The Eighth Detective by Alexi Pavesi

The Eighth Detective is one of the most intriguingly different books I have ever read. With mystery after mystery, plot twist after plot twist and a surprise ending the premise of the book was both fascinating and unlike any I have encountered.

Grant McAllister wrote seven detective stories over twenty years ago. A mathematician by trade, he felt any detective novel could be figured out by deduction of possible suspects and killers. He then proceeded to write these narratives proving his point.

Julia Hart is an editor who was fascinated with McAllister’s theory and has come to the secluded Mediterranean Island where he has been living for years to see if he would be interested in republishing the stories.

McAllister who has not published since his early stories came out is curious as to Hart’s interest. He is not sure he is even interested but agrees to meet with Julia and they begin to discuss the plots as well as how he was able to mathematically predict each stories conclusion. Suddenly, Julia starts to see inconsistencies in the stories. When asked, McAllister finds he cannot really remember some of the parts, perhaps due to his age as his memory seems to be failing.

Julia continues to push McAllister who continues to refuse to give reasons for some of his writing tactics in the stories. She begins to question why he will not open up to her. She forms a theory and begins to put a trap in place to find out just what McAllister is hiding. In doing so, she opens up an astounding can of worms.

There are so many interesting facets of each detective story which are laid out in chapters and then each story is discussed by Hart and McAllister as to how he deduced the killer. But not only are there mysteries buried in each story, there seems to be a mystery buried in the present-day life of McAllister. Can Julia pull that out of McAllister?

This book would be a dream read for a lover of detective stories! It is also an incredibly well-crafted mystery as well for those who like to sink their teeth into a meaty puzzle!

The Harbor by Katrine Engberg

The Harbor is Book 3 in the wonderfully crafted series of Copenhagen detectives Jeppe Korner and Anette Werner who always find themselves in unique situations both personally and professionally as they try to solve mysterious deaths. Engberg’s unique plots and plot twists immediately grab the reader’s attention with of course the usual gasp at its unlikely conclusion.

The story also has pop-ins from characters who were in previous books such as roommates Esther and Gregers whose lives the readers are just as much invested in as we are the two detectives.

The story begins with a missing fifteen-year-old named Oscar Dreyer-Hoff who disappeared on his way home from school. His parents who own a profitable gallery think he has been the victim of a kidnapping. There was a note found at the home, but it’s meaning seems to make no sense. Is it possible someone other than a kidnapper could have written it? Something does not feel right about the whole kidnapping scenario to Detectives Korner and Werner. On top of this, Oscar’s family does not seem to be too open to giving out information.

Then it is discovered the Oscar’s father’s boat and boat key are missing from the harbor dock in which it is kept. Could Oscar have taken the boat? Or someone else? Was Oscar trying to get away from someone?

As the clues begin to pile up, it is discovered by interviewing some of the teachers at school that Oscar’s best friend, may have been sexually abused, and Oscar’s brother Victor had been bullying children at school which was squashed somehow and by someone. But what could Oscar’s involvement have been?

Then another body is found. Are too many questions being asked? Could they be getting close to what really happened? As the two detectives are in a race to save Oscar from whatever his fate, and with the family seemingly hiding things, they try to piece together Oscar’s last day and what could have happened.

In the meantime, Korner who has fallen in love is practically living full-time with his girlfriend and her two children, a situation which seems to be giving both of them anxiety as Korner who may be a brilliant detective has no idea about children. And Anette, who had a surprise baby with her husband a short while ago, is not sure she loves him anymore and suddenly feels tempted in ways she never imagined.

As they race to find Oscar, what Korner and Warner discover are chilling lies, secrets and skeletons which have hidden for years. The Harbor has it all! Surprising suspects and an amazing ending with more a personal storyline of the detectives and their friends lives which any reader of the series is now invested in.

The Harbor is intriguing, messy and juicy!

Thank you #NetGalley #Gallery/ScoutPress #TheHarbor #KatrineEngberg for the advanced copy.

Murder on the Menu by Fiona Leitch

Jodie “Nosey” Parker and her daughter Daisy have moved back to Jodie’s hometown after her bitter divorce. It is a small Cornish village where everybody knows everybody and everybody’s business. But her mother lives there and so do her friends from her childhood.

A former police officer, Jodie has decided to change her career. She has opened a catering company and by luck her ex-boyfriend Tony has become her first client. Tony is getting married, and their caterer has backed out. Although Tony is thrilled Jodie has said yes, his fiancée Cheryl does not seem as excited. Cheryl does not give Jodie that warm and fuzzy feeling, but Tony seems to adore her so that’s all that matters.

