Send No Flowers

Send No Flowers
Send No Flowers by Martin Solares

The Long and Faraway Gone

The Long and Faraway Gone
The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Don't Send Flower by Martín Solares- Feature and Review


From a writer whose work has been praised by Junot Díaz as “Latin American fiction at its pulpy phantasmagorical finest,” Don’t Send Flowers is a riveting novel centered on Carlos Treviño, a retired police detective in northern Mexico who has to go up against the corruption and widespread violence that caused him to leave the force, when he’s hired by a wealthy businessman to find his missing daughter.
A seventeen-year-old girl has disappeared after a fight with her boyfriend that was interrupted by armed men, leaving the boyfriend on life support and the girl an apparent kidnap victim. It’s a common occurrence in the region—prime narco territory—but the girl’s parents are rich and powerful, and determined to find their daughter at any cost. When they call upon Carlos Treviño, he tracks the missing heiress north to the town of La Eternidad, on the Gulf of Mexico not far from the U.S. border—all while constantly attempting to evade detection by La Eternidad’s chief of police, Commander Margarito Gonzalez, who is in the pockets of the cartels and has a score to settle with Treviño.
A gritty tale of murder and kidnapping, crooked cops and violent gang disputes, Don’t Send Flowers is an engrossing portrait of contemporary Mexico from one of its most original voices.



Don't Send FlowersDon't Send Flowers by Martín Solares
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Don’t Send Flowers by Martin Solares is a 2018 Grove Press publication.

There aren’t many crime dramas one can recommend by saying ‘this is an important book’ or a ‘must read’.  However, this book might be the exception.

For those who are fed up with implausible plot lines, constantly craving realism in your fiction, you will have met your match with this novel. While it makes for a great work of fiction, unfortunately it is all too plausible, and all too realistic. It will certainly put things in perspective.

When the sheltered girl of a wealthy man is taken hostage, a former detective, Carlos Treviño, is hired to find her, while attempting to fly under the radar of Commander Margarito Gonzalez, the corrupt chief of police.

Sometimes an overused word is still the only one that will adequately describe something. In this case, I can’t think of a more apt word to describe this novel than 'gritty'. This is a vivid, very depressing look at Mexico, and what has become of it.

The story is a well developed, raw, intricately detailed crime thriller, packed with stunning twists, and edge of your seat suspense. This book has been accurately labeled as 'noir', a personal favorite of mine, which does help to offset some of the grit, giving the story a bit of polish and smoothing out some of the rough edges.

The novel is taut and edgy, perfectly paced, with such well-drawn characterizations, it was like I was actually there watching these horrible and strange events unfold in real time.

I do wish this book would see more coverage, gaining enough momentum to cross over into the mainstream consciousness. This novel is not just a strong crime drama, a well written piece of noir fiction, but is also a searing portrait of the current situation in Mexico. Reading this novel, even if one is not exactly a huge fan of crime thrillers would assuredly raise awareness of Mexico’s plight.

This story is so intimate, it gives readers an up close and personal look at how drug lords rule over law enforcement and politicians in a way news reports could never convey. Yes, it is fiction, but it’s the most realistic and one of the most unforgettable crime novels I’ve read in a long time.



Martín Solares is a Mexican writer whose first novel, The Black Minutes, is a crime thriller that, according to a Publishers Weekly contributor, "treads a ... tightrope between police procedural and surreal fantasy."

Awards include: Premio Nacional de Cuento Efrain Huerta (the Efrain Huerta National Prize for Short Stories), 1998, for "El Planeta Cloralex"; Rómulo Gallegos International Novel Prize (shortlisted) for The Black Minutes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Long and Faraway Gone


With the compelling narrative tension and psychological complexity of the works of Laura Lippman, Dennis Lehane, Kate Atkinson, and Michael Connelly, Edgar Award-nominee Lou Berney’s The Long and Faraway Gone is a smart, fiercely compassionate crime story that explores the mysteries of memory and the impact of violence on survivors—and the lengths they will go to find the painful truth of the events that scarred their lives

In the summer of 1986, two tragedies rocked Oklahoma City. Six movie-theater employees were killed in an armed robbery, while one inexplicably survived. Then, a teenage girl vanished from the annual State Fair. Neither crime was ever solved.

