Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate

Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate
Somebody at the Door 
by Raymond Postgate

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: “The German, too, is a possible line. Refugees are a Home Office matter, and Inspector Atkins deals with them. But I remember him telling me one, who sounds very like this man, whom Grayling was making a dead set at. I can’t remember the name, but Atkins will when he comes in. Grayling had written both to us and to the Home Secretary charging the man with being a spy, possessing a bicycle and a radio, and passing himself off falsely as a refugee, using the name of someone the Nazis had, in fact, killed. We didn’t pay much attention, because Grayling had recently become very violent about such things and talked rather wildly. But I seem to remember Atkins spoke as if an arrest wasn’t unlikely.”

THE BLURB: One bleak Friday evening in January, 1942, Councillor Henry Grayling boards an overcrowded train with £120 in cash wages to be paid out the next day to the workers of Barrow and Furness Chemistry and Drugs Company. When Councillor Grayling finally finds the only available seat in a third-class carriage, he realises to his annoyance that he will be sharing it with some of his disliked acquaintances: George Ransom, with whom he had a quarrel; Charles Evetts, who is one of his not-so-trusted employees; a German refugee whom Grayling has denounced; and Hugh Rolandson, whom Grayling suspects of having an affair with his wife.

The train journey passes uneventfully in an awkward silence but later that evening Grayling dies of what looks like mustard gas poisoning and the suitcase of cash is nowhere to be found. Inspector Holly has a tough time trying to get to the bottom of the mystery, for the unpopular Councillor had many enemies who would be happy to see him go, and most of them could do with the cash he was carrying. But Inspector Holly is persistent and digs deep into the past of all the suspects for a solution, starting with Grayling’s travelling companions. Somebody at the Door,” first published in 1943, is an intricate mystery which, in the process of revealing whodunit, “paints an interesting picture of the everyday life during the war.”

MY THOUGHTS: Oh dear. I was so looking forward to reading Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate. I usually love these old murder mysteries with their ambience. Unfortunately, this falls a little short.

Somebody at the Door, and I really can’t see the relevance of the title, could easily have been a short story, or novella. The actual mystery itself, although a little obvious, is entertaining. What killed the book for me was the interminable back stories for each and every suspect in Grayling’s death. Each one examined and relayed every minute detail starting from the suspect’s childhood through to the present time. Each one could have been a book on its own. And most of it was irrelevant to the plot. ‘Filling’ I think they call it. I skimmed large tracts of text.

I could not make up my mind between 2 or 3 stars, so 2.5 it is.

Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Somebody at the Door by Raymond Postgate for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. A lot of people will like this book more than I did, therefore if you enjoyed the excerpt and like the sound of the blurb, please take a chance and read Somebody at the Door. I will enjoy reading your reviews.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2205016042

Talkabout Thursday

Why is it that the closer we get to Christmas, the faster the time seems to go! Here it is, Thursday again already. And so it’s time to talk about what I am currently reading, what I am hoping to read in the coming week, and the ARCS I have been approved for.

 

So firstly, what is it that I am currently reading?

City of Masks (Cree Black, #1)

In City of Masks, the first Cree Black novel, parapsychologist Cree and her partner take a case in New Orleans’s Garden District that leaves them fearing for their own lives. The 150-year-old Beauforte House has long stood empty, until Lila Beauforte resumes residence and starts to see some of the house’s secrets literally come to life. Tormented by an insidious and violent presence, Lila finds herself trapped in a life increasingly filled with childhood terrors. It takes Cree’s unconventional take on psychology and her powerful natural empathy with Lila to navigate the dangerous worlds of spirit and memory, as they clash in a terrifying tale of mistaken identity and murder. Daniel Hecht portrays the ambience of New Orleans perfectly, and this book is deliciously creepy in the right places.

Somebody at the Door

One bleak Friday evening in January, 1942, Councillor Henry Grayling boards an overcrowded train with £120 in cash wages to be paid out the next day to the workers of Barrow and Furness Chemistry and Drugs Company. When Councillor Grayling finally finds the only available seat in a third-class carriage, he realises to his annoyance that he will be sharing it with some of his disliked acquaintances: George Ransom, with whom he had a quarrel; Charles Evetts, who is one of his not-so-trusted employees; a German refugee whom Grayling has denounced; and Hugh Rolandson, whom Grayling suspects of having an affair with his wife.

