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stories, poems, and essays by angel hench

A Killer Harvest – a book review in 200 words

A Killer Harvest

by Paul Cleave

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In A Killer Harvest, Paul Cleave writes the most exciting and memorable opening chapter for a thriller that I have had the pleasure to read. Without giving anything away to kill the pleasure of discovery, two police officers go to arrest a man they are sure is responsible for the brutal death of a young woman found along the side of the road. A chase ensues and a couple of bone-chilling deaths, as well.

These deaths mean that a young man receives the gift of sight from a relative; you must assume that someone else receives the eyes of a serial killer. Whatever your opinion of the cell-memory phenomenon (memories and changes to personality transplanted along with organs to recipients), Cleave makes you believe for the length of his story.

This book also has at least one jaw-dropping surprise and a couple of twists that I did not see coming. In hindsight, they make perfect sense and I feel like this, more than any other quality, is the mark of a great thriller. Cleave tells a great story, is unafraid to kill characters to further the suspense and surprises even the most jaded reader. You should probably read A Killer Harvest.

Rating: 80/100

Buy it now at Barnes & Noble / Amazon / IndieBound

An Echo of Murder – a book review

An Echo of Murder

by

Anne Perry

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I cannot believe I have never read a William Monk mystery before! There are over 50 Anne Perry books and An Echo of Murder is the 23rd book in the Monk series. A fact for which I am incredibly grateful now.

Anne Perry’s William Monk series is set in Victorian London and really, reminds me of the BBC show, Ripper Street. (Or more accurately, Ripper Street reminds me of Anne Perry.) The central character is the sensitive and tough Commander Monk who is aided by his street-smart second-in-command, Hooper, and his brave wife, Hester, who worked with Florence Nightingale in the Crimean War. Monk is also surrounded by an eclectic collection of supporting characters ranging from a reformed shyster to an unlicensed doctor and, of course, a beloved street urchin.

In this installment of the series, the Thames River Police, headed by Monk, must rely on the Hungarian community’s own people for access to and legitimacy in the immigrant neighborhood where a terrible murder has taken place. When it becomes obvious they are dealing with a serial killer, the Hungarians are equal parts suspects and victims.

“We’re not taking people’s jobs. You’ve got to make them see that. We’re just taking care of ourselves, like everybody. We’ve got a right to do that. Englishmen have gone all over the world, where they had no business. Can’t they make room for us here?”

Two themes emerge quickly after the discovery of the first victim: the plight of the immigrant and the home life of soldiers after wartime. Both of these topics are particularly relevant right now and it is both interesting and disheartening to realize how little we have learned throughout history when it comes to both subjects.

“There are things you can’t share, except with those others who were part of it. The people at home don’t want to know. They can’t take it away from, they can only feel useless. There are not words created to describe the horror of some things. and why would you want to burden them with it anyway? They cannot help, and they cannot carry it for you.”

I actually read a second book in the Monk series over the weekend and found it just as enjoyable. And, now I have a third Anne Perry book waiting for me on my shelf! If you are a fan of serial mysteries or just really good fiction, you should try this series.

Rating: 89/100

Buy this book at Barnes and Noble | Amazon | IndieBound

Magician’s Impossible – a book review in 200 words

Magicians Impossible.

by

Brad Abraham

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Jason, the loser bartender, is attending his estranged fathers funeral when the book opens. (He, of course, was raised by a lovable but strict aunt and uncle after the death of his mother.) Jason learns about magic on the same day and his whole life changes. It turns out that he is pivotal in the war raging between natural born mages and tattooed witches.

Is Magician’s Impossible predictable? Does it have a “chosen one”, and an orphan, a fight against good and evil and then a twist at the end? It is, and it does. Other’s criticisms of the book are warranted.

BUT it’s so much fun!

Although this is Abraham’s first novel, his background in screenwriting and graphic novels is evident, as the action is fast-paced and well executed. I was able to clearly “see” the magic fights and what was happening at all times. The descriptions of real places (Paris, London) were accurate, and the made up places (Cold Spring, Citadel) were well thought out and made to seem real.

This was a fun romp once it got moving. I am hoping that it is the start of a series (otherwise I will be angry at the ending!)

(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Rating: 75/100

Buy it at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

A Conspiracy in Belgravia – a book review in 200 words

A Conspiracy in Belgravia (Lady Sherlock, #2)

by Sherry Thomas

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Charlotte Holmes is Lady Sherlock in late 1800s London. She has been disgraced in the eyes of Society and run away from her family. She and Mrs. Watson use the name Sherlock Holmes as a ruse when meeting with clients. Sherlock is supposedly bedridden and using Charlotte as his willing minion.

In the course of the novel, three mysteries are solved. The first involves the wife of Lord Ingram, her first love and benefactor. The second revolves around a set of puzzles that Lord Ingram’s brother has given to her as an inducement to marriage. The third concerns a gold-digging house servant who may be poisoning those she serves.

I love the idea of a female Sherlock Holmes. But I am unsure if a lady Sherlock would really be so preoccupied with the number of chins she has or whether or not she should butter another muffin at tea.

I probably would have enjoyed this book more if I had read the first in the series before this one. There were references that I am sure I missed. I will be watching this series because although it is not great right now, it really has the potential to be so.

(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Rating: 75/100

Buy it now at Amazon / Barnes & Noble / IndieBound

 

 

Glass Houses by Louise Penny – a book review in 200 words

Glass Houses

By

Louise Penny

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What is a Cobrador? Why is one in Three Pines, standing in absolute stillness and silence for days? Why is Gamache on the witness stand?  And who exactly is on trial? These are the questions racing through your mind as you start this newest book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny.

I think this may be the best book in Penny’s series to date. As always,  she weaves together seamlessly: obscure history with fabulous fiction, the lives of her recurring characters with new people (be they friends or suspects), and the quiet life of Three Pines with the ongoing struggles against corruption within the Sûreté du Québec.

I sell a lot of Penny’s books to my customers for two reasons. One, her plots always contain great mysteries where the endings never disappoint. And, two, I want to live in Three Pines and be friends with everyone who lives there!

Penny’s characters come alive again in this 13th book as we learn about the roots of a Spanish tradition still in existance today, a plot meant to heap untold pain on too many humans, and a daring plan that could mean the end of many Sûreté careers. ENJOY!

(A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.)

Rating: 97/100

Buy it tomorrow at Barnes & Noble / Amazon / IndieBound

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