“Premonitions” by Jamie Schultz review and more.


By Jamie Schultz

A mysterious and a bit quirky read, this book is a whole lot of interesting.

Karyn Ames can see the future, sometimes so many futuristic things at once that they end up to be jumbled and confused. The only thing that helps her is a drug called, Blind, but it is very pricey. Karen and her friends run a theft business, a not-so-good theft business, but in this story, they get pushed into a job that promises too-good-to-be-true results. They’re hoping that their various talents combined can make it work.

Karyn brings to the table her ability to see the future, while Nail is a self-taught magician. Anna can pick locks and is an all-around sneak, and the rest of the crew are simply odd ducks. Their newest client, Enoch Sobell, is a crime lord who just loves dark magic. The man is a businessman and magician who plays the game perfectly, but even his type can be beaten.

This case will be the huge haul of a lifetime that will give Karyn the money she needs to get some more medication to help her mind, and the rest of the guys would be able to get out of the holes they are most definitely buried in. All they have to do is deal with a regenerating god, a few demons, a religious cult and just plain, ordinary, human stupidity.

Karyn and her friends are used to using the supernatural, but this time what they’re after is something disastrous and very powerful, and this small band of professional thieves may end up over their heads. Most of the settings are in a criminal underworld that is filled with magic, as Karyn and her crew, and even Sobell, find out just how powerful their prey is. A great read that will resonate with the lover of the supernatural/paranormal realm.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion



By Dorothy Howell

This is the seventh installment of Dorothy Howell’s Haley Randolph Mysteries; it’s a whole lot of mystery, warmth, and humor wrapped into one.

Haley Randolph previously won a cruise, but now the cruise has been changed to a swank vacation at an island hotel called Rowan Resort. Haley invites her three best gal pals to accompany her on the trip they call a “no-men-allowed” vacation. Haley has recently broken up with her boyfriend and has become very obsessed with something called the Sea Vixen beach bag. She’s always been clothing obsessed, but now the beach bag has taken over and she’s on a quest to own the latest model.

The four girls start their vacation and make a great many plans, including; working on their tans, watching for celebrity guests, and hunting for the season’s most wonderful beach bag…the polka-dot Sea Vixen. But strange occurrences begin. The Rowan Resort private beaches are not known for catering to the ‘poorer’ classes. Without winning the vacation, even Haley wouldn’t have been able to afford the place. Yet she keeps running into old flames from the past.

Soon a maid at the resort, Jaslyn Gordon, is killed, and Haley is the one who discovers the crime. The posh location is adamant about keeping the death out of the media, and Haley seems to be the only person interested in solving the murder. She’s determined to find out whodunit even if she has to give up some valuable beach time.

This is a calm, enjoyable read and highly recommended for those sitting in snow-covered locales. Sitting in your living room looking out at the snow, Haley and her friends will allow you to head to a warm beach under the sun for a brief respite. This author has had Haley Randolph on bookshelves for a while now, and readers will be pleased to enjoy the next adventure.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Gillian Royes

This is the third book in an incredible series that first began with, “The Goat Woman of Largo Bay,” and continued with, “The Man Who Turned Both Cheeks.” These tales are all about a small Jamaican fishing village, with the featured character being Shadrack (Shad) Myers—a bartender and observer of human nature who just happens to sometimes solve crimes.

This time out, it seems that the only thing that will help Largo Bay, and keep innkeeper, Eric Keller, from the poor house, is constructing a new, bigger Inn on the acreage owned by Meredith MacKenzie. Miss Mac, as she is known, is willing to sell to Eric, and developer, Danny Caines, offers to put up the money. But nothing goes smoothly as the island doesn’t have electricity or running water. They will both have to be supplied, which brings the costs up.

There is a girl, Janet, who is after Danny. She needs a green card and hopes she can get one through her little scheme that she’s concocted. But Sarah Davenport arrives from England; she comes to Largo Bay to paint the native way of life, and happens to catch Danny’s eye. Janet, seeing her hopes slipping away, threatens Sarah. And, of course, Sarah disappears. It is Shad Myers who figures out that Sarah has been kidnapped, and with his skills, Shad must solve the puzzle and find Sarah before it’s too late.

This is a very good story, set in a sleepy island paradise where a lot more goes on than meets the eye. From the green card plot to the British innocent (who may not be) to the investor who wants to redo the whole place, this is one suspense that proves life on an island is not always lazy days in the sunshine. In fact, this series will make sure you get no sleep until all peace has been restored to the small Jamaican world of Largo Bay.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Louis Sachar

In Heath Cliff, Pennsylvania, sits an expensive private school: Woodbridge Academy. Woodbridge is the type of school that attracts two types of students: the gifted, who attend on scholarship, and those with wealthy parents who attend for other reasons. It is here at Woodbridge that we will meet, like, dislike, and ultimately come to understand both. Sachar takes us inside this small community and even smaller school, and opens our minds to the possibility that one person and one seemingly benign event could have catastrophic implications.

