Laughed ‘Til He Died – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
Jean’s harsh sobs brought Max’s secretary, whose heart was as big as her beehive hairdo, to his office door. Summer-bright in a yellow tunic and white caprice, Barb looked at him questioningly. As awkward as most men in the face of feminine meltdown, Max cleared his throat. “How about some iced tea, Jean? Hey, Barb, bring us some of your special fruit tea and good lemon pie.” Jean using a handkerchief provided by Max, wiped her face, leaving purplish smudges atop puffy redness. She looked shyly at Barb when she returned. Barb placed a try with two big tumblers and two plates on the desk. “Goji berries and guava, my own private blend. Guaranteed to refresh. And lemon pie made this morning.”
Jean Hughes had just stepped into Max Darling’s office at the Confidential Commissions. Jean, who is the director of a youth recreation center called the Haven, came to seek Max’s help. One of the directors was in the process of acquiring enough votes to have her dismissed and she didn’t want to go down without a fight. Since Max’s specialty is in solving problems, he takes her on as a client.
Annie Darling, Max’s wife, owns a mystery bookstore called Death on Demand. At first, she’s not comfortable with Max taking Jean as a client. But that changed with the death of a young member from the Haven and the death of one of the Haven’s directors with Jean being the police’s number one suspect.
I’ve read both of Carolyn Hart’s Bailey Ruth books and loved them. I’m patiently waiting for her to write a 3rd. This is the first of her Death on Demand books that I’ve had a chance to read and I have to say I love it too. Carolyn Hart holds you in suspense until the end. She gives no clues throughout the book allowing you to guess at who the killer really is. In fact, she actually had me believing that the killer just might be Jean Hughes. Did Carolyn Hart lead me on a wild goose chase throughout the whole book? I’ll never tell. Read Laughed ‘Til He Died and find out for yourself.
Ghost at Work – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
“He’s dead!” Her voice was a whisper. “What am I going to do?” “Call the police.” I clapped my fingers to my mouth. I hadn’t intended to speak. “I can’t.” It was a moan. The moan turned into a strangled gasp. She looked wildly about. “Who’s there? Where are you?” Skirting the body, she hurried to the back door, flung it open, clattered down the steps. In an instant she returned to the porch, dashed to the rectory back door, yanked it open, seeking the source of the voice.
Bailey Ruth Raeburn is dead and living the the glories of Heaven, but there are times when an “emissary” from Heaven needs to be sent back to earth to help out those in trouble. Bailey Ruth has never had the honor of being returned to earth as an emissary so Wiggins, who is in charge of this Heavenly task, must teach her the rules and prepare her before letting her depart. Unfortunately, there is no time for preparation. In Bailey Ruth’s own home town of Adelaide, someone has murdered Daryl Murdoch right on the steps of the rectory. It becomes Bailey Ruth’s job as an emissary to protect Kathleen, who just happens to be the pastor’s wife, and hopefully find the real killer.
As Bailey Ruth approaches Kathleen, she knows that before she can help her she must first gain her trust without scaring her half to death. This isn’t an easy task since Kathleen can hear Bailey Ruth but not see her. The solution to that is to appear but that is frowned upon in the Precepts, which are the rules an emissary must follow.
After Bailey Ruth and Kathleen finally get a grip on the real situation, it’s decided that the best thing to do is to move the body away from the rectory. And where would be a better place to deposit a dead body in the cemetery. But doing that will take some imagination from Bailey Ruth. She can’t just snap her fingers and have the body moved, so she must find a mode of transportation and the wheel barrow seems to be perfect vehicle. As she and Kathleen wheel Murdoch’s body to it’s destination, they discover that the cemetery is occupied by a couple of teens who are attempting to remove the greyhound statue that watches over the Pritchard mausoleum. She accomplishes this by grabbing the crowbar away from one of the boys and flinging it out into the darkness. But, Kathleen has already dumped the body on the steps of the mausoleum where it’s discovered by the two frightened teens.
Ghost at Work is the first book written by Carolyn Hart in the Bailey Ruth series. In Ghost at Work, Bailey Ruth is an emissary in training and on probation. Following her antics as she tries to follow the rules of not appearing, speaking, nor scaring the living half to death unless completely necessary, I’ve found Ghost at Work to be humorous and creative. Hart’s characters are not only believable but you find yourself completely wrapped up in them, not wanting the book to end. And fortunately, Bailey Ruth is carried forward in Hart’s second book in the series titled Merry, Merry Ghost. I’ve had the enjoyment of reading both of these light hearted books and can’t wait for the next.
