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Friday, November 21, 2014

Ensconced & Purged by M.E. May

by Sandra Murphy

Ensconced by M. E. May

Details on how to win a copy of both books at the end of the review.

Tyrone Mayhew is a Missing Persons Detective in Indianapolis. He’s a devoted family man, good co-worker and enjoys his job – until it messes with his family.

Ten years ago, Wendy Matherson and her car, disappeared without a trace. It was Tyrone’s first case as a detective. That kind of thing sticks with you. Now new evidence has come to light and with it, a ton of problems. Was the initial investigation thorough or was there something more going on that a rookie could easily miss?

Ben Jacobs is Tyrone’s partner (and friend) now. They sift through years of information – what else was going on in the area at the time, what other arrests made, what other crimes committed? It’s tedious work but in the end, it pays off.

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It looks like Wendy’s youngest son might be the best clue they have. However, he’s not been exactly stable since his mom’s disappearance. His dad and older brother seem to do everything they can to block the investigation. Why wouldn’t they want Wendy found?

Digging deeper might bring the kid’s memories to the surface but who’s going to be hurt by them? The kid is desperate to do something positive in his life and to end the years of nightmares. Tyrone wants to solve the case that’s haunted him since the beginning of his career. The closer Tyrone gets to the truth, the more dangerous it gets for all involved.

When Tyrone’s family is threatened and then hurt, it’s the last straw for Tyrone.

Image source: M.E. May

It’s a tangle of lies, misdirection and cover ups that make the case hard to solve. Tyrone has to put himself in danger to save his family and find out the truth as to what happened to the Matherson family, years ago.

The relationship between officers and detectives is a good one. Tyrone and Ben work well together. While I thought some of the suspects were too obvious to be the culprit, the ending was one I didn’t see coming. Now I’m left to wonder—what will be their next case?

Inconspicuous and Perfidy are the first books in the Circle City Mystery series. Ensconced focuses on the men in the department. Purged, the fourth book features the women officers. Tyrone, of course, gets a cameo appearance there as does Ben.

Purged By M.E. May

by Sandra Murphy

Warning: This is a book about a serial killer who preys on women. There is graphic violence –about the level of the television show Criminal Minds, not so much detail as Bones. Usually, I read a book straight through but for this one, I needed frequent breaks.

The previous book, Ensconced, is about the same police force in Indianapolis but this time the focus is on the female detectives, Chenelle and Erica. The first victim is a young woman, well-liked, found in the woods by a couple of teenagers who want to see “where the witches meet at night” who find more than they ever wanted to see.

Sasha and twelve other women, members of a Wiccan coven, met to celebrate Sabbat Samhain, on Halloween. Sasha stayed behind to make sure the campfire doesn’t have any live embers left. On her way back to her car, she was attacked and taken to a small cabin where the man tortured her so she would repent her sin of devil worship and sacrifice. When he felt that she did, he stabbed her through the heart and branded the word, forgiven, on her chest. There’s a second victim, an attempt on a third, two together after that and then the killer really steps up the pace. Some are “forgiven”, some not.

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Since the point of view shifts from the police detectives to the killer, this is not a “who-dun-it” and not even a “why-did-he?” It’s more suspenseful in following the anxiety level of the police as they try to get one step ahead of an invisible killer. Suspects include members of a church who strictly believe in the Bible and have protested about the “devil worshipers” over the past six months. The women lead very different lives, married, single, working, wealthy, so the coven is the only common denominator.

I found the subplots more interesting than the serial killer. For me, it’s about women taking risks. How much is acceptable and just how much is safe?

Chenelle dated Trevon, another detective, but broke up when she came home early one day to surprise him and did – as well as surprise his bed partner. Now he wants back in her good graces. Erica is about to move in with Detective Jacobs. She’s hesitated for a long time but now is willing and ready to take the plunge.

Image source: M.E. May

Anne Samuels is ready to take the test to become a detective. Chenelle has been mentoring her but has concerns about Anne’s home life. Her husband, Aaron, is an out of control gambler. He’s also abusive to Anne and their two boys. Anne doesn’t want the boys to be without a father, doesn’t want to disappoint her parents if her marriage fails and doesn’t want to start over and what other choice is there?

The members of the coven take risks too – some look safe but are they? Some are just foolish considering all that’s happened. When does “I can take care of myself” turn into “I should have listened”?

I did like the change from the men in the police department to the women, the relationships between them and the back story of their family lives which are as interesting as the police work.

To enter to win a copies of Ensconced and Purged, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “May,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 29, 2014. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes two mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble. You can also find several of Sandra's short stories on UnTreed Reads including Bananas Foster.


  1. Interesting. Maybe we should figure out a star system to reflect the degree of violence / gore / profanity etc.

  2. We have a winner
    Lorie Ham, KRL Publisher