The train journey passes uneventfully in an awkward silence but later that evening Grayling dies of what looks like mustard gas poisoning and the suitcase of cash is nowhere to be found. Inspector Holly has a tough time trying to get to the bottom of the mystery, for the unpopular Councillor had many enemies who would be happy to see him go, and most of them could do with the cash he was carrying. But Inspector Holly is persistent and digs deep into the past of all the suspects for a solution, starting with Grayling’s travelling companions. Somebody at the Door,” first published in 1943, is an intricate mystery which, in the process of revealing whodunit, “paints an interesting picture of the everyday life during the war.” I love murder mysteries from the ‘Golden Age ‘.

Sleeping Beauties

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain?

I started this some time ago, but had to abandon it due to an influx of Netgalley reads all due to be published within a short period of time. Bad planning on my part and I resolve to try and be a bit more organized in the coming year. I am really enjoying this collaboration and will never again look at cobwebs the same way.

I have deliberately left this weeks reading list light as I am working extra hours until Christmas, we have two Christmas work parties to attend, and a friend and I are off to see Jack Johnson in concert under the stars Sunday evening. This week I am only planning on reading two books, and if I find myself with reading time to spare I will pick something from my backlist.

The Runaway Children

A heart-wrenching, unforgettable story of two evacuee sisters during the Second World War… Perfect for fans of Orphan Train, Nadine Dorries and Diney Costeloe.

London, 1942: Thirteen-year-old Nell and five-year-old Olive are being sent away from the devastation of the East End. They are leaving the terror of the Blitz and nights spent shivering in air raid shelters behind them, but will the strangers they are billeted with be kind and loving, or are there different hardships ahead?

As the sisters struggle to adjust to life as evacuees, they soon discover that living in the countryside isn’t always idyllic. Nell misses her mother and brothers more than anything but she has to stay strong for Olive. Then, when little Olive’s safety is threatened by a boy on a farm, Nell has to make a decision that will change their lives forever…

They must run from danger and try to find their way home.

Together the two girls hold each other’s hands as they begin their perilous journey across bombed-out Britain. But when Nell falls ill, can she still protect her little sister from the war raging around them? And will they ever be reunited from the family they’ve been torn from?

An unputdownable novel of unconditional love, friendship and the fight for survival during a time of unimaginable change. The Runaway Children is guaranteed to find a place in your heart.

Killman Creek (Stillhouse Lake, #2)

Every time Gwen closed her eyes, she saw him in her nightmares. Now her eyes are open, and he’s not going away.

Gwen Proctor won the battle to save her kids from her ex-husband, serial killer Melvin Royal, and his league of psychotic accomplices. But the war isn’t over. Not since Melvin broke out of prison. Not since she received a chilling text…

You’re not safe anywhere now.

Her refuge at Stillhouse Lake has become a trap. Gwen leaves her children in the protective custody of a fortified, well-armed neighbor. Now, with the help of Sam Cade, brother of one of Melvin’s victims, Gwen is going hunting. She’s learned how from one of the sickest killers alive.

But what she’s up against is beyond anything she feared—a sophisticated and savage mind game calculated to destroy her. As trust beyond her small circle of friends begins to vanish, Gwen has only fury and vengeance to believe in as she closes in on her prey. And sure as the night, one of them will die.

And only one ARC approval from NetGalley this week, but I have 10 sitting in the pending pile, quite a few of which are wishes I am hoping will be granted. My one approval this week was for

Kill Creek

At the end of a dark prairie road, nearly forgotten in the Kansas countryside, lies the Finch House. For years it has perched empty, abandoned, and overgrown–but soon the door will be opened for the first time in many decades. But something waits, lurking in the shadows, anxious to meet its new guests.
When best-selling horror author Sam McGarver is invited to spend Halloween night in one of the country’s most infamous haunted houses, he reluctantly agrees. At least he won’t be alone; joining him are three other masters of the macabre, writers who have helped shape modern horror. But what begins as a simple publicity stunt soon becomes a fight for survival–the entity they have awakened will follow them, torment them, threatening to make them part of the bloody legacy of Kill Creeknow.

