Category Archives: mystery

Andrew Gross – Everything to Lose

What lines would your cross to save your family’s home? What laws would you break to help your child? Would you steal to pay your mortgage or to keep your child in a school that was helping him? Borrow illegal money to protect family? Try to destroy a man you know is a monster? Kill to protect a loved one? What would you do if you had everything to lose?

The book has an interesting plot and covers many moral ambiguities. Various characters become caught up in the immoral or illegal to protect what they have or whom they love.

I enjoyed the book but was unhappy with the ending. Questions were left unanswered. That’s not always a bad thing, to leave the reader thinking about the answers. But too many good people died. Maybe the author was trying to teach a lesson about crossing the lines.

Carol Cassella – Gemini

I am impressed. Cassella is an amazing writer! Gemini is a captivating story switching between two main characters with very different stories and lives.

A doctor becomes involved, against her better judgment, with discovering the identity of a “Jane Doe” in her care. “Jane” lies in a coma in the hospital after she is found alongside the road almost dead from a hit-and-run.

The author also follows a young artist growing up with her grandfather in a backwoods small town. We see her first love, marriage, motherhood, her frustrations, struggles to survive, her spirit, her connection to grandfather, son, husband, to the land.

The genre is medical mystery, but I think it could also be classified as women’s fiction or literary. There is so much to grab you and keep you reading—hopes and fears, love and loss, heartbreak and joy, family, communication, morality, medicine, genetics…

I’m going to find Cassella’s two earlier novels, Oxygen and Healer, and spend more sleepless nights reading her work.

Bragging Rights

FAPA-GoldI don’t usually post about myself and my writing, but I won an award. The Janus Code by J.C. Ferguson (that’s me, Judy Loose) is the winner of the Florida Authors & Publishers Association 2014 President’s Award Gold Medal for Adult Fiction: Action/Suspense. It’s exciting to win a prestigious award—first place. Wow! It’s probably silly to be so pleased, but it does feel good to have professional writers and publishers approve of my work.

This is also a credit to the Gulf Coast Writers Association. They have three winners this year. In addition to my award, Alice Oldford won a gold medal in the Home and Garden category for her book, Recipes and Life and Patti Brassard Jefferson won a silver medal in the Children’s Picture Book category for Stu’s Big Party.

Thanks for listening to me sound off.

James Sheehan – The Lawyer’s Lawyer

I was up until 3AM finishing this one. I need to quit doing that. But I’m too busy to read during the day. As you might guess from the title, the book genre is legal/crime thriller with cops and lawyers. I have become bored with that genre in recent years, but this one is the exception.

The book has interesting characters, a good plot with lots of twists and turns, a Florida setting that I enjoyed, some romance, and surprises at the end. There was murder and mayhem – even a serial killer. It kept me wanting to find out what happens next.

Underneath it all is friendship, loyalty, love, a trust in the truth, and a belief that good people will do the right thing. To me this sets it apart from most books in this genre – in fact, most books.

Donna Leon – By Its Cover

Donna Leon is an ex-pat from New Jersey who has lived in Venice, Italy for the past 30 years. In her Commissario Guido Brunetti series, while leading us through the waterways of the old city, she plunges us into the slow-paced atmosphere of Venice’s culture – its beauty, food, people, and problems. By Its Cover has Brunetti looking into the theft of rare antique books and pages (illustrations and maps) cut from books in a library. An ex-priest who was a possible witness to some of the thefts turns up murdered.

I find the pace of this story interesting as Brunetti starts his investigation apparently relaxed and not too concerned and increases his tempo and concern to the point where is barely taking time out to eat or sleep before he solves the crime.

Leon’s settings are fascinating and her plot keeps you reading, but for me the best part of her writing is the characters.

Ingrid Thoft – Loyalty

Ingrid Thoft’s first novel, Loyalty, features Fina Ludlow, a gritty Private Investigator in Boston who is the black sheep in a family of ambulance chasing lawyers. The plot twists and turns starting with Fina looking for her missing sister-in-law. The streets of Boston felt very familiar to me having spent much of my life there. Good story, good plot, good settings, good characters, and the book kept my interest from beginning to end.

Martha Grimes – The Way of All Fish

I discovered another witty writer, Martha Grimes. Even though she’s written over thirty books, she’s new to me. In The Way of All Fish she satirizes the publishing world. Her characters are distinct and exaggerated; ridiculing authors, agents, publishers, lawyers, “hit men,” and fish. The “hit men” are part of the good guy crowd and the agents, publishers, and lawyers are characters on both sides. At times it’s difficult to keep track of all the characters going in all directions, but the majority are headed for the same goal – a convoluted plot to make an unscrupulous agent back off from suing an innocent author. Lots of fun.