Review: Key Lime Blues by Mike Jastrzebski

Key Lime Blues: A Wes Darling Mystery

Author: Mike Jastrzebski

Kindle Edition

(Published August 10th 2010)

For some people working in the family business means suits, power lunches, and afternoon meetings. For Wes Darling it was guns, lies, and dead bodies.

The Darling Detective Agency was founded in 1876 by Aaron ‘Dusty’ Darling. Now Wes’s chain smoking, stressed out mother is grooming Wes to take over. How does he handle his mother’s demands? He heads to Key West, moves onto a sailboat, and takes a job tending bar at a little joint called Dirty Alvin’s.

Life is carefree until his mother’s lover, a man who mentored Wes for years, is murdered on a Key West Beach. Reluctantly, Wes is drawn into a spinning web of murder, sex and deceit.

First there are his mother’s pleas for help. Throw in a six-foot-tall red-headed stripper, a retired mobster who acts like it’s the 1940’s, a pair of dim-witted hit men, a phobic psychic named Elvis, a small fortune in stolen diamonds, and what do you have? Mayhem in Key West.

I thought the person narrating the story was a girl; but I found out that Darling is actually a boy! I didn’t really pay attention to his name Wes when I first read the blurb, and all through the first few pages, I imagined Darling as a fine young lady. Imagine my surprise when I realized Darling has X and Y chromosomes.

Anyway, here’s the gist. Darling took up a job in a bar and lived on a sailboat after he decided to quit his family’s Detective Agency. But when he learned from a cop (Detective Davies) that his old friend and mentor Nick Hastings was found dead in Key West, about a few blocks away from where he was working, he knew that he had to investigate and catch the one who murdered him.  His mom told him about Nick’s latest client Frank Szymanski who was looking for an old flame, Destiny. It turned out that there was more to the story. As much as he wants to forget his old life, he couldn’t really leave everything behind, especially when the woman who had sparked interest in him was endangered.

There are a lot of things to watch out for in this Mystery novel.  Something that includes Diamonds, a stripper, a psychic, twin gangsters, guns and much more..

The flow of the story is consistent, action-packed and a little over the edge. I haven’t read the first book (I know that this is the second book on a trilogy). In my opinion, it is Destiny or Gail Bernard, the stripper, who made the whole story exciting and intriguing.

I was quite left hanging in the end; I felt like there’s still something that needs to be done and explained. But believe it or not, I actually enjoyed the story!  Hoping to read the last book of the Wes Darling Mystery soon…

Advertisements

Review: Wicked Ways by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush

Wicked Ways (Wicked #4)
by Lisa Jackson and Nancy Bush

coffeesynopsisdThe Greatest Terrors

Elizabeth Gaines Ellis is an ordinary suburban wife and mother. That’s what she tells herself as she flits between her realtor job, yoga class, and caring for her daughter, Chloe. But for months now, Elizabeth has worried that she’s far from normal…that she’s somehow the cause of a series of brutal, horrible deaths.

Are The Ones

Her mean-spirited boss. A bullying traffic cop. Her cheating husband. Elizabeth had reason to be angry with them all. She didn’t mean for them to die. No one will take her fears seriously–except the private investigator prying into her past. . .

Too Close To See

The more scared and angry Elizabeth becomes, the higher the death toll grows. But those who wrong her aren’t the only ones in danger. Because others have secrets too, and a relentless urge to kill without mercy or remorse…

thoughts-divider

Whenever Elizabeth is crossed or confronted by someone she really abhorred, she thinks ill of them and sometimes wish them to die. And yes, they soon do! People die a few days after Elizabeth wish for them to disappear forever. From the unfriendly police officer, to her bitch of a boss, and then next, her husband and his mistress. Elizabeth is someone you really should steer away from.

I think this was a fine book, but I can’t help but look for something that seemed off with the pacing. I really like Lisa Jackson, having read some of her books before, like Unspoken. But this time, I have to say I was underwhelmed by the rather long narrative and timeline jumping between the past and the present.

Please don’t take this as a negative comment or review, but rather as a constructive criticism. To tell you the truth, I am really not impressed with stories that goes switching from current storytelling to recalling the past, all under one chapter. Timelines like this a rather leaves me with an unpleasant taste and a confusing state.

Trust me, I have read other books that could expertly jump from one timeline to another but can still hold the interest of the reader and won’t get confused whether or not the specific event is still in the past or in the present. Aside from that, the too much detailed narrative also somehow put me off, too. It was like a long, winding road before I get to the real destination of the story.

Ravinia really got it going at the start of her narrative, but then she started babbling about something that happened here and there, and then thinking and rethinking about her mission and so on – it was exhausting.