Twenty-five years later, the reverberations of those unsolved cases quietly echo through survivors’ lives. A private investigator in Vegas, Wyatt’s latest inquiry takes him back to a past he’s tried to escape—and drags him deeper into the harrowing mystery of the movie house robbery that left six of his friends dead. 

Like Wyatt, Julianna struggles with the past—with the day her beautiful older sister Genevieve disappeared. When Julianna discovers that one of the original suspects has resurfaced, she’ll stop at nothing to find answers.

As fate brings these damaged souls together, their obsessive quests spark sexual currents neither can resist. But will their shared passion and obsession heal them, or push them closer to the edge? Even if they find the truth, will it help them understand what happened, that long and faraway gone summer? Will it set them free—or ultimately destroy them?


                                                          MY REVIEW:

The Long and Faraway GoneThe Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Long Ago and Far Away Gone by Lou Berney is a 2015 William Morrow/Harper Collins publication.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma-

Wyatt is a private investigator who has been hired to check out the alleged harassment claims made by Candace Kilkenny, sister-in-law of another client. The case isn’t really all that worrisome on the surface, but the problem for Wyatt is that he’ll have to return to his home town of OKC, a place that holds dark memories for him- memories he’d rather not have floating to the forefront of his consciousness.

The past had power. The past was a riptide. That's why, if you had a brain in your head, you didn't go in the water.

But, he takes the case, which turns out to be far more complicated than he bargained for, and sure enough, almost right from the second he rolls into OKC, he fights a losing battle with the past, finally embracing the inevitable, hoping to find the answers to lingering questions so that he can finally come to peace with why he has survived a tragedy no one else did.

Julianna Rosales is a nurse in OKC, also haunted by the past. Years ago, her sister vanished from a carnival leaving Julianna stranded, never to be seen or heard from again. Her search for answers consumes her, all the more, as the detective who has worked on the case all these years is set to retire.

Humans, by nature, did this all the time. They wanted something, so they found reasons to support that desire. And then they convinced themselves that the reasons came first, that the reasons lead to the desire and not the other way around.

As Wyatt and Julianna each work their way out of the rabbit hole they’ve jumped into, their paths randomly cross one another in a peculiar sense of irony.

How is it that I am just now discovering this author? All I can say is -Wow!!

This literary mystery embodies two cold cases, each one doggedly pursued by the survivors of the events that transpired. The city, the spookiness of the crimes, even the nostalgia plays a part in setting the atmosphere of the novel. The characters are haunted, tortured by memories and evidence that holds the key to solving the mysteries that keep them firmly rooted in the past, but remain elusive, just out of their grasp.

Was memory like a river that slowed over time to a trickle? Or was it like a house with many rooms that become a house with fewer rooms and then finally just a single room you could never leave?

Wyatt and Julianna both put their lives at stake to free themselves from the agony of living in the continual limbo they have grown so accustomed to living in. Wyatt, however, has the added stress of working a live case for Candace, which is yet another, equally riveting mystery within this novel. It's like getting three mysteries for the price of one.

The writing is outstanding, the dialogue, the flashbacks, the poignancy, the suspense, the danger- it all grabs you and won’t let turn loose until you flip over that final page. I was sorely tempted to start re-reading this book the minute I finished it – it’s that good!

He liked to think that sometimes an ending cleared the way for a beginning.




                                                             ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lou Berney is the Edgar Award- winning author of November Road ( coming in October 2018- from William Morrow) , The Long and Faraway Gone, Whiplash River, and Gutshot Straight. His short fiction has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, the New England Review, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Watch for me by Twilight - by Kirsty Ferry- Feature and Review


The past is never really the past at Hartsford Hall … Aidan Edwards has always been fascinated by the life of his great-great uncle Robert. A trip to Hartsford Hall and an encounter with Cassie Aldrich leads him closer to the truth about Robert Edwards, as he unravels the scandalous story of a bright young poet and a beautiful spirited aristocrat in the carefree twilight of the 1930s before the Second World War. 

But can Aidan find out what happened to Robert after the war – or will he have to accept that certain parts of his uncle’s life will remain forever shrouded in mystery?



Watch for Me by Twilight (Hartsford Mysteries #3)Watch for Me by Twilight by Kirsty Ferry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Watch for Me by Twilight by Kirsty Ferry is a 2018 Choc lit publication.

A lovely, poignant story!

