so glad I finally read this book and had closure to what happened.  I was able to follow the characters in their journey through their grief and healing and really empathized with them as they continued to do their jobs.  I thought the novel was well-thought out, interesting, and well-written.  As always, I am a huge fan of Kim and her team, and look forward to continuing their story in the next book.