Tag: Mystery

Guest Review: The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan

Posted August 14, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Scent of Murder by Kylie LoganReviewer: Tracy
The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan
Series: Jazz Ramsey #1
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

First in a new series from national bestselling author Kylie Logan, The Scent of Murder is a riveting mystery following Jazz Ramsey as she trains cadaver dogs.

The way Jazz Ramsey figures it, life is pretty good. She’s thirty-five years old and owns her own home in one of Cleveland’s most diverse, artsy, and interesting neighborhoods. She has a job she likes as an administrative assistant at an all-girls school, and a volunteer interest she’s passionate about—Jazz is a cadaver dog handler.

Jazz is working with Luther, a cadaver dog in training. Luther is still learning cadaver work, so Jazz is putting him through his paces at an abandoned building that will soon be turned into pricey condos. When Luther signals a find, Jazz is stunned to see the body of a young woman who is dressed in black and wearing the kind of make-up and jewelry that Jazz used to see on the Goth kids back in high school.

She’s even more shocked when she realizes that beneath the tattoos and the piercings and all that pale make up is a familiar face.

The lead detective on the case is an old lover, and the murdered woman is an old student. Jazz finds herself sucked into the case, obsessed with learning the truth.

This is the first book in a new series.  This was also a new-to-me author, so I was excited to see if I found a new go-to.  Unfortunately, I didn’t.

The Scent of Murder starts out with cadaver dog and its handler, Jazz, finding a dead body.  Jazz recognizes the girl as she attended the catholic school where Jazz runs the school office.  Because of this connection, Jazz is determined to find out how the girl died.

Jazz decides to go off on her own to investigate and frankly this never really works for me.  Reading the blurb it says she’s sucked into the investigation. I assumed it was because of her old lover and the fact she found the body – not so.  She becomes Sherlock Holmes but not as smart or interesting.

The story didn’t have much to do with cadaver dogs on the whole, but I found the dogs more interesting than the characters. Jazz was mainly the focus in the books – her trying to find out who killed the girl and what the dead girl had been up to since graduating from the catholic school (nothing good).

Th whole thing with her ex-boyfriend, Nick, was…confusing and a bit ridiculous.  We were told they were ex’s and that scheduling and communication were their downfall.  That’s nice, but it wasn’t explained further.  Jazz seems to dislike Nick intensely for whatever part he played in them fizzling out.  Of course then he shows up on her doorstep asking to meet her for coffee and she agrees.  What?  Then they agree to meet once a week but then keep cancelling and actually never meet again.  Then Nick shows up on her door, randomly once again, and gives her a new puppy to train as a cadaver dog.  It was just so bizarre!  I can only assume that Nick was included because that relationship will go somewhere in subsequent books.  I won’t be reading those to find out.

The characters in this story were flat and uninteresting.  The mystery around the dead girl was interesting and I wanted to find out what was up with her, so I kept reading.  I can’t say I’d recommend the book even with a very generous 3 stars.  I can think of a lot of different books that are much more captivating than this one.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Blog Tour: The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan

Posted May 8, 2019 by Holly in Promotions | 2 Comments

THE SCENT OF MURDER (May 7, 2019) by Kylie Logan is the start of a new series featuring Jazz Ramsey, a cadaver dog handler. When she and her newest trainee, Luther, find a body during a routine training exercise, things get complicated.

Blog Tour: The Scent of Murder by Kylie LoganThe Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan
Series: Jazz Ramsey #1
Also in this series: The Scent of Murder
Publisher: Minotaur
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Genres: Suspense
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: three-stars

First in a new series from national bestselling author Kylie Logan, The Scent of Murder is a riveting mystery following Jazz Ramsey as she trains cadaver dogs.

The way Jazz Ramsey figures it, life is pretty good. She’s thirty-five years old and owns her own home in one of Cleveland’s most diverse, artsy, and interesting neighborhoods. She has a job she likes as an administrative assistant at an all-girls school, and a volunteer interest she’s passionate about—Jazz is a cadaver dog handler.

Jazz is working with Luther, a cadaver dog in training. Luther is still learning cadaver work, so Jazz is putting him through his paces at an abandoned building that will soon be turned into pricey condos. When Luther signals a find, Jazz is stunned to see the body of a young woman who is dressed in black and wearing the kind of make-up and jewelry that Jazz used to see on the Goth kids back in high school.

She’s even more shocked when she realizes that beneath the tattoos and the piercings and all that pale make up is a familiar face.

The lead detective on the case is an old lover, and the murdered woman is an old student. Jazz finds herself sucked into the case, obsessed with learning the truth.

Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

It had rained that afternoon and the sidewalks were still wet. When the last of the evening light hit them, the slate squares reflected Jazz Ramsey’s neighborhood—streetlights, and the neon signs that flashed from the windows of the trendy pubs, and a watery rendering of St. John Cantius church, an urban Monet masterpiece, its tan brick walls and bell tower blurred.

Even though it was officially spring, the wind off Lake Erie was wicked. Jazz bundled her shoulder-length brown hair into a loose ponytail and pulled up the hood of her sweatshirt, then hunched further into her North Face jacket. She stopped at a corner, waiting for the light to change, and was pleased when Luther sat down at her side even without a command.

“Good dog,” she was sure to tell him at the same time she breathed in the combined smell of damp earth and the discarded bag from Taco Bell crumpled near the curb.

To Luther’s credit, he ignored whatever bits and bites of Mexican cuisine might still be in the bag. But then, he’d been trained to follow dif­ferent scents. When the light changed, he trotted along when Jazz crossed the street, his pace as brisk as hers, and the way he pricked his ears and cocked his head, she knew he sensed the exhilaration that vibrated from her hand through his leash. Luther knew it was almost time to get down to business.

Here, College Avenue started its downhill trek into the Cleveland Flats, the city’s once-booming industrial heart. These days, Clevelanders were more likely to work in health care or IT than in foundries and factories, but one hundred years ago, this was the route thousands of workers took each
day from their homes in blue-collar Tremont—it was simply called the South Side then—to the fiery furnaces that produced America’s steel.

“We’re not going far,” Jazz assured Luther at the same time she noticed the couple who stumbled out of the Treehouse just up ahead made sure to give the massive German shepherd a wide berth. “Just over here,” she told him once they’d passed the open door to the bar and the blaring music that seeped onto the street wasn’t quite so loud. “Over to the new condos.”

They stopped outside a sturdy brick building nearly ninety years old with solid walls and a slate roof. By the end of summer, Jazz imagined there would be gleaming glass in the window frames where there was plywood now, and window boxes, too, no doubt, and cars parked outside that reflected the status-conscious success of the young professionals she’d heard were already lined up to buy.

But not tonight.

Tonight the building was empty and dark and she had it all to herself.

It was the perfect place to put Luther through his paces.

Still hanging on to the dog’s leash with one hand, Jazz fished the key from her pocket with the other and silently thanked Ken Zelinsky, the site supervisor, who’d agreed to give her an hour’s time inside the building.

It wasn’t easy to find urban training sites for a human remains detection dog.

She swung open the door and slanted Luther a look. “So what do you think?”

Luther sat, his tail thumping out a rhythm of excitement on the front stoop, and before she unhooked his leash, Jazz did a quick run-through of what she’d learned from his owner.

Luther was a little over two years old, good-natured. He could be as playful as any pup, but he had a serious side, too. Like now, when he had to work.

“He’s a smart dog,” Greg Johnson had insisted when he begged Jazz to help with the final stages of Luther’s training. “He just needs some reinforcement from a really good handler. That’s you, Jazz.”

It was.

Or at least it used to be.

These days, Jazz was feeling a little rusty. She was out of practice, not in the mood. It was one of the reasons that, after hemming and hawing and finding excuse after excuse, she’d finally agreed to Greg’s request. She needed to shake herself out of her funk, and to her way of thinking, there was no better way to do that than with a dog.

She stepped into the long, narrow entryway of the building with its rows of broken mailboxes along one wall, and shut the front door behind her. The eerie quiet of years of neglect closed around her along with the smell of dampness and decay, rotted wiring and musty tiles carried by an errant breeze. Feeling her way, she unsnapped the leash from Luther’s collar and gave him the command she’d devised for all the dogs she worked with because it was less ghoulish than saying “Find the dead guy!”

“Find Henry!” she told him, and she stepped back and out of Luther’s way.

Like all HRD dogs, Luther was that rare combination— independent enough to go off on his own and loyal enough to owner and handler to need praise. But he didn’t know Jazz well, and smart dog that he was, he wanted to be certain. He glanced over his shoulder at her.

“You know what to do, Luther. You don’t need Greg here to tell you.” She swept a hand along her side. “Find Henry!”

In fact, what Jazz hoped the dog would do was clear both the first and second floors in record time and head up to the third floor where that afternoon she’d hidden a human tooth (a donation from her mother, Claire, who, at the age of fifty-two, had decided she wanted the kind of sparkling smile she’d seen on so many models and had begun to see an orthodontist). Human teeth contained enough scent to attract a properly trained dog’s attention. If Luther was on his game—and she hoped he was because she hated the thought of telling Greg his dog wasn’t ready for the grueling volunteer work done by dogs and handlers—he would locate the tooth, signal by barking three times, and chomp on the treat she would use as a reward while she secured the scene and made a simulated call to the cops, just as she would do if they made a real find.