Cassie Aldrich is helping her very pregnant sister-in-law plan an important annual event. But, she’s feeling more than a little overwhelmed and stressed out when she realizes she had taken on more than she bargained for.

But, when she meets Aidan Edwards, a man looking for more information about his great-great uncle Robert, who may have had ties to Hartsford Hall, Cassie soon finds herself immersed in the past, as Robert’s story comes to life, with a little help from a beautiful aristocrat from the late 1930’s.

As is so often the case with dual time frames, the most potent part of the story is centered in the past. I think the present- day events are often a means to an end, using it as a portal to the past, releasing information bit by bit to increase the anticipation. But, I did enjoy watching Cassie and Aidan working out the puzzle, one piece at a time, using information they discovered at Hartsford Hall. They made a great team and their segment was like following two amateur sleuths around while they searched for clues and solved a mystery. It was a lot of fun being a part of that adventure. I must admit that Aidan was very cute, and his attraction to Cassie was charming and very sweet.

The World War two segments were very well done, quite atmospheric, sad, and poignant, but there was also a fantastic love story that needed to be shared with future generations. I was so happy Aidan and Cassie were able to solve the mystery of Robert’s past and shared their delight their discoveries brought them.

While the book is promoted as a ‘time slip’ story, I don’t know if I’d say it fits perfectly into that category, but there is a mild paranormal element which added a little more magic to the story.
This book is a part of a series, and it is my understanding that some characters from previous installments make and appearance in this book, but it worked perfectly as a stand -alone. However, now that I’ve read this one, I want to learn more about this series!

The author did a great job of connecting the past with the present with a special story sure to be told to future generations for a long time to come- no doubt beginning with Aidan and Cassie.
Overall, this is a light, entertaining read- very enjoyable!!


Kirsty is from the North East of England and won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition in 2009. She has had articles and short stories published in various magazines, newspapers and anthologies and was also a judge in the Paws 'n' Claws 'Wild and Free' Children's Story competition in 2011 and in 2013. 'The Memory of Snow', her first novel, was commended in the Northern Writer's Awards, shortlisted to the top five of Wyvern's novel competition in 2011 and longlisted in the Red Telephone Novel Competition in 2012. You can find out more about Kirsty and her work at

Monday, September 17, 2018

Faith by Chris Parker- Feature + Exclusive Excerpt


After the terrifying events of Belief, Ethan Hall has been charged with multiple homicides. His trial is about to begin – will it bring closure for Marcus Kline and those he loves? Ethan has been in solitary confinement in the medical wing of a prison for several months. However officers still have to interact with him and he has hypnotised two of them to kill ex-offenders. He has also chosen to defend himself in court. Surely justice will prevail?

Faith is Chris Parker's thrilling final book in the Marcus Kline trilogy. Can Marcus Kline ultimately triumph over his deadly nemesis?



Anne-Marie Wells sat bolt upright in her bed as the nightmare forced her awake. Her right hand was clutching at her chest. Her heart was thudding against her breastbone as if trying to escape. Tears were flowing down her cheeks, mixing with her sweat. The words of Ethan Hall echoed in her mind. She bit back the urge to scream with rage.

The dream had made her orgasm again, just as it had last night and the night before. He had been reappearing in her dreams, repeating the abuse, increasingly as the trial drew closer.

Ethan Hall.

The master hypnotist. The great manipulator and destroyer of lives. The man she had first seen preparing to kill her husband, Marcus Kline.

Ethan Hall.

Worse than the worst form of cancer.

Anne-Marie knew that for certain. Despite Marcus’s best efforts to save her, she had been dying of ovarian cancer when she had opened the door and looked into Ethan Hall’s penetrating eyes. He had hypnotised her effortlessly and deeply. She remembered vaguely images of green fields, of feeling she had left her body behind, that the cancer was disappearing – dissolving - as his words moved through her.

She remembered more clearly what happened next. She had no doubt that was his intention.

‘You have to show me your bedroom,’ he had said, before walking her to the stairs.

She had led the way, then laid down on the bed - this bed - because he ordered her to. The hypnotic trance he had created pinned her in place. She felt her body betray her as his words invaded deep inside, making her orgasm against her will time after time.

Ethan Hall raped her without once touching her physically.

He raped her after saving her life.

And she had told no one. She never would. It was the only certainty left in her life. He had created a secret that held her prisoner more completely than any cancerous cells ever could.

