Mystery Monday | IQ by Joe Ide

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Joe Ide is a writer who is of Japanese American descent. His debut novel, IQ was inspired by his love of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories in addition his early life experiences of growing up in South Central Los Angeles, an economically depressed area with a largely black population and an area where gangs and street crime were far from uncommon. Ide currently lives in Santa Monica, California, with his wife and their Golden Retriever, Gusto.

What is it about? Loner and high school drop out, “IQ” aka Isaiah Quintabe is the man they call when the LAPD needs extra assistance on their cases especially in the neighbourhood East Long Beach with its high crime rate.

Unafraid to get his hands dirty, in this first book Isaiah finds himself investigating various dangerous suspects when rap mogul’s life is in danger and he hires IQ to find out who’s threatening him.

iq

Where does it take place? In a rough area of Los Angeles, California a setting that was inspired by the neighbourhood that the authour grew up in.

Why did I like it? For those who are looking for a mystery novel with a more diverse cast, IQ definitely fits the bill. With its unique, urban setting and characters it definitely made for an intriguing read. The authour does not hold anything back whether it’s the language used by some of the characters, or the somewhat graphic descriptions of violence, abuse and crime, it was refreshing to read a mystery where even when the case is closed it’s not quite closed. After all, in reality just because you solve a case it doesn’t mean that all is well, and sometimes justice may or not be served in a fitting and fair way. Still the ending was satisfying and manages to be somewhat uplifting. Overall, IQ was an interesting modern take on the classic Sherlock Holmes stories. And while I didn’t love this book I am curious enough to want to pick up the next book in the series if only to see “IQ” face more of the demons of his past including trying to solve the mystery of his brother’s death. Finally, for those who are interested in book to TV adaptations, the IQ series is being developed as a TV series which I’m actually looking forward to seeing as I think the story would translate well onto the small screen.

When did it come out? October 18th 2016

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Escape to Havana by Nick Wilkshire

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Nick Wilkshire is a lawyer in addition to being a writer. Escape to Havana is the first book in his Foreign Affairs Mystery series. He currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

What is it about?After a very public scandal involving his wife, and a divorce that followed soon after the last thing Charlie Hillier wants is to remain in Ottawa where his ex-wife is. So when a posting in Cuba opens up, he’s more than willing to go. What he wasn’t expecting to find in his new position are the drugs under his bedroom floor…

eh

Where does it take place? Havana, the capital city of Cuba where Charlie has his first foreign posting.

Why did I like it? Escape to Havana was a title that wasn’t actually picked by myself but rather it won a twitter poll to be the next title to be featured on “Mystery Monday”. To be honest, it felt like it took an eternity for something to actually happen and for a mystery there was not much sleuthing going on. That being said, the protagonist, Charlie is quite likeable and a character that us regular folks can generally relate to. And things do really pick up in the last few chapters before the book ends. Escape to Havana was a fairly light read with a satisfying conclusion however I’m not sure if I’m be picking up Book 2 in this series.

When is it out? November 12, 2016

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | The Couturier of Milan (Ava Lee #9) by Ian Hamilton

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Ian Hamilton, a Canadian authour of the 7 novels in the Ava Lee series. His Ava Lee series has recently been green lit to be adapted into a TV series by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation).

What is it about?After a successful show to introduce PÖ to western audiences, Ava and her partners from Three Sisters were expected to see the orders come in and gain more new accounts. However what they were not expecting was mogul Dominic Ventola to take a sudden interest in Clark and PÖ. And when The Three Sisters turn down his corporation’s offer to buy them out, things turn ugly as Clark finds his reputation under attack and The Three Sisters find their investment at risk as they start losing clients right and left. Fortunately Ava Lee doesn’t back down from a fight, with her connection and wits she’s determined to make Dominic regret ever attacking PÖ and Clark

milan

Where does it take place? From London to Milan to Shanghai, once again Ian Hamilton takes us around the world. This time to some of the major fashion centres of the wild.

Why did I like it? Even after nine books, Ian Hamilton still manages to keep the series momentum continuing strong. And despite a few major changes that are taking place in this book, I remain intrigued and still have the desire to continue with this series, which I have grown to love increasingly with every book.

