Category Archives: Books Books Books

Black Coral (Underwater Investigation Unit #2) by Andrew Mayne

This is a nice thriller with flawed characters that keep you wanting to yell at them to stop being so careless. It felt like watching CSI or NCIS renegade agents. There are some excellent scenes, like Sloane getting almost eaten by Big Bill in the pond, but overall. I’d recommend it if you like crime series, though this one at least is a decent standalone. I received a digital copy from the publisher Thomas & Mercer through NetGalley.

Where Madness Lies by Sylvia True

This is an amazing story, following Inga from Nazi Germany, where her mentally ill sister gets caught up in the eugenics scheme of the Nazis, to modern day America, where she fights the same demons for her mentally ill granddaughter. Based on a true story from the authors own family history, it’s filled with flawed characters whose quiet strength belie the horrid secrets they must keep, which sometimes hide their love beneath a harsh appearance. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher Top Hat Books through NetGalley.

The Uncollected Stories of Allan Gurganus by Allan Gurganus

I immediately became a fan of Allan Gurganus through this short story collection. A young, smart-aleck, entitled college kid is sent out to find outsider art, only to be sucked into a story told by an old woman in a small town, both of which he’d held in contempt, yet the story she tells changes the trajectory of his life. While the water rises to envelop his house, a retired gentleman takes his boat around his neighborhood picking up his neighbors, and ends up across town to rescue strangers. A tour guide continues her jubilant effervescent narrative even as she awaits the ambulance for her injury. Gurganus shows how seemingly tenuous connections can capture one’s soul and encompass the mind. The characters are superfluous to their circumstances, held aloft within their tales. I recommend this collection to anyone who is fascinated by people in general, or old white male writers who seem to get it. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher Liveright through NetGalley.

Touched by Tom Jolly

This book started out so promising, with the concept of a perpetual afterlife where one can go anywhere, literally, even to the moon, but without being able to touch anything or anyone. Then it morphed into a 50s sci-fi movie, which is okay, but a little jolting from what I expected from the opening chapters. Other than that, it’s a super fun read, with lots of humor and interesting characters, including aggressive, greedy Martian ghosts. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy through NetGalley.

Second Revolution: Another Year of Flash Fiction by Jamie Lackey

This collection of stories veered from a little girl finding out that unicorns can be evil murderers to a young husband learning that his mother-in-law is a goddess. Some were barely holding together as a story, and others just completely unraveled, such as the Guided Meditation, which was maddening to read. All in all, the writing style is generally interesting, and the good stories are really good. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher Jamie Lackey through NetGalley.

Murder in Old Bombay by Nev March

In this Agatha Christie-esque cozy mystery, two young women’s deaths set an unofficial investigation by the family into motion. Captain Jim wishes to help his friend, and maybe get closer to his sister, who demands to aid in finding out who killed her sisters-in-law. Though the romance feels a bit forced, and unrealistic (even Captain Jim knows it), the story is entertaining. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher Minotaur Books through NetGalley.

The Haunting of Beatrix Greene Episode 1 by Rachel Hawkins

Beatrix Greene discovers her powers are real, yet the man who hired her continues to fight her, but he must believe her to defeat the evil spirit in his home. Hawkins et al have done a fabulous job of storytelling. The characters are humorous and exasperating, all of them coming to terms with their status in life and their relationships to others. I highly recommend this tale, the beginning of a series about a delightful character. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher Serial Box through NetGalley.

We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen

Jamie and Zoe meet in a memory loss group. They discover each other’s special powers and secret identities, which Jamie uses for self-gain and Zoe uses to fight crime. They must learn to trust each other to defeat a bigger villain. This is a very human superhero story about expectations, friendship, and what lurks right in front of us unseen. Chen is a talented storyteller and draws the reader into tension-filled scenes. I highly recommend anything by Mike Chen. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy of this great sci-fi tale from the publisher Mira Books through NetGalley.

The Jigsaw Man by Nadine Matheson

DI Henley believes the serial killer she helped put in prison might help her with the copycat killings. His way of helping her was not what she intended. The background information was a bit forced, but the action in this thriller was enough to keep it moving. It’s a bit gruesome, so if you like crime shows that are pretty graphic, this may be to your taste. I found it a bit cliched that the criminal was trying to get the detective’s attention, but then, I wonder how often that happens IRL. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher Hanover Square Press through NetGalley.

Her Dark Lies by JT Ellison

Claire is marrying into money and finding out even before the wedding exactly how far his family will go to maintain their reputation . At the family villa, isolated off the coast of Italy, with a storm killing power, Claire doesn’t know who to trust as those around her are killed. This is an excellent thriller and I highly recommend anything by J.T. Ellison. I was fortunate to receive a digital copy from the publisher MIRA through NetGalley.