Archive for the ‘4 Star Books’ Category

Salt Creek


Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar

Some things collapse slow, and cannot always be rebuilt, and even if a thing can be remade it will never be as it was.

Salt Creek, 1855, lies at the far reaches of the remote, beautiful and inhospitable coastal region, the Coorong, in the new province of South Australia. The area, just opened to graziers willing to chance their luck, becomes home to Stanton Finch and his large family, including fifteen-year-old Hester Finch.

Once wealthy political activists, the Finch family has fallen on hard times. Cut adrift from the polite society they were raised to be part of, Hester and her siblings make connections where they can: with the few travellers that pass along the nearby stock route – among them a young artist, Charles – and the Ngarrindjeri people they have dispossessed. Over the years that pass, an Aboriginal boy, Tully, at first a friend, becomes part of the family.

Stanton’s attempts to tame the harsh landscape bring ruin to the Ngarrindjeri people’s homes and livelihoods, and unleash a chain of events that will tear the family asunder. As Hester witnesses the destruction of the Ngarrindjeri’s subtle culture and the ideals that her family once held so close, she begins to wonder what civilization is. Was it for this life and this world that she was educated?

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Lucy Treloar 

Author’s Bio

Lucy Treloar was born in Malaysia and educated in Melbourne, England and Sweden. A graduate of the University of Melbourne and RMIT, Lucy is a writer and editor and has plied her trades both in Australia and in Cambodia, where she lived for a number of years.

– 2014 Regional Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Her short fiction has appeared in Sleepers, Overland, Seizure, and Best Australian Stories 2013. Lucy is a regular contributor to Womankind magazine.

Lucy’s second novel, Salt Creek,was published by Picador (Pan Macmillan) in August 2015.


My Review

4 stars

It is 1855 in Australia and we follow Hester Finch (Hetty) and her family. Stanton Finch is the father and has a bad habit of jumping into the next big scheme and leaving debt and irritated people behind. His newest scheme is to move his family to the desolated Salt Creek on The Coorong. He is planning to create a great farmland and build a beautiful house for his depressed wife.

But after a hard trip, the family discovers little more than a stable to live in, a harsh land, and the Aboriginal Ngarrindjeri. This is just the beginning. Stanton thinks he can just easily jump into the land a make a wonderful farm. Instead he destroys the fragile eco system and causes a lot of problems for the Ngarrindjeri who have no problem taking care of this problem. If that wasn’t enough, Hetty’s mom drops further into depression and Hetty starts raising the younger children

The Aborigines complain to Stanton about the damage that his cattle is doing and although he tries to help a drought has him telling the natives to leave. But he does think that he can civilized the natives and takes Tully to be taught with his own children. Tully learns quickly but finds himself confused about the differences in the natives and the white beliefs.

This is a great story with a lot of true events in it. I love the rich history you get while following along as Hetty tries to keep her family from falling apart. I loved Tully and Hetty. There were such a great way to bridge the gap between the Aborigines and the Finch family. But the think I liked the best was that you learned about both sides to this story.

This is a rich story that will appeal to anyone that wants to know more about Australian history. It is a beautifully woven story that draws you in and leaves you wanting more at the end. This is one that you need to check out.

I received Salt Creek from the publisher for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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All Signs Point to Murder

All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco

All Signs Point to Murder

by Connie di Marco

on Tour July 23 – August 23, 2017


All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco

Rob Ramer was the perfect husband until he committed the ultimate family faux pas — he shot his sister-in-law to death. Believing himself under attack by an intruder in his home, he fired back. But when evidence is discovered that Rob’s wife, Brooke, was plotting his murder, Brooke is charged with conspiracy in her sister’s death. Geneva, a third sister, is desperate for answers and seeks the help of her friend, San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti. Geneva’s lost one sister and now it seems she’ll lose the other. Was this a murder plot or just a terrible accident? Julia vows to find the answer in the stars.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Paranormal
Published by: Midnight Ink
Publication Date: August 2017
Number of Pages:336
ISBN: 0738751073 (ISBN13: 9780738751078)
Series: A Zodiac Mystery, 2 | Each is a Stand Alone Mystery
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | IndieBound 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

The building on Guerrero was a once proud Victorian with bow front windows. It had since been broken up into six small units and fallen into disrepair. I drove around the block several times before I managed to find a parking spot a few doors down. The shops on the main street were long closed and the streets deserted. I shivered and let the car heater run another minute to warm up before I left the comfort of my little metal box. There was something about this chore that made my stomach go into knots. Rummaging through a dead woman’s possessions was bad enough, but what if I found something that implicated Moira in a crime? Should I remove it and risk the police finding out?