As always, Ava Lee is a total badass and even when she is up against challenging and intimidating opponents resembling members of the Italian mafia, she doesn’t back down. It’s also admirable how she is also able to command the respect and loyalty from such powerful men, Additionally, I also love the bonds and loyalty that the “Three Sisters” have for each other on top of the pride and protectiveness they have over PÖ and its founders, Clark and Gillian.

Once again, Ian Hamilton has crafted another incredibly skilful page turner that gets you from the start. He definitely excels at descriptions of fashion, and body language and has a gift for setting the scene which are all factors that have made the Ava Lee books consistently incredible in the last few installments that showcase Ava Lee embarking on a new chapter of her work life. As with the previous Ave Lee books, I flew through this The Couturier of Milan loving every second of it.

When is it out? January 16, 2016

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness by David Casarett

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? David Casarett, is a physician, researcher, and tenured associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness is his first work of fiction, and the first novel in the Ethical Chiang Mai Detective Agency series. He currently lives in Philadelphia.

What is it about? Ladarat Patalung is a nurse-ethicist (someone who “guides” her fellow nurses and physicians on matters of clinical ethics), and not a detective nor did she ever want to be one. However, when a series of murder victims are patients at her hospital she must act fast with the help of her assistant and a kind detective and figure out what is happening or her hospital’s excellent reputation with be ruined.

rooster

Where does it take place? Set in Northern Thailand, this book is filled various details about the culture and lifestyle of the people living in Thailand. And while it was fascinating learning about a country I only vaguely heard about before, I did find that having a lot of details tin the book was somewhat distracting as I would often put down the book to google various dishes and plants mentioned throughout the book.

Why did I like it? Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness stars a nurse Ethicist, Ladarat who find herself playing the role of detective. Before reading this book I had no idea what a nurse ethicist did.  Thus, it was interesting to have a protagonist whose day job was a nurse ethicist at a major hospital.

What I liked about Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness was the fact that Ladarat did not have any superhuman like special skills, instead she was just a very observant person. This was something that I could relate to, as I often people watch when I’m out in public. Another thing that was done well were the various descriptions of Thai food and culture. I never gave much thought to Thai culture, but reading about it has made me interested in learning more about the country and perhaps visiting it one day. Through his writing, it is obvious that the author has a deep love and respect for the people and culture of Thailand. Although he does tend to compare Thailand to America quite a bit in the book.

While Murder at the House of Rooster Happiness does take some time before it picks up, it was overall a decent read. The author does a good job at capturing the voice of the female protagonist, and it’s definitely evident that he has a medical background which he brings to the novel making the story come alive more.

When did it come out? September 13, 2016

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Louise Penny is a former journalist and radio host with the CBC. The authour of the best selling Chief Inspector Gamache series, A Great Reckoning is her 12th book in the Inspector Gamache series. She currently lives with her husband, Michael in a small village south of Montreal.

What is it about? Armand Gamache has finally decided his next steps after retiring as Chief of Homicide division…cleaning up the Sûreté academy known as “the last shit pit in the Sûreté.” However, when the one professor that posed a threat to his mission to “clean up” the academy is found dead, he finds himself the main suspect. Not to mention, with the dead body, a copy of an old, odd map is found the exact same one that Gamache was gifted with on the first day of his new job by his friends in Three Pines. Enlisting the aid of the four young cadets who happen to also be suspects in the professor’s murder may be a risky but necessary move when it comes to this investigation. Along the way more secrets will be revealed including the one involving Gamache and his mysterious relationship with Amelia, one of the cadets and a protégée of the murdered professor.

recokening

Where does it take place? Those familiar with the Inspector Gamache books, will definitely remember Three Pines. Three Pines is a fictional, idyllic village located somewhere in Quebec that has the constant, unfortunate luck of attracting murders. In addition the book is also set in the Sûreté academy.

