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THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT: A Review ~Kate Hamer

Monday, August 14th, 2017

I could not put THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT down; I had to read well into the night as this abduction – suspense story just held me captive.  When I did go to bed, I was still thinking about the story and how I might resolve it, as I did not skip to the end to see how it concluded.  The writing was superb and I think many, many people will want to read this story and then Hamer’s next and next and next book.

“Compulsively readable…Beautifully written and unpredictable, I had to stop myself racing to the end to find out what happened.” —Rosamund Lupton (Sister)

A smart and dreamy little girl no longer wishes to hold onto her mother’s hand at the book festival and as the fog rolls in she starts to wander into stories, that she finds under the sales table – the two are separated and a feisty man leads the child away.  The fear and sadness of the mother just filled my whole being and I was deeply hooked into story

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Year for 2016
  • Costa Book Award for First Novel finalist
  • Dagger Award finalist

As a new single parent, the mother is worried and anxious about all the responsibility and she worries that her daughter, 8-year-old Carmel, will wander off and that she will not be able to pay the bills and get all their needs manifested.  The father has a new partner and has not appeared for a long time in their lives. Carmel is trying to sort out her new life and she has a very perceptive view of the world, her mind does wander and she notices details.  They both want to figure everything out and move forward.

The book goes from Mother to daughter as the story progresses and it is fabulous how Carmel works at remembering her Mother and all the wisdom that was imparted.  Her mother’s mind is always trying to connect with where Carmel might be and they are always working on finding RED in their lives.  The police have given up the search and there is a remarkable connection, as both mother and daughter cannot totally believe the other might be dead.

I do not believe I would have chosen this book to read and then it would have been my loss for sure.  So I say thank you to TLC Book Tours for asking me to read and review this remarkable story – THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT.

About the author:

Kate Hamer’s first novel ‘The Girl in the Red Coat’ was shortlisted for The Costa First Novel Prize, the British Book industry Awards Debut Fiction Book of the Year, the John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger and the Wales Book of the Year. It was a Sunday Times bestseller and has been translated into 16 different languages. Kate won the Rhys Davies short story prize and has short stories published in a number of anthologies. She’s written articles and reviews for The Independent, The Sunday Mail and The New York Times. Kate grew up in rural Wales and now lives with her husband in Cardiff, UK.  Her second book is The Doll Funeral (PW August 21,17 review)

Kate Hamer Twitter
Kate Hamer Goodreads

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DUPLICITY: A Novel of Suspense, A Julia Gooden Mystery ~Jane Haseldine

Monday, April 10th, 2017

DUPLICITY is a suspenseful tale about a journalist who writes about crime in Detroit.  Julia has to balance many parts of her life and has not totally come to terms with her 9-year-old brother’s disappearance years ago.  Her attorney husband is just starting to come home after straying to another’s bed and her young sons are anxious for a full reconciliation.  Husband is starting a trial against the biggest crime boss in the area and is trying to balance all the pieces to get a conviction.  Julia is covering the story and yet has to avoid talking about anything with her husband.  Her surprise witness story is scooped from her byline and this is adding stress.

We are part of the unfolding of a complicated truth that will make a profound difference to everyone’s future.  The tensions run high as Julia pieces together the various aspects of the story step by step and with the assistance of several police officers.   Her 2 sons end up in harms way and thus Julia must find safety for them in the process.  Thank goodness for her feisty nanny.

Other than a bombing blast for tension rather the story builds and builds with Julia’s discoveries and with her risking herself into the fray.  I believe Haseldine’s experiences as a crime reporter adds to the authenticity of the story and the details of the investigation.

Lots of readers will like this book.  DUPLICITY also has some strong relationship connections to interpret and those influence the outcomes.  Those who want big action will find it here at a steady pace.   Those who want to read about corruption and drug related crimes would be well satisfied.  It is a good second novel.  The book has merit and was a good read.  I enjoyed that is was not so gory as several books have been lately and it did not overwhelm my thinking or cause sleep deprivation.  I was worried about how Julia put her children so secondary on the list particularly with her past problems of abduction in her family.

A TLC Book Tours book

Jane Haseldine is a journalist, former crime reporter, columnist, newspaper editor, magazine writer, and deputy director of communications for a governor.  Jane graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a degree in journalism. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons, but previously lived in Boston, San Francisco, New York, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana. You can find her at janehaseldine.com, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.

