Tuesday Book Blog – Stone Eater

cover of Stone Eater

Title: Stone Eater by D.F. Bailey (2nd book in the Will Finch Mystery Thriller series)

Genre: mystery, thriller, suspense, financial crime

Amazon Reviews: 7 reviews on Amazon.com with an average of 4.7

My Four Star Review

D.F. Bailey has hit his stride with this second Will Finch Thriller!

I read the first book in this series – Bone Maker – and the ending stirred my curiosity. Moving into the second Will Finch novel, the author answered many of the questions I had leftover from the first book while spinning a fine stand-alone story. Will Finch, main character and intrepid journalist, is a more fleshed out character in this second offering. The author ties the action of the series opener (Bone Maker) to the second book with seamless brush strokes that never weigh the reader down. No mean feat!

I enjoyed seeing the world through Will’s somewhat cynical perspective. His work cubicle is a “… doleful mix of neglect and oppression.” His exercise regime consists of making it up and down the three flights of stairs to his office. His huffing and puffing upon arrival is a condition many of us can identify with. There is also phrases that delight – sailboats slip back and forth playing the invisible breeze and a man’s life is described as running along a track that is narrow, flat and gray. These few words stand in for so much that need never be said. A gruesome scene is described thus – the girl collapsed on the lawn like a sack of snakes. This metaphor brings the horror of the character’s situation to graphic life.

Bring on book three! I’m ready to read Lonesome Hunter and to see what Will Finch will do next.

cover of Bonemaker                       cover of lone hunter

Before I leave you to trot off to the Amazon site of your choice and check out D.F. Bailey’s books, I want to add a note about the titles and the covers. Superb. The two word titles all link the series wonderfully and each of them packs a punch. The covers are visually attractive, consistent and guaranteed to catch the eye. Well done D.F. Bailey.

Hard Survival in an Unforgiving Landscape

Pencil sketch - Casa Destino - June Guenette (2)

It’s a pleasure to have a book reviewed by a respected fellow author. A couple of weeks ago, I received just such a treat for my newest release – Maelstrom.

5.0 out of 5 stars The damage we humans can do …, 24 Jan. 2016 – By Mari Howard

Maelstrom (Kindle Edition)

As a fan of Francis Guenette’s Crater Lake series, I was interested to read this new book, a collaboration and edition of her late mother’s manuscript, Maelstrom. Before purchase, I already knew from the author that it would be a very different novel, and of course wondered in what areas.

The story, which has been outlined by other reviewers, takes place not on the Canadian West Coast but in some arid, desert-like part of the USA. I was never sure where, but thought maybe New Mexico? And like Crater Lake books, in a small town setting, but a very different one. The town is dominated by its ruthless, amoral sheriff, though as the plot progresses we learn of the network of complicated relationships and special interests which has intensified his rule.

Like the Crater Lake books, all turns on the damaged personalities involved, and how they interact: but in this setting, the damage is lethal, and the results are far more violent. It is indeed a book which surveys how tragically violent and destructive human beings can behave towards one another. The view of human is by no means the “Rousseau” one that we are all basically good: most of these characters could be said to be basically bad, weak, or both, and the author doesn’t hold back what we as a species are capable of, especially in male attitudes and actions towards women.

However, it is also a Francis Guenette book despite the differences. We can still discern her psychological training, experience, and knowledge, her concern for the fate of the mixed-race and Native Americans, her feminism (to give a name to something more subtle than that), and her ability to weave the consequences of damaged personalities for good or for destruction. This, as the story progresses, becomes increasingly obvious, and makes the book a page-turner. Her love and respect for wild and domestic animals is there. She also weaves into the story a theme found in the Crater Lake books – a boy who has what can be called ‘second sight’ – though it may have other names.

Recommended, unless you are a reader who prefers a rip-roaring good crime/adventure story to a study of how it is to be human in an isolated township and an arid setting. This is hard lives, hard survival, in an ‘unforgiving’ landscape. But it ends with some hope.

