Sunday, August 12, 2012


by Robert Fate

Genre: Crime Mystery PI
ISBN: 0-9799960-2-3

Pages: 287
Starting Price:  $14.95

Blurb via Author’s website:

May 1957––When Kristin Van Dijk aka Baby Shark and Otis Millett are hired to deliver the ransom for redheaded Savannah Smike, the mysterious piano-playing girlfriend of an Oklahoma bootlegger, they find themselves involved in more trouble than they bargained for. It is kill or be killed from day one.

Who wants Savannah so badly they are willing to murder anyone who gets in the way? That is the mystery Kristin and Otis confront in what becomes a no-holds-barred struggle between two feuding outlaw clans.
This action-crime-adventure is quintessential Baby Shark. It careens across two states, leaving a trail of blood and destruction from the tough side of Fort Worth through the southern Ozarks of Oklahoma to the lonesome high plains of the Texas panhandle.

My Review:

This is my first time experiencing Mr. Fate’s writing and I feel I’ve come home. I’m a major fan of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, not that Baby Shark is Mike Hammer. No, I think Hammer would give this lady a wide berth. Kristin Van Dijk is no nonsense, tough, but never abrasive. Her loyalty to Otis and her reputation comes across clear and well-earned.

Baby Shark is not a cozy read. This is a gritty, time period, no punches pulled, out and out head on fight. The characters are no way sugar coated. Some might say the characters are stereotypes of perceived tough guys; however, stereotypes never read true. These are characters shaped by their experiences, those around them, and life in general. Mr. Fate’s writing is simply straightforward.

Because this is my first reading of Baby Shark, I am missing some background on her. Every series builds its characters, adds more, shows more. Some of Baby Shark I’ve had to fill in for myself and I don’t think I’ve been far off the mark. Mr. Fate’s secondary characters are…will fans get mad if I use the word, fun? They are, fun that is. The secondary characters are fun. I believe them and while I might not want to meet any in real life, here within the pages I like them.

This is a writer’s strength. Being able to bring any character alive and have the reader want them to be real. To forget they’re not.

Baby Shark isn’t going to be for everyone and even for me; I’ll read more cozies between each Baby Shark. Nevertheless, I’ll revisit and live precariously within Mr. Fate’s pages.

Material provided by author in exchange for my impartial review


by Anastasia Amor

        Paperback: 232 pages
        Publisher: Brodt Publishing (October 27, 2013)
        Language: English
        ISBN-10: 0992134307
        ISBN-13: 978-0992134303
        Amazon Link


2011 EPIC Ebook Award Finalist

Blurb via Publisher’s website:

Carnaval---parties, sheiks and pirates. A killer behind a mask. When Adie Sturm discovers a bloody body she panics. Guilty until proven innocent. Justice…Mexican style. Adie Sturm is the prime suspect. Not even Wolf Du Lac can get her out of this fix. A Cozumel jail cell has Adie’s name on it unless millionaire Diego Alvarez pulls a few strings.

And what about Wolf? Is he really hers or does he have bonds with a woman from his past? With her life out of control, Adie Sturm investigates a nudist resort on the mainland. This romantic get-away proves to be a treacherous set-up. The walls close in. The police want to pin it on Adie.

A convoluted trail with everyone having an alibi. Someone is lying. A friend could be a murderer and a lover could betray her.

My Review:

Adie’s back and it’s hotter than ever, way hotter. And far more dangerous.

I couldn’t wait to open up THE CURSE OF THE CARNAVAL and revisit Adie. Ms. Amor does exactly what a read should do…takes me away from everything. This time my escape is with heat, murder, mystery, and oh no he isn’t.

It’s easy to retell what a book is about, but it can be extremely difficult to tell why you recommend it. This series is a fun getaway. There’s no pretense to being anything other than a good old-fashion romp…both romantic and adventure. I do hope Ms. Amor and her publisher takes this as the positive I mean it to be.

For me a book should entertain me. I should be able to hear, smell, feel the environment and hear the characters. Ms. Amor is successful in all these. I’ve not been disappointed and I look forward to more of these energy-charged reads.

Oh, and I’ve decided, I want Adie to pick Diego. He might only be interested in Adie because she won’t fall into bed with him, but I think there’s genuineness to him. Wolf, he’s a touch too easy with his dealings with those female barracudas chasing him.

Thanks for the escape, Ms. Amor.

Book information as well as book supplied by Publisher for my impartial review


DAYS OF THE DEAD: An Adie Sturm Mystery

 by Anastasia Amor

·        Paperback: 258 pages
·        Publisher: Brodt Publishing; new edition edition (September 6, 2013)
·        Language: English
·        ISBN-10: 099180628X
·        ISBN-13: 978-0991806287
  • eries: Adie Sturm Mysteries
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Brodt Publishing (October 27, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0992134307


Blurb :

Rowdy drunks, pick-up lines and buckets of beer—all to be expected for a pre-trip get-together. What Adie Sturm doesn’t expect is murder. Death decides to come early. Her Days of the Dead tour has a killer on board.

