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BETRAYAL AT IGA: A Murder –Suspense Story ~Susan Spann

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

I truly enjoyed this story from cover to cover and it was the perfect beach read while I was away from my computer at home.  I actually did not read any of the promo material that came with the book from TLC Book Tours; nope I just tucked it onto my Kindle and headed out for the beach.   From the cover I thought someone was going to be stabbed with an exotic dagger at a local grocery store.  Wow was I wrong and I have to laugh out loudly at myself.

I was in for quite the treat actually.  It was an history story about a period in Japanese history when there were huge tensions among the clans and someone was trying to take control through clan manipulation and deceit.  The story contained incredible details of this period of time, including descriptions of wall mounted scrolls and the placement of flowers and food.

How did these ancient times find the answers to murders and mysteries?  There were no computers or cells phones and lots of trickery and mythology to weave around.  What a complex and intricate telling of a period of time that teaches us history in a most delightful fashion.

From the Promo Materials – I should have read first! :

“Autumn, 1565: After fleeing Kyoto, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo take refuge with Hiro’s ninja clan in the mountains of Iga province. But when an ambassador from the rival Koga clan is murdered during peace negotiations, Hiro and Father Mateo must find the killer in time to prevent a war between the ninja clans.

“With every suspect a trained assassin, and the evidence incriminating Hiro’s commander, the infamous ninja Hattori Hanzo, but also Hiro’s mother and his former lover, the detectives must struggle to find the truth in a village where deceit is a cultivated art. As tensions rise, the killer strikes again, and Hiro finds himself forced to choose between his family and his honor.”

What a great read and I want to highly recommend it to you but don’t expect to end up at the grocery story, the tea comes with a great deal of ceremony!

“Susan Spann is a transactional publishing attorney and the author of the Shinobi Mysteries, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and his Portuguese Jesuit sidekick, Father Mateo. Her debut novel, CLAWS OF THE CAT (Minotaur Books, 2013), was named a Library Journal Mystery Debut of the Month. Susan has a degree in Asian Studies from Tufts University, where she studied Chinese and Japanese language, history, and culture. Her hobbies include cooking, traditional archery, martial arts, and horseback riding. She lives in northern California with her husband, son, two cats, and an aquarium full of seahorses. “ (From TLC website)

Susan Spann Website
Susan Spann Facebook
Susan Spann Twitter

Related reading:
Fog Island Mountain
A Tale For The Time Being
The Worthington Wife

FIXED IN FEAR: A Justice Novel (#5) ~T.E. Woods

Monday, December 21st, 2015

I have never been a great fan of murder mysteries, although in the last 5 years I have read and reviewed a great many of them.  I know that quite a few of my readers like them very much and I am amazed at how many of my older followers enjoy them to the max.  Along came T.E. Woods’s series of mysteries and I just can hardly wait to dive into each one that comes my way.  FIXED IN FEAR came my way via Net Galley and I am delighted to say there is at least one more in the series to come.  We are left with quite a cliffhanger of an ending with this one.

FIXED IN FEAR continues the story of Matt Grant and his role as Chief Homicide Detective for the Seattle Police Department.  It begins at a healing sweat lodge in Washington State inside 5 people have been killed and then the lodge was set on fire.    Detective Grant teams up with a small community Police Chief who needs some assistance in solving this crime.  This book pulls together some old murders that have never been solved and of course the psychological thinking that has affected the lives of so many people over the years.

Dr. Lydia Corriger, a psychologist working in Olympia has figured out a most wanted person’s current identity and gotten a murder victim’s wife the return on her stolen funds and Lydia now moves her computer skills and wisdom towards helping Grant solve yet another case and figure out his daughter’s complicity.

The story moves right along and I love the psychological dialogue, which attends the story and the thinking of the characters.   How are we to grasp a hold on life and yet still sort out the harsher realities?   How do we move on from a death in the family and live our lives fully and with meaning?  How do we see and understand the truth of our own situation?   How does a family cope with the reality that faces them and the pain that might attend each action or murder?  Gritty questions which are present and stoke the fires of each novel at quite a fast pace.

“Has Allie gone too far?”  You are invited to comment on her Facebook page.

T.E. Woods is a clinical psychologist and author living in Madison, Wisconsin.  For random insight into how her strange mind works, follow her at: tewoodswrites.com or Facebook.com/TEWoodsWrites

Related:
The Fixer
The Red Hot Fix
The Unforgivable Fix
Fixed in Blood

MY SISTER’S GRAVE: A Legal Thriller ~Robert Dugoni

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

“’There is nothing so dangerous as a maxim’. –C.J.May   Some Rules of Evidence: Reasonable Doubt in Civil and Criminal Cases (1876)” (Location 49% of uncorrected proof)

The most important part of MY SISTER’S GRAVE for me was the story about how a disappearance and murder affects a family and a whole community.  The relationship between sisters and the after affects upon the remaining child, are examined from a different perspective and demonstrate that manipulations do not produce the loving truth or freedom from danger.  Those secrets drive a good story and often produce an even scarier scenario – the melodramatic conclusion of the story just kept me glued to the very last drop in the bucket.

