A Study in Treason

study in treasonAuthor: Leonard Goldberg

Series: Daughter of Sherlock Holmes #2

Publisher: Minotaur

Release Date: June 12, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

My interest in Sherlock Holmes has been renewed by this new series!

After a top-secret document outlining the treaty between England and France to stand against Germany disappears, Dr. John Watson is solicited to assist England in finding the document.  Dr. Watson agrees on one condition, that his son Dr. John Watson, Jr. and his wife Joanna assist in the investigation.  Joanna is the daughter of Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler and she is just as astute as her father, if not more.  As they assist Scotland Yard in the investigation, evidence starts to point in the opposite direction of the investigation, which brings out more questions than answers.  As with her father, everything must be cut and dried with no middle ground.  With an apparent hurry up investigation, the trio attempt to work out the facts to solve the case and restore the document.

If you enjoyed Sherlock Holmes, then this new series is a must.  Told from the perspective of Dr. John Watson, Jr, a new mystery has surfaced that resembles the volumes of work that his father documented for Sherlock Holmes.  The story line is very interesting and told in a way that keeps the reader engaged.  Just as things seem to be wrapping up, a new curve is thrown into the mix that resets all the knowledge gathered so far.  Goldberg does a great job leading readers down the path, but keeping them right where he wants them.  Scotland Yard still bumbles a bit and is too hasty to wrap up investigations, but Joanna mimics her fathers’ antics from pacing to smoking while deep in thought.

Even though this is the second in a series, it easily reads as a standalone.  However, it garnered enough of my interest to go get the first book to fill in any blanks that I may not have noticed.  If you’re a fan of Holmes or just love a good mystery, give this a try!

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions express within are my own.

Top Mystery Fiction

It’s that time of year again!  Time to share our most favorite reads out of several different categories.  First up this year is our picks for mystery fiction.

Dead Sea Rising1. Dead Sea Rising by Jerry Jenkins

The tension in this book really set the tone.  We couldn’t put it down from the time that we picked it up.  It’s hard to imagine follow up success after the Left Behind series, but Jenkins shows why he is still one of the top writers in his market.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

Trial on Mount Koya2. Trial on Mount Koya by Susan Spann

You just can’t be a great mystery set in Japan 600 years ago.  With great continuing character development between a Japanese Samurai and a Portuguese Priest, this series continues to make our top pick each year.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

The Mystery of Three Quarters

3. The Mystery of the Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah.

Fans of Agatha Christie will love this series that has been picked up with one of Christie’s beloved characters, Hercule Poirot.  Readers will be trying to solve the riddle throughout the entire book.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

Spirit of the Fox4. The Spirit of the Fox by Matthew O’Connell

Another great mystery set in Japan.  When a young girl seems to be possessed by the fox goddess, she appears to be cleaning up after a family shunning years ago.

Read the full review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dangerous DUet5. A Dangerous Duet by Karen Odden

Quite possibly one of the best surprises of the year was this hidden gem.   Set in London’s Soho district, will a young promising piano player unravel a dangerous crime smuggling ring resulting in murders of people she knows?

Read the full review here.

 

Spirit of the Fox

Spirit of the FoxAuthor: Matthew O’Connel

Publisher: Station Square Media

Release Date: October 23, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Supernatural folklore twists make this a very compelling mystery.

It’s been nine years since Meiko Wright’s mother abandoned her and her father in San Diego and fled back to her native country of Japan. Since then she and her father have continued to live in San Diego through her teenage years and she has resented her mother ever since.  She blames her for all the missed first times that she should have had with a mother.  But now her father, an esteemed professor in folklore, has taken an assignment in Tokyo to allow Meiko to have some time with her mother to try to heal their relationship, even though Meiko wants nothing to do with it.  Even so, they begin a process of healing.

Meiko being half Japanese, decides to take in some of the tour scenes while in country. She decides to take a trip to Kyoto to see the temples and while at one of the most popular shrines, she is suddenly overcome and loses consciousness.  When she awakes, she has lost her memory and a priest vows to help her.  Since disappearing, both of her parents are worried about her.  When pictures of her surface with men no one knows who wind up committing suicide, she becomes a person of interest.  It becomes a race to see who can find Meiko before something worse becomes of her.

