Saturday, June 25, 2016


    Professor Preston Barclay seems to have a talent for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In Murder Mezzo Forte, he and Mara Thorn, another faculty member at Overton University, leave a reception to answer Professor Mitra Fortier's summons to her office. Mitra implies that something dire is taking place at the university. Despite the late hour, Preston and Mara cross the campus to Mitra's office--and find her dead.
    Notwithstanding his protests to the contrary, Preston is drawn into the investigation as rumors circulate that he and Mara are responsible for Professor Fortier's death.
    Murder Mezzo Forte is populated with eccentric characters. Preston is plagued with an internal orchestra that provides musical accompaniment in his head wherever he goes. Mara is a former Wiccan, now a Christian, who cannot seem to shake the Wiccan label. Toss into the mix a faculty and board of trustees as individual as they are quirky, stir them up with a corrupt police officer, and you have a hugely entertaining novel. 
    I've been looking forward to this book since reading Donn Taylor’s Rhapsody in Red, which also featured Preston Barclay and Mara Thorn. Murder Mezzo Forte does not disappoint.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and recommend it to all readers who love a tense mystery laced with a humorous point of view.

Friday, May 20, 2016


When Deputy Michael Keane takes a bus full of ladies to see a play in a nearby town, they encounter a suicidal man on a back country bridge. Michael stops the bus and is successful in pulling the man away from the edge and thus saving his life. Unfortunately, Michael's act of mercy results in far more attention than he's comfortable with. He's hailed as a hero, even to the point of news media from other areas flooding into Hidden Springs to interview him.
    Just as the attention begins to wane, photos of a dead girl arrive in the mail. The message attached leads Michael to believe that the man he saved is the murderer. As things spiral out of control in Hidden Springs, Michael is convinced that he is dealing with a madman.
    I could hardly put the book down--it's that good. With Murder Comes by Mail, A. H. Gabhart lifts the "cozy mystery" genre to new heights. Twists and some gruesome surprises fill the pages.
    Murder Comes by Mail builds on the characters introduced in Murder at the Courthouse, although it's not necessary to have read the first book in the Hidden Springs series to be fully absorbed in this one. If you love mysteries, you'll be glued to your chair by Murder Comes by Mail. I highly recommend this book!
My thanks to the author and Revell for providing my review copy.

Saturday, May 7, 2016


When Jack Turner rents a lakeside cabin near Culpepper University to work on his doctoral dissertation, he expects to escape all distractions and focus on his goal. But like so many of us (me included), he begins to seek ways to avoid what he's supposed to be doing. When he decides to look through a bookcase in the living room, he makes a surprising find. Eventually his curiosity leads him to uncover further material, and now his surprise turns to shock.

Dissertation all but forgotten, Jack and his girlfriend, Rachel Cook, start on a dangerous course to learn how Jack's discoveries might relate to current-day citizens of the Culpepper area. As the WWII bombing of Dresden weaves its way into the fabric of the documents Jack discovers, he and Rachel have to decide between their personal safety and pursuing the links they've unearthed. Which choice is the right thing to do?

Dan Walsh has created another page-turning mystery-suspense to follow When Night Comes, though it's not necessary to have read the first book to love this one. I thoroughly enjoyed Remembering Dresden. The story caught me on the first page and didn't let go until the harrowing climax.

I give Remembering Dresden two thumbs up and recommend it highly.  My thanks to the author for providing my review copy.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Lila Lehman's father wants her to marry the bishop's son. Zane Beck, her neighbor, joined the Army impulsively as a reaction to Lila's news. They each buried their feelings for the other, but sometimes feelings just won't stay buried. When Zane is deployed to Afghanistan, Lila is torn between her father's wishes and her fears for Zane's welfare. 
    The story gains momentum with every chapter. I especially enjoyed (if that's the right word) the scenes that took place in Afghanistan. Leslie Gould provided valuable insights into our country's initial hopes for the Afghan people. This quote from page 264 resonated with me: “The true cost of war was beyond his comprehension. Soldiers and families and civilians all paid for it their entire lives.”
    Amish Sweethearts is the second book in Gould's Neighbors of Lancaster County series, and is a worthy follow-up to the series' first novel, Amish Promises. It's not necessary to have read the first book to enjoy this one, but knowing some of the background to the characters is helpful for people like me who like to know why people do what they do.
    I recommend Amish Sweethearts highly. Don't be misled by the gentle title--the story will have you holding your breath in countless suspenseful scenes.
    My thanks to the author and Bethany House for my review copy.