Wednesday, 25 March 2015



The traditional husband cheating on wife in this book has a different twist. Many times books have shown the debacle from the wife's point of view, but this author has managed to find a new angle on the scenario. The story starts fairly slowly and I wasn't sure for quite awhile whether this was to be a "family" story, a cozy mystery or morph into a medical murder mystery. Just as I was becoming a restless reader, everything changed! The plot thickened - from the husband's point of view...

Danny is a neurosurgeon and should be smarter than he proves to be, but from here on in, the intrigue deepens...and deepens. Following a family tragedy, Danny is distracted by a pair of eyes staring over the top of a mask in the operating theatre. "Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive!" Our mums and aunts knew what they were talking about. As Danny struggles with his rapidly changing circumstances, the family's reactions to his predicament show just how much they care about the twit! It is a measure of the author's skill that I felt a little compassion for Danny although I was surprised that he apparently felt no real sorrow or even much guilt for what he'd done to his wife. There was considerable satisfaction in my mind when things went down hill for him! I liked the resilient Sara immensely, but was too engrossed in the twit's problems to worry about her, because she was/is a survivor.

I started reading this book late yesterday afternoon and when I woke up at 3.30am and couldn't go back to sleep, continued to the end. Having had a life-saving operation in 2013, I was fascinated by the descriptions of operations and theatre procedure. I was also amused to see that the author cleverly inserted herself into the action at one stage  :)

Having been highly entertained by this story, I've already started the next one which appears to take up a few weeks after the ending of Bk 1. Will report in again after I've sampled what I am sure will be the delights of Danny's mad life.

ZELLWOOD: A Dog Story by Rebecca Stroud


The information accompanying this story was quite clear that this is a short story, so those who lambasted the author because this was not a full length book were not paying attention to what they were buying.

A simple story of love and loss, it is beautifully written and brought tears to my eyes. Animals know when their beloved companion dies and anyone who says they don't have souls - for me - is an idiot. Everyone knows that they go to the Rainbow Bridge where they are safe, loved and young again.

Great little story.



Any book with the word "Beethoven" in the title will attract me. Classical music is my passion - I produce and present a weekly classical radio program - so of course I had to read this novella and was highly impressed with Sweeney's use of language to paint a vivid portrait of not only the characters, but of the lives they lived at that time.

The beauty of the face on the cover is a measure of the writing within. Exquisitely presented, this is the story of a woman - perhaps his "immortal beloved" - with whom Beethoven was believed to be deeply in love and to whom he wrote many letters. Although Beethoven fell in love a number of times throughout his life, he was never successful in his pursuits. In spite of his recognised genius, he was considered too lower class for the women to whom he aspired. Beset by illness and court battles over the custody of his nephew, the setting for this novella was the latter part of his life.

Life for women, particularly in the lower classes, in the composer's time was frequently one of slavery. Adela, reduced to relative poverty by her drunken, abusive father's lifestyle, is trapped in the home with him and his predatory assistant. Deprived of her piano and no longer able to enjoy the comforts of the lifestyle to which she was born, her only escape is into the secrets of her mind.

Beethoven, deaf and ailing in health, arrives at an inn to be the subject of an early photograph which necessitates him sitting still for many hours while the image burns into the photographic plate. As crowds gather to leer at the famous composer, Adela and Beethoven get to know each other a circumstance which eventuates in their meeting at a later date.

Sweeney uses a passage in the book to brilliantly sum up the worship of celebrity, painting a picture of society which is re-enacted wherever fans gather to gawk at the famous: " The very notion that he was there made grown men beat each other to the ground and trample each other in an attempt to see him. And the very notion that he was there made grown men forget there's nothing to be gained by seeing somebody who is a stranger to you, who has no place in your life, who has no interest in you and wouldn't care if you never existed. There was nothing to be gained except an opportunity for gross humiliation."(quote from the book).

This summary is familiar to us all, being enacted almost nightly on the television and particularly when theatrical and musical awards are being handed out.

I enjoyed not only the whimsical yet believable account of what may have transpired between Beethoven and a young woman, but also the analysis of the great composer's music.

Highly recommended.

LANE'S END by Australian author, Jill Paterson


Loved this traditional murder mystery! Beautifully written, the characters are a delight, each person's life unfolding without fanfare. Fitzjohn's bossy sister and her intimidated niece to Betts, his sergeant who has a "thing" for Sophie, Grieg, Fitzjohn's nemesis and his belligerent neighbour all play their parts with conviction.

What I particularly liked about this book was the setting - Sydney, where I lived for many years - the solid policing and quiet style of the lead character and the lack of erotica - a welcome change!

