Category Archives: Mystery

The Blackmail Club by David Bishop

The Blackmail Club by David Bishop

The Blackmail Club is one of the worst books I have ever read. The author has a weird obsession with butts denting in when someone leans on a table, seeing bra straps (always black, white, or flesh colored), and women’s breasts being pushed up every time they cross their arms exciting male characters because they saw some extra cleavage. The writing is so bad. Here are some examples:

  • Her lips twitched, as if she were receiving a coded message through her dark amalgam dental fillings. The message must have told her to keep talking because she did.
  • To the extent a woman’s appearance was currency, Nora’s scoop-necked dress flashed a healthy portion of her bankroll.
  • Jack watched the automated door close over the space where he had last seen Nora.
  • “Go on now. I’ll get started as soon as I watch your fanny get inside your front door. It may be the last thing I ever see, so swing it girl.”
  • She was an attractive woman with a body whose forward thrust had not yet been pulled off course by gravity.
  • The skimpy food-service outfit she wore put more in front of Jack than just the burger he had ordered.

There are way too many characters and side storylines that weren’t truly totally pulled into or explained in the wrap up. The wrap up itself was so boring. When the PIs were interviewing the minion blackmailer they caught, it was just this happened and then this and that. Nothing exciting. At the big reveal of who the real blackmailer was it was even less exciting. The PI pretty much pulled out of left field who that mastermind was probably because the author thought it would be fun to make it almost impossible to guess which character it was. It’s completely unsatisfying where there are no clues at all leading to the bad guy. There are also quite a few typos and other mistakes, but the author doesn’t care. In fact, he thinks readers imagine those things and he doesn’t want to hear about them. In the author’s note he wrote:

“As for any errors you might imagine in spelling or punctuation or capitalization, please let me rest in peace. There are many conventions and styles with regard to these matters, and I often have characters speak incorrectly intentionally, for that is how I envision that character would speak.”

While he is correct that characters speaking incorrectly (such as his absolutely terrible approximation of an Irish guy) is fine, he probably should care that he misspelled his own characters’ names a time or two. I most definitely do not recommend The Blackmail Club at all. It’s just so incredibly awful. Don’t waste your time.

1 (out of 5) Stars
Books Read in 2022: 40
Pages Read in 2022: 14,616
Graphic Novels: 1

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Filed under Mystery, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: We Be Book'N

Play Dead by Leslie O’Kane

Allida Babcock is a dog therapist in Boulder. After an appearance on a radio show, she ends up with a series of clients that all seem interested in one particular dog… with two dead owners. Allida is convinced both owners were murdered and investigates the case.

While I enjoyed Play Dead while I was reading it, I just wasn’t excited about picking it up to start reading. The main character was a know-it-all and didn’t seem to have a sense of humor at all. She kind of grated on my nerves. I was a bit surprised by the ending so that was good. It’s a decent enough brain candy read, but not one I’d go out of my way to choose. It’s the first in a series. I won’t be reading any more.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 155
Pages Read in 2017: 42,046
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (P in TOPAZ)

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Bundle of Trouble by Diana Orgain

Baby Laurie is born the very same day her parents get the news that her father’s brother’s body might have been found. Her mother, Kate, then spends her maternity leave trying to solve several murders and to maybe, somehow, start a private investigating business so as not to have to return to the corporate world.

Bundle of Trouble is the first book in the Maternal Instincts series. I’ve read others in the series before and they are all quite amusing. That Kate is a brand new mother (complete with leaking breasts – buy some breastpads for goodness sake!) adds to the hilarity. I recommend reading this book to all fans of cozy mysteries, especially if they are mothers.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 94
Pages Read in 2017: 26,604
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (B in RUBY)

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Tutti Frutti by Mike Faricy

Private Investigator Dev Haskell is back and dealing with some odd clients wrapped up in a bondage night club. Dev spends most of his time drinking and sleeping with women, a combination that always gets him in trouble, rather than doing any real investigating.

Tutti Frutti is a decent mind vacation. Dev is pretty much worthless, but the cases always manage to get solved in spite of him. The end of this one is pretty great. I had to go back and re-read the last few paragraphs because the little twist they provided was completely unexpected (but in an expected sort of way). This is a book worth reading if you need a bit of a break.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 24
Pages Read in 2017: 7077
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Birthstone Bookology (T in AMETHYST)

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The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon

Sixty years after the collapse of the then-new Israel, the Jews in Alaska are facing another expulsion. A man turns up dead in his apartment and leads Detective Landsman on a journey to find who killed him, why, and who else was in on it.

