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J. Lesley "(Judy)" (United States)

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Dancing Made Easy (A Flap Tucker Mystery Book 4)
Dancing Made Easy (A Flap Tucker Mystery Book 4)
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Flap and Dally at work again on murder in Atlanta., 6 Mar. 2016
Flap Tucker is the best private detective you've never heard about. After reading this third novel I'm still loving every twist and turn author Phillip Depoy wants to dish out in his series with the most multi-faceted character I've had the good fortune to meet in a good while. Flap does his thing in Atlanta, Georgia along with his very good friend - from childhood even - Dalliance "Dally" Oglethorpe, owner of Easy the jazz bar in Atlanta. This series of stories keeps the reader on their toes with literary and artistic references mixed liberally with Flap's preference for really good red wine and his gift for centering himself so he can see the big picture - he just might not be able to interpret it all right away.

This novel focuses on a serial killer who hangs his victims from street light poles and pins obscure messages on their clothing. So if it's a serial killer doing this, how does the murder of another woman fit into the picture since she was smothered with a pillow? Flap begins to lose confidence in his mental "thing" when so many people, including the police, are urging him to use it to spot the clues which will lead to catching this definitely deranged killer. Of course it doesn't help any that Flap is on the scene when each of the hanged women is found along with a local character named Joepye whose brain is almost totally picked from alcohol consumption. Stir in Mickey "The Pineapple" Nichols a crook who takes pride in his highly commendable vocabulary (seriously!), Foggy Moskovitz the best car thief along the Eastern seaboard, and a great jazz bass player and you've just begun to line up the characters who make this such an interesting novel. I will tell you that I never ever would have guessed the resolution to these crimes. It absolutely blindsided me.

Fans of this author will be glad to know that Depoy has given Foggy Moskovitz his own series of novels. The first one is called COLD FLORIDA and it is every bit as excellent as the Flap Tucker stories.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley and Endeavour Press.


Ghosts of the Past
Ghosts of the Past
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An action thriller filled with a wide variety of criminal activity., 1 Mar. 2016
Ghosts of the Past will give readers who enjoy mystery/thriller novels a fast and furious adventure. This one takes in just about all the topics you can put into a novel at one time: drug smuggling, IRA and PIRA fighting and in-fighting, corrupt policemen, assassins, Ukranian mobsters, British MI5, and a Russian woman with diplomatic immunity. All Detective Inspector Nevin Brown of the Royal Ulster Constabulary has to do is stop all those criminals in their tracks even though he's simply assigned to observe the English police force over the next six month period.

The story was quite good and the author managed to keep all the many plot threads working well in spite of their number. I thought as I was reading that this story is presented almost in "report" format because there isn't a lot of development of the major characters. They are presented, for the most part, from their professional work perspective without a lot of emotional connection. Of course, you might say with so many of them being involved in killing everybody in sight that it would be hard for an author to make most of the characters warm and friendly anyway. This was a quick reading experience and I liked it better as I got more involved in all the story threads. If you like action thrillers, this book will definitely give you that. The date mentioned in the beginning of the novel is May 1993 so many of the IRA issues that play such a big part in this novel have been resolved. Still, an enjoyable, entertaining reading experience.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through Endeavour Press.


Pacific Burn (Jim Brodie Novel)
Pacific Burn (Jim Brodie Novel)
by Barry Lancet
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.73

4.0 out of 5 stars Japanese legends, manga, cosplay, antiques, and murder -- quite a combination., 1 Mar. 2016
As an American dealer of very high end Japanese antiques and sometimes private investigator, San Franciscan Jim Brodie is perfectly placed to aid the mayor of that city in his Pacific Rim Friendship Program to improve relations with the city's neighbors across the ocean. Matters are proceeding nicely with the friendship initiative and the antiques business until Brodie is called in to help a young boy who speaks only Japanese and who obviously saw his father murdered in the Napa Valley area. When he arrives on the scene Brodie finds he knows the victim. When another member of that same family is the victim of a sniper attack after leaving a meeting concerning the friendship program, Brodie has to figure out the reason for this family being targeted by an assassin. Is it art, antiques or politics at play here?

This is the third story in this series but the first one I have read. The author has given readers all the information they need to begin the series with this novel with no trouble at all. I read a great many mystery novels and thoroughly enjoy books set in countries other than the United States. This is the first novel I've read with an emphasis on Japan and I am glad to say the author made it very easy to read and understand the portions of the novel which take place with non-English speaking characters and Japanese locations and customs. The subjects of manga and cosplay are well explained (if you don't already know what they are) and an important-to-the-story legend is presented in a detailed explanation. I admit to being intrigued by the Steam Walkers; that information really got my imagination going.

