Mini Reviews – December 2021

This seems to be the best way for me to keep caught up!

Thanks to the publishers for any free copies in exchange for my honest reviews

MURDER UNDER HER SKIN – Stephen Spotswood (Released December 7th, 2021 – Thanks to Doubleday Books for the free copy!)

Someone’s put a blade in the back of the Amazing Tattooed Woman, and Willowjean “Will” Parker’s former knife-throwing mentor has been stitched up for the crime. To uncover the truth, Will and her boss, world-famous detective Lillian Pentecost, travel south into a snakepit of old grudges, small-town crime, and secrets worth killing for.

New York, 1946: The last time Will Parker let a case get personal, she walked away with a broken face, a bruised ego, and the solemn promise never again to let her heart get in the way of her job. But she called Hart and Halloway’s Travelling Circus and Sideshow home for five years, and Ruby Donner, the circus’s tattooed ingenue, was her friend. To make matters worse the prime suspect is Valentin Kalishenko, the man who taught Will everything she knows about putting a knife where it needs to go.

To uncover the real killer and keep Kalishenko from a date with the electric chair, Will and Ms. Pentecost join the circus in sleepy Stoppard, Virginia, where the locals like their cocktails mild, the past buried, and big-city detectives not at all. The two swiftly find themselves lost in a funhouse of lies as Will begins to realize that her former circus compatriots aren’t playing it straight, and that her murdered friend might have been hiding a lot of secrets beneath all that ink.

Dodging fistfights, firebombs, and flying lead, Will puts a lot more than her heart on the line in the search of the truth. Can she find it before someone stops her ticker for good?

Step right up! Murder Under Her Skin is a delightfully hardboiled high-wire act starring two daring heroines dead set on justice

My Thoughts: 4/5 stars

This is book two in this series and I didn’t feel lost at all. I love the hardboiled crime and noir books (evident by my Hard Case Crime collection) and this was just that. A little slow in the beginning but overall I enjoyed it!

OBSERVATIONS BY GASLIGHT: STORIES FROM THE WORLD OF SHERLOCK HOLMES – Lyndsay Faye (Released December 21st, 2021 – Thanks to Penzler Publishing for the free copy!)

Lyndsay Faye—international bestseller, translated into fifteen languages, and a two-time Edgar Award nominee—first appeared on the literary scene with Dust and Shadow, her now-classic novel pitting Sherlock Holmes against Jack the Ripper, and later produced The Whole Art of Detection, her widely acclaimed collection of traditional Watsonian tales. Now Faye is back with Observations by Gaslight, a thrilling volume of both new and previously published short stories and novellas narrated by those who knew the Great Detective.

Beloved adventuress Irene Adler teams up with her former adversary in a near-deadly inquiry into a room full of eerily stopped grandfather clocks. Learn of the case that cemented the lasting friendship between Holmes and Inspector Lestrade, and of the tragic crime which haunted the Yarder into joining the police force. And witness Stanley Hopkins’ first meeting with the remote logician he idolizes, who will one day become his devoted mentor.

From familiar faces like landlady Mrs. Hudson to minor characters like Lomax the sub-librarian, Observations by Gaslight—entirely epistolary, told through diaries, telegrams, and even grocery lists—paints a masterful portrait of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as you have never seen them before.

My Thoughts: 4/5 stars

I loved Faye’s other book, THE WHOLE ART OF DETECTION and I was so excited to see she was coming out with more short stories from the world of Sherlock Holmes. Each story brought something new to expand upon the universe with this detective and we got to see some familiar faces along the way. If you like Sherlock Holmes then I recommend both of Faye’s short story collections!

A CROWN OF RUIN – Leora M. Dillow (Released November 1st, 2021 – Thanks to the author for the free copy!)

“A Prince of the Seraphim will be the ruination of the crown. Only by the spilling of blood will a Daughter of Adam be its salvation.”

All 19-year-old Evelyn Hayward wants to do is successfully pass her sophomore year of art school and enjoy her free time with her friends. She is talented and seems to have a deeper connection to her paintings than just the creative ideas coming from her imagination. But when he dreams of from her childhood and her paintings are suddenly no longer confined to the images in her head, Evelyn’s world is turned upside down, leaving her reeling from tragedy.​

Transported to the Kingdom of Shama’im, Eve, the girl from the mortal world, and Samael, the immortal, standoffish leader with blueblood pedigree, united by both tragedy and legend, must combat the forces of darkness within and without to save the war-ravaged kingdom – and each other – from destruction.

My Thoughts: 4/5 stars

Let me start by saying that I absolutely love the Jewish mythology and folklore that are found throughout this book. This is the second book this year I’ve read with these themes and I need more of it in my life – the representation and descriptions are incredible. The world building is mesmerizing and the author perfectly sets the scene for us, and while I could see that section being a little slower for some readers I found it so worth the effort. I found myself fully immersed and Eve is a treasure. I think a lot of readers will be able to connect with her on many levels and I cant wait to see her development into book two!

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