Tag Archives: Mystery

Glass Houses, by Louise Penny


Title:  Glass Houses

Author:  Louise Penny

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books

Date of Release:  August 29, 2017

Genre:  Mystery/Thriller

Source:  I received a time-sensitive e-galley from the publisher in exchange for a fair and impartial review.

Rating:  4 out of 5 Acorns

After reading Glass Houses, I feel like I had a vacation in Three Pines that nearly idyllic place north of Vermont where everyone seems to care for each other yet every conceivable crime takes place. I’ve followed this series from the beginning and with every book, I feel like the characters are good friends I visit once a year and with whom I learn a bit more with every visit. This trip was no different. Louise Penny does not disappoint.

At the heart of this series is her protagonist Armand Gamache who will put everything on the line for his family and province and even the world.  In Glass Houses, a visitor to Three Pines is found murdered and dressed in the costume of a mysterious figure that has been standing watch in the center of Three Pines for days. At first the villagers are unsure what this apparition is, once they find out, they are unsure for whom the figure has appeared.

As usual with Penny thrillers, there is parallel story line. This time it’s the transportation of drugs by cartels in Canada and the US. Always the master storyteller, Penny weaves these two lines together in an intricate web.

The scenarios switch back and forth between the murder trial for the visitor victim and the time leading up to the murder and immediately after. At times I had trouble maintaining which time frame I was in as both scenarios have scenes in Three Pines. Nevertheless the murder trial is what binds the parallel story lines.

I highly recommend. After all we all deserve an escape! Have a great week!





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An Obvious Fact, by Craig Johnson

An Obvious Fact: A Longmire Mystery by [Johnson, Craig]
In A Nutshell
Title: An Obvious Fact: A Longmire Mystery
Author:  Craig Johnson
Publisher: Viking
Date of Release:  September 13, 2016
Genre:  Mystery/Thriller
Source: Chicago Public Library
Rating: 4 Nuts out of 5
I couldn’t go back to South Dakota for the Memorial Day weekend, so I did the next best thing – I read the latest Craig Johnson book. Lucky for me South Dakota, more specifically the Sturgis Rally, formed the backdrop for the 12th entry into the Longmire books.
Johnson caught the energy of the rally in a tale involving the original Lola, Henry’s love of long ago, her son and a gun manufacturer who uses a washed-up reality star in his illegal gun trade. There’s a couple ATF agents, plenty of action (including Vic’s wild driving, Henry’s stealth and Walt Longmire’s view of the world).
There’s a long chapter involving Vic shooting competitive skeet with the gun guy.  Usually I’d say it was superfluous – but it was Craig Johnson’s writing at it’s finest.  It turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the book.
There’s even great chase scene at the end!  I highly recommend!
Have a great week!

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And Be a Villain, by Rex Stout

And Be a Villain (A Nero Wolfe Mystery Book 13) by [Stout, Rex]

In A Nutshell

Title:  And Be a Villain (A Nero Wolfe Mystery Book 13)

Author:  Rex Stout

Publisher:  Crimeline/Random House

Date of Release: 1948

Genre:  Mystery

Source:  Purchased

Rating:  2 Nuts out of 5

Rex Stout is one of my “go-to” authors when I can’t decide what to read next. I love the characters of Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin and rather enjoy the other characters in Wolfe’s household and entourage as well.  But And Be a Villain just did not hold my interest.

It’s a great tale of blackmail and revenge and twisted minds (it is part of the Zeck trilogy if you’re into Nero Wolfe that deeply), but the characters are not as developed as usual and it’s all about Nero and Archie. While other characters have roles, they are much smaller than usual or even some are non-existent. It’s like there was a supporting character strike and Rex Stout wrote around them.

I’m just not feeling this one. I still love the series and Rex Stout will always be a “go-to” author for me, but And Be a Villain isn’t one of his best.

Have a great week anyway!



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Cat Nap (A Sunny & Shadow Mystery Book 2), by Claire Donally

Cat Nap (A Sunny & Shadow Mystery Book 2) by [Donally, Claire]

In A Nutshell

Title:  Cat Nap (A Sunny & Shadow Mystery Book 2)

Author:  Claire Donally

Publisher:  Penguin

Date of Release:  May 7, 2013

Genre:  Cozy Mystery

Source:  Purchased

Rating: 3 Nuts out of 5

I’ve had this title on my wish list for a few months. Frankly, there were a few others I planned to read first, but my cat walked across my keyboard and ordered it. I think she’s figured out that if I’m reading, I’m likely in a position where she can crawl onto my lap and take a cat nap of her own, or maybe not. At any rate, she has good taste.

