Sunday, September 24, 2017

Murder Is No Accident (A Hidden Springs Mystery #3)

by A.H. Gabhart
published by Revell Books

I have just started this book and already am enjoying it. Is it wrong to enjoy a book that almost begins with a death? I don't think so, having quickly discovered that the author writes with a thread of humor throughout and the death may simply be a deadly accident. This story, which as I mentioned I have just begun, is pulling me in quickly with its small town, cozy but with its fair share of seniors and dementia added to the mix. Old, well-hidden secrets also seem to be woven into everyday life. This is my first book by A.H. Gabart, and I'm looking forward to what will come to light in this quirky town. Mystery, history, dementia, family, faith and secrets seem intertwined with what should have been and what is. Who is in such a hurry to sell the old Chandler house while the owner is still living, though not occupying the house? What does Miss Fonda know, trapped in her mind? Most importantly, who is hiding in the house and searching for what?

Maggie, a young girl who cleans the old house, is terrified; though she finds a dead woman, she did not see her fall, nor how she died. Why does she feel so threatened? But this story is not just about death, fear or possible murder. This is a town of curiosity, longing, and life. A town of close neighbours and caring, yet fear has invaded, love and living put on hold. Hidden Springs, a lovely name, what was a lovely town. Secrets and mystery have taken it over. I love this book! In many ways it is uplifting even in light of the "incidents" that are trying to shake up the townspeople. Are these incidents accidents or murder?

I love the determination of the life of Miss Fonda, with her dementia and the forms it has taken. She is a major focus, for all her confusion. There is always something important if the time is taken to understand it, and what is important to her is home and the deceased sister she believes still lives there. A.H. Gabhart is a gifted writer that makes a story sound and feel real with all its foibles, friendships, caring and grace.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Last Lullaby by Alice Walsh

by Alice Walsh
published by Vagrant Press
imprint of Nimbus Publishing

A heart-rending story of love and loss, placed in Newfoundland. The story begins with professionals that have young children and infants. So many variations on a theme of the difficulty of raising a child, a baby, while working, taking classes or single motherhood. This is an unusual mystery that happens to brings out several difficulties these people often face. Post-partum depression, crib death (SIDS), law, adoption, and suspected homicide. It also brings out what happens when trying to prove innocence when there is little to work with. So many possibilities, but what will be the outcome and how much truth is there in the testimony of witnesses who may or may not have seen something amiss?

This is a very good story with a lot of insight and emotion with an almost confusing number of mothers and infants. It also has many truths that often aren't talked about, but should be. A student gone missing along with her baby, a young woman with little to live on; a professor who is a suspect in the death of her baby; a new mother found murdered; so many crimes but there are many surprises, possibilities and probabilities as well. This may appear to be a strange story to some, but it is in fact a police procedural investigation, with assistance, though not particularly requested, provided by some concerned citizens...professors, psychologists, actors, relatives, friends, with the usual interference and lack of compassion by the press. Who is the blonde woman that shows up around the crime scenes? What is the secret behind the two professors who are keeping a low profile? The outcome of this story was completely unpredictable and shocking. I thought it was well-written and suspenseful, even with a confusing number of babies, and did not put it down until I finished.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Trickster by L.G. Miles and Amy Miles

by L.G. Miles and Amy Miles

A good short story about three older children who find themselves caught in a supernatural struggle they didn't expect. A good story-line children and young teens should enjoy, a tale of curses, ghosts, and hidden spaces. How often young people like to take a dare to prove their loyalty or bravado. The Prologue sets the scene in 1905 for dark magic, goosebumps and things that go bump in the night, not to mention a fabulous dragon staff that is not all it seems. Strange things are happening in the woods at night. What is the hooded man doing with his steel and artifacts? Someone is watching him when he should run for his life.

Jumping to present day, something strange is happening at the museum. The staff has been found and is about to be revealed the next day...or will it? In the meantime, who is playing tricks on the night watchman? Who or what is the Trickster? A school group is scheduled to go on a field trip to the museum the next day, but on the next day the museum has been taped off as a crime scene. What could have happened? Three young people make a deal to visit an old mill with a long history when they learn that the dragon staff is missing and ghosts are believed to be haunting the old mill house, one a ghost clown at that. Will they be able to hide their fears? Will they find the staff or will they be defeated in their attempts to access every part of the house, tunnels and all. Fun and creepy, a good read for kids, and by a young person according to "About the Authors" at the end of the book.