I enjoyed this novel from the aspects of Japanese culture, porcelain antiques, and the author's ability to keep the criminal hidden from me until the very last minute. Altogether this was a good introduction for me to this series which has the potential to continue for a long time while remaining fresh and interesting.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley and Simon and Schuster.


Bryant & May - London's Glory: (Short Stories) (Bryant & May Short Stories)
Bryant & May - London's Glory: (Short Stories) (Bryant & May Short Stories)
by Christopher Fowler
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.37

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much information in addition to the stories. This was a hit for me., 29 Feb. 2016
This collection of short stories and additional information provided by Christopher Fowler will be a great reading experience for fans of the Bryant & May series as well as someone just becoming acquainted with these quirky characters. There are eleven stories here and I had only read one of them previously as a stand-alone e-short story. The assortment is varied with some taking Arthur Bryant and John May far back into the past and one story being told from the viewpoint of the Peculiar Crime Unit's own Detective Sergeant Janice Longbright. Each story begins with a short introduction from the author letting us in on what inspired that particular story.

I enjoyed reading the Introduction to the book by Fowler where he gives us insights into his background of reading crime novels and tells about some of his favorite mystery writers. His explanation for why he believes this style of novel is still so popular even though they don't even vaguely resemble true crime investigations is insightful for explaining why he continues to write this type of novel. Of great interest to me was the section which follows after the short stories end where Fowler comments on each of the twelve novels he has written in the series thus far. Having an author give the synopsis of his own creation plus providing the backstory for what caused him to write it was enjoyable and greatly appreciated. Several times in this collection Fowler mentions his intention - or desire - to write more short stories. He also explains why he has taken Arthur Bryant down the path disclosed in THE BURNING MAN. I understand his reasoning, but I still wish he had not gone in that direction. And if you have ever been curious or (as I am) in awe of Bryant's strange (?), incredible (?) library of books, there is a list of titles with Fowler letting us decide for ourselves which are real books and which are from his own imagination.

Also included with this other treasure trove of stories and information is an excerpt from the latest book, BRYANT & MAY AND THE BURNING MAN. If you haven't taken advantage of other opportunities to see what that volume is about, you have another chance here. This collection of stories presents Bryant & May from many different angles. It was a hit for me and I recommend the collection highly.

I received an e-ARC of this short story collection through NetGalley and Random House/Alibi.


Cold Florida (A Foggy Moskowitz Mystery)
Cold Florida (A Foggy Moskowitz Mystery)
by Phillip DePoy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Good mystery, good characters, good humor - allaround enjoyable., 22 Feb. 2016
I enjoyed this new Phillip DePoy novel so much that I read it in one day. I have rather recently come across Mr. DePoy's novels which feature Flap Tucker and are placed in Atlanta, Georgia. Those were so good that I didn't even hesitate when I saw this new series was available. DePoy creates accessible main characters which really endears them to me. Here I found Foggy Moskowitz living in Fry's Bay, Florida. The year is 1974 and the weather is cold and rainy. People have a tendency to overlook the fact that it actually gets cold in Florida and the sun doesn't shine every day. The weather, in this case, definitely adds to the overall feel of everything Foggy is going to be up against as he tries to find a newborn, substance addicted infant removed from the hospital by the mother. Three hours without medication and the child will die so Foggy, as a representative of Child Protective Services, goes hunting in all the low places a drug addicted woman would likely go to hide herself away. So why is Foggy in Fry's Bay when he is definitely a Jew from Brooklyn and why is a professional hit man trying to kill him and where does the Seminole tribe come into all this?

The mystery novels I've read by DePoy all have a very good mystery with intelligent protagonists and a touch of humor which often makes me chuckle - even out loud. As an example from this book: ".....but are we certain that the four of us don't make the most obvious group target in the southeastern United States? A wounded Indian, a soggy Jew, a known hitman, and a tall, bleeding woman? All we need is Sidney Greenstreet and we have the makings of some lost Bogart movie." The plot of this story revolves around the motivation for Foggy's move away from Brooklyn. Thankfully, the author does explain what happened to Foggy in the past which makes him feel the need to protect children, the ultimate victims of the bad behavior of adults. The Florida Seminole tribe is represented by many characters in the novel, notably John Horse. Don't believe anything John Horse tells you until you are sure he is truly your friend - he's one tricky dude!

If you want to find a new author to put at the top of your "follow" list, Phillip DePoy just may be your man. This novel is serious while still having that light, humorous edge that gives you a feeling that these are people who might well actually exist outside the pages of a book. The location is shown in a different light than normal which adds dramatic impact. Plus, the good guys are actually nice, good people. I wish I had the recipe for Foggy's Aunt Shayna's beef brisket, though. Maybe DePoy should think about putting recipes in the back of the book?

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley and Severn House.