Love that cover!!!!!!

So happy reading my friends, and I ‘ll see you tomorrow for the Friday Favorite!

 

Evil Crimes by Michael Hambling

Evil Crimes by Michael Hambling
Evil Crimes (DCI Sophie Allen #6) 
by Michael Hambling

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: . . . I think she’s convinced herself that there might be something wrong, and she wants to nip it in the bud before we have another death on our hands. If it is the same woman behind these two deaths, then she’s right to push hard. Killers can soon get addicted to what they do. The boss is worried that she might have already chosen another victim. If that’s the case, it’s a race and we’re handicapped because there’s so much we don’t yet know.

THE BLURB: A young man’s body is spotted in the stormy sea off Dancing Ledge in Dorset.

Did he lose his footing in the gale force winds and fall in? Or is there a more sinister cause of death?

Detective Sophie Allen’s team discover some curious links to a suicide that happened six months earlier.

A strikingly attractive female student connects the cases. Alarming facts slowly come to light as the team probes more deeply.

Is the young woman as evil as she seems or is someone else manipulating her?

DCI Sophie Allen races against time to uncover the tragic secrets behind the crimes and stop any more deaths.

MY THOUGHTS: How have I previously missed out on Michael Hambling? How many times have I said that I wished someone would give me a strong female lead detective who isn’t carrying loads of baggage and lives a relatively normal life? A female Alan Banks.

Well, here she is. DCI Sophie Allen is happily married to the father of her two daughters, one coming up eighteen, the other a little older. She has a great relationship with both her daughters and with her mother, who’s quite a colorful character. She works well with her team. A nice woman who gets the job done. A breath of fresh air!

And if you think that sounds boring, you’d be wrong. The characters are well portrayed, the plot unusual and interesting. I liked this so much that I am planning to gorge myself on the earlier books in the series over the Christmas break.

And, in case you are wondering, Evil Crimes works perfectly well as a stand alone.

Thank you to Joffe Books via Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy of Evil Crimes by Michael Hambling for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2203231397?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Her Best Friend by Sarah Wray

Her Best Friend by Sarah Wray
Her Best Friend 
by Sarah Wray

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: As I step back inside, I see it on the mat and acidic saliva forces itself up my throat.

Another brown envelope.

This time I don’t wait. I rip the envelope straight open and shove my hand inside. It’s cold, metal; a thin chain. When I pull it out and hold it up, the room feels as if it spins like a fun house. It’s the gold chain with the heart shaped locket, the one they said Victoria was missing that night, that never turned up.

My fingers are shaking but I am eventually able to turn it over – the ‘VP’ engraving is there like I knew it would be.

Before I wasn’t sure. Now I am certain. Someone knows what happened to Victoria that night and this is a message.

THE BLURB: Two girls. A murder. And a secret that binds them forever.
As a teenager, Sylvie Armstrong’s life was shattered when her best friend, Victoria Bland, was murdered. The killer has never been caught – and Sylvie has never spoken about what happened that day.

Now, two decades have gone by and after the death of her mother, Sylvie is forced to return to her home town, along with her newborn daughter – only to be confronted by the secrets that she has been running from for twenty years.

But then Sylvie receives the locket Victoria was wearing on the night she died – and it becomes clear that somebody knows what really happened to Victoria.

As Sylvie struggles to discover the truth behind the lies, she finds herself in increasing danger from those who will stop at nothing to keep their secrets. Someone who threatens not only Sylvie, but everything she loves…

MY THOUGHTS: ‘Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t going away.’

Her Best Friend by Sarah Wray is deceptive. For around the first third of the book, I thought it was okay, but nothing really special. But what it actually is, is a cleverly crafted, slow burning read. Like one of those fireworks that appears to be fizzing, gives a couple of experimental spurts, then bursts into a beautiful technicolor display of pyrotechnics. The second third of the book had me reading avidly, and the final third? You couldn’t have paid me to put the book down.

