Leading The Witness

– by Carsen Taite

 

When Carsen Taite releases a book especially when it’s something to do with US criminal law/legal matters, I get very excited because as you may know, Taite’s my official go-to author for all things US criminal law-related. I love all her law-related books because I can always feel this sense of authenticity, the level of detail and knowledge that Taite innately injects into her stories. I love authors who use their other professional expertise to validate and substantiate the realism of the cases/plots weaved. For me, it makes for a better, more convincing, more informed read when I believe in what’s being written and told. But that’s just me, so…!

Anyway, back to Taite’s latest legal romance outing, “Leading the Witness,” which I read it in one short sitting. First off, I was already intrigued by what the blurb revealed about the story, the plot and the MCs. A seasoned prosecutor, a zealous defence attorney hellbent on grilling law enforcement witnesses in all her cases (aka a chip on her shoulder but as a result of very legitimate reasons which readers will get to discover as the story progressed), two attorneys with opposing methodologies in trying criminal cases, a high profile child kidnap case, an old equally high-profile child kidnap case resurfacing that was related to one of the MCs, not to mention, both MCs butting heads in every step of the way whilst also being attracted to each other! Intriguing, innit? But then, as I started reading it, I must say, how this story unfolded from the start was an unexpected one for me because going into the story, mindful of what the blurb alluded to in regard to the plot, I was prepared for what I thought would be Taite’s usual writing structure and storytelling style. Alas, it wasn’t and my intrigue level increased exponentially! For me, this was not the usual style that Taite uses in her writing and story-weaving of a crime-and-law-related plot and romance.

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21 Weeks Series (Weeks 1-7, 8-14, 15-21)

– by R.A. LaShea

21weeks

*This commentary applies to all 3 installments of “21 Weeks”
(Weeks 1-7, 8-14 & 15-21)*

 

How do you catch a perfect killer?

R.A. LaShea‘s tour de force of a serial crime saga, “21 Weeks” that spanned out in 3 7-week installments, is prolly the best constructed and executed crime procedural series I’ve ever read in any fic yet! Thanks to an enthusiastic recommendation from one of my GR mates (Cheers, Farah!), I grabbed a copy and never looked back! My goodness! It was like watching the entire case on-screen! So meticulous. So methodical. So absorbing and addictive. In fact, LaShea’s design of the entire case is so ready to be adapted from book-to-screen. imho! “21 Weeks” is truly one of the most original serial crimes created, what with the types of killings constructed and the methodology of solving it.

First off, I was immediately drawn to the aesthetic structure of LaShea’s presentation of her story – dividing it into weeks. Reminded me of the TV series, “24,” but instead of every episode representing one hour, this one was by week. And in each week, starting from “Week 1,” the story began with the day, the location and the time, reminiscent of the TV series, “Law & Order.” With this technique, I discovered that my brain was processing my reading of each Week as if it were a week instead of my usual reading time of x minutes to finish a chapter (Week). In essence, the constant display of the day and time on the pages tricked my brain into slowing down the reading time lapse to match LaShea’s. I can’t explain it any other way, so if you think I’m bonkers, maybe I am! Ignore this! Anyway, it literally brought Beck and Co.’s entire investigation of each homicide to life, for me, making my experience much more acute! In addition to this effective structure of presentation, one of the best bits was that I felt like LaShea gave me, the reader, the opportunity to work through and determine the killer’s modus operandi myself rather than spoon-feeding me, you know? Simply brilliant!

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Sandman

– by Tammy Bird

 

One word. Sandman. On the book cover. The text almost translucent, as if trying to hide in plain sight with its colour melding into the sandy beach with an ominous-looking sky looming above the troubled waters.

What is Sandman?

When I first heard about Tammy Bird‘s debut novel, “Sandman,” I was immediately curious. First, the cryptic title, which set my mind whirling trying to ascertain its meaning or symbolism. The aesthetically unsettling cover closed the deal for me. SOLD.

Then, the fact that the revealed plot from the blurb was twofold – a search-and-rescue effort post-hurricane and what was lurking in the sand dunes. I thought that was a fascinating approach to writing in the crime thriller genre in lesfic. Needless to say, I utterly enjoyed the story as a whole. I was glad to discover that there were more than met the eye, beyond the twofold-plotline blurb! Truth be told, I actually didn’t read the blurb before I read the book because I was so intrigued by the title that I wanted to find out for myself including what the case would entail. I must say, I was surprised when I went back to read the blurb afterwards when I saw the revelation of the title’s meaning! I wish the blurb didn’t mention that, though. Oh well, it didn’t affect me because, thank goodness, I didn’t read the blurb before delving into a book this time!

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Wings Series (Books 1 – 3: Dark Wings Descending/Pale Wings Protecting/White Wings Weeping)

– by Lesley Davis

Wings

*This commentary applies to all three books in this “Wings” trilogy.*

After coming off a reading high with Lesley Davis‘ latest brilliant romance novel, “Playing with Fire,” I wanted to explore more of her writing and stories. Imagine my delight when I saw that she also wrote in the paranormal genre! Why, it’s only one of my favourite genres! And it was a trilogy! Plus, when mixed with crime/mystery and romance, too?! Cor! Not only that but….

Angels & Demons?! Gods & monsters?! Demigods?! Oracles?! Immortals?! Awakened (humming “was blind but now I see….”) souls?! Possessions?! All congregated in the same time-space with, dare I say…(gasp!)…Ordinary humans running around, too?! Good vs Evil?! Heaven & Hell?! The Underworld?! Bloody hell!

