The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

 

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About the book:

How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?

The Hardcastle family is hosting a masquerade at their home, and their daughter Evelyn Hardcastle will die. She will die everyday until Aiden Bishop is able identify her killer and break the cycle.

But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up each day in a different  body as one of the guests.

Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend. But nothing and no one are quite what they seem.

Deeply atmospheric and ingeniously plotted, The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is a highly original debut that’s an Agatha Christie mystery in a Groundhog Day Loop, with a bit of Quantum Leap to it.  Perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson and Claire North.


My review:

Intrigued by the title; absolutely fascinated by the story. From the very first page to the last, I was captivated. I never expected the answer, and that is the hallmark of an amazing mystery.

There was so much about this book that I loved. The mixed-up timelines and the uncertain chemistry between Aiden and Anna reminded me of River Song and The Doctor. Each of Aiden’s “hosts” was so well-crafted and their movements so intricately woven together, it was mind-boggling. The lyricism Turton entwined throughout the story brought beauty to what could have been an overly dark plot. He managed to write a non-stop, mind-bending mystery wrapped in lyrically intense prose with a dash of social commentary…and it was awesome!

I most highly recommend you grab a copy of The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle as soon as it hits the shelves next month. You will definitely enjoy the ride! 🙂

Many thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark Publishers and NetGalley for the advanced digital copy of this novel for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

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Emergence by Liberty Speidel

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About the book:

What if…

Murder victims didn’t have to die?

The identity of a killer could be 100% certain, regardless of the evidence?

The one person who would do this was a cop, with law and justice first in her mind?

When Darby Shaw’s calm world is turned upside down, she wonders how her new abilities to bring the dead back to life will affect her life’s desire to become a detective. But being a detective–for homicide, no less–is the least of her worries when the agency in charge of monitoring superhumans takes a heightened interest in her one-of-a-kind abilities.

What if…murder doesn’t have to mean forever?


My review:

I found myself really enjoying this first installment of the Darby Shaw Chronicles. Darby is a great character: she’s smart, quirky, and strong, but also just a bit insecure. I really appreciate that when she discovers she has superhuman powers, she doesn’t get that superhero complex and automatically think she can save the world. She understands that with great power comes great responsibility (very great, in her case).

This ended up being a rather quick read (I read most of it while waiting at the dentist’s office), but that’s not a bad thing by any means to me. While it is more of a novella length, it seems even shorter because it reads so well that you don’t want to put it down! And it would be a good story even without the superhuman aspect—an interesting police procedural mystery along the lines of Randy Alcorn or Jerry B. Jenkins.

Great start to what promises to be a wonderfully diverting series!

The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross by Lisa Tuttle

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From the book:

The paranormal answer to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Jesperson and Lane are turning the Victorian era upside down in this bewitching series from John W. Campbell Award winner Lisa Tuttle.

“Witch!” cries the young man after stumbling unexpectedly into the London address of the consulting-detective partnership of Mr. Jasper Jesperson and Miss Lane. He makes the startling accusation while pointing toward Miss Lane . . . then he drops dead. Thus begins the strangest case yet to land—quite literally—on the doorstep of Jesperson and Lane.

According to the coroner, Charles Manning died of a heart attack—despite being in perfect health. Could he have been struck down by a witch’s spell? The late Mr. Manning’s address book leads Jesperson and Lane to the shrieking pits of Aylmerton, an ancient archaeological site reputed to be haunted by a vengeful ghost. There they sift through the local characters, each more suspicious than the last: Manning’s associate, Felix Ott, an English folklore enthusiast; Reverend Ringer, a fierce opponent of superstition; and the Bulstrode sisters, a trio of beauties with a reputation for witchcraft.

But when an innocent child goes missing, suddenly Jesperson and Lane aren’t merely trying to solve one murder—they’re racing to prevent another.


My review:

Reading the description of this book made it sound like it was going to be fabulous. Unfortunately, it didn’t fully live up to its expectations for me. While I did enjoy parts of the story, I found that I just couldn’t really get lost in this book for some reason.

Now, let me clarify…the book is not bad. It is fairly well-crafted, with plenty of little twists and a variety of interesting characters. However, I simply had trouble staying interested. Maybe it’s just me. Perhaps you should try it for yourself and prove me wrong. Let me know if you do! 🙂

Thanks to Random House Publishing Group-Hydra and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own!! 🙂

 

The House on Foster Hill by Jamie Jo Wright

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From the book:

Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–including her own–are lost?


My Review:

It’s a bit hard to believe that this multi-layered, intricately crafted tale is Jamie Jo Wright’s debut novel. She did a marvelous job of building tension and creating that perfectly eerie atmosphere that a good mystery needs. I found my eyes flitting across the page (against my will!) to see what was coming up—that, to me, is a great sign of a well-written mystery.

And it’s almost like you get two complete novels in one, because of the historical story running alongside and intertwining with Kaine’s story. Bonus! The House on Foster Hill is a terrific read! I’d recommend you pre-order it or grab your copy as soon as it is released on December 5, 2017.