You may not like the characters, but they are well drawn and realistic. The story takes place over two timelines, now and twenty years previous. Sylvie, the pivotal character, is no more self assured now than she was then. She revolved in Victoria’s orbit, followed her lead, was her acolyte.

Relationships between the characters are more complex than they first appear. I had several suspects in mind for the death of Victoria. I changed my mind several times throughout the read. I settled on two, but couldn’t make my mind up which of them it was, and was wrong. Completely and utterly way off base. Which pleases me greatly.

4.5 sparkling stars for Her Best Friend by Sarah Wray which came to me in the form of a digital ARC from Bookouture via Netgalley, for which I thank them. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2185446623

Dying Breath (Detective Lucy Harwin #2) by Helen Phifer

Dying Breath by Helen Phifer
Dying Breath (Detective Lucy Harwin, #2) 
by Helen Phifer (Goodreads Author)

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: Right there and then he’d known that he was different to most kids, probably most people. They were all scared of death and dead people, whereas he was fascinated with them and couldn’t get enough. He needed to see a real dead person – he wanted to see if they looked as beautiful as his girls had. He wanted to touch one, stroke their skin, run his fingers through their hair. He wouldn’t think twice about kissing one; he wanted to know what it would feel like to put his lips on theirs. He thought about Carrie. He would have kissed her.

THE BLURB: Take a breath. Pray it’s not your last.
Just a few months after a terrifying case that nearly took her life, Detective Lucy Harwin is back with her squad in the coastal town of Brooklyn Bay – and this time, she’s faced with a case more horrifying than anything she’s encountered.

Along with her partner, Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy is investigating what appears to be a vicious but isolated murder; a woman found bludgeoned to death on a lonely patch of wasteland.

But when a second victim is discovered strangled in an alleyway, then a young family shot in their own home, Lucy and the team must face the unthinkable reality – a killer is walking the streets of their town.

While Lucy and the team try to find the link between these seemingly unconnected murders, they uncover a disturbing truth – these murders are replicating those carried out by infamous serial killers.

Lucy must get to the killer before he strikes again. But he’s got his sights on her, and is getting ever closer… Can she save herself, before she becomes the final piece in his twisted game?

MY THOUGHTS: There are some absolutely chilling moments in Dying Breath by Helen Phifer. “He turned to take one last look at the man who had changed from a monster into his hero, and he grinned at him.” is one of them. It may not seem like much on its own, but when read in context you will feel chills up your spine.

Dark and twisty, Dying Breath had me wondering just who this child had grown up to become, because we never knew his name. . .but we knew what he had become and his life ambition. There are several people he could be, all of whom have some type of fixation on Lucy.

Dying Breath is deliciously suspenseful. Highly recommended ☆☆☆☆

Thank you to Bookouture via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Dying Breath by Helen Phifer for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2199969913

Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo

(Kate Burkholder series #3)

Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo
Breaking Silence (Kate Burkholder, #3) 
by Linda Castillo (Goodreads Author)

30817744

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: Pickles was midway to his cruiser when his radio cracked to life. “What now?” he growled.

“Pickles, I got a ten-fifty-two out at the Slabaugh farm. David Troyer just called, said they got three people down in the manure pit.”

“Shit.” Pickles fumbled for his lapel mike. Back in the day, a cop had a radio in his cruiser. If he chose to ignore a call, he could. Now, you carried the damn thing around like some weird body part, one end clipped to your belt, one end stuck in your ear, and a microphone pinned to your chest like some damn medal. “You call EMS?”

“They’re en route. Thought you might want to get out there.”

Pickles heaved another sigh; he’d just about had all the mud and shit he could handle for one night. But he knew a manure pit could be a dangerous place. There were all sorts of nasty gases that would do you in faster than a gas chamber if you weren’t careful. “What’s the twenty on that?”

“Three six four Township Road Two.”

Pickles knew the area. It was a dirt track south of town that would be hell to traverse without a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Figuring this was the end of his Lucchese boots, he cursed. “You might want to call the chief.”

“Roger that.”

“I’m ten-seventy-six,” he said, and forced his old legs into a run.