This is another enjoyable cozy mystery from Claire Donally. This time the ex of Sunny’s rival for Will’s affection gets bumped off. There’s plenty of suspects in the murder of this unethical veterinarian and womanizer, plenty of twists and turns and plenty of action for both Sunny and her cat, Shadow.

Great characters, well-written and a real page turner.

Have a great week!


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Gambrelli and the Prosecutor, by Laurence Gioliotti

In a Nutshell

Title:  Gambrelli and the Prosecutor: An Inspector Gambrelli Mystery

Author:  Laurence Giliotti

Publisher:  Chateau Noir Publishing

Date of Release:  March 16, 2015

Genre:  Mystery/Thriller

Source:  The publisher provided a digital galley proof in exchange for a fair and honest review

Rating: 4 Acorns out of 5

Inspector Gambrelli is one of the most interesting detectives I’ve run across in some time. He’s part Maigret, part Gamache with a generous dollop of Dirty Harry’s irreverence to authority added for spice. I should probably add that these are all favorite detectives of mine.

Gambrelli is a chief inspector on the Metropolitan Police in Paris in the 1930s. There’s rumblings of a German invasion. A prosecutor has been charged in the murder of the prosecutor’s mistress and has asked for Gambrelli to investigate. Neither man cares much for the other, yet Gambrelli is the prosecutor’s only hope.

There’s plenty of twists and turns and lots of red herrings, but Gambrelli and his men solve the murder and even manage to put a twist in the shorts of their least liked police commissioners.  The only thing I wanted more of was information about the setting. A great mystery, but it could have been set in just about any part of the first 60 years of the 20th century. There wasn’t as much as I needed on the clothing or music or much else to place the piece in the 1930s.

Even so, I’ll be looking for more of these. Have a good week!


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The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith – an audio book review

The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Book 2) by [Galbraith, Robert]

In a Nutshell

Title:  The Silkworm

Author:  Robert Galbraith

Reader:  Robert Glenisher

Publisher:  Hachette Audio

Date of Release:  June 19. 2014

Genre:  Mystery/Thriller

Source:  Purchased

Rating:  5 out of 5 stars

It’s been a long time since I reviewed an audio book.  I misplaced my iPod and my other devices seem to have such short battery lives I just wanted until I found it.  This was a great audio book to get me back in the habit of listening! (I also finished a long scarf and started a sweater during my listen.)

The Silkworm is the second in the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith who you probably all know is really J.K. Rowling of the Harry Potter series. The same attention to small details is as evident in this series with excellent character development. Cormoran is an amputee who has taken the skills he’s learned in the Special Branch to the streets as a private eye. He has a secretary/partner Robin who has a boyfriend who does not like what she does for a living. There’s a plenty of well-developed suspects too.

This time they take a case involving a missing writer, a scandalous manuscript and ultimately an ugly murder. There’s plenty of action and emotion as the Cormoran and Robin unravel the tangled web of clues. There’s no shortage of characters to love, like, hat and distain in this story. Particularly compelling is the writer’s mentally challenged daughter and the relationship with her mother and her neighbor.

Robert Glenister has a large range of character voices and made listening to this book a wonderful experience.

Have a great week!


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Ill Will, by Dan Chaon

In a Nutshell

Title:  Ill Will

Author:  Dan Chaon

Publisher:  Random House/Ballentine Books

Date of Release:  March 7, 2017

Genre:  Literary Fiction/Mystery-Thriller

Source:  The publisher provided a digital galley of this work in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 4 out 5 stars

Complex and gritty with more than a few tugs on the heartstrings. Ill Will is psychological thriller that will stay with you. I should have seen the ending coming, but I didn’t and it hit me like a speeding freight train.

There’s really two mysteries here – the one in the past that left Dustin Tillman and his two cousins orphans and the current one involving a serial killer of young men found drowned in rivers in the middle America. Dustin is helping one of his psychology patients solve the later while he deals with the release of his adopted brother after he’s found innocent of the the murder of Dustin’s parents, aunt and uncle. Dustin is also dealing with death of his wife from cancer while trying to be a father to his two college-age sons with drug problems. I think we can agree he’s not the best person to be working a case the police aren’t interested in.

The book is in a number of point of views which aids in the complexity of the work, yet helps the reader get the whole tragedy. I highly recommend this when it comes out a month from now. But watch for the crossing arms at the railroad crossing! I’ll be going back and re-reading this one!

Have a great week!


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