Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Slice Of Murder~By Chris Cavender

A Slice of Murder is the first mystery in a series set in Timber Ridge, North Carolina. Eleanor owns a pizzeria named A Slice of Delight which she runs with the help of her sister Maddy. Eleanor gets a call for delivery, but when she arrives at the home, the owner, Richard Olsen, is dead. The following day, the Police Chief, Kevin Hurley shows up at Maddy’s home, demanding more questions of Eleanor. Maddy calls her friend Bob, who is a lawyer to accompany Eleanor to the station. Maddy, against Eleanor’s wishes goes to A Slice of Delight and opens the day after the murder. Maddy suggests that rather than waiting for the cops to solve the murder, she and Eleanor find the killer themselves. When Sheila Olsen, Richard’s sister, comes into A Slice of Delight, Eleanor and Maddy see the perfect chance to dig into Richard’s past. Unfortunately Sheila leaves when both sisters are occupied, so they don’t get any information. Maddy and Eleanor decide to close the shop so they can go investigate. Their first stop was Richard Olsen’s home, Chief Kevin is about to arrest them when Sheila appears from the back of the house, telling him they are helping her clean. Eleanor and Maddy spend time investigating with Sheila until she realizes the amount of money her bother had. Eleanor and Maddy are allowed to go through the “trash,” if they want to take it with them. Eleanor finds a love letter from a woman who is married to the mayor. The sisters decide to go to the pizzeria to calm down. But when they arrive, there are tons of customers standing around waiting for them. After closing the store, Eleanor and Maddy walk to their cars to find Eleanor’s window broken and “Killer written on it. They continue to investigate the murder even though Eleanor had been threatened. When Eleanor checks voicemail, there are a lot of hang up calls. When Eleanor answers the phone, the person on the line offers 200 dollars for a pizza delivery. Maddy finds the call suspicious and calls the Chief. That’s all I will give away!

If you are looking for a light, funny, cozy mystery, then this is a must read. This will be a great series and I’m hoping that it continues. I am looking forward to reading some of the other books this author has written.

***Chris Cavender is a pen name for an author who has written as Melissa Glazer, Elizabeth Bright and Tim Myers.***

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Becoming Alice~By Alice Rene

From her window, Ilse sees the Nazi soldiers parading through her street. Ilse realizes that the Jewish are not wanted in Austria, when she and the family maid go shopping. When their band account is frozen, Ilse’s father decides they must sell some of their possessions. Her father then escapes from Austria by saying he will go gather goose feathers. Her father gets visa’s for Ilse, her mother and brother. Unfortunately the Nazi’s have shut the border and the family has to reroute their trip. When they finally arrive in Lithuania, Ilse is reunited with her father. Herr Lehmann smuggles the family over the border to Latvia. Fredi, Ilse’s brother can get a visa to America is he goes to boarding school. Their parents make him go. Ilse’s father has been trying to get visas for the rest of the family with no success. Finally the family is granted the visas. They have to travel through Kobe, Japan. Once they arrive in Kobe, they board a ship that will take the refugees to their new home in America. Ilse’s family settles in Portland, Oregon. An organization that helps the Jewish find jobs, offers to buy a grocery store for the family to run. After much consideration, Ilse’s parents agree. Later they enroll Ilse in school, which causes her much distress because she speaks no English. After living in the United States for the required five years, the family applied for citizenship. Ilse changes her name to Alice because it sounds more “American.” She hopes changing her name to Alice will make her upcoming high school years easier than her grade school. After graduating from high school, life begins to be more comfortable for her.

Many people know something about the Jewish Holocaust, but you hardly ever hear about a family who escapes by moving to the United States. It was refreshing to read a story about a Jewish family that had a relatively happy ending.