“You gonna get a move on or what?” she asked Luther, her voice falling flat against the pitted plaster. “Find Henry!”

In a flash of black and sable, the dog took off down the darkened hallway.

After nearly ten years training and handling cadaver dogs, Jazz knew the ropes. She couldn’t give Luther a hint about where to go or what he was looking for so she kept back, letting him work, refusing to influence him by her demeanor or her movements. She heard his claws scramble on the tile floor somewhere in the dark up ahead, flicked on her high-powered flashlight, and followed.

Some dogs, like pointers, are air sniffers. Some, like bloodhounds, keep their noses to the ground. No matter their breed, cadaver dogs, by virtue of their work, have to be proficient at both. They are trained as trailing dogs to pick up the scent that has fallen from decomposing bodies onto the ground, and as air-scenting dogs as well, so they can detect any smell of decomposition that’s carried on the breeze. By the time she located him in a back room of what had once been a four-room working-class apartment, Luther was hard at work.

His eyes focused and every inch of his muscular body at the ready, he drew in a breath then hurried back and forth, side to side, through what had once been a kitchen, in an attempt to catch the strongest scent.

Not here. On the third floor.

Jazz knew better than to say it. Part of an HRD dog’s gift was to eliminate one area so dog and handler could move on to the next. Luther was doing his job, and he was doing it well.

She had to remember to compliment Greg on his training methods.

Nose to the floor, his ears pricked, Luther cleared the kitchen and headed into the back bedrooms. Jazz kicked a piece of fallen tile out of the way, but she kept her place. She would wait quietly until the dog emerged from the back rooms and when he headed out into the hallway, she would follow.

At least that was her plan.

Until Luther barked.

Once.

Twice.

Three times.

Blog Tour

About Kylie Logan

Photo of author Kylie Logan in a purple shirt

KYLIE LOGAN is the national bestselling author of The League of Literary Ladies Mysteries, the Button Box Mysteries, the Chili Cook-Off Mysteries, and the Ethnic Eats Mysteries. The Scent of Murder is the first in a new series.


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Guest Review: Cold Sweat by J.S. Marlo

Posted February 23, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Cold Sweat by J.S. MarloReviewer: Tracy
Cold Sweat by J.S. Marlo
Series: Heart & Endurance #1

Publication Date: February 6th 2017
Format: eARC
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 204
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars

Can they conquer the mountains and the past in time to save Hope?

***

Seventeen-year-old Hope Craig is deaf and training hard to make the biathlon Olympic Team. But when she is kidnapped from the groomed trails and taken into a remote cabin in the mountains, she must battle more than the elements to survive.

On the hunt for her daughter's abductor, Colonel Amelia Matheson enlists the help of Richmond Morgan, a local sheriff who once hurt her. To find Hope, Sheriff Morgan and Colonel Matheson must untangle a web of secrets, including their own.

Using her wits and skills, Hope sets out to escape the mountains and save the man her mother had sent to rescue her—a man who is not who he appears to be.

Hope Craig is kidnapped while doing her biathlon training.  Her mother is in the Army and is using all of her resources to find her daughter.  When she walks into the local Sheriff station she’s shocked to find her old college boyfriend, Rich Morgan, is the Sheriff.

Rich and Amelia broke up when Amelia graduated.  They had been dating but his rich, snobby parents didn’t like her and gave him an ultimatum – money or Amelia.  He chose the money.  He regretted his decision immediately but still didn’t go after Amelia.  He is a different man now than he was then and has changed his thinking and basically cut ties to his parents.  He’s thrilled to see Amelia again even though it’s under horrifying circumstances. He never stopped loving her and as hard as Amelia tries to deny it, she never stopped loving him either.

Rich works Hope’s case with Amelia but also another one with a local Senator.  When the two cases start to intersect Rich is shocked when all the evidence in both cases are exposed.  There are many secrets that are revealed and ones that will change everyone’s lives.

This was a good little mystery/romance.  I liked the characters in the story, even though I never really got that close with Amelia or Rich.  I did like their background story and all the secrets that were revealed, I just couldn’t get into the two of them.

Hope was a little fighter and I loved her character.  I wish that we had gotten to spend more time with her during the course of the story.  I also liked how the author twisted and bent the story so that three different cases were brought together into one.  I actually think I would have enjoyed this better as a straight mystery without bringing the romantic element into it.  I just found that part lacking.

The end was…odd, imho.  Rich and Amelia were on the road to something good but it was rushed in the end and again the romance left me unsatisfied.  If you’re looking for a mystery with romantic elements than this might be a good book for you, but not if you’re looking for a romance with a bit of mystery – at least in my opinion.