Interestingly, this is the fifth book that I’ve read this year set in Japan. More interestingly, they have all been set around murders.  This particular book was definitely intriguing.  The story of the fox spirit was interesting and how it has been in the Japanese folklore really brought it to life.  Couple this with finding a way to rebuild a damaged family brought the emotion aspect to the story as well.  The story is a bit predictable, but don’t let that take anything away.  It is very well written and worth reading.  There is some language and discussion of sex, but nothing too over the top.  I recommend this book to people who are interested in Japanese folklore or just love a good mystery.

I received a compliment copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

In Too Deep

In too deepAuthor: Lynn H. Blackburn

Series: Dive Team Investigations #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: November 6, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Fans of the first Dive Team Investigations will be thrilled with this new installment. Adam and Sabrina’s story is so much better than I expected and I loved every single minute I got to spend with them.

After a car is found submerged in a lake the dive team is called in to recover the body. What they find is more than any of them expected: an encrypted laptop and a message linking the dead accountant and investigator Adam Campbell. Adam calls in his friend, Dr. Sabrina Fleming, a computer security and forensics expert, to help figure out what is on the laptop. With each layer they peel back, more about the case is revealed showing things are much more sinister than they originally thought. Their dead woman has information on a human trafficking ring that might involve some of Adam’s own family. There is more at stake here than solving a murder and Sabrina has to decide how much she is willing to risk to solve the case and maybe confront her feelings for Adam in the process.

Lynn H. Blackburn hit it out of the park with the first Dive Team book and the follow up is even better. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get into Adam and Sabrina’s story as much as I did with Leigh and Ryan, but I am happy to report I fell more in love with the story of Adam and Sabrina. Something about the way they had known each other for so long and yet let this stressful situation bring them together at just the right moment felt right. The story was tight and the romance so real I felt like I was one of the characters cheering them on and in agony when they were in trouble. One aspect of a strong writer is the way they can weave the tension into the dramatic high paced scenes as well as any other. It doesn’t take a high speed car chase to move a story along or keep readers on the edge of their seat.  If it is done right, edge of the seat scenes can be between two people just talking or in need of help in some way. Blackburn did a fantastic job of bringing the tension at all the right moments. I was hooked from the very beginning and didn’t want the story to end at the last page. I can’t wait to see what book three will bring.  Even though this is the second in a series, it can easily be read as a standalone, but I would still recommend reading the whole series so you don’t miss out on an excellent story. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy romantic suspense with an element of faith.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Dead Sea Rising

Dead Sea RisingAuthor: Jerry B. Jenkins

Series: Dead Sea Chronicles #1

Publisher: Worthy Publishing

Release Date: November 13, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

With all the success of the Left Behind series it is hard to imagine anything better; however, Dead Sea Rising is by far the best Jenkins novel I have ever read. This is not one to be missed.

Nicole Berman is waiting for the news that could change her life. She has applied to lead an archeological dig in the middle east and is waiting for the answer when she gets the call that her mom is in the hospital with a broken hip. When she gets there, she finds out her mother was actually attacked and she is a suspect. Someone doesn’t want her to go on the dig and uncover the artifacts she believes she has found, evidence of a biblical patriarch that could change history. While Nicole and her father work to prove they would never do anything to hurt her mother, the search for what is really going on and why Nicole and her family are now being threatened intensifies and no one is safe.

I honestly don’t know how to go about describing this book. All I can say is it will be hard for any book to top this for my number one book of the year. There was a back and forth element to the story, one chapter in the present with Nicole and the next 4,000 years in the past. The interesting thing is it can actually be read one of two ways, straight through like normal or readers can chose to read one timeline (every other chapter) all the way through and then go back and read the other timeline without compromising the way they understand the story. Even though the timelines don’t intercede with one another, by the end they will have relevance as the series continues. The characters and the way Jenkins weaved the tension was amazing. I also think the super short chapters helped move the story along. As readers want to put the book down for the night, they might look ahead to the next chapter and see it is only a few pages and decide it is short enough to keep going making it a sit down and read in one sitting kind of book. When most people think of a fast paced page-turner, it probably has to do with a car chase or a serial killer attacking someone. With Dead Sea Rising that isn’t the case, the tension is right from the start, as soon as Nicole is suspecting of hurting her mother and the depths of the case made me want to turn the page as fast as I could. There is a reason that Jenkins is one of the very top Christian authors, he has perfected his writing and anyone wanting to learn the craft of writing needs to read and reread everything he has writing, it doesn’t get any better. I recommend this book to lovers of biblical fiction and suspense.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