I’ve read many series books which spotlight the same character and have found that after a while, the character becomes predictable and over years “aged.” Bailey Ruth is one character that I feel that can never happen to. After all, she is a “ghost.”
A Voice from the Grave
By : Yvonne Mason
Best Selling Florida Author Yvonne Mason has just released her latest book A Voice from the Grave. She spent over four years researching and gathering material for this fiction murder/suspense so that the history behind Andersonville Prison would be correct.
Ms. Mason has taken factual accounts of battles of the Civil War and real incidents at Andersonville to spell bind her readers. She takes her readers on a journey that will draw them into the story with abandon.
Ms. Mason is the author of five other books, including her True Crime Silent Scream.
Anderson Georgia, the home of Andersonville Prison, the worst prison camp in the south during the Civil War. Archeologist Jonas Biggs has been hired by the Historical Society of Anderson to come and do a dig at Andersonville for historical purposes.
Jonas has been asked to do this dig for two reasons. One he is a home town boy, his family had been in Anderson for years, and two, there is a mystery in the making.
At the dig Jonas Biggs finds more than he bargains for. He uncovers not one but two skeletons at the deadline. The questions erupt. Why are there two skeletons at the deadline? Who are they? How long have they been there?
Jonas and his family are thrown into a web of deceit, lies and possibly murder as he tries to unravel the mystery of the dead. Who is trying to kill Savannah his niece and why? Who is the voice from the Grave?
Why does the past collide with the present?
What does the voice have to do with the mystery?
Read A Voice from the Grave and learn the answers.
Order today from Lulu.com
Ms. Mason’s online bookstore http://thebookattic.ecrater.com
Amazon.com and Amazon Kindle
Purple Death – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘Sam tried to move his legs and instead fell in a crumpled heap on his office floor. He felt more than just ‘ill’ now. Fear gripped Sam while the sweat on his brow began to run down into his eyes. He felt a constriction in his chest, as if someone had suddenly placed an iron barrel ring around him and was tightening it by the second. The life was rapidly being crushed out of his body, but with nothing and no one there to offer help. Sam Gabriel had never felt so frightened and alone.’
Sam Gabriel will become just one of several to die a gruesome death by poisoning. The poison ‘aconite’ is being administered by what Detective Inspector Shawn Connor has decided is a serial killer. D.I. Connor, who heads up a team of investigators, is baffled as to how the poison is being induced. This question is finally answered after the third victim is killed. Now Connor must determine if there is a connection between the victims and follow what few clues he has to determine who will be next.
DI Connor has determined that a woman is involved but doesn’t feel that she’s alone. Due to the timing of the deaths and the locations of the victims, there has to be more than one person involved.
Connor and his team finally come up with a clue which seems to connect most of the victims. The clue pertains to events that happened over 30 years earlier with most of those involved being deceased. To Conner, it appears that with each clue that surfaces, another victim turns up poisoned. He seems to hit nothing but dead ends.
I’ve read all but 2 books written by Brian Porter and I have to say that if you’ve never read his writings, you’re losing out. Purple Death has taken me on a road with many curves, most of them sharp. Porter grabs your attention in the beginning of the book with his Welcome message and your reading experience goes up from there. He has got to be one of the best mystery writers I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.
A Lesson in Murder – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat
‘George Wheeler sat in the driver’s seat, looking as lifeless as the car in which he was sitting. On the seat next to him, was a stuffed animal which looked like Walt Disney’s Pluto. A large, flat, hardback book lay open in his lap. Wheeler’s usual black horn-rimmed glasses had been replaced with large, bright yellow-framed spectacles. Barnum again peered in the window quickly. Wheeler’s tan, healthy-looking face had been smeared with what appeared to be charcoal ashes.’
George Wheeler usually met with his advertising agent at 6:30 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for their jogs in the park. During this time, Wheeler who was in the pharmaceutical business would pitch ideas to Barnum as they ran. But as Barnum soon found out, Wheeler had performed his last job and pitched his last idea. Someone had murdered him.
Maxwell Hunter is an English teacher for Eastern Friends School in Pennsylvania. Eastern Friends School (EFS) was originally a private school for the wealthy but had started adding a few students, through grants, that were exceptionally intelligent. Hunter has a passion for mystery solving and is a stickler for details. That and Hunter’s familiarity with the people involved prompted Lt. Frank DiSalvo to ask Hunter for his help in solving the murder of George Wheeler. But, as it turns out, Wheeler wasn’t the only one to be murdered and each murder is in some way connected with the school.
