The Shell Game by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

Short stories are always tough to talk about - I want people to know why I did/didn't enjoy it, but I don't want to give away too much. It's even tougher when it's a prequel to a series that I've read all the rest of, like this one. The Shell Game details Nick Fox and Kate O'Hare's first meeting. Nick's a con-man/thief and Kate's FBI. HE's charming, she's dedicated. They're both intelligent and good-looking, although I'm not sure you get a feel for how attracted they are to each other in this mini-episode. Nick gets to show off his cleverness, Kate gets to show off her ability to see through him, but I missed their interactions with each other that are so much of the fun in the series. Scott Brick does a good job as always as the narrator. His tone of voice fits the story, not melodramatic, but not straight either. Does that make sense. He knows the type of story...
Read More

The Ice Queen by Nele Neuhaus

First off, a minor complaint. Neuhaus' series is being translated from German, but out of order. So the first I read was Snow White Must Die #4, then Bad Wolf #6, and now The Ice Queen#3. Each is a self-contained mystery, but Pia and Oliver's personal lives come into play a fair amount and it's a little odd going back in time to see where their relationships were, knowing how they change over time. It doesn't bother me too much, but I feel like it would be a stronger series read in order. The story is absorbing, a mystery involving an influential family and secrets that go back to WW2. The blurb above gives the basic plotline, but it gives you no idea of how inter-connected theses people's lives are, how horrible their secrets are. It's a large cast, and the narrator, Robert Fass, does a reasonable job. I found a few of his voices jarring, but I do understand that it can...
Read More

Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis

I kinda wished I hadn't wasted an Audible credit on Simply Irresistable. It was okay, but I could have just put a hold on it at the library and waited. It wasn't worth "I need it"-ness of a credit. I was in the mood for a Christmas romance and it did fit the bill. I haven't read anything by Shalvis before, but her name comes up often enough that I felt pretty safe. Really the book had a lot of things I like, besides the nice coastal town setting and the Christmas season. Maddie and Jax are both good, nice people. Yes, she has trouble trusting, which is understandable, but she' trying to reinvent herself. Yes, Jax keeps some crucial information from her, but he doesn't have a choice, really. Maddie's sisters are great characters, both of whom I'm assuming will get their own love stories later in the series. I enjoyed the dynamics between the three of them. I like how everyone in the...
Read More

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

I have been a Poirot fan for as long as I can remember, so of course I had to pick up The Monogram Murders. I have to admit I was disappointed. As a mystery, it was okay, if you can overlook the horrible  Scotland Yard detective Poirot has paired himself with, Catchpool. He's incompetent and spends way too much time dwelling on events in his childhood, on his weaknesses. The mystery, the way the murders are committed and how the bodies are laid out is interesting enough. There's even a nice little bit that confuses the time of death and the clues fit together well. The mystery itself could have been good, but it relied on the Poirot hook and in that it failed. Maybe give me an original character, or even a better sidekick and I would have felt differently. Poirot is just not Poirot. He's too Poirot, if that makes sense. It's like he's overly conscious of his own mannerisms and...
Read More

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

Now this was a good one. I already knew I liked Cormoran Strike, the detective, from his first outing, The Cuckoo's Calling. He's the same basic guy here. The publicity from that case has worn off a little, but business is going well, even if he's working mostly divorce cases or for rich guys he doesn't really respect. It's money. And we do get to see a bit of him working on the other cases, not enough to distract from the plot, but enough to remind us that he doesn't just have one case to focus on. Robin, his assistant, is starting to come into her own, we're learning a bit more about her, what she wants and what she's capable of. Then a plain, poor-looking woman, asks him to find here missing husband, author Owen Quine. He's gone missing after his latest, as yet unpublished, novel was leaked, a book that is going to make a lot of people bad. It's...
Read More

Grim Shadows by Jenn Bennet

I have to admit that at first I was a bit annoyed with the male lead, Lowe Magnusson. When he first meets Hadley Bacall, he just keeps going on and on about her rear-end. Thankfully he eventually moved on to noticing her as a person. And they are a good match. Lowe is a con-artist, liar and a thief, but he has a truly good heart. Who doesn't love that type of bad boy, the kind that's just bad enough to be interesting but isn't going to intentionally hurt the people he cares about? Hadley has spent her life proving she's worthy and trying to keep her spirits at bay. Because they do want to kill someone, they're just waiting for her to get angry enough to let them. And she comes close - Lowe is quite good at pushing people's buttons. While this is a romance, Lowe and Hadley are also on a mission. They need to collect the pieces of an artifact, but...
Read More