Hoping her first catering job ever “kills it”, unfortunately does not go as planned. The night before the wedding, Tony’s ex-wife Mel shows up and starts an argument at the rehearsal dinner telling Tony that Cheryl does not really love him and is just marrying him for his money. Tony owns an antique shop.

The next morning, Mel is found dead at the hotel site and Cheryl is missing, although her car and suitcase are still on the premises. Tony is despondent and can’t believe Cheryl would kill Mel or disappear without talking to him. He asks Jodie to see if she can find out what happened to Mel and why Cheryl has vanished.

In the meantime, DCI Withers, has been put in charge of the case and he has no patience for Jodie’s meddling. Nor does he feel he needs any assistance from a caterer. No matter how hard Jodie tries to help, it seems Withers has his eyes on only one suspect. He then arrests Tony for the murder of his ex-wife! Jodie knows Tony would never hurt anybody, well she hopes he wouldn’t and against the advice of her mother and the inspector who has had quite enough of her antics, she puts her detective’s hat back on.

So, who did kill Mel and where on earth is Cheryl? How is it possible for such a small village to have so much drama, AND so many suspects??

Murder on the Menu is a very funny, interesting cozy mystery with a terrific surprise ending. It would be very easy for the reader to fall in love with all the interesting characters found in this tiny village. Since this is Book 1, I can only assume there will be a second and quite frankly I can’t wait!

Thank you #NetGalley #OneMoreChapter/HarperCollins #FionaLeitch #MurderontheMenu for the advanced copy.

Lockdown on London Lane by Beth Reekles

This building on London Lane will never be the same!

This morning, the occupants of the London Lane building each received a note under their doors which basically said someone in the building has been diagnosed with this new mysterious virus and in order to prevent the spread within the building there will be a 7-day quarantine. No one is allowed to leave the building, and no one is allowed to enter.

This adorable story follows some of the tenants in the building who are now “stuck”. The question becomes which of the tenants’ relationships will survive the week!

Isla and Danny have been dating for a month. Danny has never seen the “real” Isla, who is very routine oriented, does not cook, and hides trinkets when Danny comes over because she doesn’t want to embarrass herself. Now Danny must stay there for the week! Isla’s first thought is how on earth will she poop? Can she hold it for a week? Still in their honeymoon phase, will Isla be capable of keeping the charade up, or will Danny find the real Isla impossible to live with?

Ethan and Charlotte live together and love each other. Sure, Ethan sometimes takes Charlotte for granted, but they are happy. Ethan is a video influence blogger and Charlotte has always supported his job. Charlotte was not home at the time of the lockdown. She was actually downstairs coming home from a weekend at her parent’s house when she was told she could not come in. Will absence make the hearts grow fonder, or will out of sight out of mind win the day?

Imogen finds out about the quarantine as she is trying to sneak out of the apartment of her can’t remember the name one-night stand’s apartment. What on earth will they do for the week? How will they ever survive when they don’t even know each other’s last names?

Zach and Serena have lived together for four years, although their friends and families said it would never last! They have always been on different shifts, so their time together had been limited. Now, they are in their tiny apartment together with nowhere to go. They are just not use to so much togetherness. And well, there is Selena’s sudden realization that Zach likes pineapple on his pizza! Could this be the deal breaker?

Liz loves living alone, but her weekend has been anything but quiet. She hosted a bridesmaid weekend party for her best friend which included other friends of the bride, some of which she did not even know. Now not only are they making a mess of her small apartment, but they are beginning to get on each other’s nerves. Then the bride hears that her fiancée thinks they should postpone the wedding and well…

Lockdown on London Lane is an enjoyable, fun, laugh out loud read when you have a few hours to spare, or perhaps, when you find yourself quarantined!

Thank you #NetGalley #WbyWattpadBooks #BethReekles #LockdownonLondonLane for the advanced copy.

The Violence by Delilah S. Dawson

Delilah Dawson’s book The Violence is a very hard book to get through, but an important read for those who have been abused in some way, shape or form. Which probably embodies all of us. But as Dawson writes at the end of the book, “Living well is the best revenge.”.

Chelsea Martin’s life looks perfect on the outside. Perfect husband, two daughters 17-year-old Ella and 5-year-old Brooklyn in a perfect house. Pretending is exhausting. Her husband David physically and emotionally abuses her, he makes sure she has limited money and no access to accounts, he demands they all greet him at the garage door when he comes home from work, the meals they eat are all his favorites, and when he begins to drink at dinner…well… that’s when most of the physical abuse begins, something Chelsea has tried desperately to keep hidden from her children. Unfortunately, David has set his sights on Ella and now Chelsea fears everything is escalating.