We meet three students: Tamaya, Chad, and Marshall, all of whom are trying to keep their positions in the confusing dichotomy of middle school. Through a misunderstanding, they are thrust into a volatile relationship. Marshall, not wanting to lose his popularity by being beat up by Chad chooses to walk home through the woods. Tamaya, who walks home with Marshall, is forced to go with him. Chad finds them both and threatens to beat them up. Trying to protect her friend, Tamaya picks up a handful of fuzzy mud and throws it in Chad’s face. By the time she gets home, a rash has developed on her hand.

The next morning her rash has worsened and Chad has disappeared.

Here lies the genius of Louis Sachar. Through this benign event, he takes us to a whole new level. A level where science trying to better our lives has possibly caused our demise—not only of these three students, but of the entire human race. Through his impeccable storytelling, he shows us that for every advancement, there is a consequence, for every consequence, there is a penalty, and for every penalty, hopefully there is a solution.

By the time you finish reading “Fuzzy Mud,” your skin will tingle, your mind will be opened, and your imagination will be sparked. Sachar has written a must-read novel for children and adults alike that will be talked about for generations to come!

Reviewed by J.M. LeDuc, author of “Sin,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine ■



By Kimberley Freeman

This is a tale that will stay with the reader for many, many years to come. This deep, intricate mystery about two women in different eras is sheer perfection.

In 1926, a beautiful woman named Violet Armstrong is a waitress at Evergreen Spa Hotel—a luxurious spot that caters to the rich and famous. Violet is offered work at Evergreen when it’s brand new. She jumps at the chance to help her mother out, having no idea that living at the resort will change her life, and the lives of everyone she meets that season, with tragic results.

In 2014, Lauren Beck is a woman who has broken away from her family and moved to the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney, Australia, to try and become a little more independent. Holding down a job, much to her surprise, she attracts the attention of Tomas, an architect from Denmark who is heading up a project at the nearby resort hotel: Evergreen Spa. As the Spa is being renovated, Tomas and Lauren are exploring parts of the building and come upon a small collection of old love letters from someone with the initials SHB to his lady love. Lauren decides to investigate the people to see if she can find out who they were. What happens is beyond her imagination when she stumbles across a long-forgotten secret.

In both eras that this novel presents, differences are explored, bigotry, and assumptions about others based on ignorance run rampant, and the setting—the Blue Mountains of Australia—is so gorgeously written that readers will feel like they are in the midst of it all.

The connections are so strong between these women that readers will be up all night to finish the story. Bouts of crying and laughing may interrupt your day, as you get caught up in the emotions. It is hard for a person to fall in love with a mystery, but Kimberley Freeman has written one that allows every reader to do just that.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Andrew Mayne

This is the second mystery-thriller featuring Jessica Blackwood, born into a household of magicians, but an FBI agent by way of rebellion against a family who expects her to take up the trade.

There’s magic involved, the kind from magicians, and a bit bordering on the supernatural in the form of the mysterious Damien. He’s a character who always knows where Jessica is and what she’s doing. She isn’t always sure if he bears her ill will or not, but he swoops in and saves her life when needed.

When an Appalachian church seems to spontaneously combust after the worshippers are attacked by the sheriff, who seems to have turned into a demon and tried to eat them, Jessica figures there are magic tricks involved. Although she’s not officially allowed to work on the case due to a jealous fellow agent, she manages to worm her way in with the help of some FBI friends and higher-ups.

The secrets behind this initial puzzling and horrific event take Jessica to a gang-infested town in Mexico, an orphanage there, and a strange cave. The events are more complicated and more bizarre than Jessica has first imagined and she ends up having a deadly gang on her trail, trying very hard to kill her. More impossible things happen, but Jessica sees through the subterfuges in the end.

I liked the behind-the-scenes magic tricks that were revealed by Mayne, a talented practicing magician for many years. The way they are woven into the plot is ingenious.

Warning: If you are a devout Catholic, this book may not be for you. A very high figure in the church is not portrayed kindly. But it is fiction.

Reviewed by Kaye George, author of “Eine Kleine Murder”



By Linda Castillo

This book starts out with a prologue that will send readers running…to read the rest of the novel as fast as possible.

There don’t seem to be any problems with either Police Chief Kate Burkholder or the town of Painters Mill, Ohio. All is quiet, and yet, this author has the writing ability to keep readers glued to the pages, as Kate and her team embark on the trail of a criminal who may certainly be long-gone after discovering a thirty-year-old attack in a falling down barn located in an Amish community.

Kate has a good life with John Tomasetti, an agent for the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, that is horribly interrupted when the area is struck by a giant tornado. Kate rescues a child and mother from a smashed trailer and is subsequently sued for causing the child’s death, and threatened by the child’s meth-brained father. Another storm surprise, however, are the parts of a corpse found in the old barn by a troop of Boy Scouts who were helping to clean up in the aftermath of the tornado. The body parts are identified as Mennonite Leroy Nolt who vanished three decades ago.

