Category Archives: mythology

Book Review: Unleashed by Eileen Brady: Stellar Second Cozy Mystery

Unleashed (A Kate Turner D.V.M. Mystery) unleashed

by Eileen Brady

Poisoned Pen Press

225 pages

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Dr. Kate Turner is back. Doc Anderson is still on his world cruise, but that is ok with Kate. She has settled in nicely in cozy little Oak Falls. They need a competent vet while Doc was off on his adventure and she needs the tranquility of small town life in upstate New York.

Most of the people she comes in contact with have become fast friends or quirky acquaintances, but they all value her expertise as the person that takes loving, skilled care of their pets and farm animals. It isn’t the animals that are causing the problems in Oak Falls, it is humans.

Claire Birnham is found dead of an apparent suicide. She was a well-liked, talented artist with a bright future that gave no indication of distress or worry, certainly nothing that would sound an alarm with her friends and family.

Kate cannot believe her friend would kill herself. There were so many reasons for her to want to live. First and foremost, Claire’s love and devotion for her dog Toto. Named after the famous pooch in The Wizard of Oz, Toto is a dog with an attitude. He is a pussycat with Claire, but is intolerant of almost everyone else.

Lucky for Toto he was at the veterinary clinic at the time of his mistress’ demise. And lucky for Kate, her kennel helper Eugene is one of the few people Toto doesn’t try to eat.

Kate starts digging deeper into her friend’s death with the unwilling help of her friend and sometimes boyfriend, police officer Luke Gianetti. Her grandfather, a retired law enforcement officer, is much more willing to help. He even comes to town to do a bit of probing for Kate.

Unfortunately, Kate was right. Her friend Clair was murdered. There are more suspects entering the picture than Kate could have imagined. Line up an ex that is a Rock Singer, an awful alcoholic mother, a vindictive, overbearing gallery owner and someone very near and dear to Kate.

The clock is ticking while Kate immerses herself in the local art scene and investigation. Either one can get her killed. She has to keep looking for the real killer before an innocent person is convicted of the crime.

Eileen Brady has done it again. Wrap a mysterious death in a cloak of critters and quirky characters and you have the makings of a great cozy mystery. Brady writes dialog and descriptions that pulls the reader into the old beat up truck of Doc Anderson’s and takes you along for the oftentimes bumpy ride.

Some of the characters from her first novel Muzzled make a welcome appearance. Both animals and humans have distinctive attributes and voices, all mixing together making a perfect cast for Brady’s cozy mystery.  The witty prose with the underlying knowledge of a practicing veterinarian brings a depth to this novel that some cozies are missing. I can’t wait to read the next one.

Copyright © 2015 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 art, Book Review, books, cozy mystery, dogs, mythology, Writer & Book Reviewer

Book Review Sons of Sparta – A Mystery Steeped in Good & Bad Traditions

Sons of Sparta

Sons of Sparta

By Jeffrey Siger

241 pages

Special Crimes Division detective Yianni Kouros has been called from Athens by his uncle for what could mean his family is in trouble. Returning to the region of his family on the tip of Peloponnese Island, Kouros reminisces about the time he spent with his family in Mani.

Unfortunately, his uncle isn’t a squeaky clean citizen. Kouros’ father was sent to Athens while Uncle stayed at the family home barely making ends meet.  Life was not easy for his family, but the tide turned when he began to reap the benefits of a side business consisting of “piracy and banditry”. Uncle claims to be retired from that life and Kouros would like to believe him. Unfortunately, his uncle and cousins are embedded in the old world culture of revenge and even murder when the family has been wronged.

His uncle has gathered his children and Kouros to tell them he has decided to sell of part of the family property to a developer. A golf course, hotel and air strip will replace the land used by the family for many generations. Uncle feels this will be better for his children after he is gone, as the money it brings in will give them all a comfortable life. But before the paperwork can be signed with the hotel developer, Uncle dies in a car accident.

Kouros is suspicious, so he quietly starts to investigate the death and finds there are more questions than answers. Calling in a favor from a co-worker, he finds his suspicions are warranted when the evidence shows Uncle was murdered.

Trying to keep the crime quiet and investigate it at the same time is not easy. When his cousins find out, they are literally gunning for the person that killed their father.

The case isn’t as simple as that. It involves illicit affairs, double crossing crooks and long lost love. As hard is Kouros tried to keep his investigation quiet, his boss Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis catches wind of the problems and becomes part of the investigation. The two men work feverously to find the killer before anyone else dies.

This is the sixth book in Siger’s Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis Mystery series. The plot was solid, twisting and turning to the end while leaving little breadcrumbs of clues throughout to lead the reader to the killer. There were believable surprises and an interesting love triangle.

I hesitate to say this reads well as a stand-alone novel. It was a good story, with good characters, but a bit confusing. There is a very fine line between adding too much back story and not enough. For me there wasn’t enough. I kept going back to the beginning chapters to figure out the characters until I was about half way through the book, part of that could be the Greek names were difficult for me to remember with so many characters being introduced.

Sadly I am not well read when it comes to Greek Mythology, so most of the references were lost on me. That is certainly not the author’s fault. Siger painted a picture of a beautiful region of Greece. It was a perfect setting for the juxtaposition of the warring clans with vendettas and the bucolic countryside filled with Greek traditions.

Siger is a gifted writer, he allows the reader to step out of their life and travel to Greece. I would suggest starting with the first book in his series, and then read all of them up to Sons of Sparta. If you want to jump in feet first into a good mystery with interesting characters go ahead and start with Sons of Sparta.

Copyright © 2015 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 Book Review, Greek Islands, history, Mani, Mystery, mythology, series