Book Review for NIGHT CORRIDOR by Joan Hall Hovey

Review by Aaron Paul Lazar

Title: Night Corridor
Author: Joan Hall Hovey
Publisher: BWLPP
Genre: Suspense, 258 pages
ASIN: B004NSV6TY
Price: Kindle eBook: $2.99 Print Book: $10.79
Publisher website address: http://bwlpp.com/mysteries.php
Author’s personal website: http://www.joanhallhovey.com

Night Corridor
by Joan Hall Hovey

Book review by Aaron Paul Lazar

Caroline Hill, a fragile woman who’s seen more than her share of heartbreak, has just been released into the “real” world by the Bayshore Mental Institution, an aging facility recently doomed to closure. Trembling with fear after nine years of incarceration, at the age of twenty-six Caroline is armed only with a handful of memorized phrases from her psychiatrist and a small bag of hand-me-down clothing. She shows up as pre-arranged to a rooming house with a nosy landlady and her marginally challenged nephew, Harold. Once settled, Caroline makes her entrance at Frank’s, a local diner in the small town of St. Simeon, Canada where a dishwashing job awaits her.

Although the Bayshore institution offered safety and familiarity, Caroline is determined not to fail. The last thing she wants is to return to the place where she shared a room with a woman who clicked imaginary knitting needles 24/7.

Caroline’s timing is unfortunate, because the day she arrives in town, a serial killer has left yet another victim for police. And it so happens, the first victim—an aspiring actress on the verge of a breakthrough—lived across the hall from Caroline’s new room. Police and neighbors wonder – could the killer be someone in the rooming house? How did he gain access to the facility? How did he know the first woman? And the second? Both victims were pretty young ladies with brunette hair and blue eyes, Caroline’s exact appearance.

The mystery and suspense in this novel is outstanding, truly top notch, in the vein of Mary Higgins Clark, but—dare I say—even better? What really struck me as brilliant was Ms. Hovey’s ability to paint the picture of an innocent, a woman who’d been raised by an institutional staff since the age of seventeen, when a horrendous event tore her heart out and separated her from reality. Caroline’s inner thoughts, her hesitant and sometimes awkward speech, the turmoil she feels with each simple step toward freedom, her frail courage…each of these felt real and authentic. I grew incredibly fond of this protagonist, and with each brave step she took, I found myself cheering her on.

When Caroline notices a man following her, she wants to tell someone, but what ex-mental patient wouldn’t be afraid to share this news, knowing they’d probably classify her as paranoid and maybe send her back to Bayshore? She squares her shoulders and fights through the fear, soldiering on.

Against the backdrop of Caroline’s painful yet courageous re-entry into society, the low growling drumbeat of violence escalates. More women die, and the pattern heats up. We are given glimpses inside the mind of a seriously sick killer, and realize his delusions stretch far into his past. When Caroline becomes embroiled in the middle of the killer’s elaborate and insane plot to return to a chapter in his history where he was once happy, the action escalates and takes us on a heart-pounding rollercoaster ride to a satisfying finish.

Joan Hall Hovey has written yet another winner. I highly recommend it to any lover of suspense, mystery, romance, or thriller. You’ll not only race through this book, but clamor for more works by this talented and polished author.

 

 

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases, FOR KEEPS (MAY 2012), DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (APRIL 2012), and the author’s preferred edition of UPSTAGED (JUNE 2012).

http://www.lazarbooks.com

Excerpt from “The Abduction of Mary Rose” by Joan Hall Hovey

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Book Review for A PLACE TO DIE by Dorothy James

Review by Aaron Paul Lazar

Title: A Place to Die
Author: Dorothy James
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation (April 21, 2010)
Genre: Mystery, 436 pages
ISBN-10: 1450082696
ISBN-13: 978-1450082709
Price: Kindle eBook: $7.69; Paperback: $18.71; Hardcover: $34.95
Author’s personal website: http://myplaceformystery.com

A Place to Die
by Dorothy James

Book review by Aaron Paul Lazar

A PLACE TO DIE is an intriguing story set in Austria, reminiscent of a good English mystery. I just finished reading it last night, and am already missing the characters. At first I was attracted to the book because it was set in Wien (Vienna) – I adore Wien. But then as I “visited” with these folks night after night (reading a little in bed each night), I grew terribly fond of them.

I was particularly rooting for American Eleanor Fabian, a woman of great depth who deserved much more in life than her annoying husband provided. I’m passionate about marriage and devotion in real life, I believe that once married one is duty-bound to stay married and devoted to each other, unless there’s something truly awful going on. But Dorothy James convinced me otherwise with Eleanor.

I enjoyed getting to know the other characters in the Haus Im Wald, too. Each was colorful, deliciously unique, and memorable. Inspector Georg Buchner is a fun lead, likeable as well as clever.

Ms. James’ vivid scene painting placed me smack dab in the middle of winter in Austria, and I felt as if I knew the Haus intimately by the end of the book. (I also craved Kaffee und Kuchen many times during the characters’ dining events!)

As people start dropping dead in the Haus im Wald, the tension builds. But never did Ms. James relinquish her literary approach to the situation, providing a steady source of introspection balanced with action and character development.

