Every Time I Go on Vacation, Someone Dies by Catherine Mack

Every Time I Go on Vacation, Someone Dies by Catherine Mack

Every time I Go on Vacation, Someone Dies is a great title and the setting is fabulous. Bestselling author Eleanor Dash is on a book tour in Italy with several other authors, her ex-lover, and about 20 contest-winning fans. A fictionalized version of the ex-, Connor, is one of the main characters in Eleanor's mystery series, and he has been using that to his advantage for years. Now, however, Connor is convinced someone is trying to kill him. Of course, Eleanor does want him dead, but only the fictional version of course. This book was fun enough. We've got murder, lies, gorgeous scenery, and even a touch of romance. Eleanor is a good character. She's writing the story that we're hearing. (I listened to the audiobook.) She breaks the fourth on a regular basis, either pointing something out to the reader or reassuring us. She also includes a lot of footnotes, but on the audio, they just blended in to the...
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Off the Air by Christina Estes

Off the Air by Christina Estes

Off the Air features Phoenix television reporter, Jolene Garcia, who is covering the murder of a local conservative radio talk show host. Jolene is always on the lookout for the next big story, so she jumps right into this one, trying to get exclusive interviews, information on the air before any of the competitors, and the best leads. I will say I didn't always like Jolene. She is determined, but totally willing to hurt people along the way, but I could feel her frustration when she had info she couldn't share or when someone "stole" her interview. I'm also a little tired of backstories lately. Jolene was in the foster system for years before being adopted by her grandmother more out of responsibility than love. She was attacked by a dog when she was a child, causing a fear of dogs that of course comes into play. She also made an inaccurate report at her previous job that affects how...
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The Clock Struck Murder by Betty Webb

The Clock Struck Murder by Betty Webb

Paris during the 1924 Olympics is a wonderful setting. Zoe, an artist, has been living in the city for 6 years, since she was exiled from Alabama. She has a lot of backstory, almost too much for one character. Anyway, she stumbles across a stolen Chagall painting and then the body of a murdered woman. She takes it upon herself to try to track down more of the paintings and also starts asking questions of people who knew Laurette. The plot was fine even if the killer was a bit obvious. It's also a who's who among the expats in Paris at the time. We either meet or hear gossip about Marc Chagall and his family, poet Blaise Cendrars, Ernest and Hadley Hemingway, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, and Pablo Picasso and his first wife. We're also introduced to several members of the American swim team. The author shoves a lot in to this book. I actually liked Zoe. She's...
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The Murder of Mr. Ma by John Shen Yen Nee and S.J. Rozan

The Murder of Mr. Ma by John Shen Yen Nee and S.J. Rozan

Lao She is an unassuming, respectable young scholar from China who has emigrated to London and now teaches Chinese language at Oxford and wants to write a novel. Then he is called to the home of philosopher Bertrand Russell who needs his assistance - in breaking a friend out of jail. It's during this errand that Lao meets Judge Dee Ren Jie. I do have to say it's an interesting meeting and sets the tone for the rest of the book. Judge Dee is in London to investigate the death of Mr. Ma, a fellow member of the Chinese Labor Corps who served in France during the First World War and was allowed to come to London afterward. Lao, who is more familiar with the city, offers to help Dee, but soon another Chinese man is found dead and the whole situation becomes more complicated. Lao is our Watson to Dee's Sherlock. I listened to the audiobook, which worked well....
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Sounds Like a Plan by Pamela Samuels Young and Dwayne Alexander Smith

Sounds Like a Plan by Pamela Samuels Young and Dwayne Alexander Smith

Mackenzie and Jackson are private investigators hired to investigate a missing person case. The first person to find the missing woman gets the reward. The two end up working together, a partnership with tension and plenty of sparks. The book alternates between Jackson's and Mackenzie's point of view, allowing us to know how each is thinking and feeling about the case and about each other. Jackson is determined and can be charming, but is a bit sexist. He also makes at least one offensive joke, if nor more. A joke that could have been left out without any harming the plot or character development at all. Mackenzie is smart and headstrong. They make a good team. The plot is a little over the top. We've got top-notch hackers, hired killers and a kidnapper, but it's fun in an action movie kind of way. The wrap-up to the mystery is a bit quick, but I honestly didn't see it coming. ...
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The Highgate Cemetery Murder by Irina Shapiro

The Highgate Cemetery Murder by Irina Shapiro

The Highgate Cemetery Murder opens with the discovery of the gruesome murder a young woman on the morning of All Saints’ Day, 1858, who is displayed on a cross in Highgate Cemetery with a pig’s heart around her neck. A journalist who may have witnessed the crime falls under the wheels of an omnibus and is killed. Gemma Tate, a nurse recently returned from the Crimea, is the sister of the journalist and doesn’t believe his death was an accident. Sebastian Bell is the police officer assigned to investigate the murder of the young woman victim in the cemetery. Soon the two begin working together against Bell's better judgement to solve the two suspicious deaths. This book is a little darker than what I usually read. The details around the murder really are horrific. And this is not a romanticized Victorian London; it's dirty, grim, and harsh for many that live there. The author shows us the prejudices, class distinctions, and...
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