Thursday, April 26, 2012

Deadly Accusations - a Casey Holland Mystery by Debra Purdy Kong

Published by Touchwood

In this, the second of Casey Holland's escapades, she is once again hard at work on a dangerous assignment as a public transit security cop on Mainland Public Transport, trying to catch a vandal who hurls large rocks at the bus windows as it drives by. What she doesn't know is she will soon be a target for more than a rock. This book by Debra Purdy Kong delves into our misperceptions or preconceptions of others we meet or work with. Casey does not usually fit this mode of prejudging, but senses that for whatever reason, Jasmine simply does not like her and in fact is downright hostile. Worse yet, they have now been paired to work together on this case. When Jasmine is murdered, leaving behind a small son and a violent ex-husband, Casey discovers a Jasmine she never knew. What could have been the cause of such hostility?

The characters set up in the first of the series grow and mature in this second least some do. Now that Casey is responsible for Summer, her ward, she is not too thrilled with being pushed into another investigation. But pushed she is, by another co-worker Marie, self-proclaimed friend of Jasmine who may or may not have an agenda of her own.

The more Casey learns about Jasmine, the more she needs to learn in order to solve this case, even after a terrible threat to Summer if she doesn't stop investigating. As usual, there are several possible suspects, but only two really fit into the realm of probability. Of course the police chief doesn't want her "assistance" in the investigation at all, and Casey in all honesty does try to extract herself but keeps being drawn back in by Marie, and finally by Jasmine's mother, who is convinced Casey can solve the crime. When some co-workers come under investigation, hostility reigns supreme. Who really committed the crime and why? Who has anything to gain? The book is consistent, the characters are realistic especially in their response to becoming targets or suspects. A well-crafted book with lots of teasers. A plus for me is that it takes place in my original hometown. An unusual company to anticipate crime within, or maybe it has nothing to do with the company. Regardless, it will keep you guessing, while Casey and Summer do their best to keep alive and unharmed. An interesting premise and a quick and enjoyable read.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Skeletons in the Closet by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Reviewed for Imajin Books

A variety of spooky short stories hanging in this closet. Some are intense, the stuff nightmares are made of, and some are much simpler, playing on the psyche. In reading these short stories, the first being a trilogy of terror, I felt that they increased in horror with each addition to the anthology. Cheryl Kaye Tardif wields her plots with a dexterity that creeps into our souls and lives on in our minds.

Ouija, one of the later stories, so touches home as to be both horrifying and comical in the same breath. So many have had disconcerting moments with Ouija boards and this is quite typical of some of the legends surrounding it. I think I enjoyed Ouija and Remote Control best of this little crop of horrors with their quirky touches of humour, but the final story will chill you to the bone in its delivery! A wonderful crop of terrifying nightmares come to life, emphasizing how we so often enjoy being scared that we go out of our way to have campfire ghost stories. Well, these should give you a enough to keep you going for some time. Enjoy the shivers and always look over your never know who or what is lurking around you!

Tags: anthology, horror, short stories, terror, black humour, psychological terror, psyche, Canadian author,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Winter Kill by Vicki Delany

Published by Raven Books' Rapid Reads
Review based on Advanced Reading Copy (ARC)

Vicki Delany has delivered a murder mystery in Rapid Read format that gives the reader a view of life they will find familiar. A young girl from the "wrong side of the tracks" so to speak, is found dead and no one seems to care very much. A glimpse of our perceptions, often wrong, of people we don't really know who don't fit in or are considered beneath us. In this case, a popular young boy, destined for a football scholarship, has taken the time to know her and is devastated when she is murdered.

Nicole Patterson, a new constable on the small town's force, also has taken an interest in the victim, Maureen. Her death brings back high school memories, as a former student at the same high school Maureen attended, she would as soon forget. Though not qualified yet to be on the case, she can't leave it alone. Since she is familiar with the town and her supervisor is from a big city, Nicole is compelled to ask a few questions on her own.

Vicki Delany has written with a depth of compassion not always found in murder mysteries, causing me to care who killed Maureen. This is no easy feat in Rapid Reads, short but complete stories that can be read in a day. I look forward to more from Vicki in the future.

Anna's Awakening by Acacia Oak

Published by Keith Publications
Reviewed for Keith Publications' Wicked Ink Press
Anna's Awakening - a perfect title for this multi-layered novel of a woman who has lost her way through grief and loss, when she is awakened to new life of hope in so many ways. Anna's life has not been easy, ending in divorce when she is no longer able to help her suicidal husband alone. When she decides to put pen to paper of those difficult years, more for catharsis than with any firm plan in mind, it proves worthy of publication, due partly to the fact that she and many others have lived it, but also to help others to understand what clinical depression can do. To her amazement, the book becomes a best-seller and she is off on a signing tour.

Meeting an old crush from high school on the plane as she is traveling to a book signing, Anna finds herself drawn to Jake as she remembers the feelings she had for him, but she is terrified of any commitment and holds herself distant in many ways. However, she soon finds that their lives will become entwined in danger by two entirely different investigations and no longer can they deny their romantic connection. I am amazed at the number of issues Acacia Oak covers while maintaining momentum and suspense in her writing. This book has everything: mental issues, family, corporate crime, danger, mystery and a tantalizing romance, independently blooming regardless of Anna's fears, as the book proceeds to a very satisfying ending. I really enjoyed reading this fascinating and eventful book, learning new things in the process, something I always look for.