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C. M. Donaldson "aka Pearl Barley (pseudonym)" (UK)
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Gray Justice (Tom Gray #1)
Gray Justice (Tom Gray #1)

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extreme measures and a damned good read..., 28 Nov 2012
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When Tom Gray's three year old son gets mown down by a careless driver (with `previous') and his beloved wife, stricken with grief, takes her own life 6 months later the only positive thing Tom can hope for is for the careless driver to receive the appropriate sentence. Alas, it's a very familiar story that the perpetrator gets off too lightly and, in actual fact, goes on to re-offend. This offender is no different and Tom sees red! He springs into action, taking a desperate and extreme measure to make the British Government sit up and take notice. He manages to involve the media and the nation in what can only be described as a vigilante act with a twist.

This book is very well written, the chapters flow and the characters are believable. There was a sub-plot running through the story too that added more intrigue. It's not my usual reading material I will confess, but I just love a book that you truly can't put down, and one that you have to tell your friends about. It also gives you pause for thought. Well done Alan McDermott.

Now I'm diving, with gusto, into the sequel Gray Resurrection which I've bought already, just to continue the roller coaster ride.


Tempest in the Tea Room (An Ezra Melamed Mystery)
Tempest in the Tea Room (An Ezra Melamed Mystery)
Price: 2.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A light cosy mystery for me..., 24 Nov 2012
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A light cosy mystery including Jewish traditions of 19th century London, it has all the makings of an entertaining read, written with a certain level of humour that I like. Why did the rich widow become so very ill after the doctor's visit? And could he possibly be behind the mysterious illness that has afflicted many of the children at the local orphanage too. To what end?

This story reads in the way that a viewer watches a programme wherein they are already privy to the identity of the culprit. As the reader, you're compelled to read on anxiously as red herring after red herring is identified and dispersed in order to get at the truth.

I note that this is the third Ezra Melamed Mystery. I'm happily going to seek out the other two.


The Ghost of Squire House
The Ghost of Squire House
Price: 3.08

4.0 out of 5 stars A ghost story with a bit of humour thrown in..., 12 Nov 2012
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I'm not normally a romance enthusiast so I bought this book solely because of the ghost/mystery element. I have to say it was a thoroughly good read, especially when written from the ghost's perspective in places. I came to love the characters and the story was well thought-out and well written.

Jennifer inherits a house with, unbeknown to her, a miserable curmudgeonly reclusive tenant who has resided for decades within, having scared off those he feels have no business in his property. That is until Jennifer turns up and therein lies a mystery between this new arrival and a picture painted seemingly of the same woman, but a century ago.

Yes there were some anomolies (How does he smoke the tobacco she leaves for him? How are they able to touch?) but the tale is so compelling you tend to forgive the author. If I have a gripe at all it is that the ending did leave more questions than answers; it might be fairer to say it didn't end the way I expected it to. Having said that though, it was extremely enjoyable!


Dead Man's Cove (Al Pennyback Mysteries)
Dead Man's Cove (Al Pennyback Mysteries)
Price: 1.92

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-written cosy crime mystery, 2 Nov 2012
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I've never read an Al Pennyback mystery before and I'm pleased there are others since this one set the benchmark. It was a laidback cosy read and thoroughly enjoyable.

Al, a private eye, gets to spend the weekend with his girlfriend Sandra on a small island Dead Man's Cove)at the invitation of his good friend Quincy (who had previously encouraged him to open up his detective agency) on a client's yacht with a few other friends including two married couples. Al suspects these couples are putting on a front (as many unhappy couples do) but it has nothing to do with him as he's more than content with Sandra and while he's a bit of wimp when it comes to sailing, he goes along for her benefit if it makes her happy. It transpires that his wife and young son died some years ago and it's been a long trawl to get back to some form of normality, and he is grateful for his good fortune at getting a second chance at love. However, what should have been a leisurely relaxing weekend soon turns into a busman's holiday for Al.

It's hard not to give too much away, but as the story progresses, the drinks are poured, the sun beats down and all seems right with the world, the unexpected happens - one of the party is murdered. All of a sudden all central characters are put under scrutiny and all kinds of secrets and lies are unearthed as Al tries to find the truth and, out of the unlikely bunch, a cold-blooded killer.

I liken this to the male version of Murder She Wrote (sleuth encounters murder while minding his own business), and I'm happy to say I'll be purchasing every Al Pennyback thriller/mystery I can get my hands on if Dead Man's Cove is anything to go by. It well deserved my five star rating.


Uneasy Spirits: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery
Uneasy Spirits: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery
Price: 2.56

5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely delightful, 28 Aug 2012
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This type of book ought to be selling in WH Smith, the author has done it again - grabbed my interest and completely entertained me. Maids of Misfortune was my first forage into this writer's work and I haven't been disappointed with Uneasy Spirits. I didn't find it predictable at all and as usual it was a real page-turner.

Annie becomes embroiled in the dealings of a clairvoyant who may or may not be genuine. The trouble is, the relative of one of those attending the sessions has grave concerns. And Annie gets a shock when she herself decides to try and dupe the clairvoyant.

I won't say anymore as I don't want to spoil it, suffice to say this is an author to watch out for, and I will most certainly be looking out for more of the same.


