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Entries tagged with “mystery”.



I read many different genres and depending on my mood, I read for different reasons—sometimes for comforting relaxation, sometimes to learn and sometimes to enjoy a gripping thriller.

The Istanbul Puzzle was neither comforting nor relaxing.  It was a gripping thriller, but I also learned a lot about ancient history and the city of Istanbul.  I was so enthralled with the history and the description of the city, that I would go online to check out places that were mentioned—some I found, some I did not—and the author explained that in his “tour guide” at the end of the book. I want to say Thank you to Laurence O’Bryan for putting that in.

The storyline was riveting. As I read, it struck me that sometimes when I read a novel the words are just ordinary script on my Kindle, but to me The Istanbul Puzzle almost seemed to appear in bold letters!  I was totally captured by the novel.

The book opens with a horrific murder scene. Later we learn that the victim was Alex Zegliwski, who was Sean Ryan’s best friend and co-worker. Sean is shocked by the savagery and determined to find out why his colleague was murdered and who was responsible. His quest leads him on a perilous journey. 

This book could have been written in 2015—it deals with many of our modern day issues; the threat of Middle Eastern radicalism overtaking Europe, the struggle of good and evil, conspiracy, even the possible spectre of germ warfare on a large scale.

O’Bryan’s writing is full of texture—you see, feel and smell as he describes the scenes. I felt the crush of the crowds in the streets of Istanbul, and again in London when the Muslim masses gathered.  I got lost in the emotions of the characters: Sean’s determination to solve the puzzle, the awakening feelings between him and Isabel Sharp, their terror and anxiety, the equally determined mind of the enemy who sought to kill them.

Did I love this book? You bet I did! I was so involved that I didn’t even think to look for any editing errors if they existed. When I finished it, I immediately went to Amazon and bought The Jerusalem Puzzle and added it to my TBR list.  However—you never know when I might decide to skip ahead and read for the pleasure of it!

If you like a fast paced, suspense filled action thriller with great description and a lot of history and reality woven in, you will probably enjoy The Istanbul Puzzle as much as I did.   

The Istanbul Puzzle can ne purchased on by clicking here

Gary Strata is a new author to me, and I truly enjoyed Kindred Killers. I read a wide variety of genres, but alongside romance, crime and mystery thrillers are at the top of my favorite reads.

Kindred Killers had so many twists and turns in the plot, I really never suspected who the real murderer was until Detective Carter began to suspect him, and usually I have an idea when I read a book.

I loved the idea of Carter using Zen meditation to help himself cope with the horrors that he encountered in his work. I loved his dedication to his work, but also his commitment to his love, Jill Seacrest.  And PI Jay Fishburne captured my attention as well. It really threw me for a loop when his friend and confidant Sid Auerback (who is a cop) turned him in as a possible suspect for the serial killings. I began to wonder—could it be true??

Kindred Killers is not only a murder mystery, it is a psychological thriller involving a murdered who didn’t know he was a murder.  Wow—talk about a shocker.

I found this book to be a terrific read, and Gary Strata is on my list of authors to follow. After I read the book I discovered that he has several others.

You can purchase Kindred Killers by clicking here.



I really enjoyed this book. The characters were relatable and well developed and the plot had plenty of twists and turns to hold my attention, bringing me back to read on my Kindle each night when I went to bed, until I finally finished it. The book is set in the late 1860’s and I liked that the author wove the customs of the time into the story.


Abigail and Maria O’Donnell are sisters who find themselves in desperate circumstances when their father dies in Utah, leaving then in unexpected financial ruin. Finding themselves destitute, they decide to go to the Colorado Territory where their only living relative resides.


It is 1875 and most women are protected from the crasser unpleasantries of the world, but now they have to face life on their own. The sisters are very different in character. In the beginning, one is shy and fearful of the new world they face. The other is a strong woman, who focuses only on what must be done, and negotiates however she must to get them money to travel to Colorado. A few of the choices she makes are downright dangerous, but she does what she feels she has too.


That is how they meet Tye (Tydall) Ashmore, who is willing to take her up on an offer that everyone else has turned down because he has an agenda of his own. Later, he realizes that he has taken on more than he could possibly have imagined and as a consequence, his real agenda might cost all of them their lives.


Tye is actually a rancher. He also speaks many native Indian languages and is often sought out to help the US Army or settlers pass through Indian Territory. He is a kind, honest man and loyal friend and he finds himself in the situation he is in when he first meets the O’Donnell sisters because he is helping a friend, Brett Trumble, commit a nefarious act, in the interest of preserving the man’s reputation and his army record.