To be fair, there were things I liked in the book: The supernatural aspect surprised me a bit and somehow caught my attention. Elizabeth also has the power to see the future and then later on in her life, people die around her. It isn’t everyday that I encounter characters dying after having been wished to be dead. A mean curse, a guilt-ridden one, too.

Overall, this was different from the other Lisa Jackson mysteries I’ve read before. This is not what I expected from her. Although I must admit I haven’t perused one from Nancy Bush, (although I remember reading something about her being Lisa Jackson’s sister!) but I was entertained and somehow got sucked into the supernatural realm. Totally great read!

myrating

3cocu (2)

#ThrowbackThursday: The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins

throwbackthursday

It’s Thursday once again and we’re back with my favorite book meme, #ThrowbackThursday created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) as her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. Check out her blog to see her TBT recommendations this week 🙂

Today, I’m featuring the mystery thriller, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins which was made into a movie a year ago. Take note, I haven’t seen the movie so this review is purely related to the book.

The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins

EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Everyday, Rachel Watson rode the train, with alcohol in her hand, reliving the moments of her day, wove stories in her head and somehow still wished she was still married to her ex, Tom. She was an alcoholic and often had blackouts. Everyday, she passed by “Jess and Jason’s” house and imagined their perfect wonderful life. Until one day she saw something that shocked her and changed everything she knew about the people in her old neighborhood.

Megan and Scott didn’t exactly resemble the happy family that Rachel imagined them to be. Megan had issues with her neighbors, her job (or lack thereof), her husband. Megan’s disappearance in the story came as a shock and Scott’s abusive nature gripped my throat.

Anna Watson, Tom’s new wife and mother of their child, was something else. She’s unreliable, pretentious, insecure. I can’t say much about her because really, there was nothing likeable about her in my opinion. So there.

The characters were so unsettling that for the first time in my life, I didn’t favor any of them, wasn’t at all thrilled at anyone,  In my eyes, Rachel Watson was desperate, Anna Watson was unforthcoming, and Megan was erratic. Tom and Scott were both horrendous, that’s all I could say about them.

But darn it, I wasn’t expecting that ending! Sure I’ve had my fair share of mysteries and thrillers, I thought I have already mastered the art of eliminating the possible suspects and guessing whodunnit. But I was wrong. Once again, I was left with my mouth hanging open at the turn of events.

The Girl on the Train had been a great read, quite disturbing and somehow  I found the whole story gripping and madly disturbingly awesome.

 

Review: Final Girls by Riley Sager

Final Girls
by Riley Sager

Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

Quincy Carpenter, Samantha Boyd and Lisa Milner – what do these ladies have in common?

They survived three different kinds of massacre. They were the last women standing. They were the Final Girls.

Ten years ago, Quincy and her friends met a horrific tragedy in the remote Pine Cottage, but only one girl survived. The press people hounded her for months, her story was vehemently featured in all TV news channels, newspapers, tabloids, podcasts and on the interwebs. She endured it all, until she could finally moved on.

Until Lisa Milner, the original Final Girl was found dead. The second survivor, Samantha Boyd who initially had gone missing suddenly appeared in Quincy’s doorstep, and soon they found themselves in Pine Cottage again, reliving the manslaughter that happened a decade ago, fearful, anxious, scared to death. Literally.

This has been a bone-chilling, mouth-gaping, mind-boggling suspense thriller that had me wide awake at night even after reading it. The deaths, the ripper, the screams, the blood, the weapons, the murderer – everything was a haze and for the rest of the story, I thought I got the murderer right. Until I was deep into the latter chapters when I realized, my guess was wrong. I was mistaken not just once, but thrice.

I won’t further go into detail about the plot or story because I don’t want to spoil it for you. But know this, Riley Sager’s writing is clean and fresh and chilling and something to look forward to. If you’re a fan of thrillers/suspense/whodunnit mysteries, Final Girls is a good pick!

Throwback Thursday: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Throwback Thursday is a new meme created by Renee of It’s Book Talk (https://itsbooktalk.com/) as her way of sharing some of her favorite oldies but goodies books that were published more than a year ago. I started joining last week and I loved the idea so I am participating again.

Today, it’s Agatha Christie’s turn for some mystery and suspense. Here’s one of my favorites from her Hercule Poirot series, Murder on the Orient Express.

 

IMG_20160929_082230

Title: Murder on the Orient Express
Series: Hercule Poirot #10
Author: Agatha Christie

“The murderer is with us – on the train now…”

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.

