“Find Her” by Lisa Gardner review and more


By A.D. Scott

A.D. Scott is back with a sixth entry in her series set in the Scottish Highlands in the late 1950s.

Joanne Ross is still adjusting to her new name and position as, Mrs. McAllister, the wife of newspaperman John McAllister. It’s also meant that John’s taken on the duties of a father to Joanne’s two young daughters. When she spies an interesting story in the local weekly in Sutherland, high up in the northern-most part of Scotland, she offers to follow-up on it for her husband.

An artist living on a farm outside of Sutherland, Alice Ramsey, was charged with witchcraft, an offense still on the books even though it hasn’t been brought against anyone in over two centuries. It’s suggested that Miss Ramsey, who is well-versed in homeopathic remedies that she’d used to help nursing home residents in the town, gave a pregnant woman a tea that caused her to lose her baby.

When Joanne investigates, she finds that the instigator behind the charges is the town’s resident busybody, Mrs. Mackenzie, whose long-suffering son, Callum, is a reporter for the weekly. Joanne meets Miss Ramsey and is impressed by her fierce independence as well as her skill as an artist. Miss Ramsey beats the charges, though in their wake, her privacy is shattered by the efforts of Dougald Forsythe, an art critic who covets Miss Ramsey’s work and a person with whom she has a history. Then Joanne learns Ramsey has been found dead, a supposed suicide. Joanne thinks she was too strong-willed to end her own life. When she investigates, Joanne finds there’s much more to Ramsey than she thought, including a possible connection to a sketch by Leonardo da Vinci, as well as other secrets.

Scott tells the story from multiple viewpoints, including prefacing each chapter with a pre-history piece from Ramsey’s viewpoint. The plot construction gives a nod to Hitchcock with its use of a Maguffin, though it echoes more the leisurely and mannered English mysteries of the 1950s.

Reviewed by David Ingram  ■


By Diana Orgain

In the first book from this series, Love or Money Mysteries, reality TV gets a little too real, as former cop Georgia Thornton, and her boyfriend, Scott, were supposed to live happily ever after when their stint on a reality show came to an end. Sadly, after their few fleeting minutes of fame, reality did kick in and their prize money vanished.

So, Georgia and Scott agree to star in a new program where they will compete against other teams in an athletic voyage across the countryside of Spain, all for a chance to win $250,000. The competition turns scary when Scott pulls a disappearing act during an overnight camping trip in the Pyrenees Mountains; all that’s left behind is his bloody wristwatch and a woman’s dead body. With the Spanish authorities ready, willing and able to convict Scott, Georgia goes on the hunt to find him and prove his innocence. She decides that she has to assist the authorities in solving the case, while also having to participate in the competitions required for the reality show using a new partner.

To top it all off, as she investigates, she uncovers more information linking Scott to the crime. It seems that Scott may not be the guy she thought he was, but she’s determined to find him, find answers, and win the competition.

This second installment is yet another great story full of surprises and extreme wit. Readers will fall in love with Georgia even more as she has fun with a TV director who will stop at nothing to achieve great ratings. Way more fun than actual reality TV, here’s one fan who’s hoping that book three will be written immediately.

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



By Lisa Gardner

When it comes to author Lisa Gardner, the tales she writes are always extreme gems in the literary world, and this is no exception.

“Find Her” opens on a woman who is seen naked, bound and gagged, standing next to a man who is very dead in a garage. Enter Detective D.D. Warren, whose job may just turn out to be trying to figure out who the real victim is in the scenario.

Flora Dane is the woman in the garage. Flora has been through heck before. In fact, it was seven years ago that Flora had been kidnapped and held by her captor for four hundred and seventy-two days. When she was finally rescued from that situation, Flora’s entire attitude and persona was different. Detective Warren has a sneaking suspicion that, because of that horrible past, Flora has turned into a predator hunter. Flora’s own walls are covered with pictures of missing women from the Boston area. And when Flora again disappears, Warren must head down the path to catching a very smart serial kidnapper/murderer.

Warren hopes above all that some of these women are still alive, as she follows clues left behind by none other than Flora Dane. There is a menacing predator among the masses, and all Warren knows is that Flora Dane, whether hero or hunter, is at the core of yet another crime.

This is a Gardner read which means this is a great read. Not only a fantastic mystery, but attempting to figure out who’s going to expose this killer once found is even more fun. Readers will love Flora, whether victim or vigilante, and if there are any people out there who have not read a Gardner tale (which would be hard to believe), this is the place to start!