I shall be reading more of this author's work.

COLD GRANITE by Stuart Macbride


I purchased this book on the recommendation of a member of a forum to which I belong. I was not disappointed!

The character of Logan McRae is realistic and encourages the reader's sympathy for his problems. He has just returned to work after a stabbing attack by a murderer a year previously, and now Logan has to put up with more assaults on his stomach in the course of duty. WPC Jackie Watson, assigned to look after Logan, is a delightful character who excites his interest. Together they endeavour to hunt down the perpetrator of the murders of children before the media - and the hierarchy of the Aberdeen police - fricassee them.

The twists and turns in this novel are classic Scottish policing, well researched and delightfully - if one could call a series of brutal murders and parade of unsavoury characters so - portrayed. The reality of police work, far from being constantly dramatic, is shown as one of slogging through reams of administrative information, door knocking and endless knockbacks.

The opening chapter is grim, alerting the reader to the terrifying prospect of a psychotic killer on the rampage. This does not disappoint, but on the way, McRae and Watson encounter felons of varying degrees. False arrests are rife and the pressure to solve the crime builds inexorably. An unlike ally appears in the form of a flashy, rough reporter who has an informer consistently supplying him with information. Desperate to find out who is revealing secrets, McRae forms an uneasy alliance with Miller. The denouement, when it comes, is obvious upon reflection by the reader.

A brilliant read and highly recommended.

PERFECTION by J.L. Campbell


This story is classic J.L. Campbell, Jamaica's foremost romance writer.

Natasha, young and gorgeous is in a relationship with the unreliable Malik. Time and again, she breaks up with him because of his cheating, but she is lured back into his net. Then she meets Karim, Malik’s cousin. Gorgeous, kind, sexy...perfection! Or so she thinks. The old saying, if it’s too good to be true then it probably is springs to mind. Karim’s hiding a secret which would show former irresponsibility and how his life has changed. Natasha, who is fed up with flaky twits, is disappointed in Karim, but then another secret and a betrayal comes to light!

A terrific and cute story, well written with natural dialogue, this novel is well worth its cost. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next in the Sister series.

Well done indeed!   



Economy of word is the essence of this highly exciting novel! I enjoyed the "Just the facts, Mam" style reminiscent of the old style cop shows, but modern in application.

The hero, Jack, is a complex character who saves a member of the Mafia from an assault and then takes on a job for the Family - just the once, he thinks - but even though he is a sophisticated ex-Marine, he is sucked into a vortex of death unable to find a way out. However, it's a job - no more than cleaning scum off the human pond - and this is shown through the type of people Jack is sent to exterminate. Scoundrels, sadists, murderers of the bodies and of the souls of their victims. There's more to Jack than being a hitman however, and although the reader is not privy to his private thoughts as such, his view of the scum shows a great deal about him. Jack, in fact, needs to be sure that the subject of each hit is unworthy of life.

Seemingly. Jack is unable to love, but just as he is thinking about getting out of the "business" he meets Lauren, herself a victim of the abuse of one of his hits. How Jack saves her and sets up a future for them is intriguing and well written.

This is not the end of Jack and Lauren - far from it - and I am waiting impatiently for the next in the series.

Very well done indeed!



This novel turned out to be a novella, which in itself was okay, but left me feeling unsatisfied. The plot had the makings of what I had expected to be a real thriller, but unfortunately the author did not take advantage of the excellent premise.

George- racked by post-natal depression overhears her husband - whom she has given a terrible time over the months after their daughter's birth - saying that he was taking them all on a weekend away and that would be the end of it all. Of course, George doesn't ask him about this, but goes along with the weekend away in a cottage on a cliff edge.

This novel could have been full length and had wonderful twists and turns, with a breath-taking climax at the end, but the finish of this was very lame. I would loved to have given this more than three stars - and the cover is superb - but because of the brevity and ending, I feel three is as much as it earned.

DRAGON'S MOON by Rebecca Stroud

5 Stars

Well written and fast-paced, the story involves the murders of a pedophile ring at the very top, the US President being the leader. As the members of the ring are killed - or commit suicide - the arrogance of James Drake doesn’t allow for him to feel concern for anyone’s safety, including his own. An abuser since a teenager, his preying on his younger brother, Jon, is a precursor of what is to come. Jon, now a billionaire businessman, has never recovered from his brother’s victimisation or the deliberate running over of his only friend in life, his white German Shepherd.

Is Jon now taking his revenge or is there another Drake victim out there?

Needless to say, no spoilers here!

