Book Review: Muzzled by Eileen Brady

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Muzzled (A Kate Turner D.V.M. Mystery) Product Details

Eileen Brady

Poisoned Pen Press

ISBN-9781464201844

219 pages Genre: Mystery

 Eileen Brady’s first novel is the pick of the litter when it comes to new cozies out for the summer. Muzzled has a fast moving plot with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing.

Dr. Kate Turner, Oak Falls Veterinary Hospital’s newest employee has her hands full. She knew filling in for old Doc Anderson while he took a cruise around the world included making house calls.  However, finding dead bodies while working at his small, upstate New York clinic was never part of the deal.

During a routine house call checking on champion Cavalier King Charles spaniels, Kate walks into the bloody scene of their owner’s deaths. This is much more than she bargained for. The deaths are quickly deemed a murder/suicide, but she has her doubts and sets out to prove to the authorities they were mistaken. She was right, but unfortunately, this puts her on top of their list of suspects. Especially after another person is shot and the weapon is found in Kate’s possession.

The list of suspects and motives grows, drudging up secrets kept for years by the residents of Oak Falls. Meanwhile, Kate goes about her daily routine of the busy veterinary practice.  Will she end up being the next victim, as she gets closer to discovering the secret that will reveal the killer?

As if she did not have enough going on, unwanted men intrude to complicate Kate’s solitary life. They include her ratty ex that shows up causing problems, a cat loving scary biker dude and a hunky Italian who is engaged to someone else. Could one of them end up being her love interest? I cannot wait to read more about them in the Brady’s next book.

Brady layered eccentric characters and pets throughout her novel. Kate can interact with this crazy crew of human and furry friends and foes as stand-alone elements or within ongoing spots of humor and interest in future books of this series. One of my personal favorites is Little Man. He is a well-dressed Chihuahua, for whom owner Daphne (appropriately Daffy for short) sews “his and her matching” outfits.

Muzzled is a 2013 Discover Mystery Award Winner. Once you read it, you’ll discover why. It is a doggone good mystery!

Copyright © 2014 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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Book Review: Death Spiral by Janie Chodosh

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Death SpiralDeath Spiral: A Faith Flores Science Mystery

Janie Chodosh

Poisoned Pencil (An imprint of Poisoned Pen Press)

ISBN-9781929345007

301 pages Genre: YA Mystery

 Faith Flores on the surface is an angry, angst filled high school student. In reality, she is so much more. She recently moved in with her aunt after her mother’s apparent drug over dose death. For the first time in her life she lives in a home without roaches or drug paraphernalia, has good food instead of junk purchased from street vendors and a chance for a stable life with her aunt. How could this bright young woman possibly not see the opportunities now available to her?

Everyone knows her mother was a heroin addict. Faith would bet her life that her mother was clean at the time of her death. She was in an experimental program that was helping her kick the habit. Why did the police find drugs at their apartment after her death? Faith is convinced it had something to do with the program her mom was on and is determined to prove that she did not die of a drug overdose, but from something gone terribly wrong with the treatments they were giving her.

She grudgingly goes to school, even though she is bright and extraordinarily gifted in science, but has trouble focusing because she cannot help going over the events of her mother’s death. She makes a few unlikely friends. Anj , a very together girl that seems to do everything right. Her clothes, makeup, studies all scream college bound preppie, but she has taken a reluctant Faith under her wing.  Then there is the new boy, Jesse. Under the grunge exterior is a smart, quick-witted doctor’s son who is predestined to follow his father’s footsteps.

Unexpected Faith gets a call from, Melinda, one of her mom’s junkie friends who is in the same experimental program that her mom was in. When Melinda turns up dead, Faith will risk her own life to expose the clinic’s responsibility in the two deaths. Afraid for the safety of her aunt and her two newfound friends, she pushes them away from her as she descends deeper into the illegal activities and the cover-up that she is discovering with her research. People involved with the clinic are turning up dead and Faith might be next.

Death Spiral is Janie Chodosh’s first novel and the first in her Faith Flores Science Mystery Series. Not only does this book appeal to the YA crowd, but adults will also enjoy the underlying tension as Faith tries to adjust to her new life without the mother she truly loved and how close she spirals away from all of the good aspects of her life forsaking them to go up against something much bigger than she imagined.