As I read A Lesson in Murder I found myself second guessing my own ideas as to who the killer was. And I have to say that I was surprised with the ending. I had several suspects in mind but never really narrowed it down to one. I really enjoyed reading A Lesson in Murder and recommend it to anyone who would like a quick read mystery.
It’s in the Eyes. Author Chalres Toftoy takes his readers into the heart and soul of Lars Neilson a college professor and part time sleuth and his trained alpha team. They are on the trail of a serial killer who kills college students. The one victim has touched Lars in a dark place. The day he saw her lifeless body he looked into her eyes – Now they haunt him. He hears her telling him to “Find Them”.
Charles Toftoy not only tells a good mystery story, he includes the flaws and human traits of his characters. Mr Toftoy is one indie author to pay attention to.
His book is a five star read.
By Julia Dudek
Reviewed by Fran Lewis Author
Angelique Mc Court feels isolated in her own world and her own life. She has no friends, her parents are too busy to be part of her life and her career choice is one that she is unsure of. Living alone in her new apartment she feels happy that she will no longer have to share it with another medical student. But, her life was about to change forever when she comes home one and finds someone in her apartment. Bernadette was a timid, shy and insecure young girl whose parents sent her to New York to attend Bernard Medical School and become a doctor. Staying with Angelique little does Bernadette know that things were about to change for her and not for the better.
Angelique has a photographic memory. She can read an entire manual, textbook, map of a city and streets and remember then word for word after one reading. She does not have trouble remembering anything and faces and figures and entire medical books are easier recorded in her brain. But, Bernadette has to study and she and Angelique are total opposites and yet become best friends. Therefore making what happens all the more difficult and horrifying for Angelique.
When Winter Break comes Angelique encourages Bernie as she called her to go to a club and celebrate. This would be her last one. Leaving the club, Bernadette is brutally raped and murdered and the assailant leaving her memory totally devoid of the incident knocks out Angelique. But, the worst has yet to come. Into the mix we have Detective Ben Marsden whose job it is to solve the case but she us the only witness, Not thinking if the consequences to herself or anyone else, she ventures out twice into the night to revisit the scene of the crime and both times is followed by an unknown person. In the first incident the man is trying to help her but the second time, she is carrying a knife and while he attacks her the knife in her bag kills him and she shows no remorse at all.
Getting closer to the detective could prove dangerous as she unfolds a plot so diabolical that the reader will have chills run through them and shudder at what she plans to do. Avenging Bernadette’s death is her goal and going after an unknown assailant is her plan. Trying to piece together the memory of that night, Angelique goes in search of men who she feels deserve death. Going out in the middle of the night she tries to recreate in her mind the murder, seeing Bernadette’s face as she does and listening to a voice within her controlling her every thought and move. Revenge is the answer and she will get it at all costs. But, one man might stand in her way. Seeking vengeance and revenge for the murder of the best friend, her life takes a downward fall and her mindset drastically changes. How does this beautiful and bright beauty queen, with a photographic memory seek out the truth and hunt down a bloodthirsty killer, demon and where does she find him? As the anger, ire, rage and danger she encounters fill the pages of this thriller, Angelique creates a dangerous and heartless plan to hunt the killer, who is on the hunt for her. Her goal is to find the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that are hiding deep in the recesses of her memory and hopefully come out in order to solve the murder of her friend. Trying to enter the mind of this deranged killer, she becomes no better than him.
How far will someone go to protect the person that they care about the most? How much farther will Angelique go to avenge the death of her best friend? What happens when she meets Ben’s partner? Will she pay for her sins? The ending has a major twist that you will never see coming? Will she stay in Medical school or will she take a different road? Some of these questions are answered and others will be when Julia Dudek writes the sequel. This is her first novel and I can’t wait to read and review the next one.
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
Blood on His Hands is one man’s tale of the inner struggles that we all deal with in our lives. Mike Renton struggles between doing the right thing or doing that which will benefit himself; taking the road to righteousness or the one the one leads to deceit.
His life seems to end the moment he pulled the trigger sending his unfaithful wife and her lover into oblivion.
On the lam, his journey takes him from rural Oklahoma to the glitz of Las Vegas. He had not however, anticipated the determined tenacity of private investigator Ian Walker, who tracks him down to northern Georgia on to the Appalachian Trail just outside of the sleepy hamlet of Helen. Was the path chosen by both men the trail to redemption, forgiveness and repentance, or was it one that will eventually pull them into tempest and despair; a black hole into oblivion?
