Friday, June 19, 2015

Savage Summer: Ruth Bainbridge
This Mystery-Thriller Has It All!
Savage Summer by Ruth Bainbridge is one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read, it combines wit, humor, intricate plotting, suspense, and a cast full of likeable characters that you won’t soon forget.   
Curt Savage is our wounded hero. With his fiancĂ©e murdered, he’s struggling to get his life back together—all so he can track down the as yet unknown psycho that killed the love of his life. It’s at the start of this journey that Fate lends a hand. It’s in the form of new buddy Michelle “Mike” O’Brien. She’s one of the most engaging and complex characters I’ve had the pleasure to meet. And she appears at just the right time because it’s not long before Curt accepts his first case. Enlisted by his feisty neighbor Marge Danvers to solve the mystery of who poisoned her adorable dog Mooch, Mike is right there to help, as is Wolfie, an old friend from Curt’s police force days. Curt, Mike, Marge and Wolfie comprise the formidable and exceeding entertaining team that serve as the heart and soul of this novel. Game on!  
What happens next is a juggling act that had me holding my breath. It’s Fifty Shades of Ominous as the simple case of doggie felony quickly turns into something much more sinister. Out of the blue, an anonymous caller dubbed “Dr. Shadows” feeds Curt clues, but while the unknown tipster professes to know something about Ruth’s murder, can someone disguising his voice with a synthesizer be trusted? It’s what Curt is determined to find out, and when he dives down that rabbit hole, replete with tunnels leading to the other side of the moon, we go right along with him. Before he knows it, Curt is pulled into the maelstrom of a conspiracy that reaches into the depths of depravity.
The dialogue is wonderfully written as are the action scenes. There wasn’t a false note in the book that kept me on the edge of my seat. And I agree that Savage Summer is reminiscent of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. It really is a woven tapestry. I commend the author for her attention to detail and cleverness at inventing a story I totally and completely lost myself in. And the twists? They don’t stop coming until the very last page. Loved the stay at The Abyssinian, but that’s all I’m going to say although I really want to say more! Like a little something about the car ride … phone call … WHA’?!!! Talk about the rug being pulled out from under me! The cliffhanger that I never saw coming had me hungering for more!
If you’ve ever had a midnight craving where you’re not quite sure what you want, this is it! This is especially true if you love mystery-thrillers, spine-tingling suspense and a whole lot more. So give into the temptation. Read Savage Summer. The Curt Savage Mysteries are addictive, but I’m not going to fight this particular urge. It’s too much fun. It’s why I’ve already downloaded Savage Fall, the second in the series. I so can’t wait to find out what happens next! A big squee and five stars! 


Friday, June 12, 2015

Blasted Through This One!
I read the first few pages of about twenty books before settling on Broken by Matthew Storm, but the opening chapter grabbed me and never let up. I ended up blasting through the suspense-thriller. In fact, I became so obsessed with finishing it, that I found myself thinking about it during the day when involved in other pursuits. 
Nevada James heads the cast of characters. I’ll admit that I didn’t take to her right away, but I consider myself correct in not forming an immediate attachment. The skilled author was more than correct in letting the rapport build in this way. She’s revealed in bits and pieces, sort of like a strip tease. What we find out intrigues us enough to spark a need to know more! Nevada is like a prickly pear. The only difference is that her inside is as hostile and unwelcoming as the outside. The former police detective is quite the difficult person to get to know. What with her alcoholism and acting out. Add in a smart mouth, someone always willing to pick a fight, and a too quick trigger finger, and you have a rough idea of why people have pretty much given up on her. And why not since she’s given up on herself? In fact, the only saving grace here is why she’s given up on herself. Discovering this makes all the difference in the world.
Broken begins with a knock on the door—literally. Lucky for Nevada she answers it and finds that, after sleeping and drinking her way through the past year, someone wants to hire her for a job … someone with a fancy lawyer that has two first names … someone willing to pay her big bucks just to hear him talk. Money? Yeah, that’ll get anyone’s attention and so she goes to sit, listen, and collect. Nice.
It turns out that the client is mafia boss Alan Davies. You’d think people in his position could handle anything, but not the disappearance of his wife and child. The situation calls for an ace detective, something Nevada used to be. But she isn’t at all sure that Davies doesn’t have a hand in that vanishing act, or that he’s even telling the truth. She’s about to take the money and run when Davies mentions her old boss Dan Evans and that Evans recommended her for this assignment. It’s enough to get her to reverse her stance and sign on.
That’s about as much as I’m going to say about the plot because twists abound and the surprises are half the fun of reading this thriller. The dialogue is very well handled. Crackling with authenticity and laced with humor, the storyline speeds along. If any fledging authors want to learn about pacing, I suggest they read this book to see how it’s done!
All-in-all, a great read and one I thoroughly enjoyed! There were one or two tiny mistakes (I always find something!), but the story is extremely well-edited and written so grammar Nazis take heart. The only false note for me came at the end … not the very end … but the end before the real end. I figured Nevada would see that one coming, but she didn’t and I chose to overlook it since it led to a very satisfying conclusion. I mean overwhelming satisfying.
Five stars to Matthew Storm for Broken. In fact, I was so impressed by his writing that I’m going to check out a couple more of his novels. I figure if he can write this well, that I’d be foolish not to hitch another ride! Can’t wait to see what else his agile mind has been up to!