Back Blast (Gray Man Novels)
Back Blast (Gray Man Novels)
by Mark Greaney
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.65

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Twists and turns, plots and counter-plots come thick and fast., 16 Feb. 2016
Book five in The Gray Man series will answer those nagging questions fans have had throughout the series about why Courtland Gentry has been on the SOS (shoot on sight) list for the CIA for the last five years. An American operative with the CIA, you just couldn't help but wonder what it was that Gentry had done that made all his handlers and his team members turn against him. All through the first four books there have been small hints, but in this one author Mark Greaney recreates, through flash backs, the actual mission that got Gentry into trouble with his bosses.

If you are looking for a spy-thriller-espionage-action adventure, this will be just your ticket. If you expect only assassin confrontations that can be imagined as fully factual.......don't even think about reading this book. It is, after all, fiction with great leeway given to the author's imagination. Greaney has created a world of action and he gives readers a heaping helping of it in all his novels, never more so than in his Gray Man series. Can and does this kind of thing happen in real life? Gosh, I hope not, but is it ever fun to read about in fiction. I stayed up waaaay past my bedtime in order to finish this book and I don't begrudge one second of the time.

This entry in the series is longer than the previous books, probably because we are given so much more insight into the person Court Gentry is. Layers of his past are revealed which lead to a more complete understanding of why he is so very good at the set of skills necessary to keep him alive in the hostile world he lives in. Court has to deal with members of the international intelligence community who say one thing but most likely mean something entirely different. Who to trust? How much to believe? The twists and turns, plots and counter-plots come thick and fast in this novel and you sometimes find yourself wondering if there are any good people left in the intelligence community. I know from reading material I've found about this author that he does meticulous research into the places and resources his characters use. Some of the weapons I can barely comprehend even existing but if they are available to be used in a fiction novel you can bet even more unbelievable items are being tested and used by those with a "need to know" designation.

This was a totally absorbing reading experience for me and I'm very glad to see by the way it ended that this will not be the last Gray Man novel. I like that it is so action filled, even if I also know some of the action might be just a tad on the unbelievable side. Who cares? If you want to read an action thriller, give this series a try. There is one final plot twist at the end that took me totally by surprise. I like that an author is so talented that he can fool me like that. You don't have to begin here with the fifth book, but if you choose to do so, you will be given everything you need to understand this character and what makes him tick.

Now, Mr. Greaney, how long until book six?

I received an ARC of this novel through the publisher.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 22, 2016 3:28 PM GMT


Bitter Poison: An English Village Cosy Featuring the Colonel (Village Mystery)
Bitter Poison: An English Village Cosy Featuring the Colonel (Village Mystery)
by Margaret Mayhew
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A nice, old fashioned cozy mystery., 15 Feb. 2016
I enjoy reading this English village series of mystery stories written by Margaret Mayhew. They are relaxing and give me that lovely feeling of the tiny English village of my imagination, probably not something that really exists at all in real life. The characters are all sufficiently developed so that I already feel as if I know them from previous novels in the series. The Major with his eye fixed firmly on the clock waiting for it to strike six in the evening so he can have that drink he's pinning for and always on the lookout for an attractive woman to flirt with. Freda Butler concealed behind the curtains in her cottage with the Zeiss binoculars picking up most of the comings and goings in the village. Naomi Grimshaw usually shows up in some decidedly outlandish piece of apparel from long ago or a land far away and thinks it is completely normal. At the center of all the village activity is the one person who values his privacy more than any of the others and is therefore disturbed most often, the Colonel. Everyone wants to know what use he has for the shed in his garden but so far he has managed to keep his new hobby a secret. How long will that last with the Frog End equivalent of the KGB on the prowl for clues? Will the new couple from London fit into the social life of Frog End by participating in the Christmas theatre production? Or will the famous fashion model let everyone down by refusing to be The Snow Queen?

I had begun to think that this book wouldn't have any mysterious death to investigate at all since it came so late in the novel, but there is finally something for the Colonel to tackle and the author presents it in an unusual way. Quite an interesting way from my point of view. This is one of those mystery novels you can feel good about recommending to your friends who don't like to read the more grim and gritty variety of murder mysteries. A quiet corner, a comfortable chair and something nice to drink will complete the picture of the atmosphere of this book in particular and this entire series in general; just a nice, old fashioned cozy.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley and Severn House Publishing.


Cover-Up #WoodBack Explorer Real Wood Case for iPhone 6 / 6s - (Carpathian Elm Burl)
Cover-Up #WoodBack Explorer Real Wood Case for iPhone 6 / 6s - (Carpathian Elm Burl)
Offered by Cover-Up
Price: £19.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely case and a conversation piece., 12 Feb. 2016
I received this product free for review.