I climbed out of the car, careful to lock it and approached the long stairway leading to the front door. The wind had died down and now fog danced around the streetlights. It was eerily quiet. No lights shone from any of the windows. I hoped all the residents were safely tucked up in their beds by now. I climbed the cracked granite stairs to the entrance. The weathered door stood ajar, listing slightly on its hinges. I grasped the handle and twisted it, but the lock mechanism was out of commission. Inside, a bare overhead light bulb hung from a chain. It cast a meager glow down the long corridor, cannibalized from a once grand entryway. The hallway smelled of dirty cat litter, moldy vegetables and cigarette smoke. I followed the corridor to the end, and stopped at the last door on the right.

I slipped the key into the lock. It offered no resistance. The door opened immediately. Had it not been locked? I caught a slight scuffling sound and cringed. I hoped no furry long-tailed creatures were waiting inside for me. I reached around the doorway and felt along the wall. My fingers hit the switch. A rusting chandelier with two bulbs missing illuminated the one large room that was both Moira’s living room and bedroom. I tested the key with the door open, locking and then unlocking it. Now I felt the resistance. The door had definitely been unlocked. I stepped inside and shut it behind me, making sure the lock was secure. Was it possible someone had been here before me and left without locking the door? Or had Moira simply been careless?

I had to make sure I was alone in the apartment. There were no hiding places in this sparsely furnished room. I checked under the bed just to be sure and opened the closet, terrified that someone or something might jump out at me. The closet was narrow, filled with a jumble of clothing, half on the floor. I walked into the kitchenette and spotted a doorway that led to the back stairs and the yard. I tested the handle on the door. Locked. I checked the space between the refrigerator and the wall, and then the shower stall in the bathroom. I was alone. I had been holding my breath and finally let it out in a great sigh.

I started with the drawers in the kitchen and checked the counter, looking for any notes with names or phone numbers. There was nothing. The kitchen was surprisingly clean, as if Moira had never used the room. Inside the refrigerator were a few condiments, a half-eaten unwrapped apple and a loaf of whole wheat bread. I quickly rummaged through the drawers and the freezer to make sure there were no bundles of cash disguised as frozen meat.

The main room housed a collection of hand-me-downs and broken furniture, ripped curtains and piles of clothing in various spots around the floor. Had she really lived like this? I heaved up the mattress, first on one side and then the other, making sure nothing was hidden between it and the box spring. Under the bed, I spotted only dust bunnies. I pulled open each of the bureau drawers, checked their contents and pulled them all the way out to make sure nothing was behind them. I opened a small drawer in the bedside stand. Amid a loose pile of clutter was a dark blue velvet box embossed with the letter “R” in cursive gold script. Could this be from Rochecault? I was fairly certain it was. Rochecault is an infamously expensive jeweler on Maiden Lane downtown. How could Moira have shopped there? Was this what Geneva had meant when she said her sister seemed to have a lot of money to spend?

I opened the box and gasped. An amazing bracelet heavy with blue stones in varying colors rested inside. The setting had the slightly matte industrial sheen of platinum. Moira couldn’t possibly have afforded this. Shoving the box into a side pocket of my purse, I decided I was definitely not leaving this for the police to find, and slid the drawer shut.

I scanned the room. Moira hadn’t been much of a housekeeper and it didn’t appear as if there were many hiding spots. I headed for the desk, a rickety affair with two drawers and a monitor on top. I clicked on the hard drive and waited a moment. The monitor came to life and asked for a password. It would take someone much more talented than I to unearth its secrets. Under a jumble of papers and unopened bills, my eye caught a small black notebook. This looked promising. Perhaps it was an address book that would give us all of Moira’s contacts. I dropped my purse on the floor and reached for the book. A searing pain shot through my skull. Blinded, I fell to the floor.


Excerpt from All Signs Point to Murder by Connie di Marco. Copyright © 2017 by Connie di Marco. Reproduced with permission from Connie di Marco. All rights reserved.

Connie di Marco

Author Bio:

Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries from Midnight Ink, featuring San Francisco astrologer, Julia Bonatti. The first in the series, The Madness of Mercury, was released in June 2016 and the second, All Signs Point to Murder, available for pre-order now, will be released on August 8, 2017.

Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime. Some of her favorite recipes can be found in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Connie is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

Catch Up With Connie di Marco On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

My Review

4 stars

Julia Bonatti’s friend, Geneva is going to get married. But Julia sees some unhappy astrological signs ahead. But she doesn’t want to rain on Geneva’s happiness. But things go to hell quickly when a murder happens at the reception. Julia decides that she is going to solve this mystery and learns that Geneva’s family has some dark secrets that she might not want to hear about. It also looks like the killer is willing to stop Julia in any way possible.

Julia sees darkness in the signs but she doesn’t want to ruin Geneva’s big day. And what could go wrong does the whole day of the wedding with a missing sister, a drunken wedding planner, and an intruder being shot. Sadly it’s Moira, Geneva’s sister that dies. Julia decides to look into this mess and quickly finds herself in trouble.

This is a great cozy mystery with a n astrological twist added in. I loved how the astrology played into the story. I didn’t really guess who killed Moira but I loved the why. The story flowed well and kept me entertained. I have not read the first book in the series but I think I will go back to catch up.

I received All Signs Point to Murder from Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours and Netgalley for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Tour Participants:


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Connie di Marco. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card AND 2 winners of one (1) eBook copy of All Signs Point to Murder. The giveaway begins on July 21 and runs through August 24, 2017.

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A Gleam of Light


A Gleam of Light (The Survival Trilogy – 1) by TJ Wolf and ML Wolf

In 1995, at the age of eight, Una Waters survived a terrifying encounter at 30,000 feet aboard Flight 564 from Dallas to Las Vegas. It changed her forever. After 21 years, and a decade away from the Hopi Reservation where she grew up as a child, a surprise plea for help brings Una back, to solve a mystery that threatens their traditional way of life. The U.S. Army’s sudden interest regarding a cave discovery in the Sacred Peaks has triggered alarm, leading to violence. With the help of friends, new and old, Una must confront her painful past, seek proof to qualify the ancient site for protection under law, and stand up to a stiff-necked general, whose agenda is more concerned with retrieving a mysterious power source.

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T.J. Wolf 

Author’s Bios

T.J. & M.L. Wolf joined forces in the field of Healthcare, exploring mutual interest in the work of UFO researchers like Budd Hopkins and movie directors like Steven Spielberg. The History Channel’s “Ancient Aliens” became a focal point of their quest to uncover the truth regarding humanity’s purpose and how it pertains to our future. Married twenty years, they write Speculative Fiction and live in Boardman, Ohio with their six-pound Yorkie, who keeps the family in line.


My Review

4 Stars

When Una Waters was nine years old, she had a strange experience. She spends the rest of her childhood impatiently waiting to get off the reservation, which she does when she turns eighteen. Now Una works for the Department of the Interior and is called back when the military starts performing operations on a mountain sacred to the Hopi. Of course Una is ready to fight for her people and ends up on an adventure beyond this world.

This story combines history about Native Americans, the possibility of UFO’s and aliens, and a government conspiracy. Una has an interesting experience that shakes her at an early age and she watched the US government cover everything up. Now she works for the government and now has the knowledge to fight back when she learns of them trying to take over a sacred cave. From there we go on a race against time, following clues, and finding out the truth.

Whenever you talk about aliens the Hopi will eventually work into the conversation because of the pictograms that resemble people in space suits or aliens. The Hopi mythology leads a lot to interpret to many people that believe in aliens. Just watch an episode of Ancient Aliens and you will understand what I mean.

This part of the book I had no problem with. Unfortunately it was the execution of the story that cause me trouble. The narration was rough and jumped all around. It is the first book in the series and I know you have to work out the bugs but I think they could have reviewed it just one more time before releasing it. Having said that, A Gleam of Light is a good story and leaves thing open for the next book. I would be interested in reading the second book.

I received A Gleam of Light from the author’s for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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The Weight of Lies


The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter

Beachgoers who tuck a copy of Carpenter’s new book into their bags this summer can expect the thriller—packed with riddles, a novel-within-a-novel, and characters who take the definition of Southern Gothic to sinister new levels—to keep them on their chaises long past sundown. It’s what Carpenter considers her idea of the perfect beach read. One with a twist.

Meg Ashley leads a life of privilege, thanks to a bestselling horror novel, Kitten, her mother wrote decades ago. But Meg knows that the glow of their very public life hides a darker reality of lies, manipulation, and the heartbreak of her own solitary childhood. Desperate to break free of her mother, Meg accepts a proposal to write a scandalous, tell-all memoir.