Isolated by the storm and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer amongst a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again…

I’ve read books featuring Orient Express, and I’ve always been intrigued with its reputation. The first time I heard about this was on the book, Dracula by Bram Stoker, if my memory serves me right, where Dracula escaped to Paris using the renowned train. When I got this book in College, I knew I had to read it because it involved murder and mystery and mayhem.

This had been one of my favorites from Agatha Christie. I liked Hercule Poirot not only for his wit but also for his abrasive personality. This dapper Belgian detective was quite a character, who had the audacity to refuse a certain malevolent millionaire Samuel Ratchett, simply because “I do not like your face, Mr. Ratchett,” he says. Ha! Burn!

I’m sorry if I seem to have enjoyed that particular scene, I was just amazed by Christie’s protagonist’s over-the-top personality. Well, of course, the dead man happened to also be a kidnapper, so I couldn’t blame Poirot if he wasn’t as enthusiastic as he was when he first met him.

Furthermore, the way Poirot handled the murder scene investigations was impressive and meticulous. He used his charm and wit to his advantage in order to solve the case. Every chapter, my guesses shift from one person to another, until that moment when it hit me, I never guessed the murderer correctly.

Overall, I thought this was a well-thought up mystery that only Agatha Christie could deliver. I wouldn’t get tired reading her books!

Review: Rest in Pizza by Chris Cavender

Rest In Pizza (Pizza Lovers, #4)
by Chris Cavender

Small towns like Timber Ridge – the home of Eleanor Swift’s pizzeria, A Slice of Delight – don’t take to primadonna celebs. So no-one is pleased when TV’s Antonio Benet roars into town and manages to insult Eleanor, her sister Maddie and everyone else within earshot. Insults are one thing, but the murder that follows is quite another.

Eleanor and Maddie are at it again, this time, a chef was murdered right under their noses… I mean, right inside their Pizza parlor, A Slice of Delight and all hell broke loose when possible suspects were revealed. Not that everyone’s concerned about the chef’s death though. Chef Benet wasn’t exactly the most pleasing person you’d want to meet.
I enjoyed this murder mystery suspense, Eleanor is quite a gal, knows when and where to strike and investigate. Her sister is a great company, I love their dynamics together although most of the time they argue over silly things. Chef Benet may had seen his murder coming, given his annoying superior attitude. Over all, the story went great, and I was thrilled for the last 3 hours reading it. Perfect summer read!

Review: Black Hills by Nora Roberts

Title: Black Hills
Author: Nora Roberts
Paperback; 544 pages

coffeesynopsisdLil Chance fell in love with Cooper Sullivan pretty much the first time she saw him, an awkward teenager staying with his grandparents on their cattle ranch in South Dakota while his parents went through a messy divorce. Each year, with Coop’s annual summer visit, their friendship deepens – but then abruptly ends. Twelve years later and Cooper has returned to run the ranch after his grandfather is injured in a fall. Though his touch still haunts her, Lil has let nothing stop her dream of opening the Chance Wildlife Refuge, but something – or someone – has been keeping a close watch. When small pranks escalate into heartless killing, the memory of an unsolved murder in these very hills has Cooper springing to action to keep Lil safe. They both know the dangers that lurk in the wild landscape of the Black Hills. And now they must work together to unearth a killer of twisted and unnatural instincts who has singled them out as prey .

thoughts-divider

The story is set in a wildlife refuge in the Black Hills of South Dakota, hence the title. Lil Chance met brooding city boy named Cooper Sullivan, who clearly had family issues but won’t admit it. Soon they became close with each other and remain friends until their adolescent years.

But in their case, absence didn’t make the heart grow fonder. Because during the times that they didn’t see each other, their feelings had grown apart and the long distance had deviated their attention… well, mostly in Cooper’s case actually.

One day, when Cooper decided to go back to the ranch after something terrible happened while he was on duty as a cop. His feelings towards Lil changed. But a psychopathic killer was on the loose and had been stalking Lil. She and Cooper teamed up to discover the truth behind the mystery surrounding Black Hills.

To tell you the truth, I’ve been reading a number of YA/Fantasies/Paranormals lately and most of them are about shapeshifters. Thankfully, this book, Black Hills isn’t one of them, even if there are cougars and wolves present in the story. Black Hills is actually a suspense mystery that is very much a staple on Nora Roberts’ books.

As expected, Nora Roberts writes with passion and her characters really pull you into the story. Cooper and Lilian found themselves embroiled in a romance that needed to be nurtured. The mystery part of the story is awesome, although the main characters were a little complicated, in my opinion. I would have given this a 5star rating, but something held me back – maybe because I see some Montana Sky anecdotes in the story, specifically on the animal protection part. Nevertheless, Nora Roberts still is one of my favorite authors ever!

coffeeratingdivider

4cups