Mystery Book Review: The Bughouse Affair

The Bughouse Affair by Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini

Sabina Carpenter and John Quincannon are partners at a detective agency in San Francisco. Quincannon’s latest case is investigating home invasions for an insurance company. While Sabina is tracking down a female pickpocket at an amusement park. But after investigating the pickpocket’s known accomplices, and stumbling upon a murder, Sabina begins to see a connection between the two cases. Further complicating Quincannon’s investigation is someone who claims to be a certain famous British detective thought to be dead – a bughouse Sherlock Holmes.

Set in an alternate 1890’s, this is a promising start to a new series. The Bughouse Affair is a spirited, fast-paced read. It’s a historical mystery with adventure, suspense, colorful characters, and humor. A fast-paced and quick read, Carpenter and Quincannon offer a fun and fresh take on the genre. The two have a blossoming chemistry; and I look forward to reading more in the series.

SciFi Mystery Book Review: Sherlock Holmes: The Army of Dr Moreau

Sherlock Holmes: The Army of Dr Moreau by Guy Adams

Official Synopsis:
Following the trail of several corpses seemingly killed by wild animals, Holmes and Watson stumble upon the experiments of Doctor Moreau. Moreau, through vivisection and crude genetic engineering is creating animal hybrids, determined to prove the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin. In his laboratory, hidden among the opium dens of Rotherhithe, Moreau is building an army of ‘beast men’. Tired of having his work ignored — or reviled — by the British scientific community, Moreau is willing to make the world pay attention using his creatures as a force to gain control of the government.

Review:
This is a fun and imaginative blending of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and H. G. Wells’ works. This new adventure of Sherlock Holmes and Watson brings science fiction to the plot instead of regular whodunit mystery. Holmes and Watson are hired by Holmes’ brother Mycroft to investigate sightings of unusual animal attacks in the city. Mycroft believes that these creatures may be the result of Dr. Moreau’s bizarre experiments. But as Holmes and Watson investigate, they uncover a surprising conspiracy.

Adams stays true to the original characters of Holmes and Watson, yet brings a fun, exciting twist with a fresh new story. This mash-up of classics was highly entertaining and completely riveting. I’m a sucker for a good mystery, and paired with my favorite genre, science fiction, I had high expectations that were well placed. I’ll certainly be reading more in this continued series of Sherlock Holmes.

Book Giveaway: Kill Shot

Courtesy of Atria Books, I have a copy of Kill Shot by Vince Flynn for one (1) lucky winner!

1st chapter excerpt: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Kill-Shot/Vince-Flynn/9781416595205/excerpt
Video: http://youtu.be/oCANCaPV2W4

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes, please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends August 24. I’ll draw a name on August 25, and notify winner via email.

Good luck!

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Mystery Book Review: The Harry Houdini Mysteries: The Houdini Specter

The Harry Houdini Mysteries: The Houdini Specter by Daniel Stashower

Harry Houdini is a struggling performer, trying to become famous. Houdini and his brother Dash will agree to just about anything to get on the stage. Dash and Houdini are asked by an old friend to expose a conman holding séances and claiming to speak to a wealthy widow’s recently deceased husband. But during their séance, even Houndini can’t manage to immediately figure out how the conman, Lucius Craig, created a ghost-like figure that seems to have murdered one of the guests. And Craig was completely tied up to a chair, which Houdini himself secured the ropes.

This is the third installment in the Harry Houdini Mysteries, though is wholly standalone. As a fan of the famous escape artist, I love reading about Houdini – even fictional accounts. Stashower’s atmosphere and dialog feels like an exciting Sherlock Holmes novel, set in a slightly later time period and with a seemingly unsolvable mystery. In this series, Houdini is an outrageously eccentric and flamboyant performer who is always “on.” He obviously appreciates Sherlock Holmes, but is significantly more showy and absolutely believes that he is one of the world’s greatest performers and escape artists. Dash plays straight man to Houdini’s over-the-top hilarity, and the two are incredibly funny and charming.

The mystery within The Houdini Specter was inspired and engrossing. The characters are completely loveable. And the final climactic showdown was suspenseful and thrilling. Fast-paced and a quick read, I couldn’t put this down and devoured it in just a couple hours. I will definitely be picking up the rest in this fantastic series.

Mystery – Audio Book Review: Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins: Rebel Fire

Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins: Rebel Fire by Andrew Lane

Sherlock Holmes is excited to have his brother Mycroft home for a visit. But when Mycroft pulls Sherlock’s tutor Amyus Crowe aside for a private conversation. Sherlock discovers that Mycroft’s visit wasn’t just to see him. News has come that presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth may be not be dead, but hiding out nearby in England. Despite warnings from both his brother and Crowe, Sherlock decides to investigate. His latest adventure takes him on a wild ride across the ocean to America where Sherlock uncovers a massive conspiracy.

Fourteen-year-old Sherlock still has a lot to learn. But he’s brave and extremely resourceful. Once again, his adventurous spirit gets Sherlock and his friends in all sorts of trouble. With plenty of danger, suspense, and intrigue – this fast-paced thrill ride is less of a whodunit mystery like Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and more of an Indiana Jones-style adventure. I listened to the audio version of the story (thanks to Macmillan Audio), and noticed there was quite a bit more gruesome violence than most young reader novels. I doubt it would be as cringe-worthy just reading a novel, but when narrated by the talented Dan Weyman the action is much more engrossing. Once again, Weyman does an excellent job of capturing the diverse characters and their accents. Though, his female American accent is still a bit muddled. Sherlock Holmes fans will get a kick out of this creative new series with eccentric characters, exciting exploits, and a bit of history blended for an extremely enjoyable story.

Mystery – Audio Book Review: Death Cloud

Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

Sherlock Holmes: The Legend Begins

On a break from school, fourteen-year-old Sherlock Holmes is sent to stay with an uncle and aunt he doesn’t know, while his father is stationed in India. After befriending an orphaned that his uncle doesn’t approve of, Sherlock is assigned a tutor, a fascinating American named Amyus Crowe. When two men in town are found dead from what looks like the plague, Sherlock is immediately suspicious. As Sherlock begins to investigate the strange clues left behind, he stumbles upon a nefarious plot and a ruthless man who sets his sights on young Sherlock.

Teenage Sherlock does not have many friends. He is bright, logical, and a natural at deductive reasoning. But his education with Amyus Crowe is a turning point in his learning and detection skills. Several details about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes little-known early life and family information are carried over into this new series debut.

The Justin Bieber look-a-like on the cover may only appeal to little girls, but mystery fans of all ages will appreciate this fast-paced adventure. Full of mystery, brilliant detection, drama, and intrigue – Death Cloud is an enjoyable and gripping tale of a beloved character’s coming-of-age. I’m excited to see further adventures of young Sherlock

This audio book is read by Dan Weyman, with a unique voice for each colorful character. Weyman’s clear and concise narration made for easy listening and added immensely to the tone of the story.

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