Secrets Girls Keep

Secrets girls keep

I first read this book while lounging around in rehab last year.  And now another winter afternoon with time on my hands, so I reread it.  And I am glad I did.

I have read and loved all the Thaddeus Murphy books by this writer and I wondered could this new protagonist, Michael Gresham stack up.

Michael Gresham is a criminal lawyer working with his wife, Danny, his friend and confidant Marcel, who also acts as his researcher, and his secretary, Mrs Lingscheit making a tight little legal team.

We meet Michael at the Grand Jury Room in Chicago, or rather outside it as lawyers cannot enter the Room.  Gresham is here on behalf of his client, a thrice-elected sheriff who is being accused of and charged with embezzling public funds. Then suddenly, the client loses it and takes a woman hostage, dragging her into the Jury Room where he proceeds to threaten all those already there.

The hostage situation is overcome, negotiations completed, and the sheriff is taken off to jail.

But this is only a very small part of the story.  Gresham receives a call for help from his priest.  The priest confesses that years ago he had a sexual relationship with one of the congregation, and a boy was born.  He has had no dealings with the boy but has now heard that the boy is arrested for murder and he calls upon Michael Gresham to help.

In true John Ellsworth style, we are taken through a twisted and complicated plot to reach the surprise at the end.

Oh, and by the way, there is a foolish would-be drug dealer who is represented by Gresham, who manages to get the case dismissed when the arrested cocaine is shown to be missing from the police evidence room.

The trial scenes are evidence of an experienced criminal lawyer, all the characters are believable and on second reading, I enjoyed this fast paced book and will look for anther in the series.

 

 

The Other La Boheme

The Other Boheme

I have loved opera since being introduced to it by an early boyfriend when I was 17, and have been intrigued by the world of those who choose to make opera singing their career.  So when this book was offered on NetGalley I immediately downloaded it.  And I wasn’t disappointed.

Four long-time friends, all opera singers, commit to supporting each other through thick and thin and particularly on their journey to the top.  Stephanie, Henry, Jennifer, and John name themselves The Dolci Quattro.   We meet the four friends as they are performing in Leoncavallo’s La Boheme. a lesser known version of La Boheme, for a second-tier opera company.  They hope this will give them the necessary exposure and allow them to rise to a first-tier company.

Often singers have to work multiple jobs in order to pay for a voice teacher, to help develop the voice and a voice coach, to focus on specific performance music.  And Pere Momus, owner of Café Momus in Manhattan, a gathering place for connoisseurs of opera knew this and so he hired aspiring artists pursuing their dreams, as waiters and waitresses.

An opera singer’s voice is his/her only thing on offer but it is a fragile instrument that needs to be cared for.  It is easily affected and disturbed by emotion.  Concentration is lost and ways of coping, particularly on a performance day, have to be found.  The Dolci Quattro understood this and shared everything and when one was disturbed they pulled together to help.

The offer of steady employment to Henry in a job as an assistant professor to teach voice and to produce school operas causes much talk and deliberation before a decision is made.  Will he accept or will he follow his dreams?

We are offered an insight into the life of an opera singer and recognise how hard one must work to stay on track.  Thank you, Yorker Keith, for a very knowledgeable and entertaining glimpse into the life and world of aspiring opera singers.

 

 

 

 

The Woman Who Ran

When I was in rehab last year I had loads of time to read and my daughter kept me plied with books.  This is one that I read and that has stayed with me ever since.  I’m sorry that I am only now covering it on this site.  My review has been on Goodreads since May 17, 2016.

woman who ran

 

This is one of those books you can’t put down. Well planned and so well researched. The characters are totally believable and I was left feeling for this woman and her problems.

We are thrown into the 21st century while still harking back to the Brontes and Wildfell, its ghost stories and all. Helen Huntingdon escaping from a husband who totally oppresses her decides to move far away to the Dales.

Much is made of her time as a war photographer sometimes with her husband Art and often alone, of his total dominance and of her acceptance of this.

She is unable to rely on anybody else but eventually, she confides in a retired journalist who helps her sort out her life.

I recommend this to all my friends.

