Sunday, November 22, 2009


Copyright: 2009
Whoo Doo Mysteries/ Treble Heart
Softcover ISBN:978-1-932695-88-5
$12.95 275 pages
Historical Fiction/Mystery

When your father dies and leaves his money to your step-mother you don’t have many choices in life. Fortunately China Bohannon has the advantage of having an uncle in another city a distance away from her former life that happens to have an extra bedroom available. That is if he is expecting you.

China takes it upon herself to start her life in Spokane, Washington far away from her step-mother in Walla Walla. This is hopefully with the assistance of her uncle who happens to run a detective agency. China’s plan is to find a job and fortunately, the detective agency does need someone to manage the office. For a spinster in the 1890s though, this might not be the best choice.

When China arrives at the office, her uncle is not around, but his partner, Gratton Doyle questions if she is a capable bookkeeper and can successfully run the office. Her uncle understands the situation and quickly even asks for her assistance in a case. Her feminine perspective is keen and she leads her uncle to solving the case.

Through a random occurrence, China might also have witnessed a chance encounter with a murderer of young girls. Everyone seems convinced that the death of a particular 14-year-old girl was suicide, but China questions how a girl could easily cut her own throat. Even the police seem convinced that the girl had a bad reputation and took her own life.

The girl’s mother gives China her hard-earned money to investigate the death without her uncle or his partner knowing about it. Also, the murderer is suspicious that others are questioning him, and is quickly killing off all the possible witnesses, including China.

C.K. Crigger resides in Idaho. She has won various awards for her novels. She has written BLACK CROSSING, CROSSROAD, LIAR’S TRAIL, ALDY NEAL’S GHOST, ASK PARROT, THE WINNING HAND,SHADOW SOLDIER, THE PRINCE’S COUSIN,IN THE SERVICE OF THE QUEEN, SIX SHOT, and THE GUNSMITH series of audio books.

The story is fast-paced. The characters are believable and enjoyable. The historical sense is accurate. The overall novel is a delightful perspective of life from the feminine perspective of being independent in the 1890s while living in the frontier city of Spokane, Washington.
I definitely look forward to more books by this talented author.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Author: Richard A. Thompson
Copyright November 2009
Poisoned Pen Press
ISBN: 978-1-59058-678-5
Hardcover $24.95
234 pages
Fiction, Mystery

“Once a gun is out, it takes on a life of its own, and all your careful plans for anonymous existence can suddenly be nothing but yesterday’s dreams.”

Vietnam veteran, Herman Jackson firmly believes this after witnessing a brutal raid on a homeless community that seems to have happened without any media coverage. Since this is related to the death of an acquaintance, Charlie Victor, Herman finds way too many questions and no one has any answers. To find the box, Herman must first find out Charlie Victor’s complete past in order to understand his thinking.

Herman has transitioned his life as a bookie to a bail bond business. The first meeting with Charlie was memorable for Herman as Charlie had asked about the bond amount before he was arrested. Why would anyone pay for a bond before they are arrested?

Herman finds himself being the heir of Charlie Victor’s estate. The true value is in a hidden cigar box secretly buried in a well-hidden spot. Where do you look? To complicate matters, the FBI and some unusual characters are also in a race to find the box. Why? That’s what Herman is determined to find with the help of reporter, Anne Packard. With a combination of constant investigation and being constantly watched and detoured, makes this a novel difficult to put down.

FRAG BOX is the second Herman Jackson mystery. Without reading the first novel, the beginning of this particular was intriguing, but depended on the development of Herman from the previous novel. The last half of the book’s strength is definitely the character attachment about Charlie Victor. This is one of those books that you find yourself not wanting it to end.

The writing style resembles as old-fashioned detective novel. The action is non-stop. The intrigue is dazzling. This is the type of story that you never tire of reading. I’m looking forward to the next book and reading FIDDLE GAME.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Author: J. C. Thompson
Copyright: 2009
ISBN:9781432734510 $24.95 331pages Fiction, Action-adventure

“I guess I would like you to hear my confession, and I pray that this will help me regain what was taken from me.”

These are words from John Calovacanti Hanna who is better known as Calo. As an enterprising teenager, he has the foresight to make money whether legally or illegally while in high school. Balancing family and school life is fairly simple for Calo but added to that is balancing the purchasing of illegal cigarettes to his peers with his personal morality. Knowing when to continue building a business and when to get out and run seems instinctive to him.

Being undecided about his future, Calo is entranced by a college coed who he had always admired; he willingly becomes adapted to college life and a new business. This time “moonshine” is the product and the business is part of the larger Circulary.

The Circulary is a secret society with their personal set of laws. The business of transporting and making the “moonshine” is the foundation of the group. The problem is that once you are involved with the group, there is only one way you leave it, by dying. How do you balance the money with your own beliefs and morality?

THE CIRCULARY is a fast-paced adventurous romp. The characters are believable and the story has numerous twists on its journey to the last page.

THE CIRCULARY is from a self-publishing agency, Outskirts Press. The problem with most of the books from the self-publishing agencies is the lack of editing. Mixing homonyms, misspelled words, still need to be corrected and can distract from the hypnotic effect when reading. While I was enjoying this novel, I also found myself bothered by these trivial errors. A decent editor would have completely solved this problem.

THE CIRCULARY is J.C. Thompson’s first novel. I sincerely hope this promising author finds a real publisher for his next novel which I look forward to reading.

Teri Davis November 14, 2009


ACROSS THE ENDLESS RIVER Author: Thad Carhart Copyright: 2009 Doubleday Hardcover ISBN:978-0-385-52977-8 $26.95 320 pages Historical Fiction
Sacagawea is definitely one of the first prominent women who greatly contributed to the success of this country. However, except for the original journals of Lewis and Clark, there are still many questions about what happened to all the people involved with the original expedition. Especially curious, is Sacagawea as she gave birth to a son while on the journey, translated for the explorers, and developed valued and trusted friendships with many of those on the Corps of Discovery.
ACROSS THE ENDLESS RIVER is the story of Sacagawea’s son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau who is also known as Pompy. Being that his father was a French trapper and his mother from native tribes, besides learning many languages and cultures, he uniquely belonged to both cultures while also not feeling like he truly belonged in either.
After completing his basic schooling thanks to the generosity of William Clark, Baptiste met Duke Paul Wilhelm of Wurttemberg who offered Baptiste an opportunity to assist in his studies of natural history while living in Europe. This novel centers on what could have been his life while spending much of his time in Paris and other European cities. Also, a major focus is Baptiste’s concern about being a part of a culture, but never belonging to either due to his mixed heritage.For an author to write a historical fiction novel, I would expect the author to spend a tremendous amount of time to be historically accurate. Since I am not a historian, I researched some of the author’s visions in Baptiste’s life.
First, I was disturbed by the image Carhart created about Pompy’s father, Toussaint Charbonneau. I have always visualized him as a grumpy, self-centered, and egocentrical husband to a much younger wife. Supposedly, Sacagawea was around 13 when she married and Toussaint was close to 40. Carhart represented this man as a caring and helpful father. I am wondering where that image came from since even the original journals of Lewis and Clark do not put Charbonneau in a favorable view but rather as a drunken lout.
Also, it is documented that Sacagawea also had a daughter, Lisette, who was also sent to Clark for her schooling. Shouldn’t she also be in at least part of the story since she was really there?
This particular book is considered to be “deckle edge” which means that the pages are to have a handmade look to their edges rather than being cut by a machine.

Teri Davis November 14, 2009