David’s best friends are a police officer and a lawyer, so Chelsea’s escape seems unattainable. Her mother, Patricia, is a self-absorbed, egotistic woman who cares only about herself and money. After an abhorrent childhood, and abusive relationship, she feels she is due the wealth and security she now has with her husband who is a judge. Yes, so she has seen her only daughter Chelsea with a few bruises, but she believes Chelsea should just try harder to make her marriage work. And help her leave financially? Well, that’s just not her problem. Chelsea’s children are spoiled as it is.

But Chelsea begins to finally see a way out of this abuse. After the Covid pandemic, another type of sickness has begun. It seems to have started in Florida where they live. No one knows how, but people are being affected. They are calling it the Violence because it causes a person infected to explode into a horrible rage physically mutilating anyone around them, be it person or animal. Then, the rage leaves and the infected has no idea of what they have just done.

Chelsea devises a scheme to get David out of their lives. And it works, but the real problems truly begin when she goes to her mother, Patricia to ask for help because she has no money and needs to get out of Florida. Patricia refuses to help her but agrees to take her children. Left with no choice she leaves them with her uncaring mother, promising she will come back for them.

But this is a pandemic like no other and through no fault of anybody their lives take separate paths. And then David comes back and wants to get his revenge on them all. Each of them will be challenged in ways they could never imagine. They have three options, fight for themselves, fight for each other or fight together against both the Violence and David. Can these women finally face their pasts and create a new future?

This is a powerful story about generational abuse and how it is possible to break the cycle by strength, love and forgiveness. Again, living well IS the best revenge.

Thank you #NetGalley #DelRay #DelilahS.Dawson #TheViolence for the advanced copy.

Love & Saffron by Kim Fay

This poignantly, beautifully written story is about the correspondence between two very different women in different stages of their lives during the early 1960’s and the development of a lifelong friendship which began when one of them wrote a simple letter to the other about food.

It all begins innocently when twenty-seven-year-old Joan Bergstrom, whose dream is to write about food, sends a letter to fifty-nine-year-old Imogen Fortier, a columnist for Northwest Home Life complimenting her on her latest column. She encloses a packet of saffron as a suggestion as to how to cook muscles. Joan lives in Los Angeles and Imogen, Camano Island in Washington.

What starts out as simple letters about food and recipes, begins to turn into a deep friendship about problems, loves, and hidden secrets. They begin sharing not only recipes, but their feelings about the world during that time, the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy’s assassination, and women being treated equally in the workplace.

Through their correspondence, Joan learns about Imogen’s relationship with her husband, who has now become obsessed with cooking because of their communication. Imogen learns about a crush Joan has on a man, but in those days is frowned upon. As the friendship evolves into two best friends writing about their secrets, they begin to become each other’s cheerleaders and emotional support systems.

They both seem to get such strength and joy from each other with the simplicity of just words. Sometimes the letters are filled with happiness and unfortunately, sometimes with tremendous sorrow, as their friendship is tested throughout the years.

What started out as one simple note about adding saffron to muscles, turns into a lifetime of friendship, love, and companionship which will last forever. Kim Fay’s story Love & Saffron will make you cherish your true friendships. You may even want to give them a tight squeeze!

Thank you #NetGalley #G.P.Putnam’sSons #Kim Fay #Love&Saffron for the advanced copy.

Woman Last Seen by Adele Parks

Adele Parks’ new book Woman Last Seen is fast paced with an intriguingly different plot and incredible twists.

Without giving too much away it begins with two women who go missing.

Leigh Fletcher is a happily married wife and stepmother to two boys with her husband Mark. She travels weekly to her job as a consultant and returns mid-week to her family. Notoriously organized, even while being gone for half the week, she keeps the household running smoothly, prepares meals before she leaves and even has time to meet her best friend Fiona for tea weekly.

Kai Janssen loves her life! Married to a very wealthy Dutch businessman named Daan she does not want for anything. He adores her! Although she lives a very pampered life, she still splits her time taking care of her mother who is ill and lives in a care facility out of town. Usually, Kai and Daan talk at least once a day when she is away. But now Daan is unable to locate his wife. She has gone missing, and he is devastated.

Just as Police Detective Clements is called in to search for Leigh, although she believes Leigh either decided she needed a break from her family or wanted to upset her husband, the other call comes in about another missing woman, and that is Kai Janssen. Even though the women are so unalike, Detective Clements can’t seem to stop thinking the two cases are somehow connected.

But how could they be connected? Both women live in totally different areas. As the police begin to investigate, they start to think perhaps someone may have wanted to hurt the women. Why? Yes, as the saying goes if a wife goes missing, the husband is always the prime suspect, but in this case, they are the ones who called saying they were missing.

Where are Leigh and Kai? More importantly who took them and are they still alive?

