The Ruin and Other Reads…

I received The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan as a Giveaway from Goodreads in exchange for a fair review.  The book starts with Detective Cormac Reilly still wet behind the ears arriving at a remote cottage to find a quiet yet assertive young girl, her younger brother, Jack, and their very dead mother.  He delivers them to the hospital and forgets about the case until years later when Jack, now an adult, dies on his patch.  What is the connection?  Is there one?  What happened all those years ago and what happened to Maude and Jack in the intervening years?

Examinations of religious morality, the ability of “good” people to look the other way and not question the “wrong” right in front of them,  power and corruption,  and the far-reaching damages of childhood traumas are all woven in to this novel with intricate plotting and interesting characters.  Shades of Tana French.  Highly recommended read!

I am going to lump three very short, basically novella length, and free or very low cost Kindle novellas together here that I read through.  Sweet Masterpiece by Connie Shelton was the best of the three.  The protagonist, Sam, has a baking business and another job, getting foreclosed houses ready for sale.  She gets embroiled in a criminal investigation with the discovery of a grave on one property and some famous art.  There is also a tiny magical element here, so a magical cozy mystery.  This was a fun, short cozy mystery.  There was a bump at the end that I found somewhat jarring and probably should knock it down to 3.5 stars.  The other two,  Barbecue, Bourbon and Bullets and Pains and Penalties were just okay.  2 star reads.

Expiration Date is another cozy.  This one is a new-to-me cozy.  The theme is cook off contests.  The protagonist, Sherry,  is a competitor and one of the judges dies after tasting her dish at the contest.  Her sister is also a competitor and along with a friend she makes they look into clearing her name.  An interesting look at the cooking competition world.  This cozy feels like it is more focused on female friendships and lighter on the mystery side of things.

Fit to Die by J.B. Stanley is book 2 in a series I have been reading out of order.  I picked them up as I found them in used book stores as the series was discontinued.  Now the series seems to have been started up again so I am trying to fill in my gaps so I can read the newest book.

The theme here is supper club, a healthy eating supper club.  Professor James Henry is the town of Quincy’s Gap, Virginia’s librarian and the protagonist of the series.  The supper club in this book joins a new fitness/health club in town even though James has his doubts about the pushy salesmanship tactics the owner employs.  An arson and murder occur in town and the supper club investigates.  These books have a great setting, the community of Quincy’s gap with its characters and events is part of the storyline and makes for fun and engaging reading.  I really like this series and I’m happy to see that it has been continued.

See Her Run was a novel that I read about on a blog and ordered on my Kindle.  Aloa Snow is a disgraced journalist, she wrote a story using, let’s say “alternative facts” and now has no real career.  Someone she has a history with, who is now wealthy contacts her to investigate a case of an ultramarathoner who committed suicide.  The athlete is found barefoot dead in the desert, literally ran to death.  The local authorities did a cursory investigation and closed the case.  The more Aloa digs, the more evidence she finds of connections far beyond this one death.  Very good mystery with a suspenseful plot and engaging characters.

Sentence of Death is one of this month’s read at the Kindle English Mystery Club.  There is a serial killer on the loose in Gateshead and he has a mission.  The deaths are connected to a showing of the opera Ring Cycle that is occurring at The Sage.  Detective Sam Snow is in charge of the case.   Olivia is a recently divorced psychologist, who has come to Gateshead to see the opera when she becomes involved in tracking the killer.  The best part is the weaving of the opera and the killings in the story.  I thought the killer was somewhat obvious rather early on but overall I did enjoy read this.




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