Also, maybe it’s the fact that I’ve just recently watched Amazon’s Neil Gaiman/Terry Prachett-adapted mini-series, “Good Omens,” which I absolutely adored because of its sheer audacity, satire and endlessly hilarious presentation! So, that “heavenly/hellishly,” “divine” feel prolly lent to my immediate pounce on Davis’ Trilogy, besides my obvious interest in the genre! Either way….

3 words: Hook. Line. Sinker.

By the end of this epic trilogy, I was well and truly entertained, satiated, satisfied. In ALL aspects of what I was looking for in this particular paranormal angle, including obviously, a delish romance wrapped around every installment! Best few hours spent devouring all three books back-to-back, in one fell swoop! End of. 

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Deadeye (Luce Hansen Thriller Book 3)

– by Meredith Doench

 

After having read Books 1 and 2 of Meredith Doench‘s utterly engaging “Luce Hansen Thriller” crime series, which I thoroughly enjoyed, obviously I HAD to read its 3rd installment, “Deadeye!” Speaking of Doench, it was thanks to Jeannie Levig who first recommended her series to me when we talked about dark lesfic crime thrillers. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have known and would’ve missed an opportunity to explore Doench’s brilliant crime writing style and plot weaving in lesfic! For me, her style is reminiscent of James Patterson and Thomas Harris’, which is my cuppa tea. Needless to say, Doench’s 3rd installment continued to showcase her crime/thriller writing skills in crafting yet another intriguing case, not to mention, her insights into the ongoing development of Hansen’s emotional and psychological journey as she continued her efforts to juggle her work with her personal life better this time. One swift read later, yup, this one’s my favourite installment of the series, yet.

Obviously, I have to comment on the captivating book cover! Feast thy eyes: A scope target. Fixed on a Celtic cross. Red all over. Interpretation: Danger. Insidious. Deadly. Sniper. That’s the story. Right there. Staring at me. Who wouldn’t be curious? Well, I was! And as I explored the story, I was immediately struck by its symbolism. Well done!

Because Doench also included Hansen’s private life which she first developed in “Crossed” (Book 1), continued growing in “Forsaken Trust” (Book 2), including her romantic relationships/entanglements, there was no reason she wouldn’t further advance Hansen’s relationship with her current partner, Bennett (first introduced in “Forsaken” not merely as Hansen’s love interest but played a major role in investigating and solving the featured case), in this installment. So, even though, like other crime serials, the Luce Hansen series is a procedural, meaning each installment can be read as a stand-alone, I’d personally advise readers who haven’t read the previous two books, to do so, IF you’re also interested in the chronological development of Hansen’s private life besides the case-of-the-week plot.

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Secrets Of The Last Castle

– A. Rose Mathieu

 

After having SO much fun with “Sins Of Our Fathers,” obviously I HAD to continue the A. Rose Mathieu way with her sophomore effort and sequel to “Sins,” “Secrets Of The Last Castle” immediately or I wouldn’t be able to go on with other titles! First off, sequels, in general, are hard to write mainly because of all the pressure of trying to top the success and quality of their originals, aren’t they? Hence it’s not commonplace for sequels to fair better than their predecessors because most often than not, creators tend to go overboard (with few exceptions, obvs!). But Mathieu not only succeeded in nailing another top-notch sophomore story but also succeeded in crafting a sequel with flying colours! Perhaps even surpassing the overall quality of the writing and storytelling of the first one, imho! In fact, for me, “Secrets Of The Last Castle,” was just superbly remarkable and extraordinary!

You know how sequels tend to be bigger and more elaborate than the first, right? Like Randy Meeks said in “Scream 2,”: “There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to create a successful sequel. Number one: the body count is always bigger. Number two: the death scenes are always much more elaborate — more blood, more gore. Carnage candy.” Mathieu did it. With remarkable effect. The plot was bigger, more sinister and infinitely more dangerous, Elizabeth and Grace’s relationship was more expanded, deeper, their roles in the plot more intricately entwined, stakes couldn’t be higher.

I was beyond ecstatic that I had the opportunity to take that fabulously thrilling ride with Elizabeth, Grace and the rest of the pack from “Sins Of Our Fathers” in this highly entertaining, superlatively weaved, darkly subversive piece of crime/mystery thriller! This time, Mathieu took her innate skill in weaving a truly splendid tale and elevated it to another level of brilliance! In this sequel, Mathieu delved even deeper into the many intertwining events and stories that formed this tale. A cerebral, intelligent, clever, ingenious plot that just kept getting more intricate at each developmental stage of the story, the characters, primary and secondary alike, the ever-changing situations and warping circumstances.

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Sins Of Our Fathers

– by A. Rose Mathieu

 

Truth be told, I stumbled upon A. Rose Mathieu‘s 2017 debut novel, “Sins Of Our Fathers” sometime last year and quickly placed it on my reading queue primarily because of the “sinfully” ill-omened cover beckoning me so resistance was futile for me, tbh! You know me and spellbindingly aesthetic art! And then, there was the title with the familiar phrase which, to my delight, would equate to the saying, “old sins cast long shadows,” which could only mean – hidden past, unsolved mystery, convergence of the past, present and future with intertwining stories – that I could look forward to in Mathieu’s book! Why, then, wait until now to read it? Blame my horridly LONG reading queue and…timing….mood. Yup, that’s it. So now that I’m in the mood for some good lesfic crime/mystery/thriller, I thought it was perfect timing for me to read it. Well, I inhaled it. At no time at all because…what a page-turner, it was!! Utterly brilliant writing and storytelling! I LOVED it!

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