Many thanks to Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley for the advanced digital copy of this novel. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

London Calling by Sara Sheridan

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From the publisher:

In the years following World War II, former Secret Service employee Mirabelle Bevan has found a refuge in the quiet coastal town of Brighton. But she can’t seem to resist an attraction to danger and a thirst for justice . . .

“1952: Eighteen-year-old debutante Rose Bellamy Gore was last seen outside a Soho jazz club in the company of a saxophone player named Lindon Claremont. Now her mysterious disappearance is front-page news in the London tabloids.

“When Lindon turns up the next day in Brighton, desperately seeking help, Mirabelle counsels him to cooperate with the authorities. After the local police take the musician into custody and ship him off to Scotland Yard, Mirabelle and her best friend, Vesta Churchill, hop a train to London in search of the truth.

“As they scour smoky jazz clubs searching for clues to the deb’s disappearance, they descend into a sinister underworld where the price of admission can be one’s life. Mirabelle will need to draw on her espionage skills to improvise her way out of a disappearing act of her own . . .”

I read the first Mirabelle Bevan Mystery last year (Brighton Belle – find my review here) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Mirabelle’s second adventure, London Calling, was just as wonderful. Sheridan does a marvelous job of evoking the romance and risk of the Jazz Age in London. And her characters thrive in it. Mirabelle is such an intelligently crafted heroine – full of wit and chutzpa – someone a quiet soul like me can look up to. And it was a pleasure to get to know Vesta (another strong female character in her own right) and hear her story more in this adventure.

The mystery was well-plotted and nicely-paced. This was one of those fabulous stories that I just had to know, so I stayed up way past my bedtime to see how Mirabelle figured it all out. If you enjoy a mystery, you’ll certainly like Mirabelle Bevan and her adventures. And, as with the first book, Brighton Belle, I think London Calling would make a terrific book club selection with tons of layers and history to keep your discussion flowing.

Grab your copy when London Calling releases on March 28, 2017.

Many thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for the copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering

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From the back cover:

“The rolling mists that creep in over the Yorkshire moors hide a mystery as challenging as Drew has ever faced.

“At the urgent request of an old school friend, Drew and Madeline Farthering come to Bloodworth Park Lodge in the midst of the Yorkshire moors, a place as moody and mysterious as a Brontë hero. There have been several worrisome incidents around those lonesome rolling hills–property desecrated, fires started, sheep and cattle scattered. Worst of all, the vicar has been found dead on the steps of the church, a crime for which Drew can discern no motive at all.

“Few in the town of Bunting’s Nest seem like suspects, and Drew can’t keep his suspicions from falling on his friend’s new bride. Do her affections lie more with her husband’s money and estate, while her romantic interests stray to their fiery Welsh gamekeeper? As the danger grows ever closer, it’s up to Drew to look past his own prejudices, determine what’s really going on, and find the killer before it’s too late.”

I think I may have a bit of a crush on Drew Farthering…he’s charming, witty, intelligent, and imperfect. And I liked him even better in this novel than in the first in the series, because he was so misled by his own prejudices, so realistic, so like I can be at times! And the secondary character work in Murder on the Moor was also very well-handled — each character introduced had a well-fleshed history and was purposeful to the plot, not just window-dressing. Deering spun a good plot and wove it into a rather enjoyable mystery.

Murder on the Moor is the fifth book in Julianna Deering’s Drew Farthering Mysteries, and it’s the second one I’ve read (Book One, Rules for Murder, being the first one I read). While Murder on the Moor was an entirely charming read, I found myself wishing I hadn’t skipped the three books in between, since she references past cases and people that have affected the characters, making me feel a bit left out of the loop at times. Guess I’ll just have to find the time to go back and read the ones I missed! Otherwise, I thoroughly enjoyed this classic murder mystery.

Many thanks to Bethany House for the copy of this novel. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂

IQ by Joe Ide

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From the publisher: “East Long Beach. The LAPD is barely keeping up with the neighborhood’s high crime rate. Murders go unsolved, lost children unrecovered. But someone from the neighborhood has taken it upon himself to help solve the cases the police can’t or won’t touch.

They call him IQ. He’s a loner and a high school dropout, his unassuming nature disguising a relentless determination and a fierce intelligence. He charges his clients whatever they can afford, which might be a set of tires or a homemade casserole. To get by, he’s forced to take on clients that can pay.

This time, it’s a rap mogul whose life is in danger. As Isaiah investigates, he encounters a vengeful ex-wife, a crew of notorious cutthroats, a monstrous attack dog, and a hit man who even other hit men say is a lunatic. The deeper Isaiah digs, the more far reaching and dangerous the case becomes. ”

I enjoy a good mystery, and Joe Ide’s debut novel, IQ, is just that: a decent detective story. I started off laughing about chloroform in the prologue, dove into the bulk of the story believing I knew whodunit, and finished up fairly impressed with the book as a whole. Plot twists, multi-faceted characters, and some pretty philosophical moments make this a good read for lovers of detective stories.

IQ will be available from Mulholland Books on October 18th!

Thanks to Mulholland Books and NetGalley for the free copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my very own! 🙂