Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Clock Strikes Nun (A Giulia Driscoll Mystery Book 4)

Author:  Alice Loweecey
Genre:  Mystery, Suspense

Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781635112184; 9781635112153
Henery Press Publishing
268 Pages
$27.52; $15.95; $4.99 Amazon
May 30, 2017

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When terrified Elaine Patrick knocks on Driscoll Investigations' door and insists her house is haunted, Giulia Driscoll's first response is "we don't handle ghosts."  When Elaine's housekeeper and crackpot filthy rich cousin descend on Giulia and demand she find out who's trying to steal sweet, fragile Elaine's family business out from under her, that's a different story.  They want DI to provide Tarot readings, ghost hunting sessions, and even an exorcism.  Ghost hunting?  There are apps for that.  Tarot readings?  Experts in the skill are right across the street.  Exorcisms?  Having a priest for a brother-in-law comes in handy.  Giulia plunges into a crash course in all things supernatural, convinced everything happening to Elaine is stagecraft.  Except when it isn't.  Giulia's about to discover a new dimension to sleuthing, if she can survive attempted murder long enough to see through the web of lies around her client.

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Giulia Driscoll doesn't know what is in store for her when a young woman basically pushes her way in to see her.  It seems that Elaine Patrick is convinced there are ghosts inhabiting her home, determined to drive her insane.  But before she can hire a skeptical Giulia, her husband Pip arrives and whisks her away.  That should be the end of it, but it isn't...

The next day she is visited by a Victorian throwback named Muriel Lockwood, who is Elaine's cousin and fills in Giulia on Elaine's history.  It seems Elaine was orphaned many years ago when her parents were brutally murdered in their home, and she has been raised alone since.  She is also the sole owner of a wildly successful internet company that sells clothing - Dahlia - and both Muriel and Elaine's housekeeper Cissy think the three members of the Board of Directors at Dahlia is behind it, trying to keep the power within their reins.

So it appears Giulia has a new client - albeit one who thinks there's ghosts to be exorcised - and her job is to discover if one or more of the board members is behind the haunting.  To this end, she sets appointments to meet with each of them separately, but after one of the meetings, she is nearly run off the road and killed, bringing her investigation to a whole new level.

 Now Giulia is determined, if only for herself, to find out the truth of the matter, even if it means learning a little of the spiritual arts.  But what Giulia wants to really know is:  Is she going to exorcise a spirit, or a killer?

First off, let me say that I love mysteries with ghosts.  But I felt that as Giulia is an ex-nun and as such, it seemed rather odd for her to embrace all the spiritual trappings she used on this case - Tarot, exorcism, EMF detectors, etc.  I would think she would have been less willing to do so because of the way she was raised, as she puts it herself - a 'cradle Catholic.'  Saying that, the mystery itself was enjoyable, and the writing is, as always, top notch.  Ms. Loweecey is a talented author with tales to tell, and an entertaining manner.  It is only that I feel in this book she is veering into territory (ghostbusters-like) that seems so out of character of the other three books.

However, the mystery was done well with unexpected twists, and enough suspects to please even the most hardened mystery reader.  It is written well enough that one doesn't even realize for quite a while that this is not your usual mystery - and when you discover why, the story is neatly finished and tied up pleasantly.  While there is no happy ending, per se for the clients, it was still quite engaging and I look forward to the next in the series.  Recommended.

https://www.amazon.com/Clock-Strikes-Giulia-Driscoll-Mystery/dp/163511215X/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2064590002

More on Alice Loweecey's Books:  https://www.fantasticfiction.com/l/alice-loweecey/

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Ivy Get Your Gun (An Ivy Meadows Mystery Book 4)

Author:  Cindy Brown
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Digital Ebook
ISBN #:  9781635112108;  9781635112078
Henery Press Publishing
234 Pages
$28.06; $15.95; $4.99 Amazon

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There's a new sheriff in town -- and she can sing!  When Gold Bug Gulch's actor-gunslinger Mongo winds up shot for real, actress and part-time PI Ivy Meadows goes undercover as the ingénue in the tourist town's melodrama.  Unfortunately, she's distracted by a pack of marauding Chihuahuas, a problematic love life, auditions for Annie Get Your Gun, and a personal mission:  to show people the real Annie Oakley.  What's more, the no-good, yellow-bellied varmint who killed Mongo isn't finished with the Gulch -- or with Ivy.  Will our heroine prove she can get a man with a gun - before the killer gets her?

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Ivy Meadows, an actress and part-time PI who lives in Arizona, is hoping for the lead role in Annie Get Your Gun.  But while she's waiting, she receives a frantic call from her fellow actress and friend Marge, who wants to hire her to find Lassie, Marge's pug, who has disappeared into the desert with a pack of Chihuahuas.  Knowing the desert is dangerous for small animals, Ivy agrees.  But then Marge tells her that Arnie, her husband, has discovered he's a father, and Arnie has invested tons of money in a ghost town named Gold Bug Gulch, run by Arnie's son Nathan.

Marge is afraid Nathan is taking advantage of Arnie, and not be his son at all, and wants Ivy to go undercover in the Gulch as an actress in their little melodrama for the tourists, in order to learn more about Nathan.  How can she say no?

But on her first day, one of the town's actors is killed by a real bullet, and now Ivy wants to know if it was an accident or intentional.  While she's in the town, she not only meets interesting characters, she's in the middle of several "accidents" that all seem to be intent on closing down the Gulch.  But with a host of suspects, it won't be easy to sift through them, and if she doesn't figure it out soon, she could find herself in a role she won't be happy to play - permanently dead.

Once again, Ms. Brown has written an engaging mystery that will keep you reading right through to the end.  She peppers the book with interesting characters who may or may not be who they claim to be; interspersed with humorous situations, dangerous ones, and a new talent that Ivy - nor anyone else - knew she had.

While she's still trying to circumvent her boyfriend Matt's insistence that they tell people they're a couple, she doesn't want to lose him but realizes that with him leaving the group home her brother Cody is in, she's going to have to make a decision soon.  And no one is more shocked than herself when her father visits and she discovers a few things about him that she never knew.  To top it off, she learns more about sharpshooter Annie Oakley than the 1950 film shows, and proceeds to educate others, even incorporating it into the daily "melodrama."

With a full plate indeed - auditioning for a stage role, working in the Gulch, searching for a lost pug, investigating both Nathan and a murder - Ivy's life is nothing more than normal (for her), and it is very enjoyable indeed to watch her navigate through the pitfalls and surprises that await her around every corner, as she tries to remain unobtrusive, but manages to create havoc wherever she goes.

This is a book that is fun to read; both whimsical and, at times, suspenseful; when we discover who the murderer is, as we know we will, it comes as a surprise; and although there are a few clues scattered about, it is hidden well enough to give us plenty of red herrings to follow.  Highly recommended.

https://www.amazon.com/Ivy-Get-Your-Meadows-Mystery/dp/1635112079/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2051459900

More on Cindy Brown's Books:  https://www.fantasticfiction.com/b/cindy-brown/

The Clock Strikes Nun (A Giulia Driscoll Mystery Book 4)

Author:  Alice Loweecey Genre:  Mystery, Suspense Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Digital Book ISBN #:  9781635112184; 9781635112153 Henery...