Movieland by Lee Goldberg

Movieland by Lee Goldberg

As series fans will know, Eve Ronin has been through a lot. She has struggled to defend her position in the LASD. Her workload has been tough, which isn't helped by her inability to occasionally leave work at the office. Movieland does work well as a stand-alone though. Goldberg gives us enough background to know where Eve stands and what led her there. This time around, Eve and her partner, Duncan Pavone, are investigating the shooting of two campers, one of whom was killed. It turns out that this was just the latest shooting in a string of them, some of which were reported to the police and some of which the park rangers kept to themselves. When another person is killed the question becomes are all seemingly random shootings related? Are there copycats taking advantage of the situation? Because there are so many incidents, we have multiple suspects and a variety of witnesses. Goldberg does a good job keeping all...
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The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman

The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman

Two things first. One - this is the first book by Klosterman I've read. Two - I, like Klosterman, am firmly a Gen X-er. I graduated high school in '93, college in '97. I got married in '99 and had Amber in 2000 (which counts because Klosterman doesn't consider the '90s officially over until 9/11). If I'm an adult, that was the decade I became one. I don't know if you have to be a member of my generation to enjoy The Nineties, but I'm sure it helps. If it was part of the culture during the '90s, it's in here: Nirvana, Reality Bites, American Beauty, Pulp Fiction, Seinfeld, Friends, Columbine, Mike Tyson, Tiger Woods, the Clintons, Dolly, Garth Brooks, Clarence Thomas. It covers TV shows I watched, bands I listened to and rappers I didn't, news stories that feel different when you look back at them than they did at the time. Klosterman talks about why the person and/or...
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Friend of the Devil by Stephen Lloyd

Friend of the Devil by Stephen Lloyd

Friend of the Devil is set at a posh boarding school on its own island off the coast of Massachusetts. The school, Danforth Putnam, also serves as an orphanage and has for ages. We've got the typical mix of high school kids, nerds, over-achievers, bullies, and staff who range from caring to a little nutty. Into this mix comes Sam, an insurance investigator on the trail of a valuable lost book. Friend of the Devil is slasher horror, with plenty of dead teenagers and lots of gore to slip in. Sam is kind of a hard-boiled detective not above threatening the kids on campus. Harriet, the school reporter, is also digging around, and they both uncover more than they expect. You know how some slasher movies and scary and some are lighter, despite the jump scares. This falls in that second camp. It's funny and over the top. You know who the monster's going to target, you know it's going to be...
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Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies by Misha Popp

Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies by Misha Popp

Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies is not your typical cozy mystery. Yes, we have an amateur sleuth who is a baker; she has a dog and a couple of potential love interests. But we know who the killer is - Daisy herself. She kills men with magic and pies - but they deserve it. The mystery is who is threatening to expose her. I liked Daisy - but she does kill people. She's a fabulous baker and a statewide pie contest has some of her attention during the book. She has an adorable trailer she lives in and she wears vintage dresses. For someone in her line of business, she can be a bit trusting. We learn about halfway through who the blackmailer is, but by then we're invested in seeing how Daisy will solve the problem without crossing any of her lines. The book has the lightheartedness I expect from a cozy, but it does talk about serious issues...
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Murder at the Blueberry Festival by Darci Hannah

Murder at the Blueberry Festival by Darci Hannah

Murder at the Blueberry Festival is a fun, light read, but at the same time, it deals sensitively and honestly with issues surrounding Alzheimer's and memory loss. The author strikes a good balance between keeping the book entertaining and at times downright laugh-out-loud funny and treating the issues in a kind, caring way. The Blueberry Festival is being ruined by a series of pranks. Well, maybe not ruined - it is attracting more tourists than ever, curious to see what will happen next. But then Lindsey and her boyfriend, Rory, find a dead body floating in a boat just offshore from the lighthouse. With so much going on, the pranks, the murder, so many tourists, the police are a little overloaded, and of course, Lindsey and her crew can't turn their backs on the opportunity to solve a mystery. The small-town atmosphere is done well. Everyone knows everyone, the kids on the floats in the parade are adorable, and gossip...
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Pay Dirt Road by Samantha Jayne Allen

Pay Dirt Road by Samantha Jayne Allen

Annie is back home after college, waitressing at the local diner and hanging out with her cousin and people she knew in high school. Her family is well known in town. Her grandfather used to be the sheriff, but now he owns a private investigation firm, run mostly by his partner, and drinks too much. When another waitress, Victoria, goes missing and is later found murdered, Annie is pulled in, needing to find the truth, and gets her grandfather involved too. Pay Dirt Road has a good sense of place. It's small-town Texas where land matters, where it's hard to keep secrets, where people without papers are afraid of the cops. It's a place where high school football carries a town's pride and the VFW turns into a honky tonk on Thursdays. It's a place Annie both loves and hates. Pay Dirt Road is a pretty standard mystery and Annie's not a great investigator. She shouldn't be. She's in her early twenties...
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