Missing Alibi

This is the second book in the Faukon Abbey Mysteries series.  You may recall I reviewed the first in the series, Remember Me, in March this year.

Once again this story is written as a play, perhaps another Greek Tragedy and once again we meet DI Greene and his offsider DC Ford and their friend and journalist Jimmy Carter.

Carter goes to meet a mysteries and romance writer who has recently moved into the area.  He knows the house in which she lives as its previous owner was murdered. The writer knows this about the house and being intrigued decides it is a good plot for a story.

We find out that the writer’s husband does not spend much time in Faukon Abbey, preferring to spend weekdays in London with his mistress.  And we soon discover that this man is not all he pretends to be.

The writer is murdered and the police are making little progress in their investigations so once again, they call upon Jimmy Carter to assist them.  After all, he did know the murdered victim and perhaps she has said something to him during their long interview that could set them on the path of the murderer.

Meantime there is another death reported.  This time of a local farmer and while initially it is considered suspicious, it is determined to have been death from natural causes.

There are many twists and turns to this novel before we eventually find out who is the murderer.  A man, the murdered woman’s husband, who with his mistress is involved in a car accident while leaving his wife’s house in a car that was running out of brake fluid, a will that has been lost having been tampered with, the dead woman’s brother who suddenly appears after several years, the sister of the writer’s first husband, a solicitor who is acting rather strangely.

Yes, there are several potential perpetrators but it is not until the end that we find out who did it.  My only complaint is that much of what really happens is made clear to us by the characters who summarise the evidence and then reveal the culprit and the reason why.  This rather detracted from a cleverly conceived and executed story.

But having said that, this is a book that will keep you reading well into the night.  And now that it has been edited, it is an easy read.

Note – I was given a copy of this book to read and voluntarily post this review.

 

Grand Cru Heist

Grand cru

Are you a lover of France, French wines, and mysteries? if your answer is yes, this series could be for you.

In this second book of the series, we are introduced to Benjamin Cooker, winemaker and wine writer extraordinaire, his assistant Virgile Lanssien, and Cooker’s friend, Hubert de Bouard de Laforest, winemaker of Grand Cru.

Cooker is set upon by a gang of thieves, his classic Mercedes 280SL is stolen along with his wallet and his notebook with all his notes and memories of the wines he had tasted.

Cooker has been advised to rest and recuperate and decides that a hotel in the Touraine region will suit him rather more than going home to his chateau in the Medoc.

At the Chateau de La Tortiniere he connects with the young concierge Gaetan who apart from appreciating young, beautiful women, is also a lover of good French wine.  He also meets a certain Mr Morton, owner of a splendid classic Morgan Plus8.  These two men find they have much in common.  Cooker writes about wine and is a winemaker, Morton claims to work for a wine brokerage in London and both men have a tendency for good Havana cigars.

The friendship is short-lived as Morton makes a sudden departure from the hotel in search of his young, beautiful travel companion.

In a short time, there are two murders to solve as well as the continuing theft of Grand Cru from a variety of wine outlets.  Cooker quickly becomes involved in the murders.  But more, he is involved in finding the thieves of the wine.  So think a French Hercule Poirot winemaker.

As an added bonus we are given great descriptions of art, architecture, landscape and history of the region together with the wine drunk with the food eaten.

This is a short, easily read book but one that I found a delight to read.  The two authors, unknown to me, are obviously well versed in French wines and know the Bordeaux region well.

I started the series with this the second book.  I shall now go to the first and look forward to reading more 0f the adventures of Benjamin Cooker..

Changing Lanes

 

Changing Lanes

This is another of the books I read during my rehabilitation last year, but as I couldn’t remember much about the story, I decided to re-read it today.

Picture a cold, windy Easter Saturday; everybody is out and one is alone in the house.  So reading was definitely the task(?) of choice.

Changing Lanes is the story of Abby Halliday.  On one fateful day, Abby’s life is totally changed She is told her syndicated column is no longer required; it’s not edgy enough.  Add to that the house she and her fiancé have purchased to live in following their wedding in 2 months’ time, is declared uninhabitable due to a termite infestation, and her fiancé sends her a text to say he won’t meet her for dinner as he is in Paris, France.

