Monthly Archives: October 2014

Book Review: Death Takes a Mistress: Delightfully Twisted Tale of Intrigue

Death Takes A Mistress, A Dan & Rivka Sherman Mystery Death Takes a Mistress

By Rosemary and Larry Mild

240 pages

Death Takes A Mistress begins in Bath, England, 1982. A young, single mother is brutally murdered in her apartment, presumably by her married lover. Luckily her infant daughter Ivy was with a neighbor at the time. The case soon grew cold, everyone except Ivy let the memory of that awful day slip away.

Fast forward to 2005.Ivy Cohen was raised by the neighbor that her mother left her with many years ago. Happy and loved, Ivy is a well-adjusted college graduate with a mission. She is determined to find her father – the man who murdered her mother.

The only clues she has to go by are old police reports, her mother’s journal and a box from an Annapolis store that was left at the crime scene. Ivy heads for Virginia with more courage and determination than money. She quickly finds a job as a clerk at The Olde Victorian Bookstore working for Dan and Rivka Sherman.

The job is a perfect fit. She quickly finds the Sherman’s intrigued with her story and quest to find her father. They have a connection to Scotland Yard and the couple quickly agrees to help Ivy obtain a copy of her mother’s diary.

Once it arrives, Ivy discovers that her father probably belongs to one of four families. Impatiently, she stirs the hornet’s nest of possible relatives by announcing her plans to find the person that murdered her mother. Her plan works. Someone attacks her to get to the diary, and that is just the beginning of the events leading towards the end of her quest – or maybe even her life.

This is the second in the Mild’s Dan & Rivka Sherman Mystery Series. It reads fine as a stand-alone novel, with just enough references to the first book in the series (Death Goes Postal) to pique my interest but not give away the plot.

Death Takes A Mistress is a delightfully twisted tale of intrigue. Every time I thought I knew who the killer was, a plot twist would make me second-guess my conclusion. I didn’t know for sure until the final chapters, which makes the mystery lover in me very happy.

The characters were fun and believable. Even secondary characters like the woman who rents Ivy a room have personalities that made me connect with them. The bad boys that weren’t all bad and the good boys who are actually bad are exceedingly well done and true-to-life. I am looking forward to reading more books by the Mild’s.

Copyright © 2014 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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Filed under Mystery, Quick Nav, Writer & Book Reviewer

Mindfront by Dave Becker: Heartstopping Psychological Thriller

Mindfront

MindfrontWritten by: Dave Becker

Reviewed by Laura Hartman

325 pages

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Dr. Martin Keller is on a relaxing vacation. After his morning run, he steps into the shower feeling a bit dizzy. When he looks down, he is covered with blood, but doesn’t know why. Stepping from the shower he finds his family brutally massacred in their hotel room. Before he can take a breath, men wearing black helmets dark visors hiding their faces and armed with assault weapons stormed the room.

Marty jumps from the window and runs for his life. He has to find the people or organization that brutally murdered his family. He suspects their murder is connected to the project he has been working on for the last ten years, Swansong. It started out as a project funded by George Washington University – or was it secretly funded by the government? His research uncovered a code in brainwaves of animals and eventually humans that could lead to a terrifying form of torture of prisoners and terrorists than has ever been imagined in history.

He is one step ahead of the armed men, but has to find out who created the nightmare his life has become. Is it the Army, CIA, FBI or a group of terrorists? Dead bodies turn up wherever he goes; most of them have a chess piece with their name carved on it shoved in their eye. The suspense of not knowing who is playing this deadly game with Marty will keep you reading at breakneck speed.

Becker keeps you breathless as you enter Marty’s mind and try and figure out what and who is real. Dr. Keller feels like he is losing touch with reality and takes you into the darkness of his mind as he tries to hold on to what he believes to be real – but is it?

To say Dave Becker’s latest book, Mindfront is a fast paced thriller is like saying the Concord was a pretty fast airplane. From the minute I downloaded the file and began to read this psychological thriller I could not stop. I had to see what would happen next.

I loved Becker’s first novel, The Faustian Host and he did not disappoint me with Mindfront. I am still looking forward to his follow-up novel with the Faustian Host characters. Mindfront was different but does not disappoint. It is a great read. To write two very different books that are both winners shows us Becker isn’t a one trick pony. I am still waiting for the Faustian Host sequel, but anything Becker writes will be in my library.

Copyright © 2014 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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Filed under Mystery, Quick Nav

Book Review: The Faustain Host

The Faustian Host

Written by: Dave Becker

Reviewed by: Laura Hartman

Genre: YA, HorrorPrint

Dave Becker has a winner with his debut YA horror novel, The Faustian Host. Most teens feel as though the world is against them at one time or the other. But 14-year old Tony Marino seems to have the corner on problems. Within the first few pages of this fast paced novel, he attends his grandmother’s funeral, watches his family home explode in flames, is confronted by a dark, shadowy figure and is uprooted from his life in Florida to live with a couple he met as a young child and does not remember.

Mr. and Mrs. Brown were given custody of Tony by his deeply religious, superstitious grandma before she died, and move him to their home Massachusetts. They enroll him in an unconventional high school where he tried to fit it, but is thwarted at every turn. When suspicious events start spiraling around him, the few friends he makes start backing away. Is it magic, sorcery, or someone playing horrible tricks on the new kid? He refuses to believe in magic like his “crazy” grandma, but the strange events make him wonder if he is becoming as crazy as he always thought his grandma was.

Tony may be the key to saving the world, but will he and the residents of the small town he moved to be able to survive the plagues and monsters that seemed to arrive when he did?

Part of the beauty of the writing is Tony remains a teenager even when faced with adult problems, both normal and supernatural. One of my favorite lines is “Destroy the world – you said that.” Tony commented through a mouthful of nachos. “You just never said how.”  I love the way Becker blends normal and supernatural seamlessly and interestingly. Most teenage boys I know wouldn’t lose their appetite in the face of an apocalyptic event – especially if nachos were around.

This was so well written and exciting to read it was disappointing to leave the world that Becker created. My only consolation is the end appears to be the stepping stone for a sequel. (2014 Update: the sequel is here! I’ll be reading and reviewing THE APOLLINE SIBYL within the next few weeks)

Copyright © 2012 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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Filed under Quick Nav, YA Horror