Thursday, January 29, 2009

Third in Gray Whale Inn Mystery Series

I just finished Karen MacInerney’s book called Murder Most Maine. This is the third book in the Gray Whale Inn Mystery Series. The other two books in the series were Murder On the Rocks and Dead and Berried. Natalie Barnes is the proprietor of the Gray Whale Inn. She left her home and a state job in Texas to come to Cranberry Island, Maine where she has been the outsider.

A weight loss retreat is being hosted at the Gray Whale Inn and Natalie wants everything to go right - especially since it could mean return business. Will it be business as usual? Only if you expect murder and mystery to be usual. The author does a great job weaving the story together. I can tell you about some of the highlights of the story but you can only get the connections by reading it for yourself.

Is the number three significant in this – the third book of the series – or is it just a coincidence? Three boats - her Little Marian, John’s Mooncatcher, and Eliazer’s Windward - were used to transport her guests from the ferry to the Inn because she could not get the Inn’s van to start. Three deaths were discovered in this book. The first was a skeleton found at the old lighthouse being remodeled for a tourist attraction. The second was the trainer for the retreat and the third was a guest of the retreat. Three of the guests were friends attending to lose weight for an upcoming reunion. Have you heard the phrase – three’s a crowd? This is how Natalie felt when around John, her neighbor, and Charlene, the organizer of the retreat. Charlene lived on Cranberry Island years ago and had dated John back then. And then there is the phrase – third times the charm. In this the third book, Natalie who has been the outsider is beginning to be treated as one of the community by the other island folks. And again – third times a charm – Natalie and John are engaged at the end of the book.

Finally the author does a great job describing the scenery on Cranberry Island. She makes a telling description at the beginning when she compares the changing season on Cranberry Island with that of the Austin Texas area in May.

Will this be the last in the Gray Whale Inn Mystery Series? NO!! I just read on her website that she is working on the fourth book of the series. Looking forward to it!!! I hope she makes a trip to the Dallas area to promote the book when she does finish it. If you have NOT read the first two books in the series, by all means read them.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Virtual Book Tour - The Mind of a Genius

Welcome to this stop on this virtual book tour for David Snowdon and his book The Mind of a Genius. For more stops on this tour, click here. The virtual book tour goes into March.

This book was something different for me. I like reading mysteries but this was not your typical mystery – even though there were some mystery elements to it. On the back of the book it says it is “crime fiction”. Another word used to describe the story is espionage. I could understand both definitions for this book.

First let me give a short description of the basic plot in the book. A brilliant British scientist has come up with an invention that will change the world. However, he has died before sharing that invention with the world. Nobody knows what the invention is – it’s a mystery. But every one wants this invention. Those trying to get their hands on it include intelligence organizations from different countries, and others strictly interested in the money they can get for this secret. How do they try to get it? Some try to outright steal it. Others offer money for information about it. And some try to charm it out of the widow of the scientist.

One of the things I did not understand at first was the amount of detail I found in the book in certain areas. For example, a lot of detail was shared about what each character was wearing and looked like. Also there was a lot of emphasis on the music playing in the clubs – including the name of the song and who was performing it. Also there was a lot of detail about the meals that were eaten. It finally occurred to me the reason a lot of this detail was shared. This book includes several intelligence organizations and details are something they pay a lot of attention to.

Another thing hard to do at first was to keep track of who all the characters were. There were a lot of people interested in the secret formula that was going to change the world. There were also characters who had no connection to the secret formula or the plot. Their purpose could only be to help define other characters in the book. For example, a major character was Jason Clay – an independent agent for the MI-4 agency. Some might say he was James Bond-like because of his attractions with women. Several female characters are introduced in the story to emphasize this connection. Because of his ways with women, he was put on the case to get information from the scientist’s widow. Oh … by the way, there was a Bond in the book – her name was Janet Bond.

So … did I enjoy the book? Yes … I did … especially since it was different from what I usually read. I give it a … (drum roll please!!!) … thumbs up. I will not give away about the story. What happened to those trying to find the secret formula? What was the formula? This is something you would probably want to find out on your own.