When they finally arrive safe and sound in Colorado, the girls discover that the uncle they have traveled to meet has been murdered, and their aunt is not welcoming. Mystery surrounds the murder, and while the community seems to accept Abigail and Maria, it becomes clear that someone does not want them to stay in town. Tye and Brett are protective, staunch supporters and become constant figures in the sisters’ lives.


There was only one thing that I found disconcerting in this book. The reader is immediately introduced to Abigail, and through her actions, Tye comes into the picture. There was enough conflict between the two of them to imagine that they were the main characters in the book, but later the book became focused on the relationship that grew between Tye and Maria. Maria became an outstanding person, but from my point of view Abigail’s personality out shone her all the way to the end.


Still, I did enjoy the book a great deal. It was a good read and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a historical western with a touch of danger, mystery and romance.


this book can be purchased here on



I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I will admit that at first I was distracted from the actual story, by the the UK idioms that are very different from North American speech even though we all speak “English.”

I read when I go to bed, and I was constantly reading lines to my husband, because I found the expressions so amusing. But all laughter aside, there is a real detective novel hidden beneath all those words.

Detective Zig Batten (CID) finds himself exported from urban Yorkshire to rural Sommerset in England. (One thing that surprised me was the difference in dialect between this two areas—it could be equated to the difference between west coast dialect in Canada and that of the Eastern provinces which are several thousand miles apart.)

Zig’s irreverent free thinking sort of got him in a bind in Yorkshire, and the move to Sommerset saves face for his career. He is a thorough detective, but he wasn’t above bending the rules when he thought it was warranted, so he has to settle in and make the best of his position in a new area.

On his first day a group of elderly walkers discover a dead man beside a tree on a hill on their walking trail. Before he even gets a chance to settle into his new office, (that of the mysterious Chief Inspector Jellicoe) Zig Batten is thrown head-on into the mystery that unfolds through the many twists and turns in the happenings at Wake Hall and the other “entrepreneurial” illegal exploits in the district.

Beside the enthralling activities in the area, we learn a lot about Zig Batten through his internal dialogue. He has experienced a painful childhood, a failed relationship, and as the story advances, he is clearly wishing for the opportunity to have an ordinary life.

The characters in this book are perfectly drawn: flawed, but believable and they capture your attention. The mystery in this story is well crafted. It contains the elements of murder, betrayal, vengeance, and international criminal activity that happens beneath the very noses of the police, the people in the community and the people of Wake Hall.

A great read.

A Kiilling Tree can be bought on Amazon here

I don’t read a lot of YA—or paranormal, but this book came up in an online reading group that I belong to and the cover caught my eye—I love the cover! Then I read the book summary and was intrigued. I don’t read a lot of paranormal either, but the powers described to these three teenagers caught my attention because I have a fascination with healing powers. As well, I have personally known a couple of people who claim to have dreams that come true or just have a “knowing” about people. One time I commented that it must be cool to have that ability, and the man said he wished he didn’t have it, because it was very difficult knowing something was going to happen (usually a death) and not being able to do anything about it.

So, I was attracted to this book and once I started reading, I got lost in the story, forgetting that it was YA or considered paranormal.

The opening paragraph grabbed my attention immediately; “ Somehow I thought I would know when my life was in mortal danger. I’m not talking spidey sense or anything, just some kind of clue something bad is about to happen. I guess I got the idea from the movies. Real life, I found, is very different…..” When I read that I was hooked.

The book is YA, and author totally got the teenage thing—and since I have been around teenagers throughout the years, I appreciated the teenage insecurities, the alienation that Em felt at school, the very spiteful nasty girl named Angel, that bullied Em. I appreciated Tommy, the new boy at school who liked her, (rather than Roz) and was there for her, protective but encouraging her to stand up for herself. And I could imagine what it was like to have a best friend that the guys just fell all over, while they ignored Em even though the two girls were together. Yet Roz was special and a loyal friend. The two girls shared a strong bond and Roz’s father was the “dad” Em didn’t have. His love reached out and included Em. And I am certain that Em’s strange sister, Lauren could have a book of her own because we only saw an unflattering side of her and it was hard to decide if she was jealous, overprotective, mentally unbalanced or if she also had a deep dark secret from the past. Em’s mother had her own problems; in fact her entire family was dysfunctional in so many ways.

The author portrays the characters well. Some I really liked, others I couldn’t stand, but the plots turns and twists kept me engaged, and several times when I was certain that I knew who the murderer was, in the next minute I wasn’t so certain.

The author ended the story with a great hook. A frightening phone call: the voice of a person she thought was dead, that she believed was dead, that she wanted to be dead, saying “I’m coming home.”
—and I knew I will want to read the next book, even though this isn’t my usual genre.

A job well done Kat Stiles and I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes YA and paranormal—or people like me who will step out of the norm and just give it a try. Enjoy a great read!

This book can be bought by clicking on this link.