Now her illness was in remission – ‘Miraculous’, her doctors called it – and she hated herself and her life almost as much as she hated Ethan Hall.

Worse than the worst form of cancer.

Anne-Marie looked to her left. Marcus wasn’t there. Again. Third night in a row she had woken from her recurring nightmare to find herself alone.

Not so long ago, before Ethan’s arrest, before his visit, Marcus was always close by, ready to hold and comfort her whenever the cancer-dreams attacked. It was, she reflected, just as well he had been unable to sleep of late; the only thing that could make this dream worse, would be having Marcus next to her when she woke. Her very sanity depended on no one ever discovering her secret.

Anne-Marie forced herself out of the bed and crossed to the window that looked out over the rear garden and the valley beyond. He was standing in the middle of the lawn with his back to the house, just as he had been on the two previous nights.

Tonight he was looking at the earth rather than the stars.

She had wanted to move out of this rented house, but had forced herself to stay. She wanted to burn the bed, but how would she possibly have explained that to Marcus?

‘Ethan is driving us apart,’ she whispered, ‘just when we most need to be together.’

She turned away from the window. The bed dominated the room. Anne-Marie looked at the bedside clock with its illuminated hands.


Six hours before the trial of Ethan Hall began.

Anne-Marie shivered.

Chapter 4 Marcus Kline was oblivious to the bitter January chill, to the silence in the garden and the valley, to the darkness.

‘Perhaps we do live in a world of ghosts.’ His wife had said to him only hours after his best friend DCI Peter Jones had informed them of Ethan Hall’s arrest. ‘And, if we do, perhaps they see us as the otherworldly beings.’ A world of ghosts.

It felt increasingly as if she was right. Only the ghosts weren’t spiritual entities. They were memories; fragments of the past with lives of their own. Fragments that could whisper or shout, influence your behaviour, blind you to things happening right in front of your eyes. Fragments that reached out, morphing subtly as they shaped the present.

Marcus Kline could remember the time when he had believed himself to be the most powerful communicator alive, when his consultancy, Influence, had been in demand from leaders across the globe. But since he had become a victim of Ethan Hall and lurched terrifyingly close to a complete breakdown, that success had evaporated and the associated memories had all but disappeared over the horizon of his mind. In the forefront now were powerful, pressing images of how easily Ethan Hall had won their battle of words, of the scalpel in Ethan’s hand pressing against the skin just above his temple, of his wife’s cancer.

No matter how much Marcus wanted to believe his use of hypnosis and trance-states had played a pivotal role in AnneMarie’s incredible recovery, he simply couldn’t. The cancer, combined with a mind-numbing fear of losing his wife, had proven too much for him. He had failed the most important task he had ever undertaken. He was at once overjoyed at Anne-Marie’s return to health and deeply ashamed of his inability to help her.

And in a few, short hours the trial of Ethan Hall, his nemesis, would begin. Soon the two would be face to face for the first time since Ethan had almost killed him.

Marcus reached into his jeans pocket and took out his mobile phone. He needed to listen to Peter Jones’s voice message again. He had received it eight hours earlier. He had replayed it five times already. He pressed the phone to his ear as the familiar voice sounded.

‘I hope you are both doing your best to relax today, and that you get a good night’s sleep. If you are going to think about anything, remember what you saw and heard when we went to court last month to watch a trial in progress. You’ve been there, seen it and heard it now, so you know what to expect in terms of procedure and attitude. The only difference, as we’ve talked about, is that this is a much more high-profile trial than the one we visited. There’ll be a lot of media attention. You can expect them to focus on you and Ethan Hall equally. So use all your skills and experience to present yourself well; at all costs avoid getting drawn into any sort of confrontation with the press. Or with Ethan. Especially with him.’

‘When you are in the witness box listen carefully to each question you are asked and answer only that. Answer precisely, simply, and say nothing more than is required. If anyone can separate the question from the questioner, it’s you my friend.

Whatever you think about yourself currently, I still regard you as the best in the world at what you do. It’s crucial, though, that you avoid a communication battle with Ethan in court. It’s what he’ll want. It’s what he’ll expect. We can’t play into his hands.’