Digging into the past—and her mother’s cult classic—draws Meg to Bonny Island, Georgia, and an unusual woman said to be the inspiration for the book. At first, island life seems idyllic, but as Meg starts to ask tough questions, disturbing revelations come to light…including some about her mother.

Soon Meg’s search leads her to question the facts of a decades-old murder. She’s warned to leave it alone, but as the lies pile up, Meg knows she’s getting close to finding a murderer. When her own life is threatened, Meg realizes the darkness found in her mother’s book is nothing compared to the chilling truth that lurks off the page.

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Early Praise

“Twists aplenty in this searing murder mystery should leave readers dizzy, in the best way possible.”

KIRKUS (Starred Review)

“An unputdownable read.”


“Don’t let this nail-biter of a good read pass you by!”


“The Weight of Lies might just be my perfect summer crime book.


“Overall, this is a well-crafted, must-read thriller with bits of romance, horror and intrigue used strategically by Carpenter to keep pace and amp up tension.


Emily Carpenter

Author’s Bio

Emily Carpenter, author of Amazon bestselling debut, Burying the Honeysuckle Girls, which sold over 100,000 copies in just under six months, grew up in Alabama and lives in Georgia. Southern Gothic is in her blood, and she’s vacationed on islands like the fictitious Bonny for many years.

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My Review

4 stars

Frances Ashley wrote a horror story called Kitten and has become famous with a cult following. Meg Ashley is her daughter and has never had to work a day in her life living off the riches of the book. Meg is estranged from her mother and not spoken to her in three years. She gets offered the chance to write a tell-all story about her troubled home life and the story behind Kitten and jumps at the chance to make lots of money and get away from her mother.

Meg finds herself at Bonny Island to add more realism to the story. As she is there she finally feels like she is home and makes a connection with Doro Kitchens, the inspiration for Kitten. But as she starts digging she starts to realize that there is more to the real life story when she is first warned then she finds her life in danger. But she can’t quit now, Meg has to learn the truth.

Meg is a spoiled little brat that can’t get along with her mother but is sure fast to stick out her hand for money. She decides to write the tell-all to make a break for herself and to get her own money. But as she starts digging into the murders at Bonny Island that the book Kitten is based on things start taking a turn for the worst. As we follow Meg we also get snippets of the book Kitten that entices you to keep reading to see what is truth and what is lies. And how does Doro play into the murders.

This is a great thriller that gave me goose bumps. Although Meg annoyed me and you jump around in the story, I did really enjoy it. I think this is one of those that many will like.

I received The Weight of Lies from Sabrina Dax Publicity for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Pipeliner by Shawn Hartje

For seventeen-year-old Jason Krabb, high school life in 1990s Idaho is a world of cargo shorts, cassette tapes, and junk food. Plagued equally by algebra and puberty, Jason sets out to find a girlfriend and become a rock guitarist. His quest is irreversibly jolted when he attends a bonfire and meets an alluring girl from the other side of town and a rag tag crew who are bringing gas lines through the desert in order to keep the lights on in Portland and Seattle, places where Jason hopes to find his nirvana as a guitarist.

Meanwhile, things deteriorate at home. Jason’s pediatrician mom, Leah, sadly faces the twilight of her parenting years while his father, Curtis, contends with the enormity of running a big ticket research laboratory and coming to terms with his son’s wayward path.

Pipeliner is at once a coming of age love story and a comical timestamp of early 90s family life. Set in the fictional Idaho town of Helen Springs, pop. 58,000, its characters are as vibrant as the lofty peaks and purple sunsets of the high desert. Here we find rich farmers, poor ranchers, dutiful Mormons, government honchos, disgruntled vets, drug-dealing bruisers, irksome teachers, and spirited students, all doing their best to keep the lights on.

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 Shawn Hartje

Author’s Bio

Shawn Hartje was raised in Sioux City, Iowa and has lived in Idaho, Colorado and West Virginia. He has lived in Northern California since 2002. He enjoys high desert scenery, paddling rivers, and skateboarding with his kids.


My Review

4 stars

Jason Krabb is trying to find his place in the world in a small Idaho town in the 90’s. His family has some money with a successful pediatrician for a mother and a less successful father that constantly has to hear it from his wife. Jason was the star of the swim team but now that it is disbanded he doesn’t know what to do. He hears about some pipeliners that are laying pipe for gas and is kicking around the idea to drop out of high school to work with them then head to Portland or Seattle to be a rock star.