Nine months later, in the spring of the following year human remains are discovered by a hiker just off the Appalachian Trail. How will the decisions made by the White County coroner’s office affect the final outcome of the journey Mike Renton started when he killed his wife and will he be able to deal with the repercussions that come along with the choices he made? Blood on His Hands leads us from wanton despair to the promise of a new life no matter the cost.
“What are a husband’s choices when he comes face to face with his wife’s infidelity? The answer lies in Mark P Sadler’s debut novel, BLOOD ON HIS HANDS, and it’s far more complicated and satisfying than the reader would imagine. Both a tale of bitter choices and sweet surrender, BLOOD ON HIS HANDS is a fine examination of the human spirit and soul… Though there is no mystery as to who’s the killer, the answer we ultimately seek is who will actually pay for the crime… I found the ending to be extremely satisfying and fresh. Remorse and reconciliation comes in many forms and Sadler has done a first-rate job at portraying this to his readers. BLOOD ON HIS HANDS is a very good read from a talented new author.” Robin Cain author of When Dreams Bleed
“Blood on His Hands is not your average romance novel. In fact, even though it contains love and heated passion, this book is not a romance novel at all…Descriptions are grand in this work. You will not find the boring, long-winded, twisted passages you find in 18th century novels or hard-to-follow poetry. Sadler is direct, brief and right to the point. And he does sway a bit poetically… ‘Tumbleweeds danced, twirled and weaved in the wind, like straw ballerinas finally sacrificing themselves on the barbed wire.’ Gorgeous. In addition to plenty of blood, guts and sacrifice, Sadler uses another beautiful writing technique. He gets the reader to honestly like every single character…” Ryn
Gargalinski, TucsonCitizen.com“With a well-paced storyline and powerful characters, Blood On His Hands is a welcome first effort from a promising new literary talent.”
Renee Washburn,Apex Reviews“…Mark Sadler’s debut novel, Blood on His Hands, is a solid and earnestly written thriller, not so much a murder mystery (since we learn early on whodunit) as a study of the psychosexual dynamics of a homicidal but oddly sympathetic loner on the lam. The book’s unexpected ending provides a new twist on the concept of the bad guy getting his just desserts, and its closing chapter provides a haunting allegory of dubious religious redemption…”
T.S. Minton, editor Interfusion Publishing“…for a debut novel…Blood on His Hands is a solid, engaging read for thriller fans…I started reading the book in the morning and finished it in the evening the same day. It obviously wasn’t boring in the least…Another really nice and really unexpected thing for a thriller, was Micheal’s internal dialogue and struggle with what he’s done…The author skillfully managed to insert humor into Micheal’s life on the Appalachian Trail and I was smirking quite a few times…I think that if you’re a fan of mystery/thriller books that are a fun and quick read, you should definitely give Blood on His Hands a try.”
Liliana Swistek, Reading Extravaganza – A Book Reviewers Blog“You did some great first hand research of all the different locations and I felt like I was right there along with Ian and Mike wherever they were! I loved the way you took us on a voyage across the U.S…The ending was great! It was really unexpected! I love a twist in the end.”
Frances, founder of www.WhereDoYouRead.com“He (Sadler) is also a careful writer and has done his research. I trusted him when he took me places, places I’ve been and places I want to go…. I didn’t want to put the book down or for it to end…. It held my interest and was suspenseful.”
Randy Ford, playwright
Sadler’s humble beginnings started in a small caravan in his grandmother’s garden in Post War Britain, May 1956.
Young Sadler quickly learned the joy of discovery through books as his mother, a pre-school teacher, read countless stories to him.
He graduated from Codsall Comprehensive in 1974, a future in writing seemed to be taking a clear path. The following year Sadler emigrated to the States on a student visa to attend Ambassador College Big Sandy Texas and participated in journalism and speech classes, intent on becoming the next big television news anchor.
From the factory floors of Robberson Steel to the sales floor at Intempo Wood Factory, from employment counselor to debt collector, he finally found a permanent position at Retail Merchants Collection Service. Debt collections led to career that has now spanned over thirty years and has remained the one constant in his soap opera of a life. Writing took a back seat as he raised a family.
When 2007 rolled around it found Sadler remarried and living in Tucson, having moved there in 1993. His two older boys were now young men with children of their own, and a third son starting high school. With a little extra time on his hands he once again took up the skills that had ingrained themselves in him during high school, and took on the task that he knew one day he would succeed in; it was time to write a book, Blood on His Hands.
Sadler lives with his wife in Tucson, where he is working on his next novel.