A stolen statue brings Cozumel millionaire Diego Alvarez back into her life. He’ll give her anything--a private jet, a condo, and of course, himself.

And what about her ex? Wolf Du Lac is a man more delicious than chocolate but is he still hers?

Enemies creep out of the woodwork. Someone wants Adie dead. Danger and passion unite in the heat of the jungle. Two delicious men are rivals for her love. Adie wants nothing more than to find the murderer and hand him over to the police. Will she have that day in the sun with a sensuous lover or will the killer find her first? 

My Review:

 Adie’s back and so are her hotter than hot men, Wolf and Diego. Who will win this time? Adie for sure, if she can stay alive and out of trouble.

We’re back visiting Cozumel, but not before someone dies in Kitchener during Oktoberfest. A sad coincidence or will the killer follow Adie? Of course, there’s no coincidence and that’s all I’m going to tell you.

Ms. Amor has written another heated cat and mouse hunt for Adie, and Adie’s readers. The scenes between our heroine and her male admirers are just as steamy as book one and just as frustrating. I can’t figure out who I want Adie to end up with.

DAYS OF THE DEAD is pure escapism. While the mystery is interesting and I’m kept on my toes trying to put the puzzle pieces together, it’s the dialogue and personal interactions which hold me in.

Adie’s one romance female I can handle, she’s not all goo-goo brained over the guys. She’s smart. She’s self-aware. Adie is liberating and confident, yet she’s still questioning her reactions to Wolf, the man who broke her heart, and Diego, the man who may truly want to love her or just can’t deny the hunt.

Ms. Amor again brings in new characters, while not completely unique in standard characters traits; they each add and stand alone. Together they bring emotional levels to DAYS OF THE DEAD. Without them, you would feel something missing from the anger, laughter, silliness of vacation, and even confusion necessary for a successful mystery romp.

The Adie Sturm Mystery series continues to satisfy.

Book information as well as book supplied by Publisher for my impartial review

DEATH'S DOOR: A Leigh Girard Mystery

Five Star/Cengage Hardcover 2009, 
ISBN 978-1594147142


On the eve of tourist season in the resort community of Door County, Wisconsin, a killer is targeting young blond women, leaving their strangled bodies along the desolate Mink River.  The killer ritualistically arranges the bodies to mimic sleep, except for the long blond hair, brushed over their faces.  And his deadly calling card— a purple ponytail band wound around the victim’s ring finger—a macabre symbol of love. 

          Leigh Girard, former Chicagoan and reporter for the Door County Gazette, is pulled into the murder investigation when she finds the first victim.  Haunted by the grisly crime, she decides to write a letter to the killer begging him to stop.  After the letter is printed in the Gazette, Leigh’s nightmare really begins.

          The killer breaks into her house and leaves a cryptic letter on her bed, hinting at his identity with literary clues.  After the police arrest a young fisherman for the murders, Leigh discovers another anonymous letter slipped into her mailbox. With the police convinced they have the murderer, and Leigh convinced they don’t, she races against time to decode the killer’s literary clues before he kills again.

          Not until Leigh’s life is in jeopardy, does she discover the horrifying truth: the killer has been living on the peninsula for years, dormant and waiting for the right catalyst to unleash his murderous compulsion. 
          With as many twists and turns as the Mink River, Death’s Door is an eerie mystery thriller set against the wild beauty of the Door County peninsula in springtime. 

My Review

The killer eluded me.

This doesn’t happen often. Rarely, in fact. Ms. Lukasik, you won.

DEATH’S DOOR isn’t your easy breezy read. At times the main character, Leigh Girard, didn’t sit too well with me. She reminded me of the friend we’ve all known who is just slightly rough around the edges. Not the “bad” rough, the socially awkward, not quite grounded, type of rough. Not too blunt and in your face, but just a touch too honest in her thoughts. Maybe this is partially due to Leigh’s profession…reporter. Or, maybe because she recently faced death. Or, it could be the end of her marriage and uncertainty of her current love life. Leigh isn’t a one-sided character.

She is determined. Nothing and no one will stop her from discovering Door Country’s murderer. Is it because she can’t let go of a news story? I think it’s more finding one young girl’s body and the death of another, one she spent time talking with, that’s driving Leigh.

While I can clearly see the countryside and surrounding environment of her world, at times I’m not fully enveloped with her characters. However, Ms. Lukasik writes a character driven story. I know this sounds contradictory. How can the story been moved via the characters and still not fully engage me? The characters could very well be any of our neighbours or family. They’re not perfect or have any magical insight or extra hidden knowledge. They’re plain everyday people. Some you like; some you don’t think twice about. Their actions, or the actions Ms. Lukasik has written, are at times logical and illogical. Don’t think for a minute, though, that Ms. Lukasik’s writing is all over the place and doesn’t make sense. Her story logic is sound and solid.

Why read DEATH’S DOOR?  For the mystery, of course. Let me know if you solve this serial killer…with the reasoning as well, not just who did it.

Material provided PJ Nunn, BreakThrough Promotions in exchange for my impartial review