It was not long ago when I read Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo. I was eagerly awaiting the release of the next book in this Amish mystery series featuring Police Chief Kate Burkholder. Well ... Pray For Silence was just released and the wait is over!!! Now that I have read it I have to say it was not exactly what I expected.
And that is how the story starts off - not according to expectations. Here is why! When you think of an Amish community, you think of the simple life - almost a paradise. (I do anyway.) There should be few distractions and none (or little) of the typical English stresses. By the way, in case you do not know, the English is how the Amish refer to those outside of their faith / community.
Anyhow, the story starts off with the discovery of an entire Amish household being brutally murdered. The big question is why? And the related question is who did it? There is little to point to the reason or who did it. The investigation goes slow but little by little possible clues come up.
The chief of police, Kate Burkholder, has been on both sides - she was raised in an Amish family but she left the Amish community when she came of age. Now she is back serving both parts of the community - the English and the Amish. This presents some challenge since she is now outside of the Amish community but is still seen as an outsider by the other part of the community as well. The Amish part of her struggles with the murder of the family and complicates the law enforcement side of her.
In addition to this struggle, she has a struggle with personal feelings she has for John Tomasetti - an investigator with the state who helped in the previous book. Both have their share of problems and neither of them feel comfortable sharing their personal feelings with each other. Put them together with a case to solve, they both try to concentrate on the case and avoid their obvious feelings for each other.
There are a number of possibilities they have to examine to determine the reason for the murder. At first it was thought to be a murder/suicide which seems so unlikely within the Amish lifestyle. This was quickly ruled out when it became apparent the suicide was staged.
I think it best for you to see all the possibilities as they are being considered in the story so I will not give any more. These are parts that make the story different than what was expected. Even so (and maybe because of this as well), I really found the story interesting - you might too!!!
July 3rd Workshop: Books on Writing—Review and Recycle
Bring your favorite resource books and share with the group how they helped improve your writing. We're also giving you the chance to recycle the resource books that for whatever reason failed to inspire. We all have unique learning styles, so what didn't work for you might be the perfect fit for someone else. Pass it on!
The Dallas MWASW group meets the first Saturday of each month at Texas Land & Cattle, 812 South Central Expressway, Richardson , TX 75080 . Meeting time is 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. There is a $5.00 door fee, cash only. All who attend are invited to remain for lunch.
Second Chances!!! No ... it is not the name of the book. As you can see to the right, the title of the book is Prior Bad Acts by Tami Hoag. However you may recall our Mystery Reading Discussion Group at Firewheel Barnes and Noble read an earlier book by this author and I did a blog on it. There were mixed opinions on the other book and my wife said we should have read a later book by the author. In my opinion the other book was okay so I decided to give Tami Hoag another chance. Why not - my wife has all her books and I was needing something to read at the time. So I took a second chance!!!
But if you think about it, this book kind of addresses some second chances in the story. I do not want to give away the story because there was too much to miss if you do not read it. (Incidentally, I highly suggest you read it for yourself.) The accused in a horrible triple homicide gets a break / second chance when the judge declares "prior bad acts" cannot be introduced in the upcoming trial. This unpopular decision ticks a lot of people off and she becomes a victim of an attack because of it.
A detective is assigned to investigating the attack and he thinks the decision by the judge was a lousy one as well. But he decides to give the judge a "second chance" as well. Of course his partner "sees" that the case has become personal to him but this is only a small part of the story.
The man accused of the triple homicide escapes through a series of chaotic circumstances and mistakes. He too has an opportunity / a second chance. Of course he messes up his chances through actions he takes while on the run. I will not say more about this but it just shows that in some cases "prior bad acts" do lead to others. What is interesting is what is learned by the end of the book about the attack on the judge and the triple homicide. There are a lot of theories that pop up in the book. If this has piqued your interest - GOOD!!! You will just have to read the book for yourself. See how many second chances you can find.
One type of book I do not usually read is the True Crime genre. Lethal Charmer is a book that belongs in this category. It is written by a Texas author - Patricia Springer - so I figured I would give it a shot. In fact (and that is a characteristic of True Crime stories cause they are not fiction), this book is set in the north Texas area.
The story centers around murder that occurred in Fort Worth in Feb 2005. In fact it was a multiple murder of a pregnant woman, her unborn child, and her young son. It made the news not only here but all over. Maybe you heard some of the names of people involved in the story. Stephen Barbee? Lisa Underwood? Jayden Underwood? Detective R. A, Gallaway? These are just a few of them.
The book starts off with a description of what happened that night.
The rest of the book is full of information including a look at the early life of the murderer, what happened leading up to the murder, the investigation of the murder, and the trial for the murder. It also delves into the lives of other persons involved in the story. So why did the murder occur? The murdered woman claimed the unborn baby had to belong to the murderer. Later tests revealed the baby was NOT. The tragedy could have been prevented had there been a paternity test. But since the murderer did hot want his new wife to know, this test probably never would have been made.
Overall I thought the book was a good read. I am not a typical reader of this genre but I would read more by this author.
I read for the fun of it. When I started blogging, I started it for the fun of it as well. Part of my intent with the blog was to have a place showing everything I read - mysteries that is!!! I wanted the reviews I write to be a little creative. Sometimes it is hard to be creative and it is those times it is hard / not fun to blog about what I read. So today's blog is just going to be a chronicle about some of the books I read lately.