Why did I like it? It seems like every time I find myself in a summer slump and there’s a new Louise Penny to help me get out of said slump. With the exception of A Long Way Home, Penny manages to surpass her earlier book with each new one being better than the last. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but with every new Louise Penny book I open it fills me with a warm feeling akin to coming home after some time away. I adore the village of Three Pines and all the characters who live there and I relish every opportunity I get to check in and see how they are all doing.

One unique thing about A Great Reckoning is how it explores what comes after for a character who has already held a position of immense power and prestige and has since left that place. It was refreshing to see the author explore this stage of life as we rarely get to see this in books. Another thing I enjoyed was that this book shone a light on the complicated relationship between Gamache and Brebeuf. Since I didn’t start this series from book one thus it was fascinating to see how deep their relationship ran and how Brebeuf’s betrayal affected both men. One of the themes that always rings true in these books are how we are all human, flawed and prone to making mistakes and no one not even Gamache is immune to this. All that being said, my favourite element of this book is the reunion of the “dream team” and I’ll admit that I let out a squeal when it turned out that Gamache and Beauvoir would once again be working together.

Overall, A Great Reckoning featured exquisite writing as always coupled with compelling characters, both new and old in addition to an intriguing setting and case. A Great Reckoning is a definite must read for mystery lovers and fans of Louise Penny.

When did it come out? August 30, 2016

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Cold Girl by R.M. Greenaway

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? R.M. Greenaway has worked all over and at various jobs. She is the author of the B.C. BLUES crime series, featuring RCMP detectives Leith and Dion. Cold Girl, her debut won the 2014 Arthur Ellis Unhanged award.RM has three books set to come out through Dundurn Press (Cold Girl  being the first). She currently lives in Nelson B.C

What is it about? Popular rockabilly singer, (name) has disappeared in the snowbound Hazeltons of northern B.C. It’s suspected that she may be the latest victim of the “Pickup Killer”, and it’s up to the Lead RCMP investigator David Leith and his team to solve the mystery behind her disappearance. Complicating matters is the arrival of a constable by the name of Dion who is also assigned to the case. Much to Leith’s displeasure, Dion is unable to do even the simplest of tasks assigned to him.

coldgirl

Where does it take place? As stated in the name of the series, Cold Girl takes place in the cold, northern parts of British Columbia, Canada

Why did I like it? Cold Girl drew me in with its intriguing premise, however it was slow in getting the “meat” of the story and mystery. Nevertheless, I found it entertaining that Leith and Dion were trying to size each other up and consciously coming to the wrong conclusions about each other. Greenaway’s greatest strength in Cold Girl lies with her writing, in particular how she is able to describe the setting that her characters are in. Her writing was so descriptive, that at times I found myself transported to the cold ruggedness of Northern B.C. On the other hand, it felt like there were too many characters including all the suspects. With everybody telling so many different stories at various times it often became confusing to follow. Overall, Cold Girl was fine as a mystery and the good thing about the book’s conclusion is that it leaves room for more stories to be told.

When is it out? March 26, 2016

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Brittany Cavallaro is a poet and fiction writer. A Study in Charlotte is her debut novel, and the first in a new trilogy. The rights for its publication have been sold in Brazil, Portuguese, Germany, Japan, and France and Taiwan. Currently, she lives in Wisconsin with her husband, cat, and cat. You can follow her on Twitter at @skippingstones.

What is it about? Jamie Watson is a descendant of the Dr. John H. Watson, so it seems that he was fated to meet Charlotte Holmes, the great-great-great grand daughter famous Sherlock Holmes. And since both are related to the original crime-solving duo, they were bound to get themselves caught up in a few mysteries themselves. Despite, an unpleasant introduction to each other, the two are forced to work together when it appears that someone is trying to frame them for the murder of one of their classmates.

charlotte

Where does it take place? A Study in Charlotte is set in Sherringford, a fictional Connecticut prep school. Like most boarding schools, many of the students come from well-to-do families while others like Jamie attend the school on a scholarship.

Why did I like it? I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I not usually a fan of retellings of my favourite classics however A Study in Charlotte had me intrigued at its synopsis. From the beginning, I loved the boarding school setting which was perfect for this modern, YA spin on the crime solving duo of Holmes and Watson.