Meantime, Abby has gone back to her parents’ house in Paris, New Jersey, where she had planned to stay until the wedding.  Now since her dream house is no longer available, she will stay there indefinitely.

We are introduced to her parents, Mother, a woman totally involved with providing a special family life for her daughters, Father who having retired now takes up a passion he has always had and has hidden, two sisters, one a pouting teenager and the other a delightful 5-year-old baby. Also, there is Nan who has lived with the family since her husband died.

The story follows  Abby through her adventures driving her Father’s cab, reconnecting with two friends and many of the people from her childhood and Mick, the son of the next door neighbours with whom she had a teenage crush years before.

We move with her as she adapts and changes to the new opportunities available to her as she recognises that what was her dream life now ceases to be and there are other choices to be made.

This is a light-hearted book, easy to read and hard to put down.  I strongly recommend it for a wet afternoon when you feel that the ironing, cooking or even writing,  can be put aside for a time to relax with a good read.

Note – I received a free copy of this book and in return, I choose to write a review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blood Trails

I read this originally way back in October but decided to reread it after discussion with another reader.

A new book, a new series, a new protagonist from Diane Capri, one of my favourite authors.

blood trails

 

Michael Flint is the protagonist or maybe, after all, he is a hero. Flint is an heir hunter who claims to be able to find anyone. This time he’s given the task of finding a woman who hasn’t been seen or heard of for more than 20 years. Added to the problem is that time is very limited. An option is about to expire and two oil moguls are in a fight to the end to get the rights.

Michael Flint and his associate, Katie Scarlett have few clues to the missing woman’s whereabouts and Flint is being pursued on both sides and everywhere he goes.
This is well worth a read and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

Risky Tide

Risky Tide

This is book No2 in the Dolphin Shore Shifters series.  Did you read my review on  Blood Tide the first in the series?

This time the Dolphins who’ve morphed into human form are on a series of missions to free some captive dolphins and exchange them for others who have volunteered to spend the next three years in captivity, performing for crowds at various sea life parks.

Katherine is a newly arrived shore shifter who had an horrendous experience during the shift and is now beset by nightmares and panic attacks at quite the wrong time. Her first assignment with SBW (Save Blue Water) is with the exchange team.

The leader of the team, Peal is attracted to Katherine (now renamed Katie) and is aware that there is something wrong with her that could affect the whole team and its missions.  He tries, unsuccessfully at first, to find out what’s wrong.

After a couple of close shaves while on missions when Katie  has had a panic attack and consequently caused problems, Peal has to decide whether to report the actions, or lack of actions, which could result in her being called back to Santa Barbara and being tied to a desk for the three-year period of her shore shift.  He is seriously beginning to doubt whether she is an asset to his team.

He realises that Katie wants to succeed.  He admires her resourcefulness, and once he finds out from Katie the cause of the panic attacks and nightmares, he admires her courage.

Soon they find themselves strongly attracted to each other.  There is nothing to stop them having sex with each other; dolphins readily have sex with one another while not making long term relationships.  In fact, the idea of a long relationship is totally unheard of in a dolphin pod.

While the team is involved in these escape plans, they become aware of a virus which is killing off dolphins in a lagoon nearby. They determine the cause is illegal dumping of hazardous material and set out to gather enough samples to send to the lab and then to advise the authorities.

We are introduced to Brian,  scientist,  who is convinced he has the answer to a nagging problem.  He finds out that in fact, it’s not the answer and his experiments have now left him  with a number of vials of bio hazardous waste to get rid of.  But because his experiments were unsanctioned he can’t get rid of this I the usual way.  He links up with the driver who regularly removes the waste materials for Brian’s company and offers him money to dispose of the vials.  Their plan  to add them to another company’s waste falls down and Reese, the driver decides to get rid of them by dumping them into the lagoon.  But another problem arises when Brian realises that he hasn’t removed the label showing both the company’s name and his.

And these are not the only people involved in dumping waste in the lagoon.  Employees of a waste company are seen also dumping there.