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union was long and drawn out and often not very interesting. When it was interesting, it was excellent. It’s just that that was only about half the time. The writing was generally very good, though the repetitive “he said in American” after every curse word (particularly through the first half of the book) got old. The big reveal/twist of who did it was foreshadowed a little too strongly making the actual moment kind of a flop. It’s a fine enough book, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to read it.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2017: 7
Pages Read in 2017: 2612
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Reason I Chose It: Mind Voyages Challenge (Moon #1); with my husband

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A Trifle Dead by Livia Day

Tabitha’s just minding her own business running her little Australian cafe when she ends up in the middle of a police investigation. A busker is found dead in a net in a band’s spare room, but she learns that before that, a cat was caught in a net and her step-brother-in-law was caught in a cage inside his house. The police rule the busker’s death an overdose, but when Tabitha finds an electrified ping pong ball in her purse, she thinks something else is going on and it just might involve her missing landlord.

A Trifle Dead is sometimes excellent, though at other times it drags. The beginning drew me in right away and then end was exciting and quite surprising. Sometimes in the middle, though, it seemed to kind of lose its way with the author just trying to fill up pages. Overall it was an okay book and good for anyone who really enjoys cozy mysteries.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 122
Pages Read in 2016: 33,211
Hours Listened: 27 hours 2 minutes
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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The Book Stops Here by Kate Carlisle

Brooklyn, a bookbinder and rare and antique books expert, is working on a show, This Old Attic, when someone brings in an amazing copy of The Secret Garden. Brooklyn appraises it for quite a lot of money and then finds herself in the middle of two mysteries, one involving the murder of the owner of The Secret Garden and one involving the stalker of the star of This Old Attic.

The Book Stops Here is a fun story, especially for people who love books. I was quite surprised and delighted by the wrap up. While it took a bit to really get into it, I could barely put it down once I got about halfway through. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a cozy mystery.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2016: 18
Pages Read in 2016: 4576
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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The Valley of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

In the first part of the book, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson arrive at a manor house to investigate the murder of the man of the house. Sherlock focuses on a single strange clue in the room – a single barbell missing its partner. He solves the mystery, but not why it happened. That backstory is told in the second part when the man of the house lived in America and got mixed up in a gang posing as a respectable men’s society.

The way the story was told in the two parts is very effective. The first part is engaging and interesting throughout. The second part is slow-moving for about half of it. The two parts are of equal length so sometimes I felt like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had just added needlessly to the second part to make is as long as the first. Nevertheless, it’s a good mystery and I only guessed the answers just a page or two before my guesses were revealed to be correct. I recommend reading The Valley of Fear.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 81
Pages Read in 2015: 22,924
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Frankie Dupont and the Mystery of Enderby Manor by Julie Anne Grasso

Frankie Dupont is a young private detective in training. When his cousin Kat goes missing while staying at the mysterious Enderby Manor, he is determined to find her. The clues are puzzling and the real private investigator is useless. Frankie figures out where Kat is hidden, but is in a race against time to find her.

Frankie Dupont And The Mystery Of Enderby Manor by Julie Anne Grasso is a very cute and funny book. Detective Cluesome is completely bumbling and many of the other characters are just plain strange. It requires quite a bit of suspending disbelief, but it’s worth it because the book is enjoyable. Highly recommended for children and not so bad for parents either. A great read aloud!

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 62
Pages Read in 2015: 17,020
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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The Big Four by Agatha Christie

The Big Four by Agatha Christie finds Hercule Poirot and his sidekick Captain Hastings chasing after a mysterious group calling themselves The Big Four. The events of the book happen over quite some time and are short mysteries encompassing just a chapter or two each, but all relating to each other and culminating in a final wrap-up in the last chapter.

Although The Big Four was published nearly 9 decades ago, with the exception of mentions of carts and carriages, only newspapers to learn the news of the day, and a complete lack of electronic devices, the story could be set today. Hercule Poirot’s detective work has truly stood up to the test of time. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mysteries and detectives.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2015: 60
Pages Read in 2015: 16,754
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)
Applied to Category for Special Reading Challenge: A book by an author you’ve never read before

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