Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Fair to Die For by Radine Trees Nehring

A Fair to Die For by Radine Trees Nehring gently pulls the reader into the lives of Carrie, Henry, and their friends. Though part of a series, A Fair to Die For stands on its own. Nehring creates characters who live lives that feel like the reader could drop by for a cup of coffee and feel right at home even as they are sucked into mystery and mayhem. As Carrie seeks to make sense of revelations about her family, she's sucked into a web of danger and intrigue. Carrie's husband and friends rally around her to keep her safe and help her bring down the drug organization threatening her family and her community. Nehring weaves a mystery through the problems created by family secrets in this well written classic cozy with likable characters.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

One O'Clock Hustle by Joanne Pence

Joanne Pence plays with the cop-cozy dynamic in One O'Clock Hustle by making the cop a woman and the damsel-in-distress a dude-in-distress in a way that works really well. Rebecca Mayfield is known as a by-the-books homicide inspector, but Richie Amalfi, a man who lives by his own rules, lowers her defenses and has her questioning not only the rules but her own sense of right and wrong. When Amalfi becomes the prime suspect in a murder, he wants nothing more than to prove his innocence and get on with his life, and he will stop at nothing to do it. Amalfi doesn't even seem to realize he's a dude-in-distress as he runs around town trying to solve the crime he's accused of committing even when his actions tend to make matters worse. Mayfield is thrown into the role of protecting, defending, and investigating Amalfi all at once. To make matters more complicated, there's an undeniable attraction between them she's determined to ignore. Pence's characters exhibits an amalgam of strength, vulnerability, intelligence, and ineptness all rolled into a wonderfully human mash that makes them all the more real. Pence injects humor through the use of the unexpected as well as playing on images of stereotypes. One O'Clock Hustle hustles the reader through the streets of San Francisco on emotional high and lows as crime, frustration, and mayhem play a dangerous game with Inspector Mayfield and Richie Amalfi.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Secrets and Lies: Surviving the Truths That Change Our Lives by Jane Isay

Jane Isay takes us behind the backdrop into the effects of lies told and truth revealed in Secrets and Lies: Surviving the Truths That Change Our Lives. As I read this book, I nodded in recognition at times, I squirmed in discomfort at others, and I blinked back tears as I empathized with the people whose stories she shared. Isay concentrates on what we might think of as "big" lies, but her words made me think about the million little lies we tell every day to keep peace. As she examines the pain inflicted by both secrets kept and truth reveals, Isay pushes us to examine the lives we lead and the connections in our lives. Does the secret we keep help or hurt? Does the truth we seek to reveal help or hurt? Do we seek to keep secrets or reveal truths to assuage our guilt or to free someone else? We all have to examine our motives, and Secrets and Lies acknowledges that every situation is unique and yet eerily similar regardless of the secret being kept or the truth being revealed. Isay takes us into the journeys of several people whose lives were irrevocably changed by secrets kept and by truths revealed. Those stories left me discombobulated as I realized how often our reactions to secrets and lies revealed lacks compassion and leaves everyone involved hurting and alone. I like to to think I lean toward compassion more than toward judgment, but Isay made me wonder if what I think is compassion could be perceived as judgment. Secrets and Lies provokes thought, promotes compassion, and provides insight into why people keep secrets, why people reveal secrets and why people pretend they don't know the secrets right in front of them as Isay examines the impact of secrets and the revelation of truth.