Monday, August 3, 2009

First Night~By Tom Weston

Thomas and Hannah Pemberton know their daughter, Sarah, will never recover from the small pox virus. Captain John Ayres stops by and gives Sarah an ivory Inuit bracelet. After Sarah puts the bracelet on, she closes her eyes and passes away peacefully. Thomas and Hannah bury Sarah two days later. A few hundred years later Alexandra (Alex) and her sister, Jacqueline (Jackie), O’Rourke are spending New Years with their Aunt Anne and Uncle Jim in Boston. Both Anne and Jim have to work on New Years Eve, so they turn let Alex and Jackie loose in the city. The girls eat breakfast while they plan their day. Sarah Pemberton wakes up and attends the Court of Spirits—where her own parents accuse her of being a witch. She is released from court because she has no lawyer. Sarah is then thrust into present day Boston and can not find her way home. Back at the café, Alex and Jackie are still trying to decide what to do with their day. Jackie spots a girl dressed in 1600’s clothing, but the sisters don’t thing it’s unusual because of all the historical sites in Boston. Alex and Jacking leave the café and start walking down the street. Suddenly a girl comes running in the opposite direction. Alex knows the girl will run into her and braces for the impact. But the collision never happens. Alex and Jackie sit down with Sarah and explain everything that has happened since her death. Sarah, in turn tells the girls of her life in the 1680’s. As the girls walk through the city, Sarah slowly begins to realize that nothing is left of “her” Boston. Sarah tells Alex and Jackie that she is being accused of being a witch. Jackie makes a joke of it and suddenly she and Sarah are enveloped in blue smoke. After the smoke dissipates, Jackie and Sarah are gone. The two girls are transported back to the Court of Spirits, where Jackie must act as Sarah’s lawyer. After court is released, the girls find Alex exactly where they left her. The three head to the library to research the accusations against Sarah. Alex and Jackie take Sarah to dinner to meet their Aunt and Uncle. After eating dinner, they have to ditch their Aunt and Uncle by saying they are helping with the festivities. Jacking and Sarah are pulled back to the Court of Spirits. Alex is left to do more research for her sister. That’s all I can tell without giving away the ending.

First Night is such a great story and everyone should read it. It’s a strong book about sisterhood and the power of friendship. Unfortunately most people wouldn’t run across it easily! I would recommend this book to everyone because I enjoyed it that much!

The second book in the Alex and Jackie series comes out this year (2009) sometime. I know the publishing date is too far away for me.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Murder By The Numbers: The Righteous One~By Richard Hicks

Murder By The Numbers: The Righteous One opens with Eddie DeSilva’s retirement party. Eddie was forced into retirement because he shot someone on the job. First he was placed on administrative leave, and then it transitioned into forced retirement. His friend and psychologist, Pauline Graham calls him during the party begging for his help—her friend has been murdered. The police are suspecting the victim’s own daughter, but Pauline doesn’t agree. After Eddie leaves his retirement party, he goes over to Pauline’s house, so they can discuss the murder. Pauline begs Eddie to use his contacts at the force to get inside information. Eddie stops at the station to get whatever information he could. After that he drives to the women’s prison outside of San Diego to interview Allison Stanton, the victim’s daughter. Eddie goes by the murder scene to see what clues he can find. The new chief catches Eddie snooping around the department and calls him out. He tells her that he will be a civilian investigator and not use the force for information. Eddie begins to think of sailing down the coast to Mexico—just to get away. Unfortunately the yacht club calls him to say that his boat has a leak. Eddie realizes that he can not stop thinking of the murder, so he begins to investigate again. Eddie plans on attending Vincent’s (the victim) funeral, but his brakes “fail” and he crashes into a person's bushes. After he has recovered enough, he continues to investigate. The investigation leads him and Pauline to Pennsylvania.

The Enneagram is a way that tells people your personality type. There are nine numbers. The preface of this book briefly touches on the different characteristics of each number. The Enneagram is brought up in the book, but it is not distracting.

This was a really enjoyable mystery. If you love mysteries about cops, then I would recommend this book. I am looking forward to reading the second book in the series. Unfortunately it doesn’t come out until 2010. I hope this series continues beyond the 9 Enneagram numbers!