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Scared to Death by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards

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Scared to Death by Matthew Costello and Neil Richards Scared to Death by Matthew Costello, Neil Richards
Series: Cherringham #27
Published by Bastei Entertainment on October 1, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Pages: 158
Format: eBook
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When classic horror movie star Basil Coates becomes the victim of a series of scary pranks, the local police put it down to a crazed fan. Just pranks, after all ...

But with Halloween only days away, the spectre of murder suddenly visits the ghostly Coates mansion on the hill outside Cherringham - and Jack and Sarah find themselves caught in a mystery worthy of Basil’s spookiest roles ...

Set in the sleepy English village of Cherringham, the detective series brings together an unlikely sleuthing duo: English web designer Sarah and American ex-cop Jack. Thrilling and deadly - but with a spot of tea - it's like Rosamunde Pilcher meets Inspector Barnaby. Each of the self-contained episodes is a quick read for the morning commute, while waiting for the doctor, or when curling up with a hot cuppa.

Scared to Death was my first visit to Cherringham, but I’m sure it won’t be my last. It’s a novella, as are most of this series and I really enjoyed it.

Sarah and Jack are well-known for solving local mysteries, so when someone is “playing pranks” on Basil Coates, an elderly man who was once the horror film star, his still enchanting wife, a former star herself, calls on the duo to find out what’s going on.

It’s a quick story, but self-contained. We get a good feel for who Sarah and Jack are, although I’m not sure if they’re just friends or if there’s a potential for more there. I’m hoping the former. The authors also do a good job at fully developing the secondary characters, the Coates househould. There are a couple plausible suspects and Sarah and Jack do a good job at following upon the clues. There was one choice Sarah made that I wish she hadn’t, but women amateur detectives seldom seem to have the best sense of self-preservation.

It’s a perfect Halloween read, spooky and fun.

About Matthew Costello

Matthew Costello was born in 1948 and writes novels and nonfictional works as author and coauthor. Some of his books have been adapted into film versions and he wrote for some TV channels like the BBC. He also scripts and designs videogames.

About Neil Richards

Neil Richards has worked as a producer and writer in TV and film, creating scripts for BBC, Disney, and Channel 4, and earning numerous Bafta nominations along the way. He’s also written script and story for over 20 video games including The Da Vinci Code and Starship Titanic, co-written with Douglas Adams, and consults around the world on digital storytelling. His writing partnership with NYC-based Matt Costello goes back to the late 90’s and the two have written many hours of TV together. Cherringham, the crime fiction series set in the Cotswolds, is their first crime fiction as co-writers.

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The Bay – The Tenderloin by Trent Kennedy Johnson

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The Bay – The Tenderloin by Trent Kennedy Johnson The Bay - The Tenderloin by Trent Kennedy Johnson
Series: Inspector Cole Hoffer #1
Published by Bastei Entertainment on September 6, 2016
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 102
Format: eARC
Buy on Amazon
Add on Goodreads

A city boils. Another seethes. A third simmers. And the fourth is about to erupt. Like a stove top, the cities of the Bay Area cook in concert, each steeped in danger, corruption, and a criminal underworld that ties them together. A new homicide sits in the middle of it all-the untimely murder of a lawyer in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco.

Filled with mystery as thick as the Bay's infamous fog, Inspector Cole Hoffer's investigation takes him deep into the most treacherous neighborhoods of San Francisco, Oakland and beyond, as he explores clue after clue, courtesy of a cast of pulpy characters operating in a black market just under our noses. In Hoffer's Bay Area, there's always money to be made, witnesses to be offed, and much bigger crimes to be concealed. After all, the Gold Rush never really ended, it just got deadlier.

For Cole Hoffer, Chuck Hattaran isn't just another name on the homicide unit's Big Board. The murdered lawyer is an affront to Cole's career, his life, and his understanding of himself. That's because Cole knew him. In fact, Cole was having an affair with Hattaran's wife, Mia. And if Cole doesn't figure out who had it in for Hattaran, there's only one person left to point the finger at: Cole himself.

At least “The Tenderloin” is short. I actually expected to like it; the blurb sounded good: decent cop who may end up charged with murder. Turns out the affair was a couple of years ago and Cole’s still obsessing over her. He’s also got a major inferiority complex thanks to his dead father and we have to hear over and over how he imagines his dad giving him a B- or exhorting him to more or less be a man. We’ve got bad guys and worse guys, cops who just don’t care about their jobs and are more worried about today’s dinner order – Italian in case you wondered. There’s a casino in a church, torture, rioting, a dangerous, overwrought lover (other than Cole). Actually, it was almost okay, if a little confusing, until the end, when we get the orgy and the “to be continued.” I know this is just episode one, but absolutely nothing was wrapped up. I think I’m better off reading serials all at once. I just don’t like Cole enough to bother continuing with this one though.