Arizona - Bruce Witzel photo

Mari Howard is a UK based writer and author of Baby, Baby (The Mullin’s Family Saga – Book One) and The Labyrinth Year (The Mullin’s Family Saga – Book Two). Check out my Amazon.com review of Mari’s book, The Labyrinth Year.

Baby, Baby Cover                                Labyrinth Year Cover

Tuesday Book Blog–Hard Prejudice

Hard Prejudice cover

Title: Hard Prejudice (Dan Reno Series – Book 5) by Dave Stanton

Genre: hard-boiled crime, mystery, thriller, suspense

Amazon Reviews: 13 reviews on Amazon.com with a 4.3 average

My Four-Star Review:

Private investigator Dan Reno – that’s Reno as in no problemo – quite the promo line for a no holds barred, take no prisoners type of PI. In Dan Reno, author Dave Stanton has created a complex character who thinks nothing of hanging the bad guys out over a cliff to get some answers but at the same time experiences uncomfortable inner thoughts and haunting dreams.

This is my first Dan Reno novel and I had no trouble catching up on the investigator’s life and past exploits. Starting in on this series is doable from any point. This author caught my interest with an early metaphor – eyes brittle as puddles of ice. Just words – right? But oh the way they are arranged. Well done.

Even if you aren’t in this novel for the jam-packed action, car chases, smack-downs with the various bad guys, steamy descriptions of attractive ladies and the quick as lightening repartee between Reno and his counterpart PI, Cody – the landscape depictions are breathtaking. I love the area around Lake Tahoe travelling through to San Jose. Dan Reno is on a case that requires more than a couple of trips back and forth. Pines rise like black ghosts, the sun sets like a jagged chunk of white-hot steel and clouds turn silver and blood red as they break up like sheets of glass shattering in slow motion.

All and all, an action-packed thriller that delivers the goods.

Check out Hard Prejudice (or any book from this series) and get acquainted with no problemo Dan Reno.

Tuesday Book Blog–An Englishman’s Guide to Infidelity

Cover - An Englishman's Guide to Infidelity

Title: An Englishman’s Guide to Infidelity by Stuart Campbell

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense and more than a bit of wry humour

11 Amazon.com Reviews with an average rating of 4.9

My Five-Star Amazon Review: A highly enjoyable mystery that plumbs the depths of human foibles

People see the world through very personal and often flawed lenses. A good author gently leads the reader into a character’s thoughts and actions. At some point, the reader is forced to question the character’s take on what’s happening. In, An Englishman’s Guide to Infidelity, Stuart Campbell proves himself to be particularly deft in his ability to create unreliable narrators.

The book opens with Jack and Thea, busy parents, a typical couple, as they prepare for a dinner out to celebrate their wedding anniversary. It isn’t long before it is patently obvious that dark currents lurk beneath the surface of both these people. By the end of the first chapter any illusions of normalcy are long gone. Thea is an ethics professor who lacks ethics and Jack is relating that there are ten university degrees among his fellow group of inmates awaiting trial at the Remand Center.

And so the reader enters a roller-coaster ride as the author moves deftly from Jack’s perspective, to that of a young police woman who struggles with her own issues when she is pulled into a murder investigation, to Thea’s. It isn’t long before the reader comes to see that not one of these characters can be trusted.

The writing is smooth and delicious. A couple of old people move like a pair of flapping galleons; a father speaks like a piece of stainless steel medical equipment, when he speaks at all; an apartment is sparsely furnished with desperately modern pieces and abstract paintings that veered between the decorative and the sadomasochistic.

A thoroughly enjoyable read, a mystery that unfurls with just enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing right to the closing pages.

An Englishman’s Guide to Infidelity on Amazon.com – why not give Stuart Campbell’s book a go. You won’t be disappointed. I wasn’t!