Lost Hills by Lee Goldberg

Lost Hills by Lee Goldberg

At heart, Lost Hills is a police procedural. Eve is new to the homicide division, having been promoted more due to sway public opinion than because of her actual skills. This is her first major case and it has the potential to make her a star or to go terribly awry. The crime is gruesome, and a lot more bloody than most books I read. Eve is tough and intelligent. She knows fate threw her a good turn with the new job and she's determined to prove she belongs. She's no-nonsense and super dedicated. She's paired with an older detective who is close to retirement. He provides some of the funnier moments, but he also supports her when it seems reasonable, lends his experience and authority to the investigation, and reminds her to do things like eat and sleep. He believes in balancing life and the job, which is an example she clearly needs. This is police work that doesn't...
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Killer Thriller by Lee Goldberg

Killer Thriller by Lee Goldberg

I recently read The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad about spies and violence and politics and it was very good. Killer Thriller is not "good" in the same way, but it is fun and funny and over the top, and it knows it. This is the second in the series and although it works as a stand-alone, the first one is a blast, so I'd read it first. Ian Ludlow writes cheesy thrillers and one is being turned into a movie. He and his assistant Margo head to Hong Kong to participate in some of the publicity surrounding the shooting and to do some research for the novel he's working on. The problem: once again Ian's plot, although outrageous, is too close to reality for him to be safe. This time, his story's about how the Chinese government is planning a coup of the U.S.A using sleeper agents in high government positions and the surveillance technology that they have hidden in...
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True Fiction by Lee Goldberg

True Fiction by Lee Goldberg

I originally picked up True Fiction as a Kindle First for free, but decided I'd rather listen to it, so ended up picking up the Audible version for $1.99. I've enjoyed the Fox and O'Hare series Goldberg writes with Janet Evanovich, but had never read anything else by him. I'm glad I took a (cheap) chance. True Fiction was a fun read, a bit over the top, in a good way. Ian Ludlow writes a thriller series featuring an assassin named Clint Straker. True Fiction includes snippets of the Clint Straker novels and they are perfect- cheesy clichés. I love that Goldberg is poking fun at the thriller genre while writing one. Years ago, Ludlow and several other authors participated in a weekend where the CIA asked them to come up with disasters, in theory so that the government can be prepared for the worst. But now, the scenario Ludlow came up with has happened, and a bunch of people are dead. Turns...
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The Sculthorpe Murder by Karen Charlton

I enjoyed The Sculthorpe Murder so much more than #2 in the series. Lavender and Woods are sent out of London to Northamptonshire to investigate the killing of an elderly man, presumably by a gang that has been terrorizing the area. I like that the trip takes Lavender away from his love interest. I really can only stand them as a couple for short periods of time. The plot was well-done with a good array of suspects and clues. I like that Lavender doesn't take things for granted and as an outsider can be more suspicious of certain people than the locals are. Wood gets a lot of screen time in this one, which I appreciated. He's a good, kind man and I liked his interactions with                                           . (Don't want to give anything away.) He tends to put people, including children at ease. Lavender, on the other hand, tends to make people a bit uncomfortable. He's the thinker where Woods is the talker. Together...
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The Sans Pareil Mystery by Karen Charlton

There were several good things about The Sans Pareil Mystery. I enjoyed learning about the theater in London in 1810 and it is interesting to note that both the San Pareil Theater and the woman running it did actually exist. The mystery itself was okay, although the clues were not necessarily as noticeable as the big flashing arrows saying "this is s bad guy." I like Lavender and Wood as a team, but Lavender seems older to me than young 30s, his attitudes and actions don't necessarily fit. Or maybe the reader's voice sounded older and that projected on to the main character? I had to remind myself that he was younger than I think. For the time period, it was also notable that women played central roles in the story, not just in the plot, but on the side-lines too. We meet women who have younger lovers, who support themselves and their household, who are brave, who are loyal, who...
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The Heiress of Linn Hagh by Karen Charlton

I have a fondness for historical mysteries, so the setting of The Heiress of Linn Hagh caught my attention. It's a gothic mystery, complete with the rundown manor home, a missing heiress, gypsies, a madwoman, a beautiful Spanish woman and family secrets. The mystery itself is a little predictable, but I enjoyed seeing Lavender pull all the clues together. I don't know that Lavender himself is particularly likeable - intelligent, dedicated, tenacious, but perhaps not likeable. He knows it though, and brings Woods along. Woods is more likely to be able to get the non-gentry locals to talk. They are a good pair, each with his own strengths and weaknesses. I wasn't terribly fond of Lavender's obsession with the Spanish widow though. She could have been a fascinating character, but Lavender's lusting felt a bit forced. Woods may have been my favorite of the two. He's more down-to-earth, friendlier, is a family man. He's just a solid good guy who will have your back. The...
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