Thursday, March 20, 2014
by Julianna Deering
Paperback, 320 pages
March 4th 2014 by Bethany House Publishers
Drew Farthering wanted nothing more than to end the summer of 1932 with the announcement of his engagement. Instead, he finds himself caught up in another mysterious case when the family solicitor is found murdered, an antique hatpin with a cryptic message, Advice to Jack, piercing his chest.
Evidence of secret meetings and a young girl's tearful confession point to the victim's double life, but what does the solicitor's murder have to do with the murder of a physician on the local golf course? Nothing, it would seem--except for another puzzling note, affixed with a similar-looking bloodied hatpin.
Soon the police make an arrest in connection with the murders, but Drew isn't at all certain they have the right suspect in custody. And why does his investigation seem to be drawing him closer and closer to home?
Normally, I do not read kindle books. Mostly it is because I love the feel and smell of an actual book, which understandably sounds a little creepy or weird, but the electronic versions of them tend not to have the same personal connection for me. Having said that, I thought that this book was quite a charming mystery novel which I rather quite enjoyed.
Julianna Derring did a remarkable job of weaving a wondrous murder mystery set in England around the late 1920's. It kept me reading into the wee small hours of morning to find out if my suspicions of who the killer could be were right or not. For me, the killer was not readily revealed which I rather like. Novels that don't keep you guessing are not very good sport for an avid mystery reader such as myself. This one did not disappoint and I felt that Derring was able to stay true to the period and means of detection that were available at that time.
I also felt that the characters were exquisitely crafted. It was clear from the beginning that Derring felt comfortable writing about them and seemed to know them better than themselves. Usually an added romance would be something that would not work for me in a mystery novel, especially if it is one of the main story plots, but in this case it added to intrigue of the plot itself. It had kind of an Austen feel that I very much appreciated.
There were two main things that I had a little difficulty with overlooking, however, and they both have to deal with the editing of the Kindle version sent to me. It was strange, but for some reason all of the words that had a double 'f' in them were missing them! Words like off would be spelled "o" instead of it. If it had been intentional there should have been an apostrophe after the 'o'. The other thing that bothered me was how the book was formatted. In the version I was sent, there were not many, if any, distinctions between paragraphs. Not many indentations to signify a new paragraph and in some instances there was a space right in the middle of a sentence where the line was severed and then indented on the next line. Other than that, there were some minor editing issues with respect to missing quotations around some dialogue and some odd transitions. The main character would be chatting with someone about going to the chief inspector to relay information and in the very next sequence of sentences, the inspector was suddenly there as if no time had past.
Overall, I thought that this was a great mystery that keeps the reader invested in solving. If you enjoy mysteries that have a more classical feel to them, then you will thoroughly enjoy this book. However, if you will not be able to look past the formatting issues making it impossible to finish the book, than I would not recommend this one. However, it would be a great shame to pass it up since it was a delightful and light read.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
I was given a copy by Net Gallery at the request of the Prism Book Tours for my honest review; I was not paid to give this review.
Julianna Derring has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey. Her new series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuts with Rules of Murder (Bethany House, Summer 2013) and will be followed by Death by the Book (Bethany House, Spring 2014) and Murder at the Mikado (Bethany House, Summer 2014).
Sunday, March 9, 2014
I thought that this book would be interesting to read. It was pitched to me in an e-mail blurb that I get from time to time from a company that is trying to help self published authors out. That is what makes this review quite difficult to write because I really do enjoy helping others when I can, especially aspiring authors.
The strongest thing about this book was the storyline behind it. I thought that Pritt had a unique plot that has not been written about in this way. For anyone who is very religious and knows that the Devil is real, this could be a very scary book to read at night. It is interesting to see a serial killer who was killed several decades ago comes back from the dead to start killing again. Add in a mourning mother looking for clues into who killed her daughter, you have a really good tale to be spun.
However, this book had quite a number of issues that would have been caught by a decent editor. The plot, while good, was not executed well, which brought the whole story down. Nothing was ever really developed or fleshed out because the pacing was so quick. Instead of having paragraphs, many of the pages were filled with one sentence paragraphs, which not only made it awkward, but made it read like a list of ideas instead of a cohesive story. There were many errors with grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, etc. that it was very hard to read and I almost could not finish it. This is now becoming my pet-peeve with respect to the whole publishing community. Please get someone to edit your books appropriately! Outside of all that, it unfortunately read like a rough draft and not a polished piece.
I do hope that Pritt continues writing and honing her skill set in the future. With story ideas like this one, she could become a mainstream author if she was able to successfully execute them on the page.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5
I was given a copy of this book by the author through Bostick Communications; I was not paid to give this review.
Image taken from Good Reads.
This book had one of the best opening lines that I have read in a while, "There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard". It created such a wonderful image and started off the story with all kinds of questions, which I liked. However, it quickly lost my interest after a few chapters and I had a difficult time finishing it.
I think that Mason had a wonderful idea for a story with her main character killing a man, burying him in his backyard only to have the people planting flowers find two additional bodies that he did not know about. It creates a problem for him since he knows there is a third body out there in his yard that no one knows about except him. That part of the plot was strong and could have went any number of different ways. However, the path that Mason took was not as interesting and I quickly became less invested in it.
My biggest problem was the character development. Jason Getty, the main character, seemed insipid as the story went on and I wished he had a little more spine, so to speak. As Mason brought more information about him to light, I began to view him as a victim and not the ruthless serial killer I was looking for. She also had several storylines going on that did converge, but it seemed a like she may have taken on a little too much and nothing was really developed extensively. The side story of Leah looking for her dead fiancé who also happens to be stepping out on her quite often, wasn't really needed. I think it would be a much better story if Mason would have stuck to Jason, the killer of the two people found in the flower bed, and the detectives on the hunt.
Overall, I thought it was a decent novel, but not one that I will reread over and over like a good Austen novel. If you enjoy a decent caper with a few twists that are not over the top, then you may like this book. If you need something that has more action to keep your attention, then you may want to pass this book up.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
This book was borrowed from my local library; I was not asked to write a review.
Image was taken from Good Reads.