‘Leave the winning up to Mike. It’s his world. You just do everything in your power to distance yourself from the memories of what Ethan has done and deal with the present in as clean and simple a manner as possible. You can do this Marcus. Trust me. Trust yourself. Find some way to cocoon yourself from the past and from your feelings towards Ethan. This time you’ll influence best by not taking the lead.’

‘And remember what Imran, the owner of the curry house says. Everything passes. Even this. When all is said and done, Ethan Hall is just a piece of shit so let’s flush him away and move on. There are much better things to focus on in life. Right? Be brave.’

Marcus kept the phone to his ear for a few seconds, listened to the click as the call ended, listened to the silence as if there were a few final words he had missed. There was nothing. Just as there had been nothing the five times before. He returned the phone to his pocket.

Distance yourself from the memories.

He knew how. He’d helped countless other people change their relationship with past events. Only this time it was different. The memories he needed to escape from felt as if they were imprinted in the front of his brain, as if they were attached to a seemingly innocent range of objects and places he encountered every day.

Cocoon yourself.

Daren’t even try. Right now it was impossible to differentiate a cocoon from a prison cell. He felt too isolated and trapped to even consider another form of separation. Not every cocoon protects and releases life, he told himself. Some became finely woven coffins. Some things just don’t pass through easily. Some things stick and stay. And then eventually, unable to process, unable to make a clean start, the organism dies.

Marcus Kline inhaled deeply, letting the winter air chill his lungs. He wondered if Ethan Hall was having a good night’s sleep. He wondered who else was awake thinking about what the day would bring.
He glanced back at the house and decided to stay out a while longer. There was no point trying to go to sleep now. And besides, for some reason, the house felt colder than the winter air.


                                                                    FOLLOW THE TOUR:


Based in Nottingham, Chris Parker is a specialist in Communication and Influence. A Licensed Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Chris is a highly experienced management trainer, business consultant, lecturer and writer. Books include Influence, Belief, Campaign It, Brain Always Wins, Diego Masciaga Way, The City Fox and Debris.

The Stepsister- by Jenny O' Brien- Cover Reveal!!

The Step-sister

Book Blurb

When a stranger leaves step-sisters, Victoria and Ness, a half-share in a house in Holland, they think it must be a mistake.

But there's no mistake when Ness goes missing. 

Desperate for the truth, Victoria heads to Holland to find out what happened to her. Has she, as her texts show, embarked on a whirlwind romance? Has someone abducted her or even worse?

But there’s someone watching, and that person wants her dead. 

Can Victoria find out the truth before it’s too late? 

Pre-order on Amazon UK -


I died yesterday, or so I’ve been told.


Yesterday is the day my life changed but how or why is still a mystery. There are things I know and there are things that they’ve told me but I can’t seem to trust any of it.

I know I’m a woman but I don’t know my age. I know how to hold a cup in the same way I know it’s rude to stick the end of a knife in my mouth. So, somewhere along the way, someone cared enough to drill manners into me. Those are the things I know, the things I can trust but as for the rest…

They tell me I’m in Holland but can I believe them? I don’t remember if I’m Dutch but I also don’t remember if I’m not. I can’t speak Dutch. I’ve been trying all morning but can one lose a language overnight? I seem to have lost everything else. Who knows? Maybe I took the wrong train or something and just rolled up in the wrong city. That would make sense except that it’s not just my sense of place that’s missing. It’s my sense of everything. I have no name, no age and no identity. Yesterday I died and today I’m still here.

They’ve left me alone now while they try to puzzle out what to do and in the meantime I’m going to try to remember stuff. I don’t know how long they’ll leave me alone but I need to take this opportunity to come up with some answers to all the questions they’ve been throwing at me like who the hell I am.

Slipping out of bed I recoil as bare feet meets cold tiles, but that’s not going to stop me. Pulling the back of the hospital gown closed in an effort to retain some degree of dignity, I shuffle over to the bathroom and then the mirror only to stare into the face of a stranger.

 It doesn’t matter what I look like or that I’m suffering from the worst case of bed-head known to man. It doesn’t matter that my eyes are green or that my hair is that shade of nondescript mouse that keeps colourists in business. The only thing that matters is my reflection, which holds no clues as to my identity. I’m a stranger to them. I’m a stranger to me. 

My body holds a clue though - just one.

I push up my sleeve again to stare at the tattoo on my arm. The tattoo puzzles me. It’s not me, or part of me or who I think I am and yet it’s there, a large indelible letter V.