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



By Peter May

The narration begins in 1965, when Jack Mackay runs away from Glasgow with his friends to see London, thinking that this would be the beginning of their lives. The boys had their own band and were a strong-minded group, determined to be a huge success and make a name for themselves in the big city. Talk about a diversified clan, this gang included a Jewish boy, a Jehovah Witness, a mechanic and, of course, Jack, who had just been expelled from school. With a ‘Beatles’ type wish, their rebellion in the 60’s was really not unusual as they fled home in search of stardom.

However, they soon find out that London is a place that has a dark side all its own. There are parts of the city where young people can find themselves being controlled by some very shady characters, and the boys’ London adventure ends with a killing. As a few more tragic events occur, their friendships are pushed to the very brink of destruction, and soon three of them return back to Glasgow.

Fifty years later, in 2015, a brutal killing forces the three, now in their sixties, to go back to London and confront a truth that they have run from for five decades. One member of the group, Maurie, is ill with cancer, and reveals that the person everyone thought was a killer years ago is actually not. In fact, Maurie knows who really committed the crime they have tried so hard to bury. He asks Jack and Dave, along with Jack’s grandson, Rick, to go back to London to put things right.

“Runaway” is an interesting tale that will have readers engrossed by the time the real revelation comes to pass.

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



By Matthew James

“Plague” erupts from these pages in a steroid-filled tornado of terror and shock.

We’re all aware of what the Nazi’s were capable of during WWII—their horrific war crimes, including Mengele’s scientific developments and experiments into biological weapons. “Plague” takes such concepts and hits us over the head with the reality of such experimentation. What if the things we read about were true? What if they were working on creating a super soldier who would have turned the outcome of the war on its head? And what if such a creation is still alive?

Logan Reed, a former SAS black ops officer has taken a position as a game warden in Tanzania, alongside his sister, CJ, a zoologist, and Fitz, a fellow SAS officer. Their job is simple yet complex: stop poachers in their efforts to kill for ivory.

A poacher and his team of animal terrorists stumble upon a graveyard of elephants with huge tusks. While digging them out, he also finds the bodies of German soldiers dating back to WWII. While trying to dislodge a body, he is cut. Soon he finds himself thirsting for flesh and blood in a way that is ravenous. With each feeding his body develops greater strength and his mind seems to recede until he forgets who he was. All he knows is the hunt.

Reed and his men find the very recent remains of animals and humans near what they soon realize was some sort of Nazi bunker. A bunker that should have been empty and dead seventy years earlier.

Once you pick up “Plague,” you won’t be able to put it down; and once you’ve finished, you’ll hunger for the next installment of the God Blood novels.

Matthew James is a talented young author who has stormed onto the scene with his Hank Boyd series and has cemented his place among the finest new talents with “Plague.” Once you begin, you’ll be bitten by the virus of his imagination.

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



By Daryl Wood Gerber

A great story that is full of one conspiracy after another. Set in the very cool town of Crystal Cove, California, Pirate Week is about to begin. This is the week that celebrates pirates, held during the first week of February, and brings in a whole bunch of tourists.

Jenna Hart is the owner of the local bookstore, The Cookbook Nook, and is really busy filling her store with Chocolate cookbooks and hosting the local Chocolate Cookbook Club’s meeting. She is also planning a book signing featuring her friend, Coco Chastain, author of a series of successful cookbooks that are published by a small publishing company called, Foodie Press.

Alison Foodie, owner of the publishing company, also grew up in Crystal Cove, and lots of the locals have written books …hoping that she will publish them. But when Alison and her editor and photographer arrive, Jenna thinks something is amiss. Her feeling isn’t wrong, seeing as that the very next day after the signing Jenna gets a call telling her that Alison is dead, stabbed with a pair of shears. Coco, of course, becomes suspect number one, as the two women had had an argument the previous day.

Jenna, being a good friend, doesn’t believe that Coco could be the culprit. But Coco will not say where she was at the time Alison was killed. Ingrid, Alison’s editor, also had words with the deceased, claiming that she was about to be promoted at the publishing house but had been fired instead. There are a plentiful number of suspects that come out of the woodwork, and it will take Jenna some time to figure out who did what to who.

As always with this author, the mystery is a whole lot of fun, impossible to figure out, and offers up that great recipe of humor and suspense.

