World of Trouble by Ben H. Winters

This is the final book in the The Last Policeman Trilogy that I have been reading.  The book starts out with 14 days left in the countdown to the end of the world.  Hank Palace is on the trail of Nico with Cortez and Houdini at his side.  They little group start to rate towns they pass in a color system, red for towns “seething with active violence”, Green were the opposite, Black for empty, and all colors in between.  They run into all varieties of desperate people dealing with the end that is coming in the best way that they can.

Hank is less concerned with the end of the world, except in regards to being a timeline to solve his final case, Nico’s disappearance.  Hank’s dogged determination is the defining feature of his character and drives this final book of the trilogy.  I don’t want to give any spoilers but the resolution of the story was very well done in an understated manner.

Highly recommended read!

Rebel Without a Cake by Jacklyn Brady

  I really enjoy this series set in New Orleans with Rita Lucero as the protagonist, bakery owner and reluctant sleuth.  In this outing Halloween is fast approaching, Edie is pregnant and not dealing well, Miss Frankie is volunteering Rita for things without her consent and there is still more discontent in the bakery mainly coming from Ox, who still seems to harbor resentment about Rita’s ownership and management of the Zydeco bakery.

Rita gets drawn into a “field trip” with Miss Frankie and her neighbor Bernice to a small remote town and there she stumbles over a body.  The mystery  plot twists and turns alternating with other story lines involving Edie and Miss Frankie and the not very likable Evangeline Delahunt.  The settings of both New Orleans and the isolated Baie Rebelle are well described and help draw the reader into the story.

Fun, cozy mystery read probably best read in order with the rest of the series.

The Art of Adapting by Cassandra Dunn

I picked this up on impulse at the library last night and once I started it I couldn’t put it down.  The story ostensibly revolves around Lana, a woman whose husband has left her with two teenage children, but the real star is Matt, Lana’s brother who has Asperger’s.  It is through his observations and interactions that the story really comes to life and evolves. Matt, through his own “too fast moving mind”, is able to piece together clues and avert disasters and forge stronger family bonds.

The whole story is charming, but still believable and the characters are well drawn and interesting.  I really enjoyed “meeting” the whole family and watching them overcome their hurdles.  This novel comes across as much more polished and complex than the average debut women’s fiction.  I very much enjoyed it.

The Wolfe Widow & Crime Rib

  These are the latest two cozy mysteries I have read.

The Wolfe Widow is the third in the book collector series by Victoria Abbott. I really enjoy this well written series.  I will say I got a little nervous in the beginning which starts out with our protagonist, Jordan, losing her position with the difficult to please Vera Van Alst. I was afraid that the whole tenor of the series was about to change.   The mystery is an interesting twist on this series that usually revolves around stolen books in that the books take more of a back seat here.  Jordan follows up on clues about the suspected villain with the help of Uncle Kev, but the rest of her side kicks seem to have disappeared.  All is explained in a neatly wrapped up conclusion after many twists and turns.

A very well written series, good mystery plot with excellent pacing and tension building, I would highly recommend this book (but start with the first in the series).

I am happy that I gave Crime RIb a chance.  I really wasn’t going to read it because the first in this series Death Al Dente didn’t really work for me,  but I kept hearing good things about the second book.  The mystery was well done and kept you guessing until close to the end.  I liked the characters much more than I remember liking them.   The food and festival details were fun and certainly kept me interested.

This was definitely a case of the series improving as it progressed or maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood when I read the first one.

Do or Diner & Fat Cat at Large

  I finished these two cozies in the last couple days.

Do or Diner was this month’s group read at the Cozy Mystery Corner on Goodreads.  I had seen this before but hadn’t picked it up to read or even put it on my TBR list.  I am really glad it was a book club read because I enjoyed reading it, so much so that I already purchased the second book in the series.

The protagonist has purchased a family business that includes a diner as it’s mainstay.  The rest of the business is focused on summer holiday cottages.  The diner specializes in old fashioned type comfort food that sounds delicious.  The protagonist, Trixie becomes embroiled in the murder because it happens in the kitchen of her diner and threatens the reputation of the diner.  Trixie is not convinced that the local police, who include a possible love interest cowboy cop, are investigating quickly enough to save her business or with enough zeal to clear her name.  An interesting selection of supporting characters, including diner kitchen and wait staff and a mayor who comes across as a sleazeball.

Well done cozy mystery with a very comforting feel, it reminded me of Connie Archer’s Soup Shop mystery series which I also love.

Fat Cat at Large was a book I read about online and was waiting to be released.  My local indie bookshop just got it in and let me know so I picked it up on my last trip over there.  There is a lot to like about this book, Quincy, the fat cat, is an obvious plus, the theme, a bar cookie bakery, and even the setting of Minneapolis, with the cozy bakeshop and Chase’s apartment above it.

I also liked the realism shown through the tension between the business partners, Chase and Anna.  Often cozies feature best friends, or relatives as business partners in small businesses and show none of the tension or issues that can and usually do arise in those circumstances.  As a former accountant, I can tell you that as much as you love someone, going into business with them can often sound the death knell on the relationship.

I did enjoy reading this but I feel that it needed to be tightened up a little editing wise and some of the dialogue needs tweaking.  It seemed a little off at times.  This is the first in the series so I will look forward to the next one to see how it develops.

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

I just finished this classic hard boiled mystery by Dashiell Hammett.  It was fantastic and made me question why I don’t read more of the classics.   I loved the writing style, simple and direct.  The vernacular is realistic from the time period.  This book really is a definitive example of crime noir from the late 1920s and 1930s.  In addition, the North Point Press edition that I read included photographs from San Francisco of places mentioned in the book.

Sam Spade is well drawn character, the private detective of olden days, a real man’s man.  He is not to be messed with even by the gorgeous “Miss Wonderly”.  Sam’s line,

“Listen.  This isn’t a dammed bit of good.  You’ll never understand me, but I’ll try once more and then we’ll give up.  Listen.  When a man’s partner is killed he’s supposed to do something about it.  It doesn’t make any difference what you thought of him.  He was your partner and you’re supposed to do something about it.”

gives a great picture of Sam Spade and his moral code.

The events are realistic events, even though truthfully the may occur over the life of one private detective rather than in the course of one week.  The pacing keeps the story moving right along as the intrigues and machinations of the various characters are exposed.

I thoroughly enjoyed this and highly recommend it for lover’s of mystery or crime fiction.

Sinister Sprinkles by Jessica Beck

  This is the third in the Donut Shop Mystery series by Tim Myers writing as Jessica Beck.  Even though I am not a fan of donuts, I do like this series.  The main character Suzanne, her sidekicks Grace and George and the relationship with her mom are all well written and engaging.  The mystery this time involves secrets, mistaken identity, elder fraud,I  internet fraud, and of course murder.  I especially thought the internet fraud was timely, there was  a tragic case in the news locally of an older woman who committed suicide after losing all of her money to internet fraud.

The town is a nice place to visit through Jessica Beck’s writing.  The locals are recurring features and over the course of the series I am sure we will get to know them better.  This is a Christmas book that I read in August so it was a fun change of pace for that reason, I loved all the snow descriptions when it is hot and humid here.  Overall, a well done cozy mystery series that I will continue reading.