About Trent Kennedy Johnson

Trent Kennedy Johnson is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles, California. Born and raised in the Midwest suburbs just outside Chicago, he has long harbored a fascination for mysterious underworlds like those presented in cities near and far. He is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and the founder of a writing group called Incandescent, focused on assisting writers as they generate and hone new concepts born from unconventional sources of inspiration.

Mailbox Monday – 9/12

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Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Tell us about your new arrivals by adding your Mailbox Monday post to the linky at mailboxmonday.wordpress.com.

Paperbacks

I picked up a couple at our local used book store, Bookmarx. We had actually stopped in to pick up a book for my daughter’s English class, but who can resist?

Mailbox Monday – 9/12The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
Series: Inspector Alan Grant #5
Published by Touchstone on November 29, 1995 (first published 1951)
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 206
Format: Paperback
Add on Goodreads

Josephine Tey is often referred to as the mystery writer for people who don't like mysteries. Her skills at character development and mood setting, and her tendency to focus on themes not usually touched upon by mystery writers, have earned her a vast and appreciative audience. In Daughter of Time, Tey focuses on the legend of Richard III, the evil hunchback of British history accused of murdering his young nephews. While at a London hospital recuperating from a fall, Inspector Alan Grant becomes fascinated by a portrait of King Richard. A student of human faces, Grant cannot believe that the man in the picture would kill his own nephews. With an American researcher's help, Grant delves into his country's history to discover just what kind of man Richard Plantagenet was and who really killed the little princes.

Mailbox Monday – 9/12Scattershot by Bill Pronzini
Series: Nameless Detective #8
Published by PaperJacks on May 1987 (first published 1982)
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 172
Format: Paperback
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Business is booming for Nameless; he's started in on three new cases in one week. But every single one of them turns bad some way. In the first, a husband disappears from a car that Nameless has been following. In the second, a woman is mysteriously murdered while Nameless stands outside her bungalow. In the third, a valuable ring disappears from a locked room that Nameless has been guarding. The papers are full of bad publicity. After being at the scene of two homicides, everyone is suspicious of him. He is at risk of losing his PI license. At the same time, he recently proposed to the woman of his dreams and she is becoming more distant from him every day.

Audiobook

I love this series, so of course I had to use an Audible credit to pick up the new one.

Mailbox Monday – 9/12A Great Reckoning by Louise Penny
Narrator: Robert Bathurst
Series: Inspector Gamache #12
Published by Macmillan Audio on August 30, 2016
Genres: Mystery
Length: 13 hrs 33 mins
Format: Audiobook
Add on Goodreads

When an intricate old map is found stuffed into the walls of the bistro in Three Pines, it at first seems no more than a curiosity. But the closer the villagers look, the stranger it becomes.

Given to Armand Gamache as a gift the first day of his new job, the map eventually leads him to shattering secrets. To an old friend and older adversary. It leads the former Chief of Homicide for the Sûreté du Québec to places even he is afraid to go. But must.

And there he finds four young cadets in the Sûreté academy, and a dead professor. And, with the body, a copy of the old, odd map.

Everywhere Gamache turns, he sees Amelia Choquet, one of the cadets. Tattooed and pierced. Guarded and angry. Amelia is more likely to be found on the other side of a police line-up. And yet she is in the academy. A protégée of the murdered professor.

The focus of the investigation soon turns to Gamache himself and his mysterious relationship with Amelia, and his possible involvement in the crime. The frantic search for answers takes the investigators back to Three Pines and a stained glass window with its own horrific secrets.

For both Amelia Choquet and Armand Gamache, the time has come for a great reckoning.

Ebook

And one from the publisher via NetGalley

Mailbox Monday – 9/12The Bay - The Tenderloin by Trent Kennedy Johnson
Published by Bastei Entertainment on September 6, 2016
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 102
Format: eARC
Add on Goodreads

A city boils. Another seethes. A third simmers. And the fourth is about to erupt. Like a stove top, the cities of the Bay Area cook in concert, each steeped in danger, corruption, and a criminal underworld that ties them together. A new homicide sits in the middle of it all-the untimely murder of a lawyer in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco.

Filled with mystery as thick as the Bay's infamous fog, Inspector Cole Hoffer's investigation takes him deep into the most treacherous neighborhoods of San Francisco, Oakland and beyond, as he explores clue after clue, courtesy of a cast of pulpy characters operating in a black market just under our noses. In Hoffer's Bay Area, there's always money to be made, witnesses to be offed, and much bigger crimes to be concealed. After all, the Gold Rush never really ended, it just got deadlier.

For Cole Hoffer, Chuck Hattaran isn't just another name on the homicide unit's Big Board. The murdered lawyer is an affront to Cole's career, his life, and his understanding of himself. That's because Cole knew him. In fact, Cole was having an affair with Hattaran's wife, Mia. And if Cole doesn't figure out who had it in for Hattaran, there's only one person left to point the finger at: Cole himself

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