Also while it is a retelling of sorts, A Study in Charlotte is about the original Holmes and Watson duo, instead it focuses on two of their teenaged descendants. Jamie and Charlotte’s dynamic is very reminiscent of their ancestors, although both are also able to stand on their own as original characters. And while there is an inkling of romance between the two, it does not eclipse the mystery and investigation aspect of the plot. For those of you who are fellow Sherlockians, I think you will appreciate the numerous allusions and nods to the original duo. These include the relationship between Charlotte and her brother as well the tension that continues to exist between the Holmes’ and Moriarty family. One of my favourite things about this book, is all the lamp shading that occurs, for instance many of the original Holmes’ cases are referenced, as well as what happened to the Watsons’ rights to the Holmes’ stories. Additionally the guide to dealing with the Holmeses that Jamie’s dad has is hilarious in that many of the things mentioned are pretty much spot on which makes sense after all its all the information that has been collected by the previous Watsons who’ve worked with and/or interacted with a Holmes.

There are many adaptations and spin offs of the Sherlock stories, however A Study in Charlotte featuring some descendants of the original Holmes and Watson is one that fellow Sherlockians should definitely check out especially if they enjoy YA fiction. Thus, I know I will definitely be looking forward to the next installment in this trilogy.

When is it out? March 1st 2016

Publisher Social Media: Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | The Princeling of Nanjing (Ava Lee #8) by Ian Hamilton

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Ian Hamilton, a Canadian authour of the 7 novels in the Ava Lee series. His Ava Lee series has recently been green lit to be adapted into a TV series by the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation).

What is it about? Uncle’s successor and the leader of the triads, is being pulled back into the drug business something which he left a long time ago. It’s now up to Ava to do what she does best and get as much Intel as possible to prevent this from happening. Along the way she’ll discover that what starts out as a research into one family actually ends up revealing some surprising connections extending outside of China to places like the UK and the USA.

princeling

Where does it take place? Taking place right from where The King of Shanghai left off, the events of The Princeling of Nanjing mostly occurs in Mainland China though Ava does go back to Hong Kong as part of her work.

Why did I like it? Despite it being almost a year since I read The King of Shanghai I was able to effortlessly jump right back into the business world and travel adventures of Ava Lee. And The Princeling of Nanjing definitely lived up to the expectations I had of the book that I got from reading the preview that was included in The King of Shanghai.

What I particularly liked about The Princeling of Nanjing was seeing Ava’s business venture with The Three Sisters take off. I love seeing them launch the PÖ clothing line and as always the trust that Ava has in her business partners, Amanda and May is admirable as she is slowing getting used to depending on others after having done mostly solo work in the past. Finally my favourite aspect of The Princeling of Nanjing was the recurring theme of embracing your past and not running away from it. In the end I enjoyed seeing Ava come to terms with her past and embracing who she was and still is now in addition to accepting what she’s always loved doing and been good at. Because after all without all the adventure and action that she finds herself in, she wouldn’t be the Ava Lee that readers have come to love today.

So while I would’ve loved to see characters like Sonny get more screen time and action, The Princeling of Nanjing was another addition to the Ava Lee series that did not disappoint. Its unfortunate that I will have to wait a whole other year before The Couturier of Milan is out.

When is it out? January 12, 2016

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Even Dogs in the Wild (Inspector Rebus #20) by Ian Rankin

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Ian Rankin, is an internationally bestselling Scottish authour known for his Inspector Rebus and Detective Malcolm Fox novels. He currently lives in Edinburgh with his family.

What is it about? Once again Rebus is retired, but he finds himself brought back in the game (sort of) as a consultant, when his old acquaintance Big Ger Cafferty is attacked. At the same time Detective Siobhan Clarke and DI Malcolm Fox are investigating the death of a senior lawyer. As the investigations on both cases continue, it appears that the two cases may be more closely linked than it first appears.

evendogs

Where does it take place? Like most other Rebus novels, Even Dogs in the Wild is set mostly in Edinburgh though as with most cases there is travel to other areas nearby for investigation purposes.