The ending is most satisfying – a delightful and unexpected villain is revealed – and some of the sexual twists and innuendos were most surprising and added a bit of spice to the story as well.

Ms. James writes smoothly, with no annoying typos or needs for extra editing which seems to be more and more prevalent these days when books are converted to Kindle format. This book was beautifully formatted and of very high caliber.

I recommend this complex, highbrow-yet-addicting story, and look forward to future works by Dorothy James

 

 

***

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases, FOR KEEPS (MAY 2012), DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (APRIL 2012), and the author’s preferred edition of UPSTAGED (JUNE 2012).

http://www.lazarbooks.com

Book Review for STEALING FACES by Michael Prescott

Review by Aaron Paul Lazar

Title: Stealing Faces
Author: Michael Prescott
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services, Ulverscroft
Genre: Thriller
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, and eBook
ISBN-10: 0708943500
ISBN-13: 978-0708943502
ASIN: B00547KH66
Price: Kindle, $ 0.99; Large Print, $29.91
Author’s website: http://www.michaelprescott.net/

Stealing Faces
by Michael Prescott
Book review by Aaron Paul Lazar

I’ve been reading and reviewing a fair amount of books this year, all of them quite good, and most of them on Kindle. Of course, I vet them before I accept a review request by reading the first few pages and the synopsis. There’s nothing worse than reviewing a book that bores you to tears or that just isn’t your cup of tea. So I almost always love the titles I accept.

In the midst of all these excellent books, however, came STEALING FACES. This high suspense thriller literally knocked my socks off.

Mr. Prescott’s writing style is what hooked me from the beginning. Smooth, tight, and fast flowing, the prose held me as spellbound as the suspense. Frankly, STEALING FACES is one of the best-written novels I’ve come across in a very long time, and I can’t believe I haven’t discovered Mr. Prescott’s work to date.

Cray has been stalking and killing women for over a decade. Well-respected by day, savage hunter by night, the man’s character is impeccably drawn using inner thoughts and dialog. The contrast between his day job (revealed partway through the book) and his secret, sick obsession, accentuates his evil.

Now, meet protagonist Elizabeth Palmer. Desperate, broke, resourceful, and lovely, this woman has fixated on finding and bringing Cray to justice since she escaped his clutches twelve years earlier.

From the first primal scream of Cray’s victim to the kaleidoscope of terror-filled memories experienced by Elizabeth, Prescott doesn’t let his readers relax, or even take a breath. Both characters, juxtaposed brilliantly against each other, drive the story forward to its very satisfying conclusion.

The plot is well recounted in many of the 100 plus reviews on Amazon, so let it suffice for me to say that many plot threads and themes are tightly woven into this book, with shock after shock and absolutely no letting down of the tension. I would actually recommend STEALING FACES as a primer for those interested in pursuing a career in writing thrillers.

Thank you, Mr. Prescott, for showing us all how it should be done, and for several nights of delicious, exhilarating thrills.

Highly recommended by Aaron Paul Lazar.

***Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases, FOR KEEPS (MAY 2012), DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (APRIL 2012), and the author’s preferred edition of UPSTAGED (JUNE 2012).

http://www.lazarbooks.com

Book Review for THE ABDUCTION OF MARY ROSE by Joan Hall Hovey

Review by Aaron Paul Lazar

Title:  THE ABDUCTION OF MARY ROSE
Author:  Joan Hall Hovey
Publisher: BWLPP
Genre: Suspense, 240 pages
ISBN-10: 1466337338
ISBN-13: 978-1466337336
Price: Kindle eBook: $2.99 Print Book: $11.99
Publisher website address: http://bwlpp.com/mysteries.php
Author’s personal website:http://www.joanhallhovey.com

The Abduction of Mary Rose
by Joan Hall Hovey
Book review by Aaron Paul Lazar

I have been a fan of Joan Hall Hovey since I read CHILL WATERS last year. After that, I reached for each and every release with the same excitement I do for new books by bestselling authors like Dean Koontz. And with THE ABDUCTION OF MARY ROSE, Ms. Hovey follows in the same tradition of grabbing her readers by the throat and never letting go until the final pages bring the story to its ultimate resolution.

It’s not so much the de facto smooth writing skills, or the vivid scene-setting that makes you feel as if you are right there with the protagonist, or the wonderful, natural-sounding dialog, or the edge-of-your-seat suspense, or the wild chase scenes that keep you up into the wee hours of morning with your heart pounding…No, I expect all of these elements in this author’s books. What shines so brightly above and beyond these great traits, however, is Ms. Hovey’s characters. Rich with back-story, as real as the person sitting next to you on the couch or in your office, these people leap off the page and invade your mind, lingering for weeks or months afterwards.

In THE ABDUCTION OF MARY ROSE, you’ll immediately begin to root for Naomi Waters, a twenty-eight year old woman who records audio books for a living. Bright, loving, and a dedicated daughter, her story starts at her dying mother’s bedside.