Jason’s parents don’t think he can live up to his older, smarter brother’s standards. He is an average student and focuses on his guitar. Jason is trying to figure out where he fits into the world when he meets new girl Betsy and is drawn to her and the pipeliners. Of course he is going to experiment with sex, drugs, rock and roll to find himself.

When I first read the summary to Pipeliners I had to laugh. I could think of the stupid stuff that I did as a teenager. When I read about Jason thinking he could just be a rock star or simply dropping out of school to lay pipeline I had to chuckle. I remember those half-baked ideas that sound award winning when you are young.

Although you have an idea of where this story is going, it’s about the journey. I was laughing and remembering the 90’s for myself. I grew up in a small farming/ranching area so I understand a lot of what Jason is going through. It’s a good read of one kid trying to figure out himself and his place in the world.

I received Pipeliner from the author for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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Five Ways to Kill a Man

Five Ways to Kill A Man

by Alex Gray

on Tour
July ​30 – August 30, 2017


Five Ways to Kill A Man by Alex Gray

An unpredictable killer is loose on the streets of Glasgow, experimenting with death. Beginning with brute force, the murderer moves on to poison and drowning, greedy for new and better ways to kill.

Faced with a string of unconnected victims, DCI Lorimer turns to psychologist and friend Solomon Brightman for his insights. Lorimer is also assigned to review the case of a fatal house fire. His suspicions are raised by shocking omissions in the original investigation. Some uncomfortable questions have been buried but Lorimer is the man to ask them.

As the serial killer gets closer to Lorimer’s family, can the DCI unmask the volatile murderer before the next victim is found too close to home?

Book Details:

Genre: Procedural
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 0062659189 (ISBN13: 9780062659187)
Series: DCI Lorimer #7, All are Stand Alone
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

When Mary heard the back door being knocked, a smile lit up her wizened features: it was him! Danny hadn’t let her down after all, she thought. Shuffling through the hall, the old lady placed one hand on the papered walls for support, breathing hard at the effort. She switched on the kitchen light, an expression of delighted anticipation on her face at the shadow beyond the half-glazed door. The tea tray was still prepared for them; Danny’s favourite biscuits on a plate beneath the embroidered cloth, two china cups and saucers all ready beside them. Mary smoothed down her skirt and patted her tightly permed white curls, just as if she were about to welcome a young suitor to her parlour.

Eager fingers turned the key and then the cold air rushed in, sweeping Mary’s skirt above her knees, making her tremble at the empty darkness. Where was he? The trees outside swayed in the gathering storm. Had she really seen his shadow there on her doorstep? Or was it a trick of the light?

‘Danny? Danny! Are you out there? Come in, lad, it’s too cold for me to leave the door open.’ Mary’s smile faded as she heard the branches of the old apple tree creak in the wind. Had she imagined the door being knocked? Had her heightened anticipation tricked her into imagining that familiar sound? Was it the wind?

Disappointed, Mary was about to shut the door once again when she heard it: a pitiful cry just out there in the garden, some small animal in distress. Was it a cat? She’d had cats for years, but after Tiggle had been put down Malcolm had persuaded her not to have another one. It’s too much for you, Mother, he’d scolded. But Mary still missed the companionable creature and on a night like this a furry body curled on her lap would have been very welcome. So, was it a stray cat, perhaps?

Peering into the darkness, Mary heard it again, a bit closer this time.

‘Puss?’ she queried. ‘Here, pussy,’ she said, her words drawn away by a gust of wind. Venturing forwards, Mary took one step down, her fingers gripping the rail that the nice man from social services had put in for her, and called again. ‘Puss, puss . . .’

The figure seemed to come from nowhere, the hood concealing his face.

‘Danny?’ Mary stood still, wondering, doubting as he mounted the steps towards her.

But in that moment of hesitation she felt her fingers being pried from the railing, then the figure was suddenly behind her.

One blow to her spine and she was falling down and down, a thin wail of pain coming from her mouth as the sharp edges of the stone steps grazed her face, cut into her flailing arms.

Mary closed her eyes before the final thud, her skull smashing against the concrete slab below.

‘Miaow!’ the hooded figure cried, then laughed softly at the inert body splayed at the foot of the steps. Bending down, it lifted one of the woman’s thin wrists, feeling for a pulse. A moment passed then the hood nodded its satisfaction, letting the dead woman’s arm fall back on to the cold, hard ground.