Perfect People
Perfect People
Price: 1.89

5.0 out of 5 stars An unusual predicament and a surprising ending - genius!, 14 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Perfect People (Kindle Edition)
I've never read a Peter James before and this accomplished work is a great introduction to a writer who creates atmosphere, leading you down a path you think will be predictable and then he twists you in a completely different direction. I thought I was going to end up reading a cross between Rosemary's Baby and Village of the Damned...and I was so wrong.

I will admit that the first chapter was a bit of a slow build-up but now I can't help but feel it was intentional so that one was eased into the story, and then gripped and held tight. Half way through it even invoked a touch of fascinating fear - you know the type where you dare not look but you can't help it. But altogether this was a fabulous story - very well thought-out, and I didn't want it to end but it was a definite page-turner as I eagerly devoured the next chapter that led to the next instalment/cliff-hanger.

I dare not reveal too much in my review as it would spoil it for the reader, suffice to say that the couple in the story definitely got more than they bargained for when they visited a specialist pioneering doctor after losing their much-loved little son to a hereditary disease. There was nothing sinister about their wish for another child without the risk of history repeating itself. It's just that things didn't quite go to plan and that is when the rollercoaster ride of intrigue, thrills and spills begins. Peter James is a genius in building a story for which we really empathised, cared about and then feared for this couple and their unusual predicament. And there's no way I could have predicated the surprising ending.


Why Whisper?: A Memoir
Why Whisper?: A Memoir
Price: 4.64

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Walking a mile in this author's shoes..., 16 July 2012
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I am honoured to be the first to review this book on the UK Amazon site (check out the many reviews on Amazon.com also). This story pulled me right in from the very beginning. It's not my usual type of read - I normally avoid anything that gets me tearing up and reaching for the Kleenex, but this book is so very different. It is a story clearly from the heart that tells the harsh truth about survival against obvious odds after the tragedy of losing a child.

I've never lost a child. Joanna lost her son, Danny, to suicide (suicide possibly being 'the last taboo' that no one really talks about) and I shared the journey through grief with her (you do tend to 'walk a mile in her shoes') so eloquent is her telling of this devastating occurrence, but don't expect a 'poor-me' type of read. This story is raw in many places but also heart-warming and it takes a very talented writer to combine the two so well. I read with eagerness the highs and the lows of Danny's life and applaud the bravery of his mother being able to tell the truth so candidly about her much-loved son. No way is it just about his death. It's an easier read than you think given the subject matter, and in my opinion it ought to be a best-seller.

I do sincerely hope that somewhere along the line the writing of this story proved therapeutic and liberating for the author.


Mama Does Time: A Mace Bauer Mystery
Mama Does Time: A Mace Bauer Mystery
Price: 7.69

5.0 out of 5 stars A charming mystery..., 8 July 2012
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This is my first step into the Mace Bauer mysteries and I'm so very glad I took that step. Mace's mama is locked up for a crime she obviously didn't and couldn't have committed, but it's the journey to first convince the authorities that it simply COULDN'T have been mama - the said authorities stubborn to a fault because of circumstantial evidence - and then also to find out who DID do the deed. Mace wants to clear her mother's name and find the culprit. There are many enjoyable twists and turns in this story with a little bit of danger thrown in. I loved Mace's character and her sisters added to the mix with Mama still the most central character to the story. This book is a little Murder-She-Wrote but a cozy mystery none-the-less. I absolutely loved it and proverbially 'couldn't put it down'until the last page was read.


The I AM (A Novella)
The I AM (A Novella)
Price: 1.33

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely fun to read..., 21 Jun 2012
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I had no idea where this story was going but I quickly leapt onboard for the fun ride. It turned into an adventure when Hal Maybury made an amazing discovery on a drunken night out when he fell into a hole...well, a canyon actually. What he did next would change everything and leave him with an enormous ethical dilemma.

The story took me through unexpected twists and was surprisingly amusing (the reference made to `duppy', Jamaican for ghost, made me choke on my drink with laughter). I could also relate to London landmarks (Camberwell, Finchley). I loved this story and the writing flowed effortlessly. It was short like novellas usually are, so when I finished it I went back and read it again. It's quite a credible tale and could easily be the type of thing you'd see on a modern-day Twilight Zone.


Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery
Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery
Price: 2.56

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Think 'Murdoch Mysteries, this is heaps better..., 18 Jun 2012
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I loved the way I was drawn straight into the life of Annie, a young widow running a boarding house and who mascarades as a clairvoyant to make ends meet. One of her clients dies and to all intents and purposes it looks like suicide, but not to Annie who find anomalies in the subsequent reporting of his death as well as vital business papers missing that lead her to suspect murder. Then she leaps on the trail even though she is discouraged at every turn because she is 'a lady' and this kind of activity is deemed as 'unbecoming' and thus frustrates her so. But she is unstoppable, knows her own mind and no one is going to tell her what to do...not even Nate, the lawyer who becomes involved in the case and against his better judgement it looks as though he'd like to get equally as involved with Annie (adding a bit of 'will-they-won't-they' to the overall storyline)

The story was enthralling and there were a sufficient number of red herrings and twists that made you think you knew who had committed the crime until another twist sends you off in a different direction. I am absolutely thrilled as an avid reader to have discovered M.Louisa Locke. Think Murdoch Mysteries and you will find Ms Locke's mysteries along similar lines but with a female sleuth, and heaps better.


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