The Mind of a Genius by David Snowdon
(The Formula That Could Change The World)

Special Agent, Jason Clay from the MI4 is hired to find a secret formula that was invented by the famous British scientist, Malcolm Prince. The only weak element in Clay’s strategy to accomplish his mission is Laura Prince, the beautiful wife of the scientist, who Clay has to seduce in order to obtain the formula.

But the CIA, the Denmark Intelligence, the Australian Intelligence and many other very determined individuals are also after that formula, and can’t wait to get their hands on it. The competition is fierce, but who’s going to win?

The story develops as a travel through the world; with the action starting in London, then moving onto Copenhagen, Hong Kong and Australia.

Clay appears to be the right man for the job; extremely handsome and a natural charmer, nothing could be easier for him than seducing a beautiful woman in order to obtain a top secret.

For more information visit

About the book:
The Mind of a Genius by David Snowdon
ISBN: 978-0-9552650-1-3
Publisher: Pentergen Books
Pages: 288
S.R.P £6.99/ $13.56

Available from Waterstone’s, Blackwells, and from the author at his website

About David Snowdon -
British thriller writer, David Snowdon was born in London, and lives in London. He started writing in 1983, and wrote his first book, which hasn’t been published in 1984. His first published work, Too Young To die, was published in August 2006. And his second novel, The Mind of a Genius, was published in November 2007.

To learn more about David Snowdon and The Mind of a Genius, click here and to learn more about his virtual tour in early 2009, click here.

Post comments on any of the blog tour stops and be entered in a drawing for a copy of The Mind of a Genius.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Meeting The Author -- J.A. Jance

J.A. Jance is on a book tour right now for her newest Ali Reynolds book called Cruel Intent. She was at Borders Books in Dallas tonight. This was a great opportunity for me to meet one of the authors whose books I enjoy. My wife and I made a trip to meet her and we were not disappointed.

J.A. Jance spoke a while and answered some questions before she personally signed books. It was interesting to hear about some of the ways she came up with ideas for her books. She also explained why she had a different publisher for the Ali Reynolds series. I also learned her first name - Judith. She was a personable person and seemed to be able to tell a story as well as she writes one.

The other fun thing about going to meet the author was meeting other people who enjoy reading her books too. Some people were talking about re-reading all of Jance's books before coming to see her. One gentleman told me about having signed copies of all of her books. Wow!!!

If you have the opportunity to see her during her book tour, I highly encourage you too. Her next stop - Chicago - brrrrr!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Discussion Group Selection For January

The January selection for our Mystery Reading Discussion Group is The Nanny Murders by Merry Jones. This book introduces Zoe Hayes who is a single mother working as an art therapist at an Institute for deranged patients. There are a total of four books in this series at this time. This is the first book in the series that I have read. As the tradition for our Mystery Reading Discussion Group goes, I am casting my votes after reading it – thumbs up!!!

As one of Zoe’s friends points out, Zoe has been living in a “protective bubble” with her adopted daughter. Things have changed with the first chapter of this book when her daughter discovers a frozen finger out in front of her house. Her protective bubble has just burst. Little does she know how important the detective who visits her is going to become an important part of her life. She learns a little about a few missing nannies – one who may be missing this finger. She finds it hard to stop thinking about the case – and the detective. “But there was something else on my mind as evening approached. I was intrigued by Detective Stiles, how his mind worked, how he approached the case. And, aside from all that, I liked the way he smelled.”

Zoe is forced to look at her neighbors with different eyes now. I suspect she is also forced to look at her friends, acquaintances at work, and even herself, a little differently as well. This is one of the things the author does well with this book. She shows how Zoe’s views of people changes.

Another thing interesting is how the author keeps the story going. There are several suspects to the nanny murders. When it appears one person may have been the murderer – another turns up.

One thing I can say for sure, I am adding this author to my list of books to read. It will be intersting to see how she followups on Zoe Hayes. Let me know how you feel about this authoer and this series.