Why did I like it? One of the most fascinating elements of the Rebus novels is the complicated relationship/friendship between Rebus and Big Ger Cafferty, a gangster who ran the underground world in Edinburgh. Even now with Rebus retired and Cafferty not as in the “game” as he was before, the two still have a deeply intriguing relationship which is explored further in this novel when Cafferty’s life is threatened. Another interesting theme that is woven through the novel are the various familial or familial-like relationships. It’s nice seeing Rebus look out for Siobhan even if she can take care of things herself. And Ian Rankin does an excellent job of exploring the numerous layers and complicated dynamics of the various father-son (or daughter) relationships in the book.

All and all, I loved how the book is gritty yet it still manages to keep things light on occasion with things such as a running gag of Rebus trying to find a home for the stray dog that follows him. It’s hilarious reading the scenes where he literally tries passing it on to everybody he meets in a majorly obvious manner while also reading about a dark case that involves a great deal of cover up and corruption. Thus, while Even Dogs in the Wild starts of slow, it eventually builds up to an intriguing case where once again the line between good and bad aren’t clearly drawn.

When is it out? November 5, 2015

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | The Crossing (Harry Bosch #20) by Michael Connelly

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Michael Connelly has written around 27 books, and he is best known for his known for Bosch and Haller series. Before becoming a best-selling crime writer, he was formerly a newspaper reporter. Currently he serves as an executive producer of the Bosch TV series which is based on the books and is produced by Amazon.

What is it about? Recently forced into an early retirement Bosch is enlisted by half brother, Mickey Haller to assist him with a case. Though uneasy about working for the “other side”, after doing some investigating and research on his own he finds that there may be some truth in Haller’s claims and that the man Haller is working for may actually be innocent after all. And if that’s the case, then Bosch won’t rest until he finds the real killer no matter what he has to do.

crossing

Where does it take place? Mostly in LA near Hollywood.

Why did I like it? The Crossing is probably my most favourite Connelly book so far. It caught my attention from the start and my excitement over the synopsis was definitely warranted in this case. I loved getting to see the two brothers work together as they normally would be on opposing sides, and even if it’s not their first time working as a team it was still awesome to read.

I found it fascinating to witness Bosch’s internal struggle as he is so used to old way of life that the current situation he finds himself is incredibly challenging for him. Additionally, it was nice to see how he was able to slowly make peace with what he’s doing, and even if he showed no interest in continuing this line of work part of me hopes he will change his mind as he and Haller make a great team. Overall the case in this book was an intriguing one and there were definitely few twists that threw me for a second, and I adored every minute of it.

When is it out? November 3, 2015

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Louise Penny is a former journalist and radio host with the CBC. The authour of the best selling Chief Inspector Gamache series, The Nature of the Beast is her 11th book in the Inspector Gamache series. She currently lives with her husband, Michael in a small village south of Montreal.

What is it about? Nine-year-old Laurent is a boy known for his wild imaginations and outlandish tales. So, when he starts telling the people living in Three Pines of a giant gun with a monster in the woods, no one believes him….until he disappears. As they continue to search for Laurent, Inspector Gamache starts to wonder if Laurent really was telling the truth after all?

naturebeast

Where does it take place? Those familiar with the Inspector Gamache books, will definitely remember Three Pines. Three Pines is a fictional, idyllic village located somewhere in Quebec that has the constant, unfortunate luck of attracting murders.

Why did I like it? With one of the major story arcs in the series wrapped up a few books ago, I wasn’t sure what to expect in The Nature of the Beast. In fact, to be honest, I wasn’t that fond of her last book The Long Way Home. Thankfully, The Nature of the Beast proves that Louise Penny and Inspector Gamache are both not yet over and that Louise Penny is still at the top of her game.

It may sound a bit clichéd to say this, however reading the Inspector Gamache books provide me with a feeling similar to that of one coming home, including both the comfort and joy from that. I loved that we getting to dig deeper into the past of Three Pines and some of the older residents who live there including Ruth. Additionally, I loved seeing how the characters’ relationships have grown and evolved and several of them have come a long way. As always, Louise Penny showcases that her strengths lie in showcasing the complex emotions and relationships between her characters. There are numerous beautifully written scenes throughout that are also emotionally powerful.

