The Demon Hunters: A Review

The Demon Hunters
The Demon Hunters

This is the second volume in Linda Welch’s Whisperings series. And, believe it or not, as good as Along Came a Demon was, this sequel is even better.

In The Demon Hunters, Tiff Banks has made some major changes in her life, including starting a new detective agency with her partner, Royal.  But as Tiff tries to move her life forward in a new direction, things don’t exactly go as planned. When money becomes an issue, she is reduced to rescuing a kidnapped kitty for the reward–with the help of her faithful Scottie, MacKlutzy, of course.  And she discovers that she may not have as much choice as she would like in choosing which jobs to take, or how to handle them once she’s gotten them. 

As the book unfolds, a lot more is revealed about Tiff’s past and how she uses her gift. The book also introduces the demons known as the “Dark Cousins,” an interesting group that I hope we learn a lot more about in future volumes in the series. And, of course, her roommates Jack and Mel are irrepressible.

Author Linda Welch is always a talented, thoughtful writer and does a great job with the writing of humor–the kidnapped kitty section is hilarious.  Most impressive is the skillful recreation of a period journal that provides a vital clue to solving the mystery.  It is so well written and feels totally authentic. Like the first book, this one is a suspenseful, fast paced, fun read that I highly recommend.

Like the first volume, the book is available for the Kindle at a very reasonable price.

At the end of the book is a preview of the first chapter of the next book in the series, Demon on a Distant Shore. That volume promises to give some insight into the background of at least one of Tiff’s ghostly roommates.

You can learn more about the author, Linda Welch, on her blog where she posts updates on the Whisperings series.  You can also follow her updates on Twitter.  There is also a fan page on Facebook for Whisperings here.

Along Came a Demon: A review

51iwrUwhrdL__SL160_I accidentally found a sample chapter of this book by Linda Welch on the Internet.  Just a couple of paragraphs in, I was so hooked, I picked up my Kindle and downloaded it.  Yeah, it’s that good.

The protagonist, Tiff, is a character who is easy to relate to.  She has a job that doesn’t allow her to be herself.  She has roommates who complicate her life.  She has bad taste in men.  But her job is pretending to be a psychic because she can see and hear the spirits of those who have died violently.  Her roommates happen to be dead.  And her taste in men?  Well, you’d better read that for yourself.

This is a fun paranormal mystery that really keeps the suspense level high; I had no clue where the story was going. Besides being well plotted, the dialog in this book is delightful and feels very real.  My only complaint is that the book was too short! I sat down to read and was done before I knew it.  My only consolation is that this is the first in a new series.  The first chapter from the sequel, The Demon Hunters, is at the end of this book and looks just as interesting.  I am certainly looking forward to following this series.

You can learn more about the author, Linda Welch, on her blog where she post updates on the Whisperings series. You can also follow her updates on Twitter. There is also a fan page on Facebook for Whisperings here.

Heat Wave by Richard Castle – A review

Heat Wave
Heat Wave

This book  is a tie-in to the ABC television series Castle. The supposed “author” of this book is the lead character in the series, a writer. Interestingly, the book itself is playing a role in this season’s episodes.

First, let me start by saying that I am a HUGE fan of the TV series. I think that it is one of the smartest show to come out on television over the past couple of seasons. And as a tie-in for the series, it works quite well on a lot of levels.

Anyone who has watched the series will recognize the characters in the novel as based on the series regulars.  There are situations and lines of dialogue in the book that are verbatim from the show–deliberately, I presume, as the lines feel like an “inside joke” for the benefit of fans of the show. The characters  (especially protagonist Nikki Heat) are sexier than their TV counterparts and really feel like characters Castle might have written.

I really thought that the plot of the mystery in the novel could have been better.  On the series, the police cases are generally tightly written. In the book, the case is not as well focused.  The end feels rushed and the finer points are not clearly explained.  There were also areas where abreviations  and acronyms were used that, to me at least, the meaning wasn’t obvious. Most of these seemed to pertain to New York City.

The grammar and writing style were also not at a level that most would expect from Richard Castle. Castle’s character has been established on the series as being  an excellent writer with a keen command of language usage and grammar. The novel has some grammar errors (a few that are glaring) and the writing style is not what I’d expect from a character that is supposed to be a seasoned professional writer.

