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Saturday, October 7, 2017

The Umbrella Man by Jake Needham

Genre: Thriller

Setting, Singapore

First Sentence:  Samuel Tay pushed himself up from the chair and walked over to the French doors that led to his small garden.

This novel is the second in at the author's Samuel Tay series which currently runs to four volumes.

Detective Samuel Tay is a good cop.  One reason for this is that Tay doesn't need the job.  He has inherited enough money from his parents to live comfortably.  He is a good cop because he wants to ensure that justice is done in the cases he works on.

Then one night, several explosions rock Singapore.

Like all good cops, Tay runs into danger. Unfortunately, he becomes a victim of the bombing.  As he recuperates,  Inspector Tay becomes restless.  As soon as he can, he gets the doctors to release him.

As you can imagine, the explosions are the greatest crime in the history of Singapore.  And Tay wants to be a part of the investigation.

Instead, he is assigned to investigate a dead body report in one of the poorest parts of Singapore.  When Tay observes the body, the victim seems familiar to him.  Then, a forensic specialist tells Samuel that a safe deposit box key has been discovered in an unusual place on the victim's body.

So, Tay investigates further.  Along the way he meets secret agents and international criminals.  And he discovers that there might be a connection between his parents' inheritance and the explosions.

In the end, I will leave it to you, Dear Reader, to determine if justice has been served with Samuel's investigation.

I liked this book.  To me, the novel reads like a television miniseries.  The plot moves forward with each chapter.  And in the end you have read a most enjoyable story.


Friday, September 8, 2017

Lost Innocents by Denise Domning

Genre: Historical Mystery

Setting: Twelfth Century England

First Sentence: The shivaree at last.

This novel is the third in the author's Servant of the Crown series.

Sir Faucon de Ramis is the new Crowner of the shire.  He has had the position for a little while.  Yet his investigations have kept him busy.

He is aided in his duties by Brother Edmond.  Brother Edmond is a bit strict in his interpretations of the law.

Sir Faucon, or Sir Crowner as the people call him, has earned the people's respect by his fairness.

The town of Wike has a small population.  Yet there are plenty of secrets and lies.

There has been a murder in Wike.  The hue and cry is raised.  The body of a young girl. has been discovered, unclothed, in the town's well.  The accused young man has escaped into the crown's forest.

Sir Faucon quickly determines that the accusations are incorrect.  The girl did not die from drowning.  She was put in the well after she had died.

So Sir Faucon begins asking questions  The knight learns that this murder is connected to other deep, dark, secrets.

Will Sir Faucon sift though the clues and discover who is responsible for the death of the girl?

I really like the author's characters.  They are realistic.

The author has included an overarching mystery.  Tantalizing clues have appeared at the beginning and end of each of the novels in this set.  I was disappointed that the mystery still hasn't been solved.

 I hope to get a chance to read more in this series.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Season of the Fox by Denise Demming

Genre: Historical Mystery

Setting: 12th Century England

First Sentence: Blasphemy! Rage drives my feet until I am almost running - disgraceful behavior! - along the red brown track away from that ... hovel.

This novel is the second in the author's Servant of the Crown series.

Our main character, Sir Faucon de Ramis, is a newly appointed coroner.  His duty is to investigate any untimely deaths. to determine if any fines and duties are due to the King.

Sir Faucon doesn't want to only determine if a murder has been committed.  He wants to discover who the culprit is.  Thus he can ensure that the fines and taxes are levied in a fair and just way.

In this novel a young man has been accused of murder.  He is discovered with the body, and with blood on his hands.  When the hue and cry is raised, the young man  makes a mad dash for the church and claims sanctuary.  He has forty days of safety before he can be prosecuted and punished for his crime.

Fortunately, Sir Faucon is in town investigating another death.

Sir Faucon begins to ask questions.  He soon determines that the young man in the church is not guilty.

If he is innocent, then who is guilty?

I enjoyed this book.  The author has an enjoyable easy-to-read writing style.  The characters seem real, and the plot moves forward.

Also, the plot of the book is bracketed with clues from another evil murder.  Sir Faucon  will soon learn about this horrible and evil crime.

Now on to book three.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Season of the Raven by Denise Domning

Genre: Historical Fiction

Setting: England in the 12th century.

First Sentence:  "Tonight you sleep with the angels my sweet,"  I tell her and press a kiss to her forehead in blessing.

This novel is the first in the author's Servant of the Crown mystery series.