I have no idea what it stands for. Oh, I’m not stupid or anything or, at least I don’t think I am. I can’t quote which exams I’ve passed or if indeed I’ve ever attended school but I do know V stands for victory. But what does it mean to me? Am I victorious? Am I making a statement about something? It must be important because it’s the only tattoo I have. It’s also the only clue.

 I’m tired now. My eyelids collapse over my eyes even as I struggle to shift them upwards as I remember the cocktail the nurse told me to swallow like a good girl. I want everything to go away. I want to hide under the blankets and forget. I’ve already forgotten…

Author Bio – 

Jenny O'Brien was born in Ireland and, after a brief sojourn in Wales, now resides in Guernsey.
She's an avid reader and book reviewer for NetGalley in addition to being a RoNA judge.
She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so. She's also an avid collector of cats, broken laptops, dust and happy endings - two of which you'll always find in her books.

In her spare time she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You'll be pleased to note she won't be entering Bake-Off.

Readers can find out more about Jenny from her blog:

Friday, September 14, 2018

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman- Feature and Review



After I'm Gone: A NovelAfter I'm Gone: A Novel by Laura Lippman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman is a February 2014 William Morrow publication.

Felix Brewer meets his future wife, Bernadette "Bambi" Gottschalk at a Valentine's Day dance that he and his friend crashed back in 1959. Felix had big plans and promised his wife they would be rich. Well, he did become financially comfortable for awhile, but he didn't make his money the old fashioned way -by earning it honestly.  He was involved in illegal gambling and in 1976, he was arrested.

 Looking at a long sentence, Felix decides to leave and go into hiding. The dilemma is he will be leaving Bambi and his three daughters alone and they will have to learn to live a bit more conservatively. That's not all though. Felix has a girlfriend as well, and Julie is quite upset about all these recent developments. As a consolation, Felix signs a coffee shop over to Julie, which was probably his only legitimate business.

Ten years pass by while Bambi struggles to raise her daughters and maintain some financial comfort. She remains close with some of her old friends, her attorney and his wife, especially. Then ten years to the day that Felix left, his former mistress disappears. Eventually, they find her body, but her murder is never solved.

Now it is 2012 and former Baltimore detective, Sandy Sanchez is working as a consultant, mainly investigating cold cases. When he runs across a file on Julie he suddenly recalls the case of Felix Brewer and decides he would like to find out who murdered his mistress.

Sandy could never have imagined the can of worms he was about to open. There were years and years of bitterness, jealousy, resentment, anger, misplaced loyalties, and betrayals which may have lead someone to commit murder.

At the core of the story is Felix Brewer. His actions set in motion a chain of events that brought significant changes to five women. Bambi was left practically broke after Felix left, but that is not the way Felix wanted it. In fact, it's a mystery as to where all of Felix's money was. Bambi's daughters were also at the center of everything as they had to make adjustments to life without their father. These events shaped each of them in a different way.

Then there was Julie. She believed that Felix was going to take her with him all the way up until the last moment when he didn't. She changed after that. Many who knew her before Felix claimed that she turned mean after he left her behind. But why did someone murder her ten years after Felix disappeared?

This was a very absorbing tale. One cowardly, selfish man that can't stand up and accept his punishment leave five people behind that will suffer the effects of his actions for the rest of their lives. It takes a dedicated detective to unravel long buried secrets and lies. Family dramas, dysfunction, unrequited love, scandal and an incredible shocker of an ending as the tragic truth finally unfolds.

Each character is well drawn and believable. Bambi still maintains her quiet strength and as much dignity as she can muster and makes sure her girls still get the educations and extras they would have had if Felix hadn't been convicted. Each daughter has been through difficult times and heartbreak, but they all settled somewhat.

 I really loved Sandy Sanchez. He was a one smart cookie. We learn he is a widower and is still adjusting to life alone, dealing with regrets and will decide to continue spreading his wings with new endeavors in the future.

 The story being told from different eras of time beginning with Felix and Bambi meeting in 1959 then skipping to 1976 when Felix leaves, to 1986 when Julie is murdered and then to various times over the years since the murder to the present  day 2012 investigation, was  a nice touch.

The reader really gets to know the characters that way, as we see them in the various stages of their lives. While this is a murder mystery , there is also a tint of women's fiction and drama as well. I'm also a sucker for cold case mysteries, so this one really appealed me.