THE BLURB: Police Chief Kate Burkholder is called to the scene of a horrific tragedy on a peaceful Amish farm.
The Slabaugh family are model Amish farmers, prosperous and hardworking, with four children and a happy extended family. When the parents and an uncle are found dead in their barn, it appears to be a gruesome accident: methane gas asphyxiation caused by a poorly ventilated cesspit. But in the course of a routine autopsy, the coroner discovers that one of the victims suffered a head wound before death—clearly, foul play was involved. But who would want to make orphans of the Slabaughs’ children? And is this murder somehow related to a recent string of shocking hate crimes against the Amish?

Having grown up Amish, Kate is determined to bring the killer to justice. Because the other series of attacks are designated hate crimes, the state sends in agent John Tomasetti, with whom Kate has a long and complex relationship. Together, they search for the link between the crimes—and uncover a dark secret at work beneath the placid surface of this idyllic Amish community.

MY THOUGHTS: I knew Castillo was good, but this is the best of the Kate Burkholder series yet. Breaking Silence is a real page turner.

There are multiple themes running through Breaking Silence, hate crimes, incest, psycological manipulation, bullying. There are no graphic descriptions, nothing to cause alarm for those for whom one or more of these subjects may be triggers. Everything is dealt with with a great deal of sensitivity. And yet Castillo still manages to deliver a riveting read.

I don’t even begin to understand those who commit hate crimes. What do the perpetrators hope to achieve? It seems to me to be a pointless waste of time on all fronts. I was no closer to understanding it at the end of the book.

The end of the book . . . Just when I thought everything was solved and sorted, Castillo turned in upside down and inside out, and we were off in pursuit of the criminal again. There are lots of twists and turns and plenty of action in this read. Highly recommended. ☆☆☆☆☆

I listened to the audio book version of Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo, narrated by Kathleen McInerney, published by MacMillan Audio via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1238890701

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright
The House on Foster Hill 
by Jaime Jo Wright (Goodreads Author)

30817744

Reviewed by


EXCERPT: It was long rumored that the Foster Hill oak tree was not only the largest but also the oldest tree in Oakwood. While its top rose to a marvelous height, it was still dead and its branches never blossomed. The trunk was very wide at the base and split open to reveal a hollow inside. Many a child had hidden there during a rambunctious game of hide-and-seek. They wouldn’t hide there any more. Not after today.

The petite body was curled into the position of a babe, inside the tree’s womb. Blonde hair hung free over her cold, bare shoulders and floated out on the wind. Her torso was covered in a paper-thin dress of grey calico. It was nowhere enough to keep her warm, but it was more than the cold that tinted the young woman’s skin blue. It was death.

THE BLURB: Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.

A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–including her own–are lost?

MY THOUGHTS: 3 stars for The House on Foster Hill from me.

I was excited by the first few chapters of this book. Their tone was insidiously creepy and hinted at great things to come, but for me, they never quite materialised.

I loved the character of Ivy, author of the book of deaths, where she recorded her thoughts and memories of the people of her town who passed away so that they would not be forgotten. She is a strong willed, unconventional young woman who has not recovered from the tragedy that robbed her of her beloved brother Andrew.

I found it harder to relate to Kaine, whose story is interspersed with Ivy’s, but occurring a century later. I could not warm to her and found her decisions and actions hard to understand.

Ultimately, I think that the author of The House on Foster Hill tried to make this book too many things, all being given equal billing, and as a result it all becomes slightly muddied. We have in Ivy’s story, a historical, Christian, romantic-suspense, people trafficking, murder mystery. With Kaine, we have a contemporary, Christian, romantic-suspense, stalker, murder-mystery. And then there is the family connection between the two women, voila! A genealogical mystery to boot!

I applaud Jaime Jo Wright’s intentions in her debut novel. If I have one piece of advice for her, it is this. Make one aspect of the novel the main thread, the star if you like, and the other aspects become side stories feeding into and supporting the main story, acting as the supporting cast, instead of all battling with one another to reign supreme.

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page v

Jazz Funeral by Julie Smith

Jazz Funeral by Julie Smith
Jazz Funeral (Skip Langdon, #3) 
by Julie Smith (Goodreads Author)

30817744
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: “At $250 a pop,” fumed a red-faced man, “you’d think we’d at least get a drink.”