Rating: 3.5/3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: The Winter Over by Matthew Iden

Posted February 6, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Winter Over by Matthew IdenReviewer: Holly
The Winter Over by Matthew Iden

Publication Date: February 1st 2017
Genres: Horror, Suspense
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars

Each winter the crew at the Shackleton South Pole Research Facility faces nine months of isolation, round-the-clock darkness, and one of the most extreme climates on the planet. For thirty-something mechanical engineer Cass Jennings, Antarctica offers an opportunity to finally escape the guilt of her troubled past and to rebuild her life.

But the death of a colleague triggers a series of mysterious incidents that push Cass and the rest of the forty-four-person crew to the limits of their sanity and endurance. Confined and cut off from the outside world, will they work together or turn against one another? As the tension escalates, Cass must find the strength to survive not only a punishing landscape but also an unrelenting menace determined to destroy the station—and everyone in it.

The Winter Over was a Kindle First pick for January. I was in the mood for some creepy suspense, and I figured a novel set in Antarctica was just what the doctor ordered. Though the novel showed flashes of brilliance, in the end I felt like it tried too hard to be too many things: Thriller, Mystery and Horror. Up until about the 80% mark I was really enjoying it, but then it went off the rails.

Cass is doing her first winter-over at the Shackleton Research Facility in the South Pole. During the summer months the station is filled with scientists and staff, but during the long winter months a skeleton crew of 40-ish hunker down and keep the station going. 9 months is a long time to be cutoff from everyone and everything you know, but Cass needs some distance from her life after a major tragedy.

When a colleague is found dead just before the station shuts down for the winter, the crew is shaken. But then a series of mysterious events happen that make Cass question herself and her remaining fellow colleagues.

Iden’s writing is very engaging. It was easy to fall into the barren, stark world of the Antarctic research station. This is where the novel excels. The creepy, dark station was fascinating. Cass, the protagonist, was interesting; complex and a bit maudlin at times. She had a down-to-earth approach to puzzling things out that made even the most ridiculous plots and schemes seem easily overcome. I was rooting for her from the beginning. I wish some of the other characters had been fleshed out more. Cass’s main friend, Biddie, and a couple of the scientists were touched on. I’d have liked to have more from them.

The suspense didn’t work as well. I pegged the villain early on, as well as the circumstances behind all the mysterious incidents that kept cropping up. The author did a fair amount of foreshadowing. The story truly lost me around the 75%-80% mark. Up until that point I was interested in seeing where things were headed, but it really went off the rails and too many over-the-top things happened in too short a time. It ended abruptly. The conflict was resolved, but I wish there had been a bit of follow-up. The way things were left at the station made me highly curious about its future.

Despite my issues with the last 1/4 of the book, I would definitely try the author again.

3.5/5

three-stars


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Guest Review: House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy

Posted November 30, 2016 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: House of Echoes by Brendan DuffyReviewer: Tina
House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: April 14th 2015
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars

In this enthralling and atmospheric thriller, one young family’s dream of a better life is about to become a nightmare.

Ben and Caroline Tierney and their two young boys are hoping to start over. Ben has hit a dead end with his new novel, Caroline has lost her banking job, and eight-year-old Charlie is being bullied at his Manhattan school.

When Ben inherits land in the village of Swannhaven, in a remote corner of upstate New York, the Tierneys believe it’s just the break they need, and they leave behind all they know to restore a sprawling estate. But as Ben uncovers Swannhaven’s chilling secrets and Charlie ventures deeper into the surrounding forest, strange things begin to happen. The Tierneys realize that their new home isn’t the fresh start they needed . . . and that the village’s haunting saga is far from over.

House of Echoes is a novel that shows how sometimes the ties that bind us are the only things that can keep us whole.

There is no way that House of Echoes by Brendan Duffy can be a debut book! I had to get that out of the way from the gate! This book is so well-written and is bursting with a dark & creepy, tension-filled vibe that causes the reader to assume that the author has been writing forever.

The setting for this book is right out of a Gothic horror story. It has all the elements that you can expect will scare the crap out of you! When I first read the summary about the troubled family with the dilapidated old mansion in the middle of nowhere I immediately said “Sign me up!!” This book is exactly what a reader like me searches for!

Mr Duffy knows exactly what it takes to keep us reading. He has that powerful skill of building the suspense and keeping the reader on the edge of our seat. The characters are so realistic that I almost felt like I was spying on an unsuspecting neighbor as I was reading! This is a truly unsettling story and I think any person who loves a good thriller will devour this one!

I would like to thank the author for this incredible book, and also NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to review it. I have actually bought 2 copies of this book since reviewing it and have given them as gifts. And as any fellow reader knows, this is the biggest compliment you can give to an author. Grab House of Echoes today. It is a perfect read for a a cold and gloomy Autumn day!

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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