Category Archives: mystery

Santa Cruise by Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark

Santa Cruise

 

A fun, quick read, this is pure Higgins Clark–not crisply written but not too insulting to one’s intelligence. The premise (post holiday cruise to debut a new cruise ship) is a stretch, as are many of the characters, but the pace doesn’t bog down and you can race through the read quickly.

Read an earlier review of Santa Cruise.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating: Recommended

Nemesis by Jo Nesbø

Nemesis

Nemesis is the first book I’ve read by Nesbø, though clearly the main character in this book (Detective Harry Hole) is a recurring one, so I plan to pick up more of his work in the future. Hole and another investigator, Beate Lonn, begin the book by trying to crack a series of bank robberies, the first of which resulted in the murder of a bank teller. In a seemingly unrelated side story, a former girlfriend of Hole’s commits suicide and he’s assigned to investigate the case. Throughout the fast-paced story, the two plots come together and take so many wonderful twists that it requires a careful read to keep up. Great characters, lots of suspense, and a satisfying ending: A “must read” for anyone who loves crime fiction!

Availability:  COSMOS, SMCM
Review Submitted by: Kelly Smolinsky
Rating: Must Read

A Tine To Live, A Tine To Die By Edith Maxwell

A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die

 

This is a cute little cozy mystery. The plot and the characters kept me interested in the book, and wanting to get to the end and find out the killers’ identity. There was interesting information on organic farming and locavores. I had never heard the term “locavore” until I read the book. This book is the first in a new series from this author. I will be checking out other books written by Edith Maxwell, and continue with this series.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Shelley Clark
Rating:  Recommended

Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich

Lean Mean ThirteenThe “reservations” I noted in my lukewarm recommendation come from the vapid stupidity and the sheer unbelievability that is any one of the books in this series. Once a year, in the summer, I give my brain the chance to coast while reading a Stephanie Plum book. The series’ characters are so ridiculous that I think I’m actually insulting summer reading everywhere by indulging. As a bounty hunter, Stephanie is a failure. As humans, so are most of the other characters. Made into a movie in 2012, the first in this series was so spectacularly panned that I feel rather righteous in buying these as books for $.10 at yard sales and reading them out of order (instead of shelling out real movie to watch it in the theaters). Anyhow, if you haven’t started this series, don’t. If you have, please get help–after I do, of course.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating:  Recommended with reservations
Challenge : A book with a number in the title

15th Affair by James Patterson

15th AffairThe 15th installment of the Women’s Murder Club series focuses solely on Lindsay Boxer with only a few appearances by Cindy, Claire and Yuki. A 4-person homicide leads Lindsay and her partner Richie on a trail from San Francisco to Monterrey and Vancouver. What looks to be a murder for hire with collateral damage turns into a case of international espionage and threatens Lindsay’s marriage to Joe Molinari. Fast read in the typical style of these formula novels. I always enjoy Patterson’s storytelling.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by:  Sandi Hauenstein
Rating:  Recommended
Challenge: Book with a number in the title

The Bilbao Looking Glass by Charlotte MacLeod

The Bilboa Looking Glass

During each of these summer reading challenges, I end up reading a woefully old book and then I get (unreasonably) frustrated by how out-of-date the techniques are for solving the murder mystery. Though this book’s copyright is 1983 (an excellent year, IMHO, that can’t possibly be 33 years ago), the writing is simply so good that I never once wondered how much quicker the mystery would have been solved if widow Sarah Kelling and her boarder Max Bittersohn had used the internet or had cell phones or… Simply put, Charlotte MacLeod is a writer who uses observation and human psychology to find her way to the who done it part of the story. Some characters are a bit over the top but the book is still an enjoyable read with a surprising end. Take a step back in time and enjoy some excellent writing without an abundance of gore.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating: Highly  Recommended

Blood Orange by Susan Wittig Albert

Blood OrangeIt’s been a while since I’ve read one of this author’s books and I forgot how pleasant it is to read a murder mystery that is fresh, crisp, and intriguing without overt gore and mayhem! China Bayles solves local murder mysteries almost by accident, but she is a likeable main character who benefits from friendships with some unlikely friends. Without giving anything away, I can just say that this series is an enjoyable read with intelligent writing and plausible story lines.

Availability:  COSMOS
Review Submitted by: Jane Kostenko
Rating: Highly  Recommended
Challenge: Published in 2016