I do not have a book cover for this book, so I will share MY SISTER’S GRAVE description from Amazon:
Tracy Crosswhite has spent twenty years questioning the facts surrounding her sister Sarah’s disappearance and the murder trial that followed. She doesn’t believe that Edmund House—a convicted rapist and the man condemned for Sarah’s murder—is the guilty party. Motivated by the opportunity to obtain real justice, Tracy became a homicide detective with the Seattle PD and dedicated her life to tracking down killers.

When Sarah’s remains are finally discovered near their hometown in the northern Cascade Mountains of Washington State, Tracy is determined to get the answers she’s been seeking. As she searches for the real killer, she unearths dark, long-kept secrets that will forever change her relationship to her past—and open the door to deadly danger.

TLC Booktours   sent me an unproofed, uncorrected e-copy of this book for review.  I appreciated the read very much and enjoyed reading MY SISTER’S GRAVE

Here is the Author’s Biography from Amazon:

“Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed and New York Times–bestselling author of the David Sloane series: The Jury Master, Wrongful Death, Bodily Harm, Murder One, and The Conviction. Murder One was a finalist for the Harper Lee Award for literary excellence. Dugoni is also the author of the bestselling standalone novel Damage Control, and his nonfiction exposé, The Cyanide Canary, was a Washington Post Best Book of the Year selection. Dugoni’s books have been likened to Scott Turow and Nelson DeMille, and he has been hailed as “the undisputed king of the legal thriller” by The Providence Journal.”

The final copy of the book has just been released and the words of praise are mounting up for this suspenseful book – just like the snow in the North Cascades on the final pages. It takes place in a fictional town in Washington State and it is always fun to know the territories and the qualities of the communities being described and experienced.

I had a bit of trouble with the story at the beginning, whereas THE FIXER took place in Washington State, it was highlighting sexual abuse particularly of foster children and our incredible Children’s Justice Center and responsibilities.  I felt this story was confusing at the start (maybe because of the spelling errors with an unproofed copy) but I could not find the life flow – the value – within the story except by the attacking the victim behavior, which was very unenlightened and protective of the sexual perpetrator.  Tracy, the family survivor, was under nearly constant attack and threat for her life, her work, and even her community. She is a scientist and needs to know and search for true answers.  I just had to stop for half a day and take a deep breath; I had to be angry about the abuse heaped on our President, upon myself, the constant jibs and jabs at the lead character and the profound loneliness of trying to survive in that environment and stay true to the self and values.   There was an element where all the female victims were to blame for their tragedy, which became overwhelming.  I had to drag myself back to reading this book and finally cheer the truth creating a real freedom and release – a moment of loving sex also benefited this tale – oh! To be believed and supported.

 Robert Dugoni Online

Related:
The Fixer
The Condor Song
The Highest Tide
The Contractors 

ASYLUM CITY: A Novel ~Internationally Awarded Best Selling author Liad Shoham

Monday, November 17th, 2014

“The Israeli public was indifferent to the problems Itai encountered on a daily basis.” (Page 195 of unproofed advanced copy)


ASYLUM CITY grabs the reader and holds on for dear life. What an amazing thrilling ride thru the underworld of Tel Aviv, politics, law, refugees, deportations and social workers. It is a look at problems that every country is facing right now, pinpointing Israel’s intense problems with the Eritrea-African migration to avoid the death squads in Ethiopia while at the same time being abused by the underworld, mob expectations and blaming. Everyone taking from the vulnerable, depersonalizing, and the exploiting of children; there is an edginess which opens the readers eyes to what is going on in their own country. There is a reveal of anger and hate and blame which clarifies the vision; refusing to solve the problem.

The chapters are very short and move from character to character in a very dynamic fashion allowing one to cope with the difficult sections, keeping the story moving and extremely interesting. I had a bit of trouble keeping the Israeli names straight so needed to make a list of the characters and a note about several as to whom they were related. I could not put the book down so unusual names weren’t too big of a problem at this pace. I would have not chosen this book at a bookstore and I am so glad that TLC Booktours (tour cancelled) sent this unproofed advance copy for me to read. I would never have been able understand the relationship to the Global problems of war and cruelty; the overview of the huge problem facing all the refugees worldwide is caught into a snap shot of one country’s problem. We are all doing the same things and fighting the same reactions and it is definitely not working – anywhere.

I would like to see that more people were reading this recently translated book, discussing and working on understanding and gaining an overview. I was aware of how President Obama has a huge overview and truly leads in understanding the Global perspective, what can he do or accomplish with all the hate and name-calling creating obstruction? Ignorance so often backfires with huge ramifications.

ASYLUM CITY is certainly a discussion starter!

“LIAD SHOHAM is Israel’s leading crime writer and a practicing attorney with degrees from Jerusalem’s’ Hebrew University and the London School of Economics. All of his crime novels (six to date) have been critically acclaimed bestsellers. He lives in Tel Aviv and is married with two children.”

Related:
The Contractors 
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena 
The Dressmaker of Khair Khana 
The Lemon Tree