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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Four Reviews

I just can't seem to find the time to catch up on all of the reviews I've neglected.  So...I'm going to include a bunch of December/January short reviews.

Singularity by  Kathryn Casey

Sarah Armstrong is a profiler for the Texas Rangers.  After the murder of a wealthy and influential businessman and his mistress, the investigation points to his widow.  Sarah, however, doubts this and begins looking at other murders that appear to have similarities.  Is the guilty party actually a serial killer who rides the rails?  She finds herself alone in this belief of a nomadic psychopath who has committed murders across the state of Texas.

Moderately entertaining, but not a series I will make an effort to follow.

Library copy.

Crime/Police Procedural.  2010.  332 pages.        
An Unwilling Accomplice (Bess Crawford Mysteries) by Charles Todd

I find it interesting that I liked this Bess Crawford better than some others I've read-- evidently fans of the series liked it less well.  

Plot:  Sergeant Wilkins, a wounded war hero who is to be honored by King George, asks for Bess to accompany him.  Bess doesn't remember ever having cared for the man and is a bit perplexed by the request sent by the War Department.  She does, of course, comply and attend Wilkins.  Unfortunately, Wilkins leaves his wheelchair and disappears after the ceremony, and Bess is accused of dereliction of duty for permitting her patient to go AWOL.  

A sighting of Wilkins in a village where a man was murdered puts Bess in an even more precarious situation.  Naturally, Simon Brett decides to aid Bess in her search for the missing man, and  Bess sets out to discover more about Wilkins.  She follows leads across the country trying to determine why he went AWOL, and if he committed the murder, why.  Are there others on his list?

The plot is a bit convoluted, but the historic detail of the period makes for interesting reading in and of itself.  The first WW had so many dramatic repercussions on England, and the Todd team (mother and son) always do an excellent job in creating an England that is undergoing tremendous societal changes.

Again, many fans of the series were not as happy with this installment, but I liked it better than some of the previous Bess Crawford books.  

Library copy.

Historic Mystery.  2014.  357 pages.
The Burden of Memory by Welcome Cole

This was a NetGalley offering; I read The Pleasure of Memory (also from NetGalley) a while back, and this is the second in the series.  

Beam's role is a little reduced as other characters find larger roles.  The narrative is a bit jumpy, moving from one character to another.   The overall plot seemed harder to follow, as minor characters from the first novel suddenly became more important without sufficient background to remind the reader of their previous roles.  

Nevertheless, I was enjoying Burden as I found my feet with the larger roles of characters from the first book and the introduction of new characters like the pirates.  Unfortunately, toward the end, the direction of the plot didn't please me, and the book ends with a cliff hanger.

NetGalley/Caelstone Press

Fantasy.  Dec. 1, 2014.  Print length:  521 pages.

Dreamwalker (The Red Dragon Academy Bk. 1) by Rhys Bowen and C.M. Broyles

I love the cover, but wasn't really satisfied with this one.  Written for middle schoolers, much of the action takes place in a magical boarding school, but no Harry Potter appeal to this one.

Addie is a California kid whose mother recently died.  Her English aunt sweeps in and takes Addie to England, and then quickly enrolls her in a Welsh boarding school.

I wanted to like this one, but found it slow and without the charm or whimsy that I prefer in books for the younger set.  I was disappointed that the cover was so much more interesting than the book.

NetGalley/Red Dragon Press

YA/Fantasy.  2014.  Print length:  284 pages.


  1. We read SINGULARITY in my mystery group some years ago. I think we even had the author do a call in. I remember liking it all right at the time, but I haven't gone back and read more in the series. I think, for me, the idea of a woman Texas Ranger was the hook. They are such a masculine group. My father worked for the Texas DPS for over 30 years, not as a Ranger, but when he retired they made him a Special Ranger. It was an honorary position, but he was very proud of it. I know the Rangers have had a mottled history, but I still like reading about them. :-)

    1. The female Texas Ranger drew me in as well. I find the Ranger history and legend fascinating and can well imagine how proud your father must have been of the Special Ranger title!

  2. I see that none of these were a great read, just okay for the most part. I was interested in reading about new-to-me titles but I think I will pass on these. Thanks for your honest opinion.

    1. I enjoyed An Unwilling Accomplice, but the others go on a sliding scale. I like the Ian Rutledge series by the Todds better than the Bess Crawford series, but that doesn't mean I don't like Bess. :)

  3. I love mini-reviews. :-) I really like the cover of Dreamwalker.

    1. The cover is great and led me to request Dreamwalker. I wish the book had measured up to the cover!

  4. An Unwilling Accomplice sounds intriguing on the historical part. I like the cover of Dreamwalker too; it's a pity that the story and pace isn't what it is expected.

    1. I liked An Unwilling Accomplice. Wish I could say the same about Dreamwalker, but it just didn't work for me.