Now, imagine losing your only parent to a devastating disease. On the day of the funeral, now imagine discovering that she wasn’t your mother, that you were adopted. With that comes the knowledge that the photo on your dresser of your long dead military hero father was fake, too. Add to that the sudden unveiling of all this through your mother’s obituary, written by the nasty sister of the only mother you ever knew, and you have the springboard from which this riveting story moves forward.

When Naomi starts to dig into her birthmother’s history, she’s horrified to discover that poor Mary Rose was only sixteen when she was abducted, brutally raped and left for dead. The Micmac native girl lived long enough in a coma to give birth to Naomi, then died shortly thereafter. The case was never solved, and for nearly thirty years the rapist and his cohort have lived free among the local townspeople. One elderly witness saw two men take her back then, but couldn’t react fast enough to save the poor girl when the abduction happened.

Ms. Hovey’s scene of the abduction broke my heart. I’m still upset about it, and still feel ragged hatred toward the men who took her, used her, and threw her away. I am filled with sorrow for Mary Rose’s dear, sweet grandfather, who lost his only family member to violence of the worst sort. I’m not sure I would have survived such a loss, to tell the truth.

Yet through all of this tension and horrible upheaval, Naomi vows to dig into the past, catch her mother’s killer or killers, and bring them to justice. With skills that rival some of the best detectives, born of a passion to avenge her mother and a close spiritual connection with Mary Rose, she steadfastly makes progress in spite of the local police’s lack of interest.

In Joan Hall Hovey’s inimitable style, she ratchets up the suspense and fear as the story unfolds. Naomi goes public, gains the interest of the locals, and in particular one very brutal and nasty man, her mother’s rapist and her biological father.

The problem is, this man has no conscience, and only wants to destroy the DNA evidence of his misdeed that lies within Naomi’s cells. The final scenes will have you rooting for Naomi and clinging to the edge of your seat. They are brilliantly rendered.

When you buy this book–and I highly recommend you do–you need to set aside time to read. Start it on a Friday night or Saturday morning, or you’ll be calling your boss to take a vacation day. Yes, it’s that good.

***

Aaron Paul Lazar writes to soothe his soul. An award-winning, bestselling Kindle author of three addictive mystery series, Aaron enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys. Visit his website at http://www.lazarbooks.com and watch for his upcoming Twilight Times Books releases, FOR KEEPS (MAY 2012), DON’T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU (APRIL 2012), and the author’s preferred edition of UPSTAGED (JUNE 2012).

http://www.lazarbooks.com

Excerpt from “The Abduction of Mary Rose” by Joan Hall Hovey

Images of Betrayal by Claire Collins (Review)

Images of Betrayal
by Claire Collins
Romance
Published by Second Wind Publishing, LLC
ISBN# 1935171011

n1526866242_30180801_3507Abandoned and betrayed by her family, seventeen-year-old Tysan Reynolds supports herself the best she can with tips from the diner where she works. Into her lonesome life come two men: photographer Walker Sandoval and high school heartthrob David McKee. What should have been a magical time of romance turns into a time of horror; the photos Walker takes foretell violence and disaster. When Tysan receives a picture of her bound and gagged sister, she must fight to save the girl. And she must put her trust into one of the men. But who is the villain? And who is the hero?

Though billed as a romance, Images of Betrayal seems to be more of a suspense novel. I didn’t feel the urgency of the romance, but that could be due to Tysan’s age — at seventeen, love is seldom undying and true. Still, the easy flow of words and the well-constructed plot make this an enjoyable read.

Claire’s publisher says: “Claire Collins possesses the ability to weave heart-rending plots and hair-raising thrillers, all the while making readers wonder how things will work out for the couple who find love in the midst of life’s turmoil.”

See also: Pat Bertram Introduces Doug From the Novel Fate and Destiny by Claire Collins

Flipping Out by Marshall Karp (Review)

Flipping Out
By Marshall Karp
Mystery
Minotaur Books/St. Martin’s Press
ISBN# 0312378211 

flipping-cover2Best-selling novelist Nora Bannister buys run-down houses in LA. While Nora’s business partners turn each one into a showpiece, she writes a book with the house as the scene of a grisly murder. When the book is released, the women put the house up for sale. A bidding frenzy ensues among those who wish to live in a place where a fictional character died a violent death.

All goes fine with the scheme until the real deaths begin. LAPD Detectives Mike Lomax and Terry Biggs are assigned the case, a case that hits close to home since some of the victims are cops’ wives. Lomax and Biggs must track down the murderer before Terry’s wife becomes a target.

The motive for the murders seems to come out of nowhere, but still, the book is light and humorous and fun to read. Karp has a marvelous ear for dialogue, and a knack for one-liners. One of my favorites: The senior tech at the morgue says of her charges, “We don’t let them check in unless they’ve checked out.”

Karp says, “I write for people who want three-dimensional characters, real laugh-out-loud humor that is organic to the situation, and plot twists right up to the final pages. And while I make no guarantees, I’d say that a steady diet of my books can also help you lose weight, double your income, and improve your sex life.”

So, there you have it: Flipping Out by Marshall Karp.

See also:
Conversation With Marshall Karp, Author of Flipping Out
Titles: What Makes a Good One
by Marshall Karp
How To Do a Blog Tour by Marshall Karp