Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Direct Hit by Mike Hollow

Direct Hit

Billy, a local messenger boy is out making a run while bombs are coming down. A warden on duty shows him a body in a van and asks him to report it. Policemen Jago and his partner Cradock head out to investigate.  While the death looks like suicide, Jago sees enough to make him suspicious. Unfortunately, the crime scene is blown up before the coroner or crime scene photographer arrives. Going with only what their eyes could see and the ID on the body, they have their work cut out for them.

As they seek to reconstruct the victim's final hours of life, they uncover family and business connections that are quite murky. It's becoming clear that the victim, a local Justice of the Peace, may not have been the straightest arrow.  Add another murder and attempted arson and Jago and Cradock are under pressure to find the criminal.

While trying to find a killer, Jago is fighting some personal demons. The reader will only get brief glimpses into the personal side of Jago; I'm hoping that the author plans some future books that will flesh out Jago's character a bit more fully.

Reminiscent of detective fiction from the 30's and 40's, language and violence are not too graphic. The book's pace is slow and methodical but perfect for anyone who enjoys a cerebral,  historical mystery.

Direct Hit can be purchased from Kregel Publications for $14.99.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Direct Hit from Kregel Publications for the purpose of review.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz

The Lost Garden

Although The Lost Garden is the second book in the Tales from Goswell series, readers can enjoy the book without having read the first (I had honestly forgotten most of the first book and thoroughly enjoyed this book anyway).  Basically a few characters overlap but not enough to confuse the reader.

Marin, single at 37 is thrust into the role of guardian to Rebecca, her 15 year old half sister, following the death of Rebecca's mom and their shared father (from whom Marin had been estranged).  A rather awkward and strained beginning to any relationship.

They transplant to a new area after impulsively buying a house they'd seen during a recent vacation. Rebecca is tired of all the unwanted attention that her parent's death has brought and longs to begin again where everyone isn't pitying her.  Although they both find that making friends and fitting in isn't always easy.

At their new home, they discover a door rusted shut and once opened, they discover a neglected garden. Sound familiar?  Like the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic, The Secret Garden, this area has been grossly neglected and holds secrets of its own.  As Marin tries to make sense of her new role as guardian and weathers the testy waters of her niece's adolescent years, the garden becomes a place of solace and rejuvenation.

Mixed in with the story of Marin and Rebecca, the reader also learns about the life of the house's previous occupants and the events that led to the creation of the garden.  I love the dual story line and the glimpse at how each character deals with the tragedies in their life.

This book will appeal to a variety of readers: fans of English settings, coming of age struggles, history enthusiasts and even mystery lovers.  Great book to bring to the beach or to snuggle up with on a rainy day.

The Lost Garden can be purchased directly from Kregel Publications for $14.99. The book is a garden worth losing yourself in.  To find out more about the author and other books she has written visit her website.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Lost Garden from Kregel Publications for the purpose of review.