The shrill, uncertain buzz they’d noticed was developing a hysterical note. This was a party that wasn’t fun. Bemused, Skip and Steve worked their way back around to the front.

“Ham I could see,” said Skip. “He could have had to work late—it’s his busiest time. But where’s Ti-Belle?”

“Oh, ‘bout two houses away, I’d say. Approaching at a dead run, having just parked a Thunderbird with a squeal of wheels.”

Skip had heard the squeal, but had paid it no mind. Now she saw a very thin woman coming towards them, hair flying, long legs shining brown, sticking out from a white silk shorts suit. Over one shoulder she carried a lightweight flight bag. Golden-throated Ti-Belle Thiebaud, the fastest-rising star on the New Orleans music scene.

Steve said, “I’d know those legs anywhere.”

She never performed in any garment that wasn’t short, split, slit, or halfway missing. Some said the whole country would know those legs soon. They said she was going to be bigger than large, larger than huge.

Thiebaud was approaching at a dead trot, fast giving way to a gallop. She was wearing huge hoop earrings. She had giant black eyes and shining olive skin, flyaway blond hair that looked utterly smashing with her dark complexion. Her skin clung to her bones, hanging gently, as naturally as hide on a horse.

“How’d Ham get her?” she blurted.

A black man waved at the singer, tried to slow her progress, pretend it was a party: “Hey, Ti-Belle.”

Thiebaud paid him no mind but cast a look at the crowd in general. Skip saw twin wrinkles at the sides of her nose—one day they’d be there permanently if she worried a lot in the meantime.

“Hi, y’all.” She was trying to smile, but it wasn’t working. “Excuse me a minute.” She let herself in and closed the door behind her.

Almost immediately, a scream that could have come from anyone—the hottest Cajun R&B singer in America or any terrified woman—ripped through the nervous buzz.

THE BLURB: Smack in the middle of the summer, Skip finds herself investigating the stabbling death of the universally beloved producer of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Then the victim’s sixteen-year-old sister disappears, and Skip suspects that if the young woman isn’t herself the murderer, she’s in mortal danger from the person who is. And with her long-distance love, Steve Steinman, and her landlord, Jimmy Dee, to assist her, Skip trails an elusive killer through the delirium of a city caught up in the world’s most famous music bash….

MY THOUGHTS: 2 stars from me for Jazz Funeral by Julie Smith. This book really missed the mark with me, and was barely an okay read.

I love books set in the south. I have a fascination for New Orleans. And as y’all know I love a good murder-mystery/Detective story. But even with all these things going for it, Jazz Funeral failed to ignite my reading senses. At times, with its lack of atmosphere and lack of suspense,I considered dnf’ing it, and in retrospect, I should have. But I persevered as it did not take a great deal of effort or concentration to read. But then it gave about the same amount of satisfaction – not a great deal.

Yes,I know that this is #3 in a series of which I have not read the first two books. Would reading them have added to my enjoyment of Jazz Funeral? I think not. And no, I am not going to continue with the series.

The Kindle edition of Jazz Funeral I read was full of very basic typo errors which did nothing to endear it to me, and I really can’t recommend this read to anyone.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Just because I didn’t enjoy this book, doesn’t mean that you won’t. If you enjoyed the excerpt above, and like the sound of the blurb, then go ahead and read Jazz Funeral. I enjoy the fact that we all have such diverse reading tastes.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2047340889

Friday Favorite – The Soul of Discretion by Susan Hill

Looking for something to read over the weekend?

Nothing on your book radar that is screaming “read me!”?

Check out my Friday Favorite  – it may not be new, it may not even be by an author you have ever heard of, but it will be a book that has captured both my imagination and my heart.

I started off by rereading the earlier books in the Simon Serrailler series, and then catching up on the latest book, The Soul of Discretion, which I read this week. WOW!!! I think my review says it all. ….

The Soul of Discretion by Susan Hill
The Soul of Discretion (Simon Serrailler, #8) 
by Susan Hill

30817744
Reviewed by


EXCERPT: He went through the gate and stopped. Later, he said that he would never forget the child’s face until his dying day. Later, he could not sleep because the face was in front of him. Later, he was haunted during his waking hours by sudden flashbacks to the child’s face as it looked up at him. . .

