13.12.16

LAND OF SHADOWS, by Rachel Howzell Hall

1/series starring LA Homicide Detective Elouise Norton. For a debut novel, this is impressive. The author has done her homework and constructed a fast-moving crime tale with a troubled, feisty, black, female cop as lead detective. At times I felt that the whole tale was built around check-lists (let's see, this is the place a character has to have final evidence of spousal betrayal...) but the many layers to the back story are very well revealed. Detective Norton catches a murder: a teen-aged girl, the location tying in to her own sister's long-ago and unsolved disappearance. Click below for more, but no spoilers...

THE WINTER WITCH, by Paula Brackston

2.series set in Wales, is a mesmerizing tale of Morgana, descendant of witches, a young woman who has not spoken since she was a small child. Now of marriageable age, her mother finds her a husband, an earnest young widower who owns a farm. In his home village, Cai Jenkins is a man of substance and importance. He is the area drover, the man who drives the cattle to market and returns with the village's wealth in his pockets. Cai knows nothing of his pretty young bride other than she is essential to his position. A drover must have a wife, it's tradition and what legitimizes him. One of the many things Cai doesn't reckon with is Morgana's fierce independence. And then there's her uncanny abilities. Click below for more... 

9.12.16

DRINKING GOURD, by Barbara Hambly

7/series, starring Free Man of Color, Benjamin January. Eagerly awaiting the birth of his child, January is called away to Vicksburg on an urgent errand. A man deeply involved in the Underground Railway has been wounded and January, a physician and surgeon, must patch him up so he appears normal. Vicksburg is solidly in  slave-holding America, and anyone of color is fair game for poachers and slave-stealers. For a man his size, the perfect field hand, there is no law and no protection save his friend and companion Hannibal Sefton. Click below for more...

BROKEN MUSIC, by Marjorie Eccles

A post-Great War tale of love, both good and bad, deception, and lives broken by "The War to End All Wars". Herbert Reardon has returned to the village of Broughton Underhill, determined to solve the death of a young woman that happened just before he went into the British Army. Horribly scarred from a fire, Reardon has vowed to determine if the death was accidental or not. The village's "big house" family at Oaklands Park, beset with problems of their own, doesn't want the case reopened. Click below for more...

4.12.16

SKIES OF ASH, by Rachel Howzell Hall

2/series in the LA-based police procedural starring black homicide detective Elouise Norton. Feisty just begins to describe Norton, whose sidekick is a big white guy with a Tic-Tac problem. A woman and her two children die in a home fire. The husband survives, but barely, as he tries to go inside the inferno to rescue his family. Click below for more...