Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2012 What's In A Name Challenge

Review: Blue Monday by Nicci French

Blue Monday: A Novel
Pamela Dorman Books
VIKING
New Series
Available Now

Frieda Klein believes the world is out of control and the only thing we can control is what is inside our own heads. Yes, she is a psychotherapist. A very obsessive compulsive one at that. She spends her free time walking the streets of London to clear her head and get her thoughts in order.

Frieda has a patient that keeps having recurring dreams for a child that looks just like him. He and his wife have been unable to conceive and it has tormented him so that he is very near a mental break. When she learns of the disappearance of 5 year old Matthew Farraday and sees his resemblance to the child her patient has described he feels she must notify someone is charge of the investigation. She never imagined she would be working with the chief investigator to find the boy.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
It is very important to lay out a really good foundation when starting a new mystery series and these authors (Nicci Gerrard + Sean French) have done an excellent job. Revealing enough about the primary characters to immerse us in the current story but leaving us intrigued about where these characters will go and grow in future installments.

Frieda Klein is a perfect imperfect protagonist. She already has many layers. Reuben is a troubled soul that continues to emerge. Josef is a mystery himself and because of his background adds a little humor to a very intense story. Inspector Karlsson is a tough nut to crack but we can see a relationship with Frieda moving forward. The primary character to this story, Alan, was very well written as he struggled through his pain and dealt with a therapist he thought had betrayed him and had secrets revealed about his life that he never could have fathomed. All the characters are flawed which gives them so much depth.

The mystery is extremely complex and suspenseful. A few white knuckle moments. These are experienced authors with several other bestsellers. They know how to create a thrilling tale to keep us turning those pages. It starts slow and builds. I am anxious to see where the next Frieda Klein story takes us.


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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

The Royal Wulff Murders by Keith McCafferty

The Royal Wulff Murders: A Novel
Viking
Published by The Penguin Group
Jacket Design and Illustration by Jim Tierney
Available Now

The “Holy Grail” of trout rivers in Montana is the Madison River. It is here that a fishing guide reels in quite a catch. A dead body with a Royal Wulff trout fly through his lower lip and a stick in his eye. Obviously an easily explained drowning. Not so fast, Sheriff Martha Ettinger thinks there is more to the story. While questioning other fishermen she meets Sean Stranahan, a former private detective, painter and fly fisherman would has moved to Montana to escape his life back East and pursue his passion of painting.

Stranahan is still representing himself as a P.I. because his landlord likes to have the tenants represent a variety of occupations. He is totally surprised when Velvet Lafayette shows up at his door to hire him to find her missing brother. Are these cases related? Will Sean and Martha need to team up to find their answers? Just what is happening in and around Bridger, Montana? It is definitely more than meets the fly!

Dollycas’s Thoughts
You do not have to fish to enjoy this well written mystery. The first novel by Field & Stream Magazine Editor McCafferty is a very well crafted and complex whodunit. His love of nature shines as brightly as the sun through his detailed descriptions of everything from landscapes to ponds to fish and birds. Big Sky Country leaps right off the pages.

His characters are also well developed and so sharp that you clearly picture them in their waders casting out to reel in a great big trout or belting out a song or tracking down clues to catch a killer. My grandfather was quite a fisherman and somehow I could see him out there in that beautiful setting casting time and time again with a huge smile on his face. He would have loved this scenic locale.

The story has ebbs and flows, ripples and rapids, channels and cascades, unveiled at a pace to be savored not hurried, although by the last few chapters I was devouring the pages at a pretty rapid pace. There are a few red herrings swimming with all those trout.

If you are a nature lover who likes a fine mystery you will really enjoy this book.

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Check back tomorrow. This book will be one of my books in the Leap Into Book Giveaway Hop!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Reviews 2012

The Darlings by Cristina Alger

The Darlings: A Novel
VIKING
Pamela Dorman Books
Published by The Penguin Group
Available Today!

Paul Ross marries the love of his life Merrill Darling, daughter of billionaire financier Carter Darling. Just as he starts to get comfortable living life in all the luxury the Darlings are famous for he loses his job. Carter Darling offers him a job as General Counsel at his hedge fund business. Paul warily accepts the position since the country is in the worst financial position since the great depression and jobs are scarce.

He barely settles into his new job and a tragic event lands the Darlings into the middle of major of a scandal so great Paul has to make some really tough decisions. Does he stand with his family or betray the ones he loves to save himself?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Cristina Alger’s debut takes on a current hot topic with the arrest of Bernie Madoff in 2008 and the Occupy Wall Street protests and the general distrust of most financial institutions today. We not only get to see into The Darlingshigh society life but we get to observe the people doing everything they can to being them down.

While I believe all those who caused this crisis in America need to be held accountable I really felt for Paul. He didn’t know what was going on, he was just learning the basics of the company when this scandal broke. He took the job thinking he was doing the best thing he could for himself and Merrill and was caught up in the web of lies before he knew what was happening.

With the voice of a true insider Alger has given us a fast paced, page turning fictional exposé into the financial world that has caused havoc around the world. A solid four stars and a smart debut!

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About the Author

Cristina Alger received her B.A. from Harvard College and her J.D. from NYU Law School. She has worked as an analyst at Goldman, Sachs, & Co. and as an attorney at Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale, & Dorr. She was born and raised in New York City, where she currently resides.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”