I take comfort in how Louise Penny’s books show that where there is darkness, there is light and vice versa. I’m glad that the series isn’t over yet, as this book brings forth additional questions and new mysteries that I will eagerly anticipate in the next few books and I’m excited to see where Gamache will end up next.

When did it come out? August 25, 2015

Win a Copy of The Nature of the Beast (Canada only!)
//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Manhattan Mayhem: New Crime Stories from Mystery Writers of America

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is an occasional review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Who is it by? Manhattan Mayhem: New Crime Stories is by various authours who are all members of the Mystery Writers of America (MWA), an organization of mystery and crime writers based in NYC. Some of the more familiar names that can be found in this collection include Mary Higgins Clark who also serves as the editor of this collection as well as Ben H Winter (The Last Policeman trilogy), Lee Childs (the Jack Reacher series) and T. Jefferson Parker (Silent Joe, California Girl).

What is it about? Manhattan Mayhem is a collection of short mystery stories that were put together to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Mystery Writers of America. The collection is edited by well known mystery writer, Mary Higgins Clark and it contains new and original mysteries from eighteen different mystery writers. Together all eighteen stories take you on a tour of all the iconic neighbourhoods in Manhattan, New York.

mantthanmayhem

Where does it take place? The stories take place all over New York, spanning across several neighbourhoods and even throughout different significant time periods.

Why did I like it? I’ve wrote before on this blog, that what I love the mainly about these short story collections is that I become exposed to the works of authours that are new to me. Also, with Manhattan Mayhem: New Crime Stories, it is evident that there was a enormous amount of time, effort and thought spent on the exterior and interior of the book as the production quality is quite high. Additionally within the book, I adored how each story has photos and a map of the neighbourhood its set in which actually helps set the mood for each of the eighteen stories.

And reminiscent of several other short story collections, there were various stories that were a hit with me, while others were a bit of a miss. Either way I loved how short the stories were as it made it effortless to pick up the book and put down and pick up again later, which is the ideal solution for those who love to read on their morning and/or afternoon commute. Of the eighteen stories, one of the stories that were Three Little Words by Nancy Pickard, which concerns a 26 year woman who is told she doesn’t have much time left and she decides the only thing she wishes to carry out before she dies is to tell truth. This simple decision turns out to have major ramifications for every person around her, including her doctor. I also thoroughly enjoyed Trapped by Ben H Winters, a play about a murder mystery which was my personal favourite for the reason that it has such a well thought out, splendid twist to it. Finally, I loved Chin Yong-Yun Makes a Shiddach, since I can definitely relate as I have relatives that resemble the mother in the story. This story piqued my curiosity enough that I would love to check out more books from S.J. Rozan where the daughter of the mother in this story is the protagonist.

When did it come out? June 2, 2015 from Quirk Books

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Hungry Ghosts by Peggy Blair

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is a sometimes weekly, sometimes biweekly and sometimes monthly review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Authour: HUNGRYGHOSTS
Peggy Blair
Series:
Inspector Ramirez, #3
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 363 pages
Publication date:
June 2015
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Canada
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
Peggy Blair has once again done! Thrilling and compelling, Hungry Ghosts is probably my favourite book of the Inspector Ramirez series to date. In Hungry Ghosts, the mystery this time involves both an art heist in addition to a string of murders of prostitutes in Cuba. Meanwhile, in Northern Ontario in Canada we follow Detective Charlie Pike (who was introduced to readers in the previous book, The Poisoned Pawn) as he investigates a murder of a woman who appears to have been killed in a manner similar to the prostitutes that were killed in Cuba.

What I loved mainly regarding Hungry Ghosts was that I got to revisit the characters again, and learn what’s been happening on with them. I didn’t realize how much I missed Ramirez, Apiro, Maria, Celia and Charlie until I started this book. Fortunately for me it was relatively simple to jump right back into their world even though it’s been awhile since I’ve read the last book. I also found it interesting that we receive further details on Charlie Pike’s back-story as the case he is sent to investigate brings him back to his people. I appreciated reading his back story as it truly builds on his character. In addition, it was fascinating to acquire glimpse of what is life for those living on a reserve. And as always, the plot in Cuba with Inspector Ramirez offers a large amount of insight on what it is like for the locals who in reality live there and it definitely shows throughout the book that the authour has done her research.