Although Kate was born Amish, she now lives “among the English.” Fortunately, when talking with the Amish people, she can speak to them in any language they choose and in time finds out that the thirty-year-old incident was not an accident. Soon, Kate learns that somewhere among these gentle people there is a killer or killers waiting to strike. Kate is fired at by a stalker and a chain of violence begins that doesn’t let up. Personal family secrets and unlikely deaths begin to turn this Amish community both upside down and sideways. Kate will have to search for answers while dealing with a close-knit community who have closed their doors to everyone.

An excellent story by Linda Castillo, fans will be swept away by the tornado and captivated by the Amish world.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Leslie Meier

Tinker’s Cove, Maine, is about to be shaken up by a pumpkin-hurling contest. What is that, you ask? Well…

Lucy Stone, local reporter, is covering the town’s annual Giant Pumpkin Fest for the Pennysaver. The Fest includes the pumpkin boat regatta, the children’s Halloween party, the pumpkin weigh-in and, for the first time, a contest using a home-built catapult to throw pumpkins at a target: an old Dodge. This should certainly bring in the crowds.

Lucy’s husband Bill is, at the moment, lavishing his affection on Priscilla. Priscilla is a 500-pound pumpkin he hopes to enter in the contest. Evan Wickes, a local man, is helping Bill build a catapult designed to hold one so enormous. But when the day of the contest arrives, no one can find Evan, until…a pumpkin flies by and breaks open the trunk of the old Dodge. The surprise is scary enough, but when they find the dead body of Evan inside the massive pumpkin that has been catapulted by those unknown, scary turns to shock.

As Bill was the last one to see and speak to Evan, he becomes the main suspect. Lucy knows she has to start her own investigation into the pumpkin fiasco, but all her ideas and leads don’t work for her. She finds that there is another story from long past regarding the town that she will have to investigate in order to solve Evan’s murder.

This book is definitely a cozy. No gore, just a fun read/mystery that offers up a family secret that someone in the family doesn’t want revealed. Readers will love Lucy for all the work she does for her family and hometown. A great character, readers will liken her to their very best friend.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Lynne Raimondo

This extremely good read offers fans another look at Dr. Mark Angelotti, a psychologist who is nearly blind and is now looking forward, for lack of a better phrase, to a new apartment, a new boss, a new office, and hitting a brand new case.

His newly elected boss, the state’s attorney, asks him to review a previous evaluation written by Bradley Stephens, another psychologist who was killed in an accident before he could testify in court. Mark is able to listen, due to modern technology, while he forms his own opinion about what seems to be a very difficult case.

Rachel Lazarus, the defendant, has confessed to killing her husband in a very brutal manner. Her justification seems to be that she suffered years of her husband’s abuse and Battered Woman Syndrome is the best reason in the world to let her go. Mark senses that there is something deeper in Stephens’s evaluation that doesn’t quite add up. Lo and behold, the defense attorney turns out to be Mark’s old girlfriend and the prosecutor treats Mark as a hostile witness because Mark believes that the whole thing, the whole trial, is a set up. However, when another case becomes connected, it soon turns out that Rachel may not be guilty after all. Perhaps there is a person who wants Rachel to take the fall; yet, if he’s not careful, everything may just topple directly down on Mark’s own head.

This book is a must read as it will keep you on your toes during the entire narrative. The author wrote two previous Mark Angelotti books: “Dante’s Wood” and “Dante’s Poison.” Her writing is first class and readers will love having to guess the finale right up until the reveal on the very last page.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Rhys Bowen

It looks like more hard times are coming for Lady Georgianna Rannoch in the ninth Royal Spyness Mystery penned by Rhys Bowen, “Malice at the Palace.” Just because Georgie happens to be thirty-fifth in line for the British throne, doesn’t guarantee she has a place to live or any money in her purse. But being close to the royal family does have its advantages, especially when Queen Mary asks Georgie to be the official companion to Princess Marina of Greece. The princess is arriving in London to wed the youngest royal prince, George, who is known for his many love affairs with people of both sexes, including famed songwriter Noel Coward.

Georgie, and her completely hopeless maid, Queenie, move into Kensington Palace, affectionately known as the “Aunt Heap,” as several elderly members of the royal family live there. Also reputed to be in residence at the palace are other family members of the ghostly variety, including a mysterious woman in white and a young boy.

When Georgie, keen to meet a ghost of one of her ancestors, investigates a mysterious light in the palace, she discovers an all-too-real dead body instead. As if that isn’t bad enough, the dead woman is a well-known society beauty and reputed drug supplier who is said to be one of Prince George’s many mistresses.

Queen Mary is horrified by the supposed connection to her son and wants the entire matter resolved as quickly and quietly as possible, before word reaches Princess Marina and she calls off the wedding. Georgie has helped the queen resolve other wrongdoings in the past, but none that has reached into the sanctity of the royal family itself.

“Malice at the Palace” is delightful from start to finish. And what makes it even more intriguing is that Bowen’s tale is mostly based on historical facts. Truth really is stranger than fiction!

Reviewed by Susan Santangelo, author of “Funerals Can Be Murder,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine

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