And that, my friends are all the clues I am going to give you! You will just have to read the book for all the jaw-dropping, astounding turns the story takes!

Thank you #NetGalley #Mira #AdeleParks #WomanLastSeen for the advanced copy.

She Loves You Yeah, Yeah, Yeah by Ann Hood

The actual Beatles ticket from the show.

It’s 1966 and middle schooler Trudy Mixer who had been on top of the world now seems to be fighting a losing battle. Last year she had started the first ever Beatles Fan Club in Rhode Island. She and her best friend Michelle did everything together and her fan club was the top rated after school club at their school! Along with this she and her dad had bonded over the Beatles! Her father who was a workaholic was always so preoccupied that sometimes Trudy felt he did not even remember her. But not when it came to the Beatles (her favorite is Paul)! They listened to their albums together, sang their songs together and even stood in line waiting to buy their current records together!

This year, her best friend has decided to join the Cheerleading Club and seems to be drifting away from Trudy. The Beatles Fan club which was so popular last year only has four members, including her and the other members are sort of odd. If they lose one more member the club will have to be disbanded, much to Trudy’s horror. And as for her name, a new teacher has decided to call her by her given name, Gertrude, much to her embarrassment and has caused teasing from the other students. Her homelife has been okay, but her father has been busier and has had no time to commiserate about the Beatles.

So, when her father comes home with four tickets to see the Beatles in Boston on their world tour at the end of August, she is ecstatic! She thinks by going to see the Beatles it will boost the fan club to where it belongs, Michelle will be her best friend again and she and her dad will have something to talk about all summer! But then Trudy gets devastating news! Her father needs to be out of the country and will be unable to take her to the concert. They tell her she just can’t go. Maybe the next time they come.

Trudy is determined to make this happen and decides to take the Beatles Fan Club group to the concert without their parents’ knowledge. Of course, this would not have been her first choice, but she doesn’t have Michelle anymore and she seems to be short on friends. As the excitement builds throughout the summer, they make a plan as to how to get to Boston from Rhode Island. Then one of them finds out which hotel the Beatles are staying at and since they are going to be there anyway, they decide it would be easy to just go and meet them!

Even with all the preparations that summer, they could not have foreseen what problems they would encounter, and how their dream of a perfect night begins to fade away and starts to turn into a disaster! But what they do learn that night is invaluable. This journey will not only change them but bond these four unlikely companions in ways no one could have ever imagined.

It was the summer of 1966, the Vietnam War was raging, Ed Sullivan and The Beverly Hillbillies were on television and a group named the Beatles were in America and all the girls were swooning…

This story is not just for middle schoolers. It is for anyone who has ever dealt with loss, teenage embarrassment, insecurities, crushes and so much more. She Loves You is the story of true friendship, persistence, love and hope. I hope it was really true!

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont is brilliant! As an Agatha Christie buff I have read many books about her and those eleven mysterious missing days which she herself claims to have had amnesia and does not remember in 1925. Her own autobiography skips them! But in the Christie Affair, de Gramont gives probably one of the greatest hypotheses to what could have happened to Christie with amazing plot twists and turns, even a murder!

So, the story begins as they all do. Agatha’s husband, Archie asking her for a divorce. He had been having an affair with a young woman named Nan O’Dea whom he has fallen in love with. He would later marry her. There was arguing, (the servants heard it), Archie leaves. Then Agatha disappears leaving letters to Archie and to her daughter’s nanny. Her car is found abandoned.

But the difference with this book is The Christie Affair looks deeper into the mistress’ life and any part she may have played in the drama of the disappearance. Nan O’Dea had a happy childhood, living in England and visiting relatives in Ireland every summer. There she meets a boy and falls madly in love. But he goes off to war, and she a nunnery where she witnesses abuse and tragic loss.

Flash forward to how O’Dea is able to get the attention of Archie and seduce him for reasons which only become known (to the reader) much later. O’Dea was a fixture at the Christie home and Agatha seemed to accept her. O’Dea feeling Agatha did not know of the dalliance with her husband. Oh, how she misjudged Agatha’s intelligence!

This tale goes far beyond what those missing days may have been like for Christie. It also delves into what Nan O’Dea was doing as the world awaited the outcome of the fate of the missing famous writer. How their world’s will collide during that time. What the reader will find out is O’Dea had some haunting secrets of her own which just seemed to coincide with the search for the missing author. Nan O’Dea had been plotting for years to take back what she felt was rightfully hers and no one was going to stop her.

Without giving any of this delicious story away, let me just say that I felt as if I was reading a true Agatha Christie novel filled with mystery, clues and shocking developments! Well done!

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin’sPress #TheChristieAffair #NinadeGramont for the advanced copy.