This wonderfully written, fast paced mystery does not shove boring facts at the reader, but mixes them masterfully in. Chodosh takes on the genetics of addiction much like her characters would, it is obvious she has done her homework . Her author notes state she has …”strived to be scientifically accurate” as well as lists the things that are fiction. I love that she does that because readers are often left wondering which part, if any, is accurate. She also suggests learning more by visiting the Genetic Science Learning Center and their website.

Faith could have easily been a character that the readers do not like. That is far from true. Her rough edges are merely there to keep herself and others from getting hurt. She is smart, tenacious and loyal. She will stand up well in the next books in Chodosh’s series.

Copyright © 2014 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

Common Core and Vegan Zombies—Confessions of an ADD Mother

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If you never read Kristen’s blog – pop over there! She is brilliant and funny – and looks like we need to add great mom to that list!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

The Spawn loves airplanes. Watching The Blue Angels. The Spawn loves airplanes. Watching The Blue Angels.

This week I have to go to a parent-teacher meeting regarding The Spawn. They are concerned he is developmentally behind because he’s four and people have a hard time understanding him. His speech isn’t where it “should be.” And this just puts a knot in my skirt.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I want to honestly and lovingly help my son with any challenges he might face, but sometimes I want to scream. We have handed our kids to the bean-counters and academics and the children are the collateral damage.

This Isn’t Our First Rodeo

When The Spawn was two months old, I took him for his first checkup and vaccinations. They wanted to give him and UNGODLY amount of vaccinations at one time and I said no. I wanted to space them out. He weighed only eight pounds and common sense…

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Book Review: The Second Letter by Robert Lane

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The Second Letter

The Second Letter

Robert Lane

Mason Alley Publishing, LLC

ISBN-13:9780615841885

323 pages Genre: Mystery

 

Robert Lane opens The Second Letter in 1961with a hand-carried letter delivered to the widow of a Secret Service agent. Dorothy Harrison lives a good life in Florida, and follows the instructions of her dead husband’s friend, a CIA agent, regarding the letter. Is it about her husband’s death or just a government secret that could be used against the United States?

Along with her gardener, she hides the letter in a safe place. They do not open it, intuitively knowing it contains secret government information that could affect the Secret Service or other government agencies. And possibly information about her husband she doesn’t want to know.

Fast forward from 1961 to present day.  Dorothy Harrison’s home is now a museum. It is broken into one night without an apparent robbery.

Enter Jake Travis, an ex-military man living on Florida’s coast. His ex-Army commander contacts him with an “off the books” mission. Find the mysterious fifty-year-old letter that was taken during the Harrison Museum robbery.

It is being held by Raydel Escobar, a shady millionaire that is attempting a trade with the IRS – they get the letter, he gets the tax evasion charges dropped as well as the slate wiped clean of all the money he owes the government.

Travis is on Escobar like a dog on a meat truck. With the help of his girlfriend Kathleen his neighbor Morgan, and his partner Garrett they get close to Escobar, discovering he has many secrets that are much worse than hiding money from the IRS.

The question is, how far will Travis go to retrieve a letter that is possibly of no consequence today? He may be risking his relationship with Kathleen and the lives of those closest to him if he keeps hounding Escobar and his associates.

I loved this book. The first of I hope many from Robert Lane. His characters are sharp, witty and have a depth that many authors can’t or don’t often give them. Travis has a tortured soul. We get glimpses into his past through his comments and actions. He treads softly around alcohol must have been a problem for him at one point in his life. Escobar is the character you love to hate. He has an unusual soft side that shows up when least expected. There is a fabulous tie-in to the 1960’s in Escobar’s choice in music. It becomes the soundtrack of the book, reminding the reader where the story started and where it will circle back to end.

Lane uses dialog and descriptions beautifully. For example, of all the ways to describe the hot Florida sun, Lane chooses “…I lowered the blind to block the sun that assaulted our bodies like white bread in a toaster”. This is just a small sample of the authority and realism he commands with his words.

He must be amazing sharp-witted, because I suspect the voice of Travis is close to his own. Humor and sarcasm go hand in hand when Travis opens his mouth. This often gets him in trouble, but he does not really seem to mind.

If this is a glimpse into the head of Robert Lane, I’d love to attend a dinner party where he is in present and sit back and listen. Maybe even verbally spar if the occasion warrants – but I accept defeat in advance.

His next book, Cooler Than Blood is scheduled for release Fall 2014. I will be the first in line to get it.

 

Copyright © 2014 Laura Hartman

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.

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