I was so excited to see that Anne Hagan had released a box set of books 9-12 of her excellent Morelville series. I love this series and always wait in anticipation for the next one. I can highly recommend reading this boxed set as it has some of my favourite stories in the series. Here is my review of each volume.
The Turkey Tussle
This is the 9th book in the Morelville mystery series and still has the lovely family feel and inspired storytelling of all the others. It’s great to be back with Dana and Mel and with a new mystery that deals with a murder in Mel’s family. The murder was never solved and when Dana is looking for something to keep her busy she decides looking into this cold case would bring closure to mother-in-law Faye. I loved the flashbacks to the 1970s and finding out more about Faye’s past. The mystery had me intrigued and I am so glad that there were hints of more to come in the series. The ensemble of characters in all of the Morelville books put them a notch above other mystery novels as they are all important to solving the cases. Mel and Dana’s relationship was especially hot in ‘The Turkey Tussle’, in a well-written bedroom scene that hit all the right notes. This series just gets better and better.
I think this might be my favourite Morelville Mystery to date. I’ve read every one and enjoyed following Sheriff Mel, her wife Dana and their family, friends and colleagues through many mysteries. This one concerns the death of a distant family member and ties in with the previous story ‘The Turkey Tussle’. It’s certainly beneficial to have read that one too but not entirely necessary. The story is well written and addictive – I couldn’t put it down. There are so many twists and turns that I didn’t want to miss anything. I loved the forays into the home life of Mel and Dana as it was all tied into the case. This was Mel’s book really as it dealt with her family and their involvement in an old murder from the 1970s as well as one from the present day. As Mel is most definitely my favourite character in the series this was a big bonus for me. And I know there is more to come from Anne Hagan’s excellent mystery series so that makes me a very happy reader. I highly recommend ‘Sullied Sally’ and give it 5 Stars.
I can’t believe we are at No. 11 in the Morelville Mysteries Series already. I have loved every one so far and ‘Finding Sheila’ is no exception. When Dana is deputised to bring Sheila Ford back from the Tennessee Prison she has been in for the last few years it seems like an easy job. The transport will be in a fully staffed ambulance so Dana willingly agrees to do it for her wife, Sheriff Mel Crane. Not all goes to plan though and Dana finds herself using her investigative skills to find out exactly why it all went wrong. I could never have guessed what was behind it all and I love that Anne Hagan can do that time after time. Her stories are so well thought out and she combines great mysteries along with fascinating and likeable characters and settings. There were plenty of twists and turns and a fair element of danger for Dana. And as always I was left with hope for another story in the series. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but the next story promises to be a must read.
Mel and Dana just can’t seem to stay out of trouble! In ‘Tennessee Bound’, the latest in the Morelville Mysteries by Anne Hagan, Sheriff Mel Crane and her wife Dana Rossi escape to their cabin in the Tennessee mountains, hoping to find a solution to their future together. Mel needs a change and is seriously considering giving up her job and trying something new. The getaway should have been their time to plan and decide. When their Mamas join them to help decorate the new cabin, it seems that they can finally relax. But trouble is never far away when it comes to Mel and Dana. When an unexpected and dangerous situation arises, their plans are put on hold, and they become embroiled in something that puts everyone in peril.
I love this series and have been looking forward to ‘Tennessee Bound’. It did not disappoint. The story is exciting and full of mystery. It’s a very different kind of situation for the pair and kept me glued to the page. I really liked the setting too. Seeing them outside of their usual locale gave an extra element to the book. The story was full of surprises, but it always kept the feeling of a Morelville mystery. I especially liked the Mamas being involved more. They make a great pair and work well together. Chloe is a go-getter and has the ability to shock not just Faye, but the reader too. Faye, Mel’s mom is more buttoned-up and opinionated, but she is also very loving and willing to listen and adapt. We got to see a different side of Mel and that was very interesting. It told me that there are many more stories possible in this series – and that makes me very happy. I loved it.