Sir Faucon de Ramis has recently returned from a crusade to the holy lands.  Back in England is is a second son with few prospects.  He is surprised when is offered the post of Keeper of the Kings Pleas. (Pleas is the plural of plea. )

On his first day in office, He is presented with his first case.  I seems to be an accidental death.  A  drunk miller has died when he fell into his water wheel.  But Sir Falcon discovers evidence that the miller had been stabbed and was dead before he fell.

Sir Faucon is assisted by brother Edmond.  Edmond is a stickler for proper legal protocol and is not afraid to speak his mind.  Often this is a nuisance for Sir Faucon.

With the help of Edmond, Sir Faucon gathers the clues that will help solve the mystery.

He also discovers that there is another set of murders happening.  It may take a long time to to unravel the clues needed to solve this deeper and more nefarious mystery.

I liked this novel.  It was an easy read with believable characters.

Now on to the next book in the series.


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Hannibal's Children by John Maddox Roberts

Genre: Alternate History

Setting: In an alternate version of Europe and the Mediterranean, 115 years after the third Punic War. A version of history in which Rome was defeated by the Carthaginians .

First Sentence:  Behind them were the seven hills and the sacred city of Quirinus.

This novel is an example of alternate history.  The author choses a point of departure from our historical time line.  then the author tells how history might have happened.

In this novel, the point of departure is at the end of the third Punic War.  At this time, in our history Rome utterly destroyed the Carthaginian empire.  In this version,  Hannibal defeats the Romans and sends them into exile.

So, the Romans move north and settle in lands that once belonged to the barbarian hordes.  While in exile, the Romans continue their civilization and prepare for the day they when can conquer the Carthaginians and return to Rome.

After 115 years, envoys are sent out to assess the situation, and determine if the time has come for the conquest of Rome.

Is it time for the conquest to begin?

This was an okay book.  Once the change of timeline has occurred, the novel reads like a normal novel about Rome.

I you like reading about Rome and Romans, check out this book.



Saturday, July 1, 2017

Second to None by Alexander Kent

Genre: Historical Fiction, Nautical Fiction

Setting: At sea and and in England during the summer of 1815.

First sentence: The midshipman stood beneath the cabin skylight, his body accepting the heavy motion of the ship around him.

This novel is the twenty-fourth of the author's Richard Bolitho series.  This series currently runs to thirty books.

In this series we have followed the exploits of the main character of the series, Sir Richard Bolitho.  We have followed his career from midshipman to Fleet Admiral.  Watched his glory at in battle, his duty to his country, and his unfortunate troubles with love.

Then, finally at the end of his illustrious life, a single French bullet robs him of life and love.

Now, the author follows the life and career of Sir Richard's nephew Adam Bolitho.

The war with France is over.  There are sailors and officers who have never known a time of peace.  the British Navy turns its attention to the pirates and slavers of North Africa.

Captain Bolitho and his crew are part of the fleet tasked with ridding the Mediterranean from the North African corsairs.

In between the naval sea battles, Adam Bolitho continues to have a complicated love life.  His first great love was the wife of one of his close friends.  Unfortunately, she died in a terrible cliffside accident.

Now, Adam has found another great love.  She too is the wife of another man.

Sprinkled between battles and love, the author gives us a glimpse of the rest of Sir Richard's "little crew".

This was an okay book.  It advanced the plot lines, and gave us a peek into the past .


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Sword of Honor by Alexander Kent

Genre: Nautical Fiction, Historical Fiction

Setting: In England and on board a British Navy vessel.

First sentence:  Vice-Admiral Sir Graham Bethune put down his pen and waited for the elderly Admiralty clerk to gather up the letters and dispatches he has signed.

This novel is the twenty-third in the author's Richard Bolitho series.  The series currently runs to thirty books.

It is 1814.  The war with Bonaparte and France is over.  Admiral Sir Richard Bolitho has recently returned from his duty commanding the British squadron patrolling the American coast.

Now, he has been ordered to Malta to command the British fleet in the Mediterranean.

In their excitement at winning the war, the Admiralty is quickly downsizing the size of the fleet.

The Admiralty believes that the only enemy left in the Mediterranean are Muslim traders.

Bolitho is well aware that, no matter what the truth of the situation, it will be left to the lowly sailors to fight and die to defend their country.

I liked this book.  The author has an easy to read style that makes the pages fly by.

Once again, I encourage readers to read the books in order.  Doing so will enable the reader to follow Bolitho's life from midshipman to Admiral.