Sunny Side up was a clean, fun read. It included an unusual relationship triangle—best friends June and Francie and Francie’s husband Hamm. Even though Hamm didn’t really appreciate Junes influence in their lives, Francie and June were best friends who stuck together through thick and thin, and got into trouble every time they turned around. I really appreciated the relationship between Francie and her husband Hamm and I got a kick out of June’s zany character.
I found myself smiling many times as I read it. Hamm Egge cringed whenever Francie hit the stores with his credit card in hand , and when she did that on Kelly’s Island she made a couple of seemingly innocuous purchases that end up saving her life.
Maureen K. Howard’s writing is descriptive and her characters are easy to feel connected to. It wasn’t a white knuckle mystery for me, but it was a nice easy read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I’m chuckling now as I look at the cover- Sunny Side Up and the “sun” looks like an egg–Hamm and Egge!  Oh yes there is humor in this book!

You can purchase this book at

I am super excited. Months of long hours and hard work are coming to fruition!  The Hand of Fate, Book Three of the Belanger Creek Ranch Series will be available on Amazon in Kindle format and paperback soon! 


 FULL CIRCLE full cover
This is the back of the book description:

 “Shauna Lee, I told you I’m a hunter. I have hunted cougars in the wild. That is where I like to keep them: in the wild; with me doing the stalking.”

Her face went scarlet. “Are you calling me a cougar?” she asked, indignantly.

Twenty years ago, eighteen-year-old Shauna Lee Holt rose like a phoenix, out of the ashes of tragedy. Fierce determination focused her drive for independence. After graduation, she worked non-stop, scrimping and saving every penny. She purchased Swift Current Accounting and Bookkeeping Service. Now she is regarded as a successful accountant in the business community: but no one knows her personal, private hell.

Brad Johnson recently moved to Swift Current, where he set up Windspeer Energy; a company specializing in small wind energy turbines.

Brad feels an undeniable attraction to Shauna Lee, but he refuses to play her “nothing serious, no strings attached” game. As time passes, he falls head over heels in love with this tormented woman. Shocking fragments of her tragic past come to light, and he begins to realize that she may never be able to give him the emotional connection he desperately desires.

The lives of Colt and Frank Thompson are woven into Brad Johnson and Shauna Lee Holt’s story. The couple, who seem to have everything, discover that grief and pain are no respecters of person. When they face the unimaginable, will their relationship be shaken beyond repair?

NOTE: this is a revised version of a You Can Run, Book ll of The Thompson Family Series. This book has changed very little. I just tightened the writing and took out a few pages, gave it a new title and a new cover to brand my work.
















The Brothers' Keepers by Mathew PetersI just finished reading The Brothers’ Keepers this afternoon—I usually read when I go to bed. I only read a book that is very compelling otherwise—and this book was definitely compelling. I had to know where it would go—but I didn’t want it to end! I only wish there was a second Nicholas Branson novel to follow up with immediately. I went to and looked, but alas there wasn’t, so I bought Conversations Among Ruins by the same author. It is an entirely different kind of book, but I am very interested in reading it.

I’ll admit, I bought The Brothers’ Keepers, not because I’d read the reviews, but because someone I’m acquainted with, made an ungenerous remark about it to my husband and I was curious. After I got into the story, I could understand where his thoughts had originated from, because this book is boldly thought provoking when it comes to the accepted concept of Jesus, the origins of Christianity and our western society as we know it. For some it could be very unsettling. However it wasn’t for me.

I read a wide variety of books, and murder/mystery/ thrillers are among my favorites. I was intrigued on many levels when I started reading it. I’m always pulled to a story line that leads to the discovery of something that will cause upheaval in real, accepted social concepts. Political corruption in the US government is not hard to imagine, but I wondered how he would credibly handle the corruption within the Vatican. And of course, I was eager to learn what the hidden treasure was, and how finding it would be handled.

Peters did a masterful job of weaving the plot, and he made the deceitfulness in the highest ranks of the US government, and the corruption and jockeying for power within the Vatican and the Catholic Church seem so plausible that there were times when I had to remind myself that it was fiction.

Peters’ writing is crisp, authentic and realistically descriptive. His knowledge of the scripture and the history of the church and the concept of Christianity is very apparent, but he weaves it into a heart pounding, action filled mystery/thriller, in a way that only adds to the authenticity of the story.

I liked this book because it was an action packed read. But I also liked it because I found it to be thought provoking.

I read the other reviews on Amazon, before I wrote this. Someone said “Dan Brown wishes he wrote this,”in their review. I have enjoyed two of Dan Browns books, but I can honestly say, that if I were given a choice between them, and The Brothers’ Keepers—Matthew Peters has my vote.

you can purchase The Brothers’ Keepers on Amazon