‘Death Before Dessert’ is a feel-good kind of book. You can’t fail to be drawn in by the setting, excellent plot and loveable characters. A cozy mystery set in a small English village, it features a new dynamic duo, Clara Harrington and her irrepressible aunt, Vanessa. Clara has left London after losing her job and home all in the one week. Her mystery writer aunt has offered her a place to stay and the chance to take stock. But one thing she didn’t expect was a murder in the country house next door – and an elderly relative determined to solve it before the police.
I loved Vanessa’s gleeful demeanour. She had a wicked sense of humour and loved a good real-life mystery. There was no way Clara was going to stop her investigating when her reviled next-door neighbour dies in the middle of a dinner party. Clara was sweet and kind and prone to blushing profusely when in the presence of a certain beautiful woman. The inter-generational element to the investigate partnership was a winner. A series with this pair is going to be wonderful and I can’t wait to read the next in the series. A.E. Radley has given us cozy mystery at its best. Highly recommended.
Greengage Shelf by Emma Sterner-Radley is the third story in this series. It is set in a wonderfully quirky island, chock full of eccentric characters. Our heroine, Kit Sorel, is the local librarian and an incomer to the island. She has a gift for sorting out other people’s problems, and because of this, local lady, Widow Caine, asks her to look into a puzzling problem. The mysterious case of the missing book has Kit and her girlfriend Laura embroiled in all sorts of happenings – and finding out things about their neighbours they’d probably rather not know. Ms Sterner-Radley has a delightful writing style that has a gentle humour woven with lovely descriptive elements. She sees the ridiculous in every situation and her use of footnotes in this novel had me giggling. The island is the place that time forgot and is old-fashioned and endearing. There is a lovely cosy feel about the whole series and I must admit to enjoying cosy. It really works as a well rounded mystery and romance and I was delighted to be back spending time in Greengage.
‘Steel City Confidential’ by Anne Hagan is a triumph. It’s a fascinating story, well-told and with characters readers will warm to immediately. Ro Rabinowitz, a Pittsburgh lawyer takes on the case of Pamela Wilson, a woman in her sixties charged with the murder of a college professor who got her daughter pregnant. She’s confident that the case can be won, but there are complications – and a story from the past that Pam’s not telling. It’s not going to be that simple. I was drawn in from the start with a revelation of something I’ve known and loved for many years. Characters from the past . It was a brilliant set up. There are plenty of surprises that will have readers jumping for joy – but that’s all I’ll say. I won’t divulge any spoilers. But they are stunning. Now, I know that Anne Hagan writes great mysteries, but she has really found her forte with this legal thriller. I am so glad that this is book one in a new series for her. I was intrigued from the start and it just kept getting better and better. She skilfully weaves a complex tale of secrets and revelations and her characters are likeable and I want to find out more about them. Ro is a great mentor, a principled and caring lawyer. I liked her associate Dominique too. I can see her developing well in the future. Oh, and for aficionados of Ms Hagan’s Morelville Mysteries Series, a certain name pops up that will have you smiling. The book is brilliantly done and if Hollywood has any sense then this would be made into a movie – because I can guarantee there will be a huge audience for this particular story. Highly recommended.
K Aten has made me very happy. I loved ‘The Sovereign of Psiere ‘ , the first in a new series, where mystery, fantasy, sci-fi and romance come together in a fascinating story. Olivienne is the heir to the throne, the connate, and also a Historical Adventurist. Her work involves trying to translate the mysterious scrolls left behind by the Makers. But she is a handful and her security detail find it hard to keep up with her. None have managed to stay the course – until the dashing and committed officer, Castellan ends up in her sphere. Their story is immersive , as they work to solve mysteries that have stumped those before them. Their growing attraction was intense and very sexy. I enjoyed seeing them become closer. I also enjoyed the world-building – the word-building too. It was familiar but unfamiliar at the same time. I like her writing style. Although she explains a new world and new ideas and people, she makes it easy to grasp. K Aten has managed to create a place I want to revisit again and again. She has laid a perfect foundation for the series in this novel. Highly recommended.
