Greetings from The Raven!

Aug. 29, 2016

The Wages of Desire by Stephen Kelly

My thanks to my contacts at Pegasus Books, Iris Blasi, Katie McGuire, and Maia Larson, for my advance reading copy of this book. You ladies rock!

Possible SPOILERS but I try very hard to reveal nothing that cannot be read in the first several pages of the book. But you have been WARNED…

Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Lamb is back in the second book of this series! With WWII raging and almost all available people conscripted into the army, the police departments of Great Britain are running with a skeleton crew. Worried that his 19 year old daughter Vera may be the next to be drafted, Lamb takes advantage of a sprained ankle to have her installed into the police force as a driver and constable—although he really has no intention to allow her to act as a Constable.

So of course a new murder case opens almost at once. The deceased is a young woman working as a conscript in the Women’s Land Army. Ruth Aisquith was assigned to a group building a prison camp for Italian POWs. Now she lies dead in the graveyard at Winstead, shot in the back at close range. And sadly, witnesses to the death are strangely inconsistent in their stories of how the body was discovered…

And then the conscripts digging at the farm where the prison camp is being constructed dig up the skull of a murdered child…

The story moves at a fast clip while managing to detail of the pieces that will come together to complete this puzzle. There is the abandoned house where a woman hanged herself.  Lawrence Tigue, local chairman of the parish civil council used to live at the farm where the skull is discovered with his mother and brother. There are various plots between the people in the town which may have an effect on the crime. And the precocious little girl we meet in chapter one does her nighttime spying throughout the tale!

There is something magical about the way the different threads of the case wind through the story! I feel that the reader will be held spellbound until the very end!

I give this book five stars!

Quoth the Raven…

Buy It Here>


Aug. 24, 2016

Beloved Poison by ES Thomson

My thanks to my contacts at Pegasus Books, Iris Blasi, Katie McGuire, and Maia Larson, for my advance reading copy of this book. You ladies rock!

I will put a WARNING here, although I intend not to reveal more than you can learn from reading the book jacket. Any spoilers will be by sheer accident, not design.

Jem Flockhart is a young woman masquerading as a man. She is an apothecary, working at St. Savior’s Infirmary with her father and their apprentice, Gabriel. The infirmary is staffed with a trio of doctors, who also teach medicine and anatomy to students. Dr. Magorian is the head of surgery, assisted by Dr. Graves. Young Dr. Bain is a man with new ideas about cleanliness that Graves disagrees with.

Things are complicated by the fact that the infirmary is scheduled to be raised in order to build a new railway bridge. In fact, company representative William Quatermain has arrived to begin the terrible task of emptying out the graveyard, and removing the dead for reburial elsewhere. To Jem’s dismay, she has been ordered to share her room with this man…

The discovery of six small handmade caskets, each containing a strange wooden doll wrapped in blood-soaked rags; sets off a mystery that will shake everyone to the core. It shakes Jem very badly because the caskets are lined with paper, and one of them has her mother’s name and the date of Jem’s birth. Her mother died in childbirth along with Jem’s twin brother…

Jem as an apothecary is a specialist in poisons. Her private garden has some of the deadliest plants in the world. She has even sought to grow plants that come from tropical climates in a greenhouse. Then the first victim turns up dead from poisioning…

The pace moves at a blistering rate as intrigue and murder begin to haunt the halls of St. Savior’s and the Doctor’s private lodges nearby. The Doctor’s quarrel and argue amongst themselves both on professional and personal matters. There is talk of a ghost known as The Abbot, known to even the oldest people in the area. It is strongly suggested that the ghost walks again.

It is my opinion that this is a masterful work of fiction that should keep the reader glued to the page until the final reveal is past! Every time I thought I could not be surprised by another plot twist, there was a subtle tweaking of the prose that allowed one more surprise lurking in the shadows! This book will make the top ten I have read this year so far!

I give the book five stars plus! It is a treasure I know I will revisit again!

Quoth the Raven…

Buy It Here>

Aug. 23, 2016

You Buy Bones by Marcia Wilson

My thanks go out to Steve and Timi at MX Books for my review copy of this book. Thanks so much for believing in me! God Bless!

I sincerely hope there are no huge spoilers in this review, but be WARNED anyway…

This is like no Sherlock Holmes story I have ever read. Believe me, that is not a bad thing to say. It is an absolute masterpiece!

We see Holmes through the eyes of Scotland Yard, as Lestrade and company talk of their first encounters with Holmes, when he still had his rooms in Montague Street. Then they have a betting contest to see how long they think that Doctor Watson can deal with Holmes before he moves out! They all agree that Holmes is brilliant, damnably so. But they know he can do things that they cannot. They are bound by procedure, the facts that can be proven, and cannot afford to speculate.

They have their jobs to consider. Holmes is a necessity that they will continue to use, but his way can never be officially sanctioned. He must always be referred to as an Amateur.

But this story highlights the good Doctor. He is freshly back from war, and his wounds are not healing as well as he would wish. He has been with Holmes on the murder written up as “A Study in Scarlet.” And he has earned the trust of Scotland Yard. They marvel at his marksmanship and his dogged devotion to justice.

