Thursday, December 27, 2012

Book Reviews by Brookins and Tooley

I have new book reviews for you today, one by Carl Brookins and two by S.D. Tooley. We'll start off with Carl's review of NOVEMBER HUNT by Jess Lourey.

November Hunt
By Jess Lourey
ISBN: 978-07387-3136-0
A 2012 269 page TP release
Midnight Ink Books

The eleventh novel in her Murder By The Month series brings sometime librarian-cum-private investigator Mira James squarely up against some respected town leaders. Mira is angling to become a licensed P.I. and needs many hours of supervised investigation in order to qualify. Given that her account in the local Battle Lake bank is flatter than the pancakes served at the local eatery, she has two powerful motives to take on the investigation of a local philanthropist and business man’s murder by his long time buddy.

November in Minnesota can be cold. Not only does the weather provide impediments, so do many of the town’s citizens, but Mira perseveres against bone-cracking cold and icy stares.  The author is a good writer and the story is enhanced with clever characters, and a lot of tongue-in-cheek dialogue.

The series is known for the self-deprecating insouciance of the main character and her slightly twisted outlook on life. The danger of this kind of approach is in going over the cliff. Sometimes the impact of a really powerfully crafted scene can be lessened by the odd verbal swipe.  The plot is well designed, and while there are few large surprises, the author spins this tale tightly and nicely to its conclusion with the aid of several interesting and amusing characters. This edition contains a series of discussion questions which can be useful to book clubs.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I note that the author and I are long-time acquaintances.

Carl Brookins
Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky

A Cold Dish
By Craig Johnson
Penguin Books, March, 2006 and May, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0143123170

Walt Longmire is the sheriff in Wyoming’s Absaroka County, an area that appears to have more horses and pigs than people.  When a body is found in the mountains, Walt realizes the deceased was one of the young men who had assaulted a Cheyenne girl two years earlier. It is possible someone is seeking retribution for the crime. Walt relies on his friend, Henry Standing Bear, in addition to a couple deputies, the retired sheriff, and Ruby his dispatcher. Deputy Victoria Moretti is over-qualified for the job and Walt is waiting for the FBI or some big city to lure her away. Vic has the ballistics training and investigative skill Absaroka County sorely needs and Walt would like to groom her to take his job. He is recovering from the loss of his wife several years ago and still lives in their house, a cabin in desperate need of completion. More bodies pile up and by the looks of the antique weapon used, Walt starts to look at even more suspects, one of which could be his friend, Henry. Vic is one of the more interesting characters, possessing the skill and “take no prisoners” attitude of Carol O’Connell’s Kathy Mallory yet with the foul mouth of Dexter’s sister, Debra Morgan. Humor and mystery abound making for a refreshing change from mysteries set in big city precincts.  This is one series I will continue to follow.

S.D. Tooley
Author of the Sam Casey series and the Chase Dagger series

(Note from Mary: This is the first book in the Walt Longmire series.   This great series -- I love it as much as S. D. Tooley does! -- has been made into a TV series that keeps true to the characters as written by Johnson.)

Supernatural Born Killers (#9 in the Pepper Martin series)
By Casey Daniels
Berkley, Sept. 4, 2012
ISBN-13: 978-0425251522

There are a lot of changes in Pepper’s life.  She has a new job and more responsibilities at the Garden View Cemetery.  As the detective to the dead, she is still finding it a challenge to convince Detective Quinn Harrison that she talks to ghosts.  With all these added tasks, Pepper needs help.  And who better to help a ghostbuster than ghosts.  Three such ghosts are more than happy to help with the newsletter, her budget, and secretarial duties.  Course, they want something in exchange.  Easy tasks for someone of Pepper’s stature.  Since the cemetery needs donors, Pepper is encouraged to cozy up to millionaire Milo Blackburne, a Superman fanatic who thinks Pepper is Superman’s long lost love, Lana.  New to the cast of characters are Pepper’s parents.  Pops has just been released from prison and her mother has devised a great family business…a detective agency.  Meanwhile a ghost who just happens to be Quinn’s former partner warns Pepper that someone is going to die at the comic book convention.  This series is always fun and Pepper is a stitch.  There may be a change in Pepper’s life, and I for one welcome it.  Another hit in an enjoyable series.

S.D. Tooley
Author of the Sam Casey series and the Chase Dagger series



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