My daughter recently picked up a book by an author I enjoy and I was happy to learn she enjoyed it too!!! The book is called Winter Study and it is written by Nevada Barr. The thing about the book that attracted her was the wolf on the cover - she has a thing about wolves. Well ... I finally picked up the book from the stack she read and read it. I enjoyed it as I have others in the Anna Pigeon series. Anna Pigeon is a National Wildlife Services (NWS) worker and she runs into these mysteries at different parks she is working at. This time it is at the Isle Royal National Park in Lake Superior. She has been chosen to be the NWS representative on this wolf study team and she learns just how cunning one of the animal species (man) really is. This is the 14th book in the series of 15 - with number 16 coming out this summer. (Oh ... by the way ... my daughter has since started reading other books in the series and enjoys them too!!!)
I recently let my mom read a couple of books by Cindy Daniel in her Death Warmed Over series. They are good, clean mysteries. She recently returned the books and brought me some to read. One of the books comes from Heartsong Presents Mysteries series. It is called Down Home and Deadly - a Sleuthing Sisters Mystery. It is written by Christine Lynxwiler, Jan Reynolds, & Sandy Gaskin. It involves some sisters who get drawn into solving mysteries / deaths / crimes much to the chagrin of the local law enforcement officer. Jean Stafford quits her job at a health club and starts her sister (Carly) start her restaurant business. On opening day she discovers a body in a car by the dumpster behind the diner. Needless to say she becomes involved in this investigation in spite of the objections by the local lawman. This book is similar to the Death Warmed Over series in that it is a good, clean mysteries. It features a family who has been brought up with some good Christian morals. Each chapter starts with a little old saying.
Finally, I also read the latest book in another series by an author I enjoy. It is called Monster In Miniature by Margaret Grace. Retired teacher Geraldine Porter continues her interest in miniatures and falls into another murder investigation. It is around Halloween and while looking at Halloween displays with her granddaughter they discover a "real dead body" in one of the displays. Geraldine along with the computer assistance from her granddaughter investigates the circumstances surrounding this murder. This is another one of those ez read mysteries and it is good.
What was the June selection for the Barnes and Noble Mystery Discussion Group? It was Frankly My Dear I'm Dead by Livia Washburn. I was excited our group was reading this one since I read it before and it was by one of my favorite Texas authors. I did a review on this one in a previous blog (see http://misterreereeder.blogspot.com/2009/10/starting-literary-tour-mystery-series.html ), so I am not going to do another one. But I do want to point out a few things.
First ... let me tell you some feedback from our group. As always, we did a count to see how the group felt about it. There were seven present for our discussion and the vote went .... Six thumbs up and one neutral (wavering on a thumbs up). One of the things indicated as the reason for the thumbs up was because it was an easy read. One of the things mentioned as a possible criticism was whether there was a believable reason for the murder(s). Since this was an easy read that could be overlooked.
A brief introduction to the book - which has a catchy title. The amateur sleuth is Delilah Dickinson. She is a recent divorcee who is trying to start a travel agency of her own. This is the first tour her agency is doing and she needs it to be good for her business. She is keeping her eyes open for anything that might go wrong and she most certainly is not expecting murder. Check it out!!!
As you may know, this is the first book in the series and there is another one out Huckleberry Finished. If you like the first, check out the second.
Who is she? Take your pick because it can be either the author or the character. The author is Barbara Levenson and she wrote Fatal February. I had the opportunity to read and post on my blog about that book in Feb 2009. (If you want to see the earlier blog it is at http://misterreereeder.blogspot.com/2009/02/virtual-book-tour-fatal-february.html.) Her newest book released this June 2010 is called Justice in June. Mary Macgruder Katz returns in this book.
If you recall, Mary Macgruder Katz is a lawyer and she kind of picks up where she left off in the last book. Her practice is picking up in it's business and she continues her relationship with her 1/2 Latin lover - Carlos.
It is June in Florida and she discovers the weather and her practice has something in common - when it rains it pours. She has three cases that all demand her attention - a female judge who is under investigation; an Argentine visitor accused of terrorism; and Carlos who is being sued for incomplete construction of an Apartment / condo complex.
And if you thought that was enough to deal with let me just tell you there are several other things she has to deal with. She is attacked outside her office, her house is broken into and she gets a warning, and she gets phone calls warning her to back off. And her personal life has some issues as well.
If you are looking for an easy read mystery - this is the book for you. For more info about the author check out her website - http://www.barbaralevenson.com/. Let me also say thanks to Maryglenn McCombs for the recommendation.
Social networking is today's most effective means of communicating with others, according to writer, speaker, author & coach, Caryn FitzGerald. Her workshop will focus on how to use Facebook, Twitter and other aspects of the Internet to create and connect with eager readers and fans. More fans. More readers. More sales. More of a chance of launching your book into best seller status practically overnight!
The Dallas MWASW group meets the first Saturday of each month at Texas Land & Cattle, 812 South Central Expressway, Richardson, TX 75080. Meeting time is 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. There is a $5.00 door fee, cash only. All who attend are invited to remain for lunch.