Watson visits Edinburgh for a Medical Seminar and when he returns he has been shaken to the core. A displayed skeleton by a certain Dr. Parker has given Dr. Watson a clue to a mystery of his own. I think of a line that Dr. Temperance Brenan states on TV’s Bones series. Asked why she became a forensics expert, she says, “I see a face on every skull.” Apparently, so does Watson. And worse—he recognizes the face that isn’t there…

This fast paced thriller plunges the read into the seamy underside of the medical profession. There have been objects stolen from the Black Museum of Scotland Yard, objects that are human remains. The ghosts from the dissecting rooms where Burke and Hare made their blight on history can be felt through the reactions of Watson, Lestrade, and Bradstreet’s investigation. The case draws to a final conclusion with Watson’s grim discoveries in Edinburgh. The book will make the reader breathless to find out what happens next!

I give this book five stars plus!

Quoth the Raven…

Buy It Here>

Aug. 21, 2016

Abolition of Evil by Ted Richardson Kindle™ Edition

Historical fiction at its best!

My thanks go out to Ted Richardson for my free copy of this book.

Meriwether Lewis, of The Lewis and Clark Expedition into the newly purchased Louisiana Purchase, died on October 11, 1809 at the Grinder's Stand on the Natchez Trace south of Nashville. His death was generally accepted as a suicide, but circumstances surrounding his death leave a question mark in history.

Ted Richardson builds around the controversy surrounding the death of Lewis. When Lewis died, he left behind his journals from the Expedition. But there are missing journals. A man like Meriwether Lewis documented the day by day discoveries for his report back to President Thomas Jefferson, and would not have missed a period in July 1906…

1973. Two Native American boys find an old Conquistador helmet near Ghost Ridge on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana. Sometime later a man in a new Cadillac shows up on the reservation and purchases the helmet.

Present Day: Matt Hawkins lives in Savannah, Georgia. Matt found fame when he discovered a surrender letter written by George Washington at a time when the Revolutionary War was going badly for the Americans. Recovering a piece of history that many might not have wanted uncovered was all in a day’s work for Matt and his then girlfriend, Sarah Gordon. The two have recently parted ways…

Now, another mystery falls into his lap. His friends; James Fox and Buzz Penberthy, the Executive Director and the President General of the Society of the Cincinnati have a find for him.

Some of Meriwether Lewis’ Expedition notes have been recovered, in a desk that once belonged to Captain William Clark. There is mention of the Conquistador helmet and even a drawing in the notes. The notes also mention a tribe of Black Indians who have a village near present day Ghost Ridge in Montana. As these people are lost to history, the friends mount a search to find what really happened.

They run into trouble in the form of Spate Industries, who own the mining and oil rights to that part of the Reservation. They will allow no one to go there, and it soon develops that they are deadly serious about “No Trespassing!” But their secrets run far deeper than anyone could imagine…

This story will hook the reader and keep him or her glued to the text until the last sentence! With a masterful mixture of history, conspiracy, and mystery, Richardson serves up a masterpiece! It is cleverly cut with flashback scenes that show the secrets as they happened in real time. It was one of the best Historical Fiction novels I have ever read! Thanks for contacting me with this book, Mr. Richardson. It is wonderful, and I truly mean that!

I give the book five stars plus…

Quoth the Raven…

Buy It Here>

Aug. 20, 2016

The Reckoning on Cane Hill by Steve Mosby

My thanks to my contacts at Pegasus Books, Iris Blasi, Katie McGuire, and Maia Larson, for my advance reading copy of this book. You ladies rock!

My review will be less detailed than usual, because I don’t wish to spoil the experience that any reader will have while reading this brilliant mystery/thriller. What I do mention should not spoil anything, but in case I let more loose than I intend, this serves as a WARNING…

Detective Mark Nelson is haunted by his past. His girlfriend Lise was drowned when the two were caught by tidal currents while swimming in the ocean. The image of that day plays over and over in his thoughts and in his dreams. But the dead cannot return—

Only now he is being asked to investigate a woman who has apparently done just that. Two years ago, Charlie Matheson died in a car crash, ejected through the windshield as the car hit a tree. Those facts are recorded by the police and firefighters who worked the accident and the coroner who did the autopsy.

Now a woman claiming to be Charlie Matheson surfaces, her face a pattern of scars she says represents her sins. When asked where she has been, she says she was dead and in hell…

Detective David Groves is also haunted by his past. His son was kidnapped, murdered, and buried in the woods. But every year on his son’s birthday he gets a card from some mysterious person. This year the card is worse than usual. There is writing inside that says, “I know who did it…”

This novel may well be the best mystery/thriller I have read all year. The two separate cases are presented alternately throughout, and by the time they come together the resulting tidal wave of emotion and excitement will sweep the reader away! This author is almost magical in his ability to immerse the reader in the story as if you were there watching and experiencing the action take place!

I will give this excellent novel five stars plus!

Quoth the Raven…

Buy It Here>