Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Featured Spotlight ~ Untreed Reads & 4 Mystery Reviews

Founded in 2008, Untreed Reads is a digital-first publisher and ebook distributor with one of the largest distribution channels in the industry, supplying titles to over 200 retailers and 98 percent of libraries worldwide. With a catalog of works covering nearly every genre and the option for publishers to distribute their content through its network, Untreed Reads is a full-service location for authors and publishers.

*Books source ~ Many thanks to Untreed Reads for providing review copies in exchange for honest reviews.
Title ~ Who's There?
Series ~ Nurseryland Mystery, #4
Author ~ Herschel Cozine
Published ~ 15 May 2013
Genre ~ Fantasy/Mystery
My Rating ~ 4 bites and a nibble out of 5

Nathaniel P. Osgood III is a private investigator. But not just any ol’ PI. He works in Nurseryland and takes on cases involving characters from nursery rhymes and fairy tales. When an agitated client hires him to find a man who isn’t there, Nathaniel is up against the hardest case he’s had to date.

Ever since I read Jasper Fforde’s Nursery Crimes books, I’ve been a fan of nursery rhyme and fairy tale alternate stories. Or retellings. Or whatever they’re called. All I know is I enjoy them very much. I’ve never heard of the little man who wasn’t there, but it didn’t matter. This is a well-written short about a PI who has to find someone who isn’t there. How do you do that? No, really. I’m asking. How is that even possible? And how do all these people know this guy isn’t there if he-isn’t-there? Strange! But aren’t most nursery rhymes and fairy tales strange? Anyway, Nathaniel talks to many people in Nurseryland and finally figures out how to satisfy his client. Clever! If you like quirky fantasy/crime then I highly recommend this quick read. Quite enjoyable!

Title ~ Juggernaut
Author ~ Nancy Springer
Published ~ 26 November 2012
Genre ~ Mystery
My Rating ~ 4 bites out of 5

Marietta Becker is working undercover at a singles dance trying to discover who is responsible for the deaths of five very different men, but who most of them had some connection to the singles dance.  She’s just getting an idea of who The Crusher might be when in walks her husband, someone the other women say is a regular. After being faithful all their years of marriage, of her holding up her end of the relationship and all those times he was telling her he was working late, well…let’s just say she decides to make sure he’s the next target.

This short story is very well-written, the characters are well-fleshed and I didn’t figure out who the killer was. The singles dance was kinda depressing. And Marietta’s husband…hmmm, he’s a jerk, but does he deserve to die? Because Marietta sets him up to do just that. And her being a cop and all. Sort of goes against everything she believes in and I wonder if she’ll regret it later. After it’s too late. A quick read that will test your skills as a detective.

Title ~ Throwaways
Author ~ Jack Ewing
Published ~ 22 August 2011
Genre ~ Mystery/Crime
My Rating ~ 4 bites out of 5

One night a homeless man camping out under a bridge sees a garbage bag floating down the river. After pulling the bag to shore he discovers a dead naked woman inside. He sits there stunned for a bit then spends some time wondering who she is and what happened to her, but when a car comes along he grabs his stuff, erases the evidence of his having been there and takes the woman with him to hide beside the river. What he overhears changes something inside him.

This is a great short story about someone who has lost his way. Sometimes it takes a simple thing to get someone back to a ‘normal’ way of life and sometimes it takes a dead body. I hope that for most people who find themselves like this guy that it would take something simple and not something extreme like a murdered person to get them to rejoin the rest of the world. Take a few minutes and read this. You won’t regret it.

Title ~ The Magician
Author ~ Sol Stein
Published ~ 17 April 2013
first published 1971
Genre ~ Mystery
My Rating ~ 4 bites and a nibble out of 5

Sixteen-year-old Ed Japhet performs a magic show at his Prom and that’s what brings things to a head between him and the local gang leader, Urek. After Prom Urek and three of his stooges attack Ed, Ed’s girlfriend Lila and Ed’s dad, causing grievous harm to Ed and smashing up Mr. Japhet’s car. Urek is arrested and brought to trial. But will he be deemed guilty or not?

While this book was first written in 1971 the basic meaning of it hasn’t changed 40 years later. A person is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but that doesn’t mean a guilty person is always convicted. Unfortunately, what Ed says in the book is true, back than as well as today. The justice system is a game and the best person to play it wins. Or like Ed with his magic. Slight of hand. Look what I’m doing over here and ignore what’s going on over there. Thomassy knows his client is guilty but he achieves a physical high on playing the game and winning. He doesn’t care that he’s putting a dangerous person back on the street as long as he comes out the winner. Granted, there are many stereotypes in this book, but it doesn’t change the underlying message. Our justice system, on the whole, sucks. Depressing, but true. How can it be fixed? I have no idea. The ending starts the beginning all over again. All-in-all this is an excellently written story about what can (and usually does) happen in a courtroom.

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