Excerpt from Five Ways to Kill A Man by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2017 by Alex Gray. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Alex Gray

Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English.

Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.

A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Connect with Alex Gray on her Website 🔗 & Twitter 🔗.

My Review

4 Stars

DCI Lorimer has a new serial killer on his hands. There have been three bodies discovered, killed in different ways, and it is not becoming apparent this killer is finding their preferred targets and methods. Trying to find the connection between the victims, Lorimer asks his psychologist for some insight. Then he finds that his own family is being targeted.

This is the first DIC Lorimar story that I have read and think that it could easily be a standalone story. Lorimer is an inspector but he is also a family man with troubles of his own. It doesn’t register right away that they have a serial killer on their hands when the victims are discovered because they have no connection and have died under different means.

This story started of really fast with three murders right in a row. But then we slow down and seemed to flounder. I had an idea of who the killer was quickly after I started the story and will admit that I would like to have had more closure at the end.

This is not a bad story. It’s a fairly decent mystery. At this point I’m on the fence about if I want to go back to the beginning and read the books or leave it lay.

I received Five Ways to Kill a Man from Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray & Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Alex Gray’s Glasgow Kiss. The giveaway begins on July 30 and runs through August 30, 2017.

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Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn

A mysterious murder in a dystopian future leads a novice investigator to question what she’s learned about the foundation of her population-controlled society.

Decades after economic and environmental collapse destroys much of civilization in the United States, the Coast Road region isn’t just surviving but thriving by some accounts, building something new on the ruins of what came before. A culture of population control has developed in which people, organized into households, must earn the children they bear by proving they can take care of them and are awarded symbolic banners to demonstrate this privilege. In the meantime, birth control is mandatory.  Enid of Haven is an Investigator, called on to mediate disputes and examine transgressions against the community. She’s young for the job and hasn’t yet handled a serious case. Now, though, a suspicious death requires her attention. The victim was an outcast, but might someone have taken dislike a step further and murdered him?  In a world defined by the disasters that happened a century before, the past is always present. But this investigation may reveal the cracks in Enid’s world and make her question what she really stands for.

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 Carrie Vaughn

Author’s Bio

Carrie Vaughn is best known for her New York Times bestselling series of novels about a werewolf named Kitty who hosts a talk radio show for the supernaturally disadvantaged. The fourteenth installment, Kitty Saves the World, was released in 2015. Her forthcoming novels include a near-Earth space opera, Martians Abroad, from Tor Books, and a post-apocalyptic murder mystery, Bannerless, from John Joseph Adams Books. She’s written several other contemporary fantasy and young adult novels, as well as upwards of 80 short stories. She’s a contributor to the Wild Cards series of shared world superhero books edited by George R. R. Martin and a graduate of the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop.

An Air Force brat, she survived her nomadic childhood and managed to put down roots in Boulder, Colorado.

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My Review

4 stars

One hundred years after the Fall, people are living simple lives. Along the Coast Road (think California) people live with strict rules for having children and wasting resources. People must prove that they can take care of a child before they are allowed to have one, they will have a green and red banner. Those that have a bannerless child are severely punished and shamed. Enid is a young Investigator, this world’s police. Enid and her partner Tomas are call to Pasadan to investigate a death of Sero. Initially it looks like a suicide but things are not adding up and it is starting to look like a murder.

While investigating, Enid thinks it strange how quiet the residents of Pasadan are about Sero’s death. It’s also a strange coincidence that she runs into her former lover, Dak in Pasadan too. The story then bounces between the present day investigation into the death and flash backs of Enid’s time with Dak.

This was an interesting take on the dystopian story. The Coastal Road has found if they work together in communities they can flourish in this new world. Those that obey the rules get the chance to reproduce while those that don’t have their communities broken up, divided, and shamed. The main problem we see is the bannerless, those that both have children with no banner/approval and the child.

I liked the idea of the world and how it has regrown from the ashes of a former world. The thing that got me though was the fact that everything is simpler yet you have the advanced abilities to produce birth control. There were a couple other things like that that made this feel out of place. Also, the mystery doesn’t seem to play that big of a part in this story. It feels more of a story of Enid and how they have recovered from the Fall.

Overall this is a good story. I see that it will be the first in the Bannerless Saga and I am excited to see where Carrie Vaughn is going to take it from here.

I received Bannerless from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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