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MISSISSIPPI BLOOD: A Novel – #3 of the NATCHEZ BURNING Trilogy ~Greg Iles

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

“Adrenaline-fueled excitement…A very American epic.”  (Washington Post)

“The endgame is at hand for Penn Cage, his family and the enemies working to destroy them in this exhilarating final volume in the epic Natchez Burning trilogy set in modern Natchez, Mississippi – Greg Iles’s bold and ambitious story of blood and honor, violence and revenge that explores how profoundly the sins of the past haunt the present.” (Book cover)

MISSISSIPPI BLOOD is another book I could not put down.  I read it cover to cover in two sittings during a rainy, windy weekend and then took a deep breath.  The writing is intense and does not let up right to the very last couple of pages – there is no relief in the speed in this whole series. One is compelled to find out who killed Viola Turner, the young black nurse who was raped twice by a gang of KKK men and her brother was skinned alive.  Turner has come home to die but someone has sent her off before she could tell her tale and Dr. Cage is being blamed.  Penn Cage, the mayor, is trying to save his father and find the truth as he loses more of the people he loves.

After I reviewed NATCHEZ BURNING, I persuaded 10 friends to read the book.  After I reviewed #2, THE BONE TREE, I persuaded another 10 friends to read book one and then two and wait with me for book #3. There is so much in these stories that I found to be true in my younger years living in the South.  I found that there was an ingrained mythology about events and history that I had no evidence for or could I achieve some foothold in making change.  Such as so many Southern folks did not believe that the Civil War was about Slavery – nope it was about State’s Rights!!!  I found myself teaching a psychology seminar to most of my peers because the psychology that the Professor was expounding was not true or reasonable. This trilogy was about what I believed was going on and actually happening.

It is truly difficult to believe that these things happened when wrapped up in a contemporary suspense story.  It is hard to image that a writer from Natchez, Mississippi could have figured things out and been open to exposing such ideas.  Then again maybe it is the local boy who can render change in his neighborhood with stories better than outsiders.  Just maybe we need him to restructure thoughts about government in general and our last election.  Iles is a master storyteller.

TLC Book Tours  sent me an advanced copy of MISSISSIPPI BLOOD for review – It is definitely 5 Stars.

“Greg Iles spend his youth in Natchez, Mississippi.  His first novel, SPANDAU PHOENIX, was the first of fifteen NEW YORK TIMES bestsellers, including THE QUIET GAME, TURNING ANGEL, THE DEVIL’S PUNCHBOWL, which hit number one, NATCHEZ BURNING, and THE BONE TREE.  Iles’s novels have been made into films and published in more than thirty-five countries.  He is a member of the lit-rock group the ROCK BOTTOM Remainders, lives in Natchez, Mississippi, with his wife, and has two children.” (Cover)

Greg Iles Website
Greg Iles Facebook
Greg Iles Twitter

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PhDEATH: The Puzzler Murders ~James P. Carse

Monday, October 17th, 2016

This Book will not be published until NOVEMBER 1,2016

Every once in awhile a book comes along that just takes the reader on a wonderful ride; turning around so many things at one time thought to be true but are now varied.  James Carse has indeed accomplished this mind changing with a hauntingly interesting tale, which plays with the imagination and the expectation with delight.

The setting is a major university in a major city on a square.  We are allowed to join a select group of the faculty to be part of an intellectual combat team attempting to outwit the Puzzler and a deadly agenda.  The NY Times puzzle master is trying to help, along with the city’s top detective, and U.S. Military Intelligence.  The 10 puzzles are difficult and the committee had to call in a fifth grader to assist them in the solving of at least one of the ten.

As the whole faculty is sometimes made fun of for the academic snobbery, many are revealed to be working too many angles and not actually involved in what they were hired to do.  Nothing is dull in this story from the shared philosophy discussions to the humorous personality traits exposed.  We are treated to the complete academic year and even a bit of summer session.  The reader must take a good look at essential issues, because they are urgent and fun and one must turn on the thinking skills and get right into gear.

Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, Inc. www.mzpr.com sent me an uncorrected Galley for review and in the promotion material with the book was this paragraph:

“The mystery is complex and the book has a great deal of wit and humor.  Will Shortz, NEW YORK TIMES Puzzle Master makes a decisive appearance in the book along with Bernie Sanders, Lady Gaga and other celebrities.  Members of the faculty and all of the victims, except one, are entirely fictional.  Carse says they bear no direct relation to persons living or dead.  They are composites so carefully drawn that some readers may feel they are real and perhaps even recognizable.  The one exception concerns a highly dramatic crime that led to prosecution and imprisonment.  That person, once a colleague of Carse’s, is long dead.  The author leaves it up to curious readers or NYU alumni to figure this one out.”

That paragraph just sent me right to open the book and start reading.  I had to keep putting the book down, when I wanted to just keep reading and reading.  Good twists and hooks found here.

From the cover:

“Carse, Emeritus Professor himself at a premier university – in a major city on a square- shows no mercy in his creation of the seemingly omniscient Puzzler, who through a sequence of atrocities beginning and ending with the academic year, turns up one hidden pocket of moral rot after another.”

“The engaging and insightful stories explain why Carse has gained an almost cult-like following at NYU and beyond.”  (-Publishers Weekly)

James P. Carse Website
James P. Carse Wikipedia

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