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Friday, September 23, 2016

“Whispers Beyond the Veil” A Change of Fortune Mystery By Jessica Estevao

by Sandra Murphy

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

Ruby Proulx has gone by many names during her life but never her real name. She travels with her father, a con man who works the circuit selling his miracle potion that cures all ailments. Ruby reads Tarot cards and tells people what they most want to hear. After all, her father is prone to spending all their money on one foolish plan or another. He can’t tell the truth when a lie will do just as well, and he can’t turn down a chance to make a killing, even when the seller is another con man.

That’s what got Ruby in so much trouble. He bought a new gadget, called the Invigorizer. He tests the machine on Johnny, who is part of the con, and tells Ruby to flip the switch. The inner voice she sometimes hears says don’t, but it was too late. The switch is flipped and instead of being invigorated, Johnny is electrocuted. Not one to take the blame for anything, Ruby’s father says she’s at fault and she’d better skip town before the police find Johnny’s body. He’ll throw her under the proverbial bus to save himself.

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With little money, Ruby can only think of one place to go—to visit the aunt she’s never met. Honoria is thrilled to see her. It seems each of the women in their family has a special skill—like Ruby’s voice in her head. Honoria is building her hotel’s reputation on the mediums, card readers, and the like she’s invited to do demonstrations.

One of the hotel’s guest though is a debunker. He’s there to prove there is no seeing into the future. When his body is found, the suspect list is long. It seems he had a habit of proving a medium faked a reading and then gave her the choice of going to jail for fraud or sleeping with him to buy his silence.

Image source: Penguin

One of Ruby’s worst fears has come to pass. Someone recognized her and is blackmailing her. The hotel is in jeopardy since her aunt put a mortgage on it so she could compete with larger hotels. Ruby feels like anything and everything that could go wrong, has, including her attraction to the policeman in town.

Set in 1898, the people and their motives are much the same as today—greed, lust, power, and money. There’s an old murder to solve too. Ruby is someone you’d like to have as a friend or to read the Tarot cards for you, whether you believed or not. Her main clients, the sisters, are a treat. This was an enjoyable mystery with great promise for the next in the Change of Fortune Mystery series.

To enter to win a copy of Whispers Beyond the Veil, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “whispers,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 1, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address.

You can use this link to purchase the book:

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 her newest, "Arthur", included in the anthology titled, Flash and Bang, available now.

Friday, September 16, 2016

“The Dead Hand” A Rachel Gold Mystery By Michael A. Kahn

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

The Dead Hand. Taught to law students in their Property Law class, it’s a situation so confusing that thankfully it rarely occurs. As the Rule of Perpetuities, it was established to prevent someone long dead from controlling property transfer in the future. The Dead Hand was supposed to shut down a tax loophole, but instead it has become a massive headache for St. Louis attorney Rachel Gold.

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Rachel has somehow found herself representing two different Dead Hands, one a case for the first wife and the other on the side of the trophy widow. In the matter of Danielle A. Knight v. Marsha V. Knight, Rachel’s client is Marsha Knight, whose right to her late ex-husband’s property is being disputed by the most recent wife. Concerning the Estate of Bertram R. Mulligan, the very resentful son is suing Cyndi Mulligan on grounds that her child is not Bert Mulligan’s true child. While it’s inarguable that Cyndi did give birth 11 months after her husband’s death, the truth cannot be explained so simply.

Image source: Poisoned Pen Press

As a huge fan of the Rachel Gold novels since the beginning in the early 1990s, I am always thrilled to see her next baffling legal case. The absurdities and complexities of the law are never more fascinating or entertaining, especially when Rachel is joined by her best friend, the lewd and loyal Washington University School of Law Professor Benny Goldberg. Rachel’s former legal assistant, Jackie Brand, having finally transitioned into both a woman and a full partner in Gold & Brand, Attorneys at Law, stands by with equal amounts of femininity and intimidation. Going up against one of the most unethical, ruthless lawyers of the family practice bar, Rachel can always use her friends’ support, but she’s more than capable than matching wits with the best. Rachel Gold has matured into an ingenious and savvy attorney, easily manipulating her lesser through cleverness, research, and adherence to the law.

