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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The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield

The Apollo Murders by Chris Hadfield

My husband was telling me the other day that the Mars lander was losing power because of dust. I asked if it was on the radiator. He looked at me funny and said it was on the solar panels. I had been in the middle of The Apollo Murders and I don't think it's a spoiler to say that an astronaut's plan to sabotage the Soviet's moon rover was to cover it in dust. It's the middle of the Cold War and the US and the Soviet Union are in a race to conquer space — for national security reasons, foreign policy objectives, and bragging rights. In this science-fiction thriller set during the Nixon administration, Apollo 18 is being sent on one last mission to the moon. The Soviets have a moon rover and a manned spy satellite. The tension between the Americans and the Soviets is palpable, both in space and on the ground. It's national pride and personal...
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A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark

A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark

There are several short stories set in the same world as A Master of Djinn and I do wish I had read them first. A Master of Djinn does a fabulous showing us this Cairo and introducing the character, but the events from at least two of the stories are mentioned and I think reading them would have given me a better background. I may actually go back and read them now - I did love the world. A Master of Djinn is more or less a murder mystery set in a steampunk alternate 1912 Cairo where djinn live and work among mortals. Our investigator is Fatma from the Egyptian Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities. The dead men and woman are members of an Al-Jahiz Secret Brotherhood, all found murdered, their bodies, but not their clothes, burned to a crisp. Turns out an imposter claimant to be Al-Jahiz returned is running around town causing all kinds of havoc. Clark...
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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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Enjoy the View by Sarah Morgenthaler

Enjoy the View by Sarah Morgenthaler

Enjoy the View is smart and funny and cute. It's the third in a series but works fine as a standalone. Come December, though, I might go back and read #2. River Lane was a Hollywood starlet, determined to still make movies, she has agreed to make a documentary about the small town of Moose Springs, Alaska. Sounds like an easy light job, but the locals are not welcoming to tourists. Undeterred, River is determined to do what she set out to do - film a documentary. A chance meeting with a mountain guide, Easton Lockett, leads her in the direction of Mount Veil. Naturally, she along with Bree and Jessie (her staff helping her film her documentary) all have climbing experience, so instead of filming the town, they film the mountain climb. Easton and River are adorable together. They're playful and joking but also have each other's backs, which is necessary on the mountain. The town has some quirky sweet characters...
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The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell

The Dogs of Riga by Henning Mankell

I didn't enjoy The Dogs of Riga. It started off interestingly enough, with two dead men in a life raft. Detective Kurt Wallander picks up the case, but it's frustrating with no crime scene, no motive, and no witness. Eventually, the two are traced back to Latvia and a Latvian detective comes over to Sweden to help. But then it goes off the rails a bit. The Latvian detective goes back to Latvia and gets killed. Wallender is summoned to Riga to "help" with the investigation but gets tangled up with crooked cops, revolutionaries, the widow. He blunders around and feels sorry for himself. By the time I decided to just quit, I only had an hour or so left, so went ahead and pushed through, but it wasn't worth it. Emotional, fish out of water detectiveWish I had dnf-ed it ...
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