The thing I love most about this iPhone 6 case is looking at the pattern in the burled elm. I certainly haven't seen anybody else with a case like this and it causes quite a bit of discussion when other people see it. The case is very easy to slip my iPhone into and even though it is actually a slice of real wood, that doesn't add weight to the case. I think the phone is safely contained within the case as the phone shows no indication that it is loose. All of the control functions on my iPhone work exactly as they are supposed to with this case in place. I'm usually pretty careful when I handle my phone so I can't speak to the effectiveness of the corner bumper guards in protecting against drops. At least not so far anyway.

This burled elm color is very well represented by the picture on the product page so you can be sure of what the case will look like when you receive it. The burl effect on the case I received is up in the corner close to the opening for the camera. In fact, you can even smell the very slight aroma of wood if you put the case up to your nose. I will be interested in seeing if the natural oils in my hands begin to add a patina to this wood. I'm looking forward to finding out.


Find Her (Detective D.D. Warren)
Find Her (Detective D.D. Warren)
by Lisa Gardner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and yet fascinating at the same time., 9 Feb. 2016
This is the type of book which will stay with you long, long after you finish reading it. The pure psychology of the issues faced by the victim will force you to question your own mental and physical strength, to wonder if you would have survived this ordeal. I found the story disturbing, but only because the depiction of this one case makes me understand that there are others out there, now, being lived through, being survived by victims. Or perhaps they aren't fortunate enough to survive. This novel is fiction, but it reads like it is so very real.

Seven years ago Flora Dane was a carefree collage girl enjoying a Spring Break vacation. Then she left her group of friends to go to the bathroom and was not seen by them again. Nobody thought too much about that, they were busy having a good time. By the time they did begin to worry about Flora it was days later and the trail had gone completely cold. Flora managed to live through four hundred and eighty two days of captivity and now she wants to help find other women who disappear. She is trying to see what she can uncover about a recent disappearance case when something totally unexpected happens. Sergeant Detective D. D. Warren of the Boston homicide division is on restricted duty while she continues to recover from a serious injury she suffered investigating her last case. All she needs is to have this new case complicated by a female possible suspect/possible victim making a personal call to the Boston office of the FBI. And the man she called came to the crime scene. Who is this woman?

Reading the story of Flora's time in captivity is truly a horror story and yet it is also fascinating. To see how one person can impose their will on someone else to this extent seems almost unbelievable. To watch as the situation changes and becomes something totally unimaginable was quite hard to read. Lisa Gardner has done an outstanding job of putting the reader right there in that pine coffin, right there on that filthy brown carpet, right there in that abandoned building. This novel is probably not going to be appreciated by all readers, but it certainly does give a comprehensive view of what crime does to that ever widening circle of those involved when a criminal selects a victim.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley and Penguin Group/Dutton.


The Custodian of Marvels: The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire #3
The Custodian of Marvels: The Fall of the Gas-Lit Empire #3
Price: £4.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The final in the trilogy. Really?, 7 Feb. 2016
I don't read many steampunk novels, but this series got me hooked because I enjoyed the main character so much. This is the third of the three books and yet the ending leaves the characters in such an unresolved position that I wouldn't be surprised to see this continue. It might take a stretch for it to happen, but this author is definitely talented enough to accomplish it.

The year is 2009, the country is the Kingdom of England and Southern Wales, and the Gas-Lit Empire is run by the International Patent Office to keep control over any Unseemly Science which would be detrimental to the good of all citizens. Control is absolute with the Patent Office being completely beyond the oversight of any group or organization. Incorruptible you might say. Or is it? Elizabeth Barnabus just wants to get justice for the crime committed by the Duke of Northampton against her father which brought about her being given to the Duke as a slave for life. She's been on the run from him ever since. If only she could look up the history of the court case in the Patent Office files. In order to make this come into being Elizabeth joins a boy named Tinker, a dwarf called Fabulo and other members of the defunct circus she was performing in. The only item Elizabeth has is a very old book, The Bullet-Catcher's Handbook, which gives hints of possible corruption of historical events in the past. She wants proof against the Duke, the rest of her band wants treasure. Together they plan to do the impossible.

As mentioned before this is the third book in what I presume to be a trilogy. If you haven't read the previous two novels, at least begin this one by reading the entries in the Glossary at the end of the book. There you will find explanations for the most important concepts in this alternate history novel. It was fascinating to see how this world had not progressed much at all since the war with Napolean. I was a little disappointed that there was not more attention given to some types of advances which would bring in the literary steampunk aspect, but when you (and I) read the book you do understand why. I enjoyed reading the series very much but I need to be honest and say that the ending was somewhat of a let down. If this is truly the end of the series, there is a lot left unresolved.

I received an e-ARC of this novel through NetGalley and Angry Robot Books.


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