It was a girl. She was perhaps four years old. She was filthy, she had smears of blood on her arms and legs. Her long, fine, fair hair was matted to her scalp. She was completely naked.

THE BLURB: The cathedral town of Lafferton seems idyllic, but in many ways it is just like any other place. As part of the same rapidly changing world, it shares the same hopes and fears, and the same kinds of crime, as any number of towns up and down the land.

When one day DC Simon Serrailler is called in by Lafferton’s new Chief Constable, Kieron Bright, he is met by four plainclothes officers. He is asked to take the lead role in a complex, potentially dangerous undercover operation and must leave town immediately, without telling anyone – not even his girlfriend Rachel, who has only just moved in with him.

Meanwhile, Simon’s sister Cat is facing difficult choices at work that will test her dedication to the NHS. But an urgent call about her and Simon’s father, Richard, soon presents her with a far greater challenge much closer to home.

To complete his special op, Simon must inhabit the mind of the worst kind of criminal. As the op unfolds, Lafferton is dragged into the sort of case every town dreads. And Simon faces the fight of his life.

MY THOUGHTS: OMG!!!!! This is the most compelling, gut wrenching book I have read by this author.

Over the previous seven books in the Simon Serrailler series Susan Hill, while holding me spellbound with her writing and storytelling skills, has lulled me almost into a sense of complacency, of security. Then she goes and turns everything upside down and gives it a shake for good measure.

I am almost speechless. I never saw any of this coming. I read The Soul of Discretion in one sitting. And now, the next morning, I am still shell-shocked. Still reeling.

I have only one more thing to say. Susan Hill, I hope you are already hard at work on book #9. You can’t leave Simon there!

☆☆☆☆☆ bright, bouncy, shining stars for The Soul of Discretion by Susan Hill. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1169832462?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

Shadows on the Street by Susan Hill

The Shadows in the Street by Susan Hill
The Shadows in the Street (Simon Serrailler, #5) 
by Susan Hill

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Reviewed by


EXCERPT: They could never quite decide if he was OK or not. He wasn’t weird. He wasn’t anything. All the same. . .

‘Say what you like,’ Hayley had said, ‘not normal.’

Only he seemed normal, watching them eat the sandwiches he’d made for them, pocket the chocolate bars he’d bought out of his own money, finish off the hot tea or coffee. He had a normal coat, normal blue wool scarf. Normal black shoes. Normal. He was clean, he shaved, he hadn’t got anything special about him or anything peculiar either. Just normal.

Only not.

THE BLURB: Simon Serrailler is on sabbatical on a Scottish island, recovering from an exhausting murder investigation, when he is urgently summoned back to Lafferton. Two local prostitutes have been found strangled. By the time Serrailer has reached the town, another girl has vanished. Is this a vendetta against prostitutes by someone with a warped mind? Or a series of killings by an angry punter? Then the wife of the new Dean at the Cathedral goes missing – has the killer widened their net or is there more than one murderer at large?

MY THOUGHTS: Susan Hill’s Simon Serrailler series is one of my favorite series, for many reasons. It is about so much more than a detective. It encompasses the story of a family, three generations of it, their struggles with their lives, their jobs, and each other. Disappointments, expectations, petty jealousies, health problems, deaths, remarriage, and the joys and problems of raising families. Moral dilemmas. Faith. Loss. Love. Grief. Adjustment. Belonging, or being on the outside looking in.

But there is always a crime to solve, and nothing is ever straightforward. Simon Serrailler, DCI, artist, loner, does not always feature hugely in the plot, but is a presence all the same. In the Shadows in the Street, he doesn’t feature in his police role until quite well into the book. And yet this doesn’t detract from the story at all, instead we get to see a side of Simon rarely shown to us, the recluse, the loner, the artist very much at home on a remote island.

There is always so much more to her books than is at first apparent. And discovering the hidden depths is always a pleasure for me.

A very fond ☆☆☆☆☆ for The Shadows in the Street by Susan Hill, published by Chatto and Windus, a division of Random House. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the ‘about’ page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/963823954