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



By Krista Davis


The Sugar Maple Inn in Wagtail, West Virginia, is a great place to relax and have a good time. Not only is it a friendly place, but it is most of all pet-friendly. The town is holding a Murder Mystery Weekend that will take place at the Inn. The owner of the Inn, Holly Miller’s grandma, Oma, is on a cruise, leaving Holly and her staff to entertain the guests.

When the games begin, some of the guests are being a tad bit dishonest about finding and keeping clues. Of course, this is just a game, so Holly doesn’t get too antsy about the way they’re playing. After all, the mystery weekend has filled the Inn during the normally slow season. The recipe for Holly is great: she has a full house and a blizzard is on the way. Only problem is that when the storm blows in, the lights blow out.

The next morning, Holly’s Jack Russell Terrier, Trixie, finds a body. A body that is not part of the mystery games. The corpse is positioned on a bench holding a fake bottle of poison which was one of the game’s props. The local deputy is on the scene quickly and begins his investigation of the victim’s past, while outside the blizzard has decided to stay and allows no one to leave.

Everyone at the Inn is banding together to solve both the make-believe mystery and the real one before someone else is killed. Holly must deal with the electricity issue, guests and their animals, her own Aunt Birdie (who is not very nice sometimes) and, of course, a dead body. This is one weekend that no one will forget.

This mystery is an excellent one that will keep readers guessing; and the idea of a Mystery Weekend is always a whole lot of fun. Definitely pet-friendly, readers will be looking forward to the next Paws and Claws mystery, which can’t come too soon for me!

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



By Fran Stewart

This is the second book in a fantastic new series that began with the title, “A Wee Murder in My Shop.”

Set in Hamelin, Vermont, which is a lovely little town but not the most likely place to run a shop that focuses on selling bagpipes and tartans, the ScotShop owned and operated by Peggy Winn is thriving.

When readers were first introduced to Peggy, she was in the Scottish Highlands on a transatlantic hunt for some genuine Scottish goods to sell at the shop. When she purchased an old tartan shawl, she’d put it around her shoulders only to find that, along with the shawl, came the ghost of a fourteenth-century Scotsman. Thinking that her vision of the man was just the product of being very tired and having a great imagination, Peggy flew home to Vermont. Only to find a dead body on the floor of her shop. A relative of Peggy’s is arrested for the crime and Peggy must ask her ghostly companion to help her figure out whodunit.

With business now booming, Peggy is a busy owner, with thanks to her Scottish companion named Dirk. The modern world is not an easy home for the dead Scotsman and Peggy must use all her strength to keep the ghost in line. The police soon find the body of Peggy’s friend Karaline’s college professor in a mountain cabin, killed because of his ecological work, and then Karaline is also shot. As a result, Peggy and Dirk decide to find the killer and put him/her away.

Grabbing the reader from the first page, book number two just solidifies the fact that this will be yet another terrific series for author Fran Stewart.

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


House of the Rising Sun

By James Lee Burke

Most of the time, when someone asks you to describe a book in one word, it’s difficult if not impossible. Not so with James Lee Burke’s “House of the Rising Sun.” It is simply, haunting.

In this masterpiece of storytelling, Burke explores the internal and external demons of a man, Texas Ranger Hackberry Holland. More specifically, the past that haunts him and the mistakes he’s made. Set in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, we find a man who teeters on the precipice of a changing world. The world of the “old west” is dying and the world of the iron and industrial age is dawning. It’s a change he has a hard time dealing with, both as a man and as a lawman.

Holland is someone whose heart is in the right place, but his decisions always lead him down the wrong road. Whether that be choosing the wrong women to share his life or choosing the wrong men to make enemies with. He is constantly fighting the inner demons of his past choices and the outward demons of alcohol. When the two combine, they do so in a combustible fusion which can lead to no other end than the subsequent explosion of emotion and action.

Written in a style that is both poetic and visceral, Burke allows us to peer into the lives of those torn apart by war. We follow Hack as he searches for a lost son and the woman he loves, yet each step forward is followed by two steps back.

“House of the Rising Sun” is a book to be savored. It is a book that will hold a special place on your shelves to be read and reread. Like Hack’s unquenchable thirst for alcohol and redemption, you will thirst for Burke’s unique and exquisite writing style. “House of the Rising Sun” crosses the lines of genre fiction into the realm of a modern literary masterpiece.

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



By James Thayer

It is the year 1912, when John Wade and his younger brother, William, are kidnapped. The two boys; John who was five years old and William who was two, were children of the American Consul in Chungking, China. On the day of their abduction, their Amah (sitter) was pushed into an open air store. A large hand seized John’s neck, while William was tucked under the kidnapper’s other arm. The boys never saw their parents again. Instead, they were taken to the House of 8 Orchids, home of Eunuch Chang who served as Chungking’s sinister mob boss.

