Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Case of the Caretaker's Cat

Review: I was recently traveling with my mother-in-law and we came across the James Dean Gallery and Museum in Fairmont, Indiana where they sold memorabilia along with some antiques. There I found several old pocket-sized books that I bought on impulse. Mostly I bought them because I love books and couldn't resist buying a few mysteries from the 1930's.

This book was a rather quick read and I truly enjoyed it. I have never read anything by Gardner before, but may look for other books of his in the future. It was filled with many twists and turns that kept me guessing as to who the actual killer was. Since I am not familiar with the Perry Mason storyline, (I may have only seen one of the movies made from the series), it seemed like a new tale and rather fun to be a part of.

In terms of style, the book flowed very easily. Climaxes and twists happened at all the right times to keep the reader invested in the storyline. I really didn't want to put the book down and was itching to get back to it when I had, which is something I look for in a book. The characters were also very believable and richly fleshed out. Mason was shown as a dashing, devilish, and highly intelligent man whom seemed to enjoy taunting the other lawyers and policemen. That alone made the story a great read, you wanted to see what he was going to do next.

Overall storyline was not all that original, but still a good read. It was a tale of greed leading to murder where some innocent people get caught in the crossfire. However, it was told in such a way that I wanted to know every little detail and to try to figure out who did it the same way I would in a 21st century mystery book today. Sometimes the simplest reasons or motives are the best ones to use.

If you enjoy a good, old fashioned mystery book from the 1930's era, then this book is for you. If you need all the bells and whistles of a new age mystery, then you most likely will not enjoy this book. All in all, I am glad that I spent the $2.50 at the James Dean Gallery for this little book and can't wait to read the other little book I bought by Agatha Christy.

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

I bought this book at a museum/gallery that sold antiques; I was not paid to do a review of this book.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Brood X

Synopsis: Seth is laid off from work. His wife Lara just found out they are expecting a baby this summer. Seth plans on documenting the entire pregnancy with his brand new digital camcorder.

During an evening home watching television, the news reports that a swarm of cicada (Brood Ten) are expected to overwhelm the entire Northeast.

Brood Ten is vicious and ready to invade.

During a sweltering summer night, Brood Ten emerges and wreaks havoc with the electric grid, phone and cell service, wi-fi, food and water supply. Civilization as they know it is gone.

Seth and Lara are thrown back to the stone age in their own home with trillions of cicada trying to deposit their eggs and breed.

Fast paced and filled with tension, Brood Ten is the perfect summer read when you’re sitting outside listening to the cicadas sing.

Review: The author sent this book along with Stillwell and I decided to read it as well. In terms of the two books by Cash, this was the better of the two. Normally, I would stay away from books about bugs of any kind, but again, I found myself intrigued by the premise of an infestation of this proportion. It was Biblical in nature and really made my skin crawl to say the least.

The main issue I had with the book was with infestation; I found myself wondering how believable some of the situations were. Could the sheer volume of the bugs cause a house to collapse? Would they really attack anything that was moving, regardless of how many of the bugs there were? Many others came to mind, but I will not post them here to keep from giving away too much of the plot. Another issue that I had was with the main character Seth and how he brought sex up into almost any conversation for the first third of the book. I also found some of his unwillingness to prepare for the infestation a little unbelievable, especially since his wife was pregnant with their first child.

However, aside from all of that, this book was quite a wild ride about halfway through to the end. It made my skin crawl with respect to the bugs and actually made me a little paranoid that I would wake up with one of these big insects sitting on my chest with its stinger about to inject eggs into my body. That part of the story was excellent and is what really made me enjoy the book.

If you like a good bug story that keeps your adrenaline pumping a little all the while you are talking to yourself hoping that the main characters make it out alive somehow, then this book is for you. If you hate bugs then this book is not for. This book was a little slow in the beginning, but well worth getting to the end.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I was given a copy of the book by the author via Bostick Communications; I was not paid to give this review.

Stillwell: A Haunting on Long Island

Synopsis: Paul Russo’s wife just died. While trying to get his family’s life back in order, Paul is being tormented by a demon who is holding his wife's spirit hostage on the other side. His fate is intertwined with an old haunted mansion on the north shore of Long Island called Stillwell Manor. Paul must find clues dating back hundreds of years to set his wife's soul free. (Picture and synopsis taken from

Review: When I read the synopsis of the book I was intrigued because I enjoy a good paranormal storyline that also has a little bit of historical fiction within its pages. This book was slightly disappointing to me in that regard. I was expecting one thing and got something else entirely, which made me a little irritated to say the least.

The book itself was very simply written, which is not a bad thing, but it didn't read like adult fiction to me. Vocabulary was not sophisticated and the storyline itself wasn't all that challenging to follow or to figure out where it was leading to. In terms of how the story progressed, I thought that the timeframe was too short for this tale, since it only encompassed seven days total. However, it had a very easy flow and the conflicts/climaxes seem to happen at the right moments.

In terms of the storyline itself, I thought that it was a good outline for a novel, but incomplete. There was so much more that could have been added to help flesh out all the different love stories that were going on. Elaborating a little more of the meaning behind the title "Stillwell" may have helped with giving the tale more "haunting" content. Also, the grief that the main character felt, although understandable, seemed to take center stage and would often take me away from all the paranormal aspect of the piece, which made it seem more of a love story than a scary paranormal story. As for me, I also felt a little cheated by the ending and will not say anything more than that so I do not spoil it for someone else who has not read it yet.

Overall, this was an average read for me. It didn't have many memorable moments that would make me categorize it as a "scary" tale and the historical aspect that I was hoping for was missing. But in the end it was a good read and one that I did enjoy in places. If you are looking for something that will make you jump and become slightly paranoid that there are ghosts all around, then this book is not for you. If you enjoy something that is a little more humanistic and has some nice ghostly, romantic interludes then you would probably enjoy this book.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I was given a copy of this book by the author via Bostick Communications; I was not paid to do a review of this book.