A Dangerous Duet

Dangerous DUetAuthor: Karen Odden

Publisher: William Morrow

Release Date: November 6, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Odden composes a delightful mystery!

Nell Hallam has a dream to study piano at the Royal Academy in London, but since her father passed, it will be difficult to earn the tuition. She and her brother Matthew live in Mayfair, which is a nice area of London, and he is an inspector at Scotland Yard.  Determined not to trouble her brother with her dream, Nell has developed an alias as a man named Ed Nell and lands a gig playing the piano at the Octavian, a music hall in Soho.  She knows her brother wouldn’t approve, but fortunately he works late into the night and she is always able to make it home before he arrives.  One night on her way home, she finds one of the performers beaten and left for dead.  Soon, other murders start to occur throughout the Soho district.  The more that she is immersed in the world of the Octavian, the more she finds that people aren’t what they seem on the outside.  Performing is all just an act, but will Nell be able to separate the people who are guanine and who are criminals?

This is by far one of my favorite historical fiction reads of the year. I was pulled into this book within the first two paragraphs and couldn’t let it go until the end.  I struck up a quick friendship with Nell and she tugged me along through late 1800s London.  I loved getting to meet the characters at the Octavian and see how everyone performed.  I shared all of Nell’s emotions and loving heart that made her extremely genuine.  I fell for Jack’s character as I got to know him and learned that things aren’t always what they seem.

The suspense throughout this book stayed very tight and kept me tearing through the pages. There were a few surprises thrown in for good measure that you might not expect, but it was well worth reading.  I’m glad that I got a copy of this book as a new author has found a place on my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Lethal Target

Lethal TargetAuthor: Janice Cantore

Series: Line of Duty #2

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: October 9, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

With tighter action, better characters and an overall excellent story, Lethal Target is by far the best I have read from Janice Cantore.

Tess O’Rourke has grown to love her new home of Rogue’s Hollow and being the Chief of Police is just the right fit for her. When the town becomes divided over the vote to legalize the sale of marijuana and a young high school graduate is found dead of a possible overdose, Tess has to put her knowledge to the test to crack the case. As emotions come to a boiling point, Tess starts to lose the support of those she has sworn to protect. To make matters worse, a familiar face from her past resurfaces causing even more problems. Needing a friend and an ear to help her keep things in perspective, she turns to pastor Oliver Macpherson. As things heat up with the case, so do her feelings for the pastor and his for hers, but her father’s death when she was just a teenager has her questioning faith and even Oliver himself. When the cases collide and the danger becomes lethal, Tess has to use everything she has to save herself and those in her town.

Lethal Target is by far the best Cantore novel I have read yet, and I have read them all. The characters are sharp, the tension is tight and the story is really on point. I felt a stronger connection with the characters and what they were going through than in the previous in the series. Tess was going through some really hard times but I never felt sorry for her in a way that would make the character annoying, something that happens all too often. The romance aspect played out in the right way, nothing was too strong that had me rolling my eyes, instead I smiled as the characters drew strength from one another and used that to solve the problems they encountered. This is the second in the series but readers new to Cantore will have no problem starting with this book having not read the first. There is just enough back story on the characters, mainly Tess, to keep new readers up to speed on what is happening. As always, the fact that Janice Cantore has a back ground in law enforcement provides so much to the story and the plot making the details be just what is needed to make everything realistic. I highly recommend this to fans of Cantore and those that love a good police procedural, mystery with just a sprinkle of romance. With no language or over the top violence this is even appropriate for any age group.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.