Saturday, May 16, 2009

New Author - Margaret Fenton

Here is the book written by this new author - Little Lamb Lost by Margaret Fenton. The book will be available in June 2009. It was recommended to me by a publicist who knew I liked mysteries. The publicist is Maryglenn McCombs. Thanks for the recommendation.

Fiction is fiction but certain things make it more interesting to read. For example, use of certain ideas in books like one used in this book makes it appealing. When something goes wrong, the first thing a lot of people try to do is point a finger - lay blame on somebody else. I admit sometimes I want to place the blame on somebody myself.

This is what happens when a little boy is found dead. The blame first goes to the mother who is a recovering drug addict and then goes to DPS worker Claire Conover who was responsible for the case. A memorable quote from the book (and good advice) - "I know, but my point is that sometimes you do everything right and things still go horribly wrong. Things you don't have control over." Quotes like this are another thing that makes an appeal to it's readers.

When the mother enters a plea of guilty to the death of her own little boy, Claire does not believe it. Her job may be on the line but she is determined to find the truth about the little boy's death - even when the little boy's mother warns her to stay out of it. Claire is not by profession a typical sleuth and this gives the story more appeal.

The story has a good mix of supporting characters - from friends, to family, as well as suspects to round it out. One character I liked because I could relate somewhat with. His name was Grant. Little did Claire know how he would become involved in her life when she brought her personal computer to him to get it fixed. He fixes more than her computer and comes to her rescue a few times. Yeah ... if you haven't figured it out, I'm something of a geek too and it is nice to figure we can be heroes too.

Well ... no more give away here. You need to catch the complete story for yourself - fiction or not, it is very entertaining. I am looking forward to more books from this author. And in case you are interested, you can check out the author's website at I learned on the website that the author was a state worker. I should have known - you write best about what you know.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Discussion Group Selection For May

The May Selection for our discussion group was a new author for me - Carl Hiaasen. The book selected by our group was Tourist Season. I've discovered from his website - - that he has written several books. He is another author from Florida and he writes about the area he is familiar with. As is tradition with our reading group, I give the book a "thumbs up".

* If you are looking for a typical murder mystery, this is definitely NOT one. I doubt the author expected it to be.

This book has a lot of interesting elements in it. It is a murder mystery with a news writer turned private detective. His name is Brian Keyes and the big question is why did he quit writing to become a private detective? At first you think he gave up writing because he could not handle reporting about murder cases. Later you learn this is not the case. Typically he does not investigate cases involving murder. But when the public defender's office ask him to investigate this case he takes it because he needs the money. Even so, his motivation changes later in the book.

The book has an interesting cover too!! See the alligator on the cover. Or was it a crocodile?? I don't recall. You can find out the significance of this animal to the story.

The book is aptly titled because "tourist season" plays a big part in it. It is because of "tourist season" that people are kidnapped and murdered. A group of terrorists calling themselves "Las Noches de Diciembre" claims responsibility for these kidnaps and murders. What are they trying to accomplish? This is not your typical terrorist group either. They are trying to turn back the hands of time and push back the encroachment and development that brings the tourists to this part of Florida. The group is made up of some of the most peculiar people and each seems to have an agenda of their own.

I will not tell you what the big finale the group has planned but I will tell you it is connected to the half time show at the Orange Bowl. Did it work? Partially!!! However, at the end it falls apart. The leader of the group - who calls himself "El Fuego" - dies trying to save one of the things he is trying to preserve. Was he crazy as some suspected? You will have to decide for yourself!!

NOTE: Our group tonight was very small. I am reluctant to share the outcome of the vote because of the size. Here it is anyway - 1 thumbs up, 2 thumbs down, and one abstained because she did not read the book. Sometimes you just need something different.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

2009 Garcia Award Winner

And the winner is (drum roll please) ..... White Tombs by Christopher Valen. If you are anything like I was, you may not have known what the Garcia Award was. This is an award given in conjunction with the national Reader Views Book Awards. Specifically this prize is awarded for the best fiction book of the year. For an author's debut novel, this is an extremely positive honor. This novel features a St Paul police detective called John Santana. (By the way, the author is already working on the second book in the series!!)
Here is a White Tombs teaser. When a prominent leader of St Paul's close-knit Hispanic community is murdered, Detective John Santana promises the widow he will bring down the killer. Despite the snow and bitter cold, the case heats up quickly-suspects are killed before they can be questioned; his alcoholic partner's trigger finger draws the attention of Internal Affairs; a sexually explicit photo of a murder victim surfaces in an unlikely place; a snow plow becomes a deadly weapon; and police brass threaten to pull Santana off the case. Hunted by an assassin out for revenge and haunted by his violent Colombian past and the younger sister he left behind, Santana's simple vow to a dead man's wife becomes an oath that could cost his life.
Talk about a loaded teaser. If you need more reason to read the book, let me tell you some of the things I found interesting about the book. First the author introduces an interesting character in John Santana. Throughout the book, we learn a little more about the person and his character as he investigates the murder and other leads. Also interesting is the investigation process used by Santana and how he reaches his leads. Finally, there is the Texas connection - ha ha!! Yeah - it was not a major part of the story - just a stop over - but I DO LIKE TEXAS.
If you are interesting in learning more about the author, check out his website -