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In the Bag by Emery Harper

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In the Bag by Emery Harper In the Bag by Emery Harper
Series: Celeste Eagan Mysteries #2
Published by Carina Press on January 30, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary Mystery
Pages: 242
Format: eARC
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Life as the principal actress at the Peytonville Playhouse is all I ever thought it'd be—and more. I'm practically living the bohemian dream, until my BFF Levi finds a dead body on his property. And is swiftly arrested for murder.


Detective Shaw Muldoon is my almost-but-not-quite-there-yet beau. He knows me. He knows Levi. He knows neither of us is capable of something so heinous. And he knows that despite his strict orders to leave the case with the professionals, I'll launch my own investigation to clear Levi's name.


One more gruesome murder: check.

A dubious bakery owner who's taken a fancy to me: check.

This season's "it" handbag practically falling into my lap: check.

Levi's up the creek if I don't uncover the truth…but my investigation has put me firmly in the murderer's sights.

Life in danger: check.

I didn’t read the first in the series, but I picked up In the Bag based on the blurb. I like mysteries and this one sounded fun. I chose well.

The cast of characters is great. Celeste is the lead and is a blast. she’s funny, caring, has a tendency to get herself into potential danger, but who can blame her? Her best friend’s the main suspect in a murder investigation. Speaking of Levi, I like him. He’s got his own troubles, but still has time to give out advice, for better or worse. Celeste’s dad’s in town and adds to the confusion. There’s also a bookie whose interest in Celeste is obvious, and a little creepy.

The plotline was good. There are enough suspects, but not too many. The clues tie together pretty well. For me though, the enjoyment was in the characters and the situations they get themselves into, no necessarily the whodunnit.

I was not a big fan of Celeste’s “relationship” with Muldoon. Yeah, he’s a busy detective and he’s got some issues, but I don’t know. He gives her just enough to keep her holding on, but not enough for it to actually go anywhere. Hopefully, that situation will get a little resolution next time around, but otherwise she should just dump him. Of course, seeing how much often she seem to “visit” the police station, maybe she doesn’t want to end up on his bad side. Especially with how little credit being on his good side seems to get her.

Overall, a fun, light read – a good mystery with quirky characters and a touch of romance.

About Emery Harper

Born in Alaska, relocated, reared and still residing in North Texas, Emery started writing at a very young age—pretty much before she knew what writing was. She’s always had stories running around in her brain—doesn’t everyone?!? She penned several short stories, poems and one attempt at a novel when she was still a teen, but it wasn’t until she was pregnant with #4 boy-child that she seriously developed her manuscript chops.

A little murder, mayhem and maybe a twist and turn keep her plenty occupied in her make-believe worlds, though she is often grounded quickly from any one of the four boy-childs who live in her casa along with the man-child who’s been her personal hero for over twenty years.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Mailbox Monday – 1/23

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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.

Ebooks

This week I only picked up one new book from NetGalley.

Mailbox Monday – 1/23The King of Bourbon Street by Thea de Salle
Series: NOLA Nights #1
Published by Pocket Star on February 13, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 250
Format: eARC
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Hotel chain mogul Sol DuMont is about to learn that some of life’s biggest surprises come in deceptively small packages—namely a petite heiress named Rain who’s hell-bent on upsetting her family’s expectations—in this first book in the all new series by Thea de Salle, set against the sultry backdrop of New Orleans.

Thirty-seven-year-old Sol DuMont is a divorcee and the owner of a mid-sized hotel chain in New Orleans. Since Hurricane Katrina, his father’s death, and the decision that he and his ex-wife Maddy are far better off friends than lovers, he’s lost interest in almost everything he held dear—parties, people, and pushing limits.

All his limits.

Then Arianna Barrington checks into his hotel.

Twenty-four-year-old Arianna “Rain” Barrington could have been society’s sweetheart. Her family is moneyed, connected press darlings, and make sweeping headlines from coast to coast for reasons both good and bad. But when her mother shoves her at Charles Harwood—the obnoxious, entitled heir of Harwood Corp—to cement a billion-dollar business merger, Rain does the only thing she can think of to escape: she creates a scandal so big Harwood doesn’t want her anymore before fleeing to New Orleans for much-needed rest and relaxation.

All she wants is jazz piano, beignets, and to sail the Mississippi. What she gets is Sol DuMont, a whirlwind affair, and a hands-on education in sex, power play, and pushing limits.

All her limits.

Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis

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Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis
Series: Ryan DeMarco #1
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on January 10, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
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A literary page-turner about a beloved college professor accused of murdering his entire family, and one small-town cop's dangerous search for answers.

Thomas Huston, a beloved professor and bestselling author, is something of a local hero in the small Pennsylvania college town where he lives and teaches. So when Huston's wife and children are found brutally murdered in their home, the community reacts with shock and anger. Huston has also mysteriously disappeared, and suddenly, the town celebrity is suspect number one.

Sergeant Ryan DeMarco has secrets of his own, but he can't believe that a man he admired, a man he had considered a friend, could be capable of such a crime. Hoping to glean clues about Huston's mind-set, DeMarco delves into the professor's notes on his novel-in-progress. Soon, DeMarco doesn't know who to trust—and the more he uncovers about Huston's secret life, the more treacherous his search becomes.

Two men – Huston and DeMarco. Huston is a writer, a family man, a celebrity, and from all indications, has gone off the deep end and killed his wife children. DeMarco is a semi-stereotypical cop, a loner, a wounded man, but a good guy. The two were maybe friends by now DeMarco’s job is to find Huston, who is on the run, or not. It’s a decent set-up. Huston’s thoughts are rambling, he doesn’t let us know what happened. DeMarco thinks Huston is probably innocent, but the majority of the book is about finding Huston, other suspects barely enter the picture until late.

I struggled through this one. I didn’t get a chance to care about Huston because you never really know him, you just know the him that is shattered by the murders of his family. DeMarco I could almost like, but it’s not just his dark moods and drinking and stalking his ex, he’s not really a good cop. Lots of fictional cops fail to call for backup or don’t give their superior the whole story, I can overlook that, but he makes a couple of decisions that seem just wrong, even for a rogue cop.

The writing was uneven for me. Sometimes it was lush and descriptive and atmospheric, sometimes it seemed overly detail and melodramatic, trying too hard to be a “literary” mystery, like being a thriller wasn’t good enough.

As a mystery, it worked well. The clues were there even if we got one important one rather late, but I didn’t put them together. The secondary characters were fleshed out well.

Maybe it just needed to be a bit shorter or a bit less wordy. I didn’t find it as engrossing as I had hoped.

About Randall Silvis

Randall Silvis is the internationally acclaimed author of over a dozen novels, one story collection, and one book of narrative nonfiction. Also a prize-winning playwright, a produced screenwriter, and a prolific essayist, he has been published and produced in virtually every field and genre of creative writing. His numerous essays, articles, poems and short stories have appeared in the Discovery Channel magazines, The Writer, Prism International, Short Story International, Manoa, and numerous other online and print magazines. His work has been translated into 10 languages.

Silvis’s many literary awards include two writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize, a Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Award, six fellowships for his fiction, drama, and screenwriting from the Pennsylvania Council On the Arts, and an honorary Doctor of Letters degree awarded for distinguished literary achievement.”​

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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