Short, sharp and to the point, this long "short" story never lets go, as events pile up with breathtaking speed. From the gruesome opening pages to the end, Stroud treats the reader to a thriller which is out of the box.

Well done indeed!

L.A. SNIPER by Steve Gannon


Steve Gannon's books are always good value. I have read the previous Dan Kane novels - all of them - and enjoyed them. This one was no exception.

Gannon manages to make the characters jump out of the page and as this is written in the first person from Kane's perspective, it was doubly satisfying. I liked the pacing, the quality of the writing and in-depth depiction of all the characters. The description of the technical aspects of a snipers 'work" are terrifying and it is a grim reminder that these killers do exist and practice their trade too many times in many countries.

I'm giving no spoilers - I just want to recommend this book most highly to anyone who might be thinking of buying it. You not be disappointed!

BROKEN by Ann Simko


I particularly like books where the author lives close to the edge! By that, I mean the author shows the reader who the perpetrator is and then manages to engage the reader right through to the end. Traditional plots, where the reader is not privy to the killer's identity, abound and are always good, but the former method of presenting a story is riding a fine line between losing tension and keeping the suspense up.

Ann Simko does this in spades!

Those who have read the first three Coyote Moon books will be familiar with the Thomas brothers, Dakota and Montana, but just in case, I won't do any spoilers. In Broken, Montana is forced out of his comfort zone by an infected appendix and this is where the fun starts! Determined to get back to the camp in which his Grandfather keeps the family safe, Montana is stymied by a snow storm, so is forced to stay in the house of the surgeon who operated on him who just happens to be young and beautiful. Unbeknownst to either of them, someone who is seriously mentally ill, is determined to bring down all those responsible - he thinks - for his wife's death a year previously. How Montana and those close to him

This is a well-written and exciting book, straightforward, with enough back-story to, with any luck, bring on a fifth in the series!

Highly recommended!!!!

DEAD SECRET by Richard Milton


Firstly, I have to say that the paranormal is not my genre and I was invited to review this book. I did so with some scepticism, but despite a slow start, I became fascinated by the plot which Richard Milton rolled out.

Tony Gabrieli, a hard-nosed journalist, receives a mysterious summons from a solicitor - this is a British book - upon the death of his mother. Unbeknownst to Tony, his mother was involved with a mysterious group called The Chadwick Foundation. Astonished to discover that his mother was far more than the suburban housewife she purported to be, he receives a file of papers and a box in which is something equally amazing. So, Tony is introduced to the science of physiognomy and the dangerous, deadly sexual ritual which could get him killed.

Using clever back story, the plot starts at the French Revolution and follows on to the Second World War, as Milton lures the reader into the paranormal underworld, where governments play with lives and highly connected men and women buy and sell unthinkable objects for priceless sums.

After Tony meets the fascinating Eve and is introduced into her circle, he – and the reader – finally begins to understand just what he is facing. The disgraced scientist, Cesar Casimir, leads Tony into a deadly maze where he is forced to use his hitherto unacknowledged precognitive skills to stay Eve his lover or his killer?

The book begins energetically, but it took awhile for me to work out what was going on. At first reading it appeared that Tony Gabrieli was an ordinary journalist chasing a story, but as the story progressed, I became aware of a strong sense of foreboding. As I got to know the main character, I began to have grave concern for his safety – a mark of the talent of Milton – and was soon swept into the by-plays and dangerous secrets with which the characters are engaged.

I would have liked to have known more about Gabrieli’s mother – how she became a trustee of the Chadwick Foundation – but this was only part I felt could have been explained further. I didn’t particularly like the character of Eve, though I suspect that she was supposed to have this effect on the reader.

Thoroughly enjoyed this well written and intricate story and thought the ending was the only way it could have happened. No spoilers here!

Highly recommended.



Firstly, the cover set the scene and the novel went on from there.

I liked the beginning where Sylvie takes off and keeps driving, realising that to go ahead with the wedding would be the worst mistake of her life, but I wanted to hear more from the family about what happened when she didn't turn up! However, there is a mystery in this book which explains much - no spoilers!

The characters are intriguing and the heroine one in whom I could invest concern. I wanted to slap the hero out a few times for his - typically male - ideas about how to conduct a relationship. Having had a "difficult" relationship with my mother which was not unlike Sylvie's with hers, I could understand the ongoing angst involved. Waiting for Sylvie to finally "turn the worm" as it were, was excruciating.

The only disappointment with this book was that none of the characters had an animal and I think a resident cat in a cosy, country town B & B is mandatory! :)

A very pleasant and - to a certain extent - laid back read.