Jumping ahead twenty-five years, it turns out that at the House of 8 Orchids, the boys were educated by Chang Tao, a feared powerful criminal who groomed John, as any father might, to become a trained assassin and con artist, while William bloomed into an extremely gifted forger.  Chang has plans to groom John to take over as his successor. But as World War II begins, China falls into disorder.

William betrays Chang and escapes into central China. Soon, John also leaves in order to search for his missing sibling. Upon John’s journey that takes him across China, he meets up with Chinese Warlords, a missionary doctor from Idaho, and some American servicemen. And soon, what would have been his future career, taking over a huge conglomerate from a mob boss, turns into a lethal hunt. Chang is after him, and he won’t stop until John pays for his disloyalty.

James Thayer, the very talented storyteller behind this book, always knows how to serve to the reader’s delight. The mastery of characters and the ability to bring to life locations that most have never seen, so vividly that they almost seem to be the view out your own window, is incredible. Readers and fans will love this new dose of Thayer’s talent.

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



By Mark Greaney

I have been a fan of Mark Greaney’s Gray Man series since its inception, and every time I read the latest gripping saga, I wonder how he can possibly up the action, adrenaline, and emotion the next time. Well, I wonder no longer. “Back Blast” did all that and more.

For those who have not read the Gray Man series, it evolves around an ex-CIA operative, Court Gentry, who is on the run from the Agency. But he has no idea why. In “Back Blast,” the Gray Man, Gentry, has had enough, and he decides it’s time to return to the USA and find out why there has been a “kill on sight” order placed on him for the past six years.

With each piece of information exposed and every twist of the plot, Gentry becomes less sure of his actions. Did he make the mistake the Agency said he did and kill the wrong man? Was he set up? And if so, why? The only way to find out is to confront the person who sent him on that mission and then issued the kill order. To do that, the Gray Man is going to have to go up against the Agency, hired operatives, old friends, and a few new enemies. Gentry must come face-to-face with his past while fighting inner turmoil along with the best counter-terrorism units the U.S. has to offer.

Mark Greaney has written an espionage-filled, political thriller that soars at a blistering pace. The tension rains down on you from the beginning and builds to a hurricane-strength, heart-pounding climax.

“Back Blast” reminds us that the truth isn’t always what we perceive it to be, and sometimes going home is harder than we think, but staying true to self may be the most important virtue one can possess. With “Back Blast,” Mark Greaney and the Gray Man are at their absolute best!

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



By J.D. Robb

In the forty-second (yep, that many and still going strong) installment of the In Death series, Robb hasn’t skipped a beat. Most series fizzle out into the double-digits, or should, but those books often require the author to color inside the lines since their foundations are built in our modern-day lives. For those new to this terrain (which I can’t believe there would be any), the world that Eve Dallas and her hot husband, Roarke, occupy is in the distant future, where our everyday boundaries don’t hamper the creativity flowing from this first-class author.

Eve’s newest case has a very personal connection on multiple levels. Her friend, Dennis Mira, and the husband of NYPSD profiler, Charlotte Mira, is attacked in his grandfather’s home. He’s slightly injured, but his first call is to his wife requesting the assistance of Eve, because his biggest concern is for his now missing cousin, Edward. Before the attack, he saw Edward in a precarious and bloodied position; now, he’s nowhere to be found, along with all the digital proof of his visit.

What starts out as a missing persons case soon turns into a frenzied race to find a murderer, or murderers, who have a twisted sense of justice. Eve and Roarke—her handy-to-have-around civilian consultant—and well-known team, wade through the dark and suspicious world of the upper-crust, where the lines blur and victims don’t tear at your heartstrings. But, no matter what, Eve stands for justice. Even justice for those who may not deserve it.

In the unmistakable Robb style, each twist and turn is methodical, meant to build anxiety so that the thrilling end will, as always, produce a gasp. The darkness and depth of the layers unveiled compels the reader to turn the pages that much faster, and the emotional connection to this cast balances the scales. The next installment can’t be released soon enough for me, and while it’s not a requirement to start at the beginning, I’d be lying if I didn’t warn you that you’d be seriously missing out.

Reviewed by Shannon Raab  ■

Be the first to comment on "“Find Her” by Lisa Gardner review and more"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.