‘Moonlight Avenue’ is an excellent mystery novel, sheer class. Gerri Hill’s writing is flawless, her story compelling and much more than a notch above others writing in this genre. Finn Knight runs her own one-woman detective agency but after many solitary years finds herself involved with two other women as they try to solve an increasingly puzzling case. Rylee Moore appears at her door looking for a job – but there is more to this young woman than Finn wants to admit. The dynamic between the pair was fascinating. Dee Woodard is a cop whose interest in Finn’s case forges an unlikely friendship. I really enjoyed the interpersonal relationships in this story. They were well observed and natural. The case they were working was full of twists and turns and had me desperate to find out more. I loved it and would be interested to find out what happens next for these characters if Ms Hill decides to make this a series. Highly recommended.
‘The Scandal’ is a gripping story from the start, as a terrified woman flees for her life, frantically trying to evade her pursuer. I could feel her fear. But it is the investigation into another death that impacts DS Frankie Oliver and she finds herself in conflict with her boss, DI David Stone. The realism, be it of story, character or setting, really struck me.
Mari Hannah captures the emotions of her characters with such insight and precision. I appreciated that the police never lost sight of the victims and their families. I also can’t get enough of the North East as described in Ms Hannah’s novels. She moves from the beauty of the Northumberland countryside to the modern, vibrant city of Newcastle. This is the first of the Stone and Oliver series that I’ve read but I was so impressed that I’ll have to go and read the other two. An excellent read and highly recommended.
I was given this ARC for review by Netgalley and Orion.
‘The Fire Court’ is a beautifully descriptive historical mystery set the year after the Great Fire of London. The writing was immersive and the period so well researched that I felt as if I was there. James Marwood finds himself investigating after his father claims to have found a dead woman at the chambers of the lawyers dealing with the aftermath of the Great Fire. He teams up with Cat Lovett, an interestingly independent woman for her time. I loved reading about the machinations of those in positions of power, as well as the ordinary lives of the people. The little details really brought this story alive for me. As a lover of historical novels, this book hit all the right notes for me. The story was fascinating, with plenty of twists and turns and the author’s ability to make the past seem real was such a joy. I really enjoyed it.
‘The Doll Maker’ is a seriously impressive thriller. It is gripping, well-written and an excellent example of the genre. It deserves to get recognition and should definitely appeal to a wider audience. I can see it transferring perfectly to TV – and if Ms Highton-Stevenson continues the story into a series, it should get snapped up.
DI Sophie Whitton is on the trail of a serial killer – one who leaves macabre-looking dolls by the bodies of the victims. Her home life is a mess as she finds her relationship with her lover Yvonne becoming more and more strained. The story is disturbing and deals with unpalatable subjects. The realism is stark and the writing captures every nuance. The author has quite a turn of phrase and her descriptions of characters are so well done that I had no problem visualising exactly what she was getting at. As the story progresses the suspense is ratcheted up perfectly. I was on the edge of my seat. I really enjoyed ‘The Doll Maker’ and highly recommend it. I can’t wait for the next one!
Barbara Winkes has surpassed herself. ‘Killer Instinct’ is an excellent story, full of suspense, mystery and characters that seem so real. I couldn’t stop worrying about them. Joanna, an ex-cop, finds herself unable to keep out of an investigation into a serial killer. She should know better – it didn’t end well for her before. Her friends warn her off but the danger is at her door and she wants to make sure no more women have to die. A new woman in her life, Rue, makes her feel good again, but does she really want to expose anyone to the darker side of life, a life that she can’t seem to escape?
I was gripped by the story and found myself shocked and surprised at some of the twists and turns. Ms Winkes certainly knows how to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Joanna really got under my skin too. She was a complex character, with a background that made her strong, resourceful and someone to rely on. Seeing her realise that was empowering. This is a definite must-read for lovers of high quality suspense and thrillers.