As compelling as it is genuinely funny, a dash of romance may enter the field when Rachel’s mother delivers the dream of every matchmaking yenta. A practicing trial attorney, Michael A. Kahn is one of the few authors who continues to make courtroom scenes absolutely delightful.

To enter to win a copy of The Dead Hand, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “hand,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 24, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please included your mailing address.

You can use this link to purchase the book:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Rosebush Murders: A Helen Mirkin Novel By Ruth Shidlo

by Kathleen Costa

Details on how to win an e-book copy of another book in this series at the end of the review. The Rosebush Murders is currently free on Kindle on Amazon.

Detective Inspector Helen Mirkin misses out on her morning Turkish coffee because of a phone call alerting her to a body in the park. She speeds through the streets of Jerusalem toward Wohl’s Rose Park to find a young woman shot at point blank range. In her pocket they find a letter that may hold a clue to her identity and searching the area DI Mirkin finds an appointment book floating in the pond, a scrap of material snagged on a bush, and a green pillbox. Minimal clues to start the investigation, she finds she needs to proceed on her own, as her partner, Ohad, is otherwise engaged.

The letter leads Helen to uncover the identity of the victim, Dr. Danielle Hall, and during her subsequent interviews she discovers the victim worked at City Hospital as a clinical psychologist and undergoing treatments for cancer. Soon the cancer treatments become suspicious, and the search for a mysterious Dr. Atab becomes problematic. When a second body is found in the same general area, the investigation is complicated even further. The City Hospital becomes a serious ‘place of interest.’

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As Helen continues her investigation into the hospital and several of its employees, difficult memories are brought to the surface about the death of her father. Incompetence, administrative cost-effective measures, and maybe even some medical arrogance leaves Helen with strong feelings against the medical community. Fathers crop up again in the two Floating Prologues that hint to someone whose mission it is to “…atone for his sins.” Can Helen put her feelings aside as her investigation delves deeper into the Oncology and IVF departments? Can atoning for one’s family cause dedication to turn deadly?

The Rosebush Murders is a marvelous look into a police investigation with a fascinating twist of being set in Israel—I enriched my enjoyment by googling sites mentioned to get a visual of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Ruth Shidlo weaves her character through interviews, crime scene searches, discussions with her colleagues, and while mulling over various suspects, she tries to arrive at a motive worthy of an arrest and conviction. But, it is far from mundane. Ruth adds thoughtful questioning and plausible scenarios for the reader to consider and explain the crime. I felt I was the partner she was having trouble getting Captain Tamir, the police chief, to replace.

Image source: Ruth Shidlo

Along with the police work, we get a peek into Helen’s life. She loves music, plays the piano, sings, and prepares for a choir performance, she often breaks out into her favorite aria—the author herself sang with the Ramat Gan Chamber Music Choir, part of the choir, for many years, and I enjoyed veering off to Google to explore the music myself. We also learn about Helen’s troubled relationship that makes her question if the incongruities between her demands as a detective and her desire for companionship and love are too hard to overcome. Slowly she puts herself out there again inviting Adrienne into her life, relaxed and relieved at how she enjoys having someone there to share, to love.

The Helen Mirkin series started with The Rosebush Murders (2012), continues with Murder in the Choir (2016), and currently Ruth is penning Preventable Tragedies (working title). The writing is engaging, characters real, events plausible, and the “Oh, no…” at the end left me wanting to pick up the next installment immediately.

The Rosebush Murders by Ruth Shidlo has earned 5/5 Detective Shields!

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To enter to win an e-book copy of Murder in the Choir, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “choir,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 10, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying year 2 of retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband of 26+ years.