I had heard a rumor that this book was actually written by the show’s writers, who were in a rush trying to get the writing done for both the book and season two of the series.  If true, this may explain some of the book’s shortcomings.

If you are a diehard fan of the Castle TV series, you will probably find this book enjoyable, especially as it ties in to the storyline in season two. If you have never watched the show and are instead looking for a good mystery to read, this probably is not the book for you. You can read samples from the novel on ABC’s website.

Heat Wave is available in an edition for the Kindle. An audio book is also available at a very reasonable price, although it is not narrated by Nathan Fillion, who plays the author on the series.

UPDATE:  The paperback will be available on July 27, 2010.

Peace Love and Murder by Nancy Holzner- A Review

Peace, Love and Murder
Peace, Love and Murder

As a long time fan of mysteries, there are a few things that are important to me when I read one.  First, I want original characters that I can care about who are also realistic and believable.  I want a storyline that is keeps both the action and the suspense going.  I don’t want to be distracted by needless details, but I also don’t want to know “whodunit” halfway through the book.  I most certainly want to enjoy the journey. Peace, Love, and Murder delivers on all counts.

The story elements are original and intriguing, combining hippies, communes, cab drivers and murder. This unlikely combination sets the stage for a delightful mystery.  It is an enjoyable story with interesting characters that are neither stereotypic nor predictable. The storyline keeps both the action and the suspense going, and it held my interest all the way through.

Ms. Holzner writes with an exceptionally clear voice and in a style that is a delight to read. The main character’s background gives the novel an interesting twist. I found myself wanting to know more about these characters (especially Bo and Trudy), and am looking forward to the sequel.

 This is not yet available as a Kindle or eBook version  and no word yet on when or if  it will be available in those formats.

The author is also coming out with the first book in an urban fantasy series, Deadtown, at the end of this year.  If Peace, Love and Murder is any indication of her fiction writing talent, Deadtown should be a most enjoyable read, one I am looking forward to.

 You can read more about Nancy Holzner on her blog. There, she provides some interesting tips and insights into her own writing process.

Disclaimer: An advance reading copy of this book was provided by the author. My opinions are strictly my own and not influenced by being provided a copy of the book.

My Green Kindle

Anyone who knows me has heard (repeatedly) how much I love my Kindle.  A recent article on Treehugger.com discusses the results of a new study by the Cleantech Group that indicates the Kindle’s carbon footprint might really be greener after all.  While Treehugger is not totally convinced, Cleantech calls the results “significant.”  

I think that it is important to note that the Kindle will not be replacing paper books anytime soon; there are too many books not yet available in an ebook format.  And the Kindle appearing to be a greener alternative is certainly not sufficient justification in itself to buying one.  I just know that the 1500+ books I have on my Kindle now would take up a lot more space in my environment if they were paper than they do now.

Three Days to Dead

Just read the first chapter of Kelly Meding’s’ new book, Three Doors to Dead.  This is a new urban fantasy series by a new author who I think is going places. The first chapter is definitely intriguing.

Argh! And I have to wait til November to read the rest? Noooooo!!!!

You can read the chapter here.

No word on a Kindle edition yet, but the paperback is available for pre-order at Amazon.  It comes out November 24, 2009.

Currently Reading: What We Eat When We Eat Alone

What We Eat When We Eat Alone

What We Eat When We Eat Alone: Stories and 100 Recipes by Debra Madison and Patrick McFarlin is an interesting look at how we eat when we are alone. I am finding myself surprised at some of the differences between the way men and women approach this. Sometimes I eat like a man and sometimes like a woman….

The book is as much a narrative as it is a cookbook, and there are only about 100 recipes in the book. Many of them are Southwestern. I’ve already found a few new polenta recipes to try.

This book is available in a Kindle Edition.

Update: This was a enjoyable and very personable book to read.  The drawings in this book are absolutely delightful and add so much to the reading experience.  The chapter on seduction meals is quite humorous and a must read.

The book had some interesting recipes that I plan to try. I would have preferred less Southwestern recipes; I think the book had too many.