On other note of interest is that the Brewer family was based in part on an actual family that went through a similar experience, but thankfully, with no murder involved.



Laura Lippman was a reporter for twenty years, including twelve years at The (Baltimore) Sun. She began writing novels while working fulltime and published seven books about “accidental PI” Tess Monaghan before leaving daily journalism in 2001. Her work has been awarded the Edgar ®, the Anthony, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Nero Wolfe, Gumshoe and Barry awards. She also has been nominated for other prizes in the crime fiction field, including the Hammett and the Macavity. She was the first-ever recipient of the Mayor’s Prize for Literary Excellence and the first genre writer recognized as Author of the Year by the Maryland Library Association.

Ms. Lippman grew up in Baltimore and attended city schools through ninth grade. After graduating from Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, Md., Ms. Lippman attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Her other newspaper jobs included the Waco Tribune-Herald and the San Antonio Light. 

Ms. Lippman returned to Baltimore in 1989 and has lived there since. She is the daughter of Theo Lippman Jr., a Sun editorial writer who retired in 1995 but continues to freelance for several newspapers, and Madeline Mabry Lippman, a former Baltimore City school librarian. Her sister, Susan, is a local bookseller. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers- Feature and Review


Boise Montague’s life in Los Angeles has fallen apart. After his wife dies, he returns to the tiny island where he grew up. Unfortunately, coming home doesn’t bring him the peace he’s looking for.

Things have changed drastically since his last visit. The island has moved on and so have the people he once knew. When Boise tries to find the one friend he thinks he can count on to be there for him, he’s confronted with another death. A murder. A murder that the police did not think important enough to investigate thoroughly.

Boise wants answers. He enlists a local reporter named Dana, who has theories of her own, to help him dig deeper.

With not much left to lose, a bone to pick with the justice system, and a relentless partner, Boise sets out to do what the police would not: solve the murder of Jeffrey Black.

The island of St. Thomas is a gleaming tropical paradise. Welcome to the Caribbean, where murder is as common as sunshine.



Dark Paradise (Boise #1)Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dark Paradise by Gene Desrochers is a 2018 Acorn publication.

A fresh and compelling mystery with a cast of interesting characters-

Set against the tropical backdrop of the balmy Caribbean island of St. Thomas, this story is centered around Boise Montague, a man who recently lost his wife. Boise needs to get out of LA, regroup, touch base and reconnect with his roots. To that end, he hopes to become reacquainted with an old pal from his childhood. But, when he learns his old friend had fallen into the drug trade and was murdered, Boise feels an intense desire to figure out how his friend’s life took such a terrible turn and how he ended up dead. Thus, begins an investigation that will unearth more than one shocking crime and keep Boise in a constant state of unease and danger.

This mystery was exactly the change of pace I’ve been craving. The location is different, the characters are quite different from any I’ve encountered in recent memory. The plot is also extraordinary. The story has the feel of a crime drama, while the atmosphere captures the tropics and the underbelly of Caribbean paradise.

Boise is so real and also very sympathetic. He’s got a few extra pounds, some health issues, and a thing for Guinness beer. He’s lost, showing definitive symptoms of depression, but perhaps he’s found a way to begin putting his demons behind him. The secondary characters are very well written and add a tremendous amount of depth and authenticity to the story, especially Dana. I found the mystery to be very absorbing and challenging to me since it was not written in a dull, formulaic format.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not an ‘outside the box’ type of story, it’s just got a different sort of vibe that is like a breath of fresh air. I could grow to like Boise and can see where his character and this series could really develop. This debut novel lays a solid foundation for any subsequent installments, which I do hope will be forthcoming.

Boise proves it is hard to come home again, that time doesn't stand still, but maybe it could be that the island needs Boise, just as much as he needed it.




Gene Desrochers hails from a dot in the Caribbean Sea called St. Thomas. He grew up with minimal supervision and free-roaming animals in a guesthouse that also served as a hospital during wartime. He has spent his life steadily migrating west, and now finds himself in Los Angeles with a beautiful wife, cats, and kids. After a lifetime of writing and telling short stories, he ventured into the deep end, publishing his first novel, Dark Paradise in 2018. If you ask, he will regale you with his Caribbean accent and tennis prowess.

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