Hungry Ghosts is an intriguing page turner that was extremely difficult to put down. Peggy Blair does a brilliant job of telling two separate stories, each with their own twists thrown in and tying it altogether into one book.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | Liars Inc. by Paula Stokes

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is a sometimes weekly, sometimes biweekly and sometimes monthly review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Authour: liars
Paula Stokes
Format:
Advance Reader Copy, 361 pages
Publication date:
March 24th 2015
Publisher:
HarperTeen
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:
I’m been a fan of Paula Stokes’ previous works, including the Venom series that she wrote under the name Fiona Paul. Thus when I heard she was coming out with a new YA thriller, I was greatly anticipating it. Fortunately, I was provided a review copy of Liars, Inc. as did Ri from Hiver et Café therefore we decided to do a read-along of the book together.

Liars, Inc. is unlike Stokes’ other works, it is definitely creepier and darker in tone as it follows Max Cantrell and his friends who form a business in high school where they create lies or “alibis” for their classmates in exchange for cash. Told from the perspective of Max, I found it refreshing to read a YA thriller from a male’s POV and I felt that Stokes did an excellent job with creating Max’s voice which sounded quite authentic. Additionally, Max’s friends were equally compelling and well-developed characters in their own right and I am looking forward to reading a story from Parvati’s POV as I just loved her character. That being said I felt like I couldn’t truly connect with this book as much as I wished to, though maybe it’s given that I found it difficult to relate to the book’s setting and characters or perhaps it was for the reason that I could not comprehend a number of of their motivations, though I did enjoy the fact that we were inside Max’s head and therefore we got to watch him attempt to explain and rationalize his actions even if the rationale was flawed at times.

In spite of everything, I still thought Liars, Inc. was an extremely well-written YA thriller. And I loved how it touched on themes like family and love and I definitely appreciated the fact that while there was romance it was mostly eclipsed by the mystery elements. Finally Liars, Inc. is a book for people who crave to read a YA mystery/thriller, where characters are not easily forgiven and villains do not get off easily.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Mystery Monday | The King of Shanghai by Ian Hamilton

Mystery Mondays

Mystery Mondays is a sometimes weekly, sometimes biweekly and sometimes monthly review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.

Authour: kingshang
Ian Hamilton
Series:
Ava Lee #7
Format:
Trade paperback, 384 pages
Publication date:
January 5th 2015
Publisher:
Spiderline
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“…it was nice, for a change, to feel like a part of something bigger than herself.” (p. 296-297)

I’m starting to see a pattern now; it appears that every time I end up in a reading rut the only thing that can get me out of it is an excellent mystery novel. To be honest before The King of Shanghai, I’ve read a few books in the Ava Lee series except I did not read the more recent ones. Fortunately this did not deter me from loving The King of Shanghai.

The King of Shanghai is seventh book in the Ava Lee series and marks a major turning point the protagonist’s journey as she has recently experienced a significant change that results in a somewhat different type of storytelling and slightly more serious tone especially at the start of The King of Shanghai. However I was relieved to find that overall it still was the same series that I am familiar with and that I love, as there are numerous references to past cases and the major supporting characters such as Sonny return in this book. I liked how loyal Sonny and several of the other men who worked with Ava in the past were to her, and it was kind of cool that she was viewed as their boss. The King of Shanghai also marks the beginning of a new story arc involving the Triads, and introduces us to Xu who is a compelling character in his own right. I love how he resembles Uncle although he is still his own, unique person. Lastly what I loved mainly regarding this book was how it showed just how capable and kick butt Ava is when it comes to her work and how resilient she can be. I also loved seeing Ava work with other strong, intelligent women in addition to the men she normally works with.

The King of Shanghai was an unputdownable book that I would highly recommend for all. And since it is a book that marks a fresh chapter in Ava Lee’s life, it makes it an excellent starting point for readers new to the Ava Lee series. I for one will be eagerly anticipating the next book in the series which is set to release in 2016.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.