And all along there is another plot working out. Sorenson an ex-FBI agent has been employed to seek out and kill one of SBW’s men and then once he has succeeded in doing so, he is to kill Peal.  Who is his employer we know only as Nick.

Add Peal and Katie falling in love which is unheard of in dolphin’s language and lifestyle – they have to find a way to deal with this;  wild and quite explicit sex scenes, drama, murder and confusion at the way some members of the shifters are acting, and we have another book to hold us captive for a few days.

Thank you . CJ Matthew for letting me read this book.

 

 

 

The House

The House

Well,  thanks again to NetGalley I have just finished reading a book from another author new to me.

A young couple, Jack and Syd have been house hunting for a while.  They started out with a long list of must-haves and over the months,  as their offers on houses were declined, or somebody else made a better offer, the list dwindled.  So imagine how delighted they were when they found the house of their dreams that matched their original list and their offer was unexpectedly, accepted.

This house had everything they wanted, plenty of space, perfect location and in walking distance to the local shop and pub.  But the previous owner had packed up and gone to the other side of the world, Australia to be with a woman whom he met on the internet.  And in leaving, he had left the house complete with all its furniture and everything else from his life, to the lucky purchasers.

We learn about Jack and Syd and their relationship with each other and the house by a series of notes that each has made.  Syd is more enamoured of the house than is Jack who has some dark thoughts about the house and rapidly questions the Real Estate agent’s story of the vendor and his reasons for leaving everything behind.

Meantime, Syd meets and befriends Elsie a young girl who is obviously being abused by her father  Syd is sympathetic because she too suffered at the hands of her father until on the night before her 14th birthday when she left home never to return.  Unfortunately because of er leaving the father turns his attention o the younger sister and 2 months later her younger sister killed herself.  Syd feels responsible for this death and now includes Elsie in her feeling of responsibility.

We learn that Jack is a Social worker employed by the local Council and together he and Syd decide to try to help Elsie.  This ends in disaster as the Social Services can do nothing without proof and in fact, they only succeed in making things worse for the girl.

And the house?  Well, there’s a whole lot of strange things going on.  Strange noise in the night, odd smells, a dead cat in the attic, and a box of a young girl’s keepsakes, none of which can be easily explained away.

When Elsie’s father is murdered Jack becomes the prime suspect because he had threatened to kill the man following a drunken brawl at the local pub.

Meantime, Syd discoverers that her father has been released from jail and is once again living with her mother.   Syd discovers this by chance and is immediately concerned that her father will once again try to control her.

The twist in the tail (or the tale) when it comes is totally unexpected. Can this be the perfect murder?

Are you confused yet? I can only encourage you to read his very complicated, well-written story for yourself.    And like me, when you come to the end and all is revealed, you will no doubt take a deep breath and look around your own house with a different eye.

Disclaimer:  I downloaded this book from Netgalley.  I’m under no obligation to do so but choose to write this review,

 

 

 

 

Live From Cairo

Another book to review from NetGalley from another author who is new to me.

The story is set in Cairo in 2011 following the departure of Mubarak. So…

live-from-cairo

Four lives are completely changed by the end of the book.  Plotting and planning have some disastrous results and don’t necessarily reach the desired conclusion.

We’re introduced to Charlie, an American lawyer working in Cairo and acting on behalf of refugees seeking to escape to a new life in a new country.  We meet Aos his friend and colleague.  Aos is an Egyptian translator and apart from his adopted dog Ruby, Aos is Charlie’s only friend.

Into this mix comes Hana, newly arrived from the US to work at UNHCR – the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.  Her job is to accept or reject applications for resettlement.  Hana is initially overwhelmed by the number of applicants and her role in determining their future.

And Dalia an Iraqi refugee and one of those seeking to leave Egypt to join her husband in Boston.  When her petition is rejected she finds herself trapped in Cairo.

This is a book full of detail, of humans meeting inhuman systems, told by a gifted writer who takes us to this other time and other place.  To say I couldn’t put it down would be wrong.  I found myself putting it down again and again while I thought of how people live following a revolution and the results of this on their lives.

I would strongly recommend this book and thank the publishers for making it available to me prior to its publication in July this year. I  am under no obligation to do so but choose to review the book