Gone Without A Trace
By Mary Torjussen
Cover Art by TK
In Mary Torjussen’s thriller “Gone Without A Trace,” Hannah feels confident that her training course in Oxford will lead to a promotion. She’s currently a senior manager for a sizable accounting firm. While it may be too early to celebrate, she can’t wait to tell her boyfriend Matt the news.
After a 200-mile drive back to her home in northwest England, she is stunned to find not a single possession of his in the home they shared. There is no “I’m leaving you” note. There was no phone call detailing the reasons why he wanted to leave her. Nothing. The only thing she can do is find him. Find out if he had another life elsewhere. This is where her obsession evolves. She becomes hyperaware of every little clue and they are barely visible that even the reader begins to search the rooms with her. She knows a person can not simply disappear. Her obsession begins to alter her appearance, her ability to focus at work, take care of her home, and her health.
There are only a few people she dares tell what she’s experiencing: her co-worker, Sam, her friend Katie and former lover, James, who is Katie’s boyfriend. Their texts and phone calls make her feel like she’s going crazy. That she should simply accept what happened and move on with her life. But she can’t and everything she learns merely pushes her closer and closer to the edge.
GONE WITHOUT A TRACE is a psychological thriller that flows so well from chapter to chapter that you are compelled to read more. I found that you are trapped by Hannah’s obsession. It drags you so completely into her POV. When things begin to take an intentional path. You begin to wonder who is after her and why. I was caught off guard by the “who” and shook my head at the end. Don’t people learn their lesson? At the heart of it, that’s the part that scares you.
five post-it notes out of five
February 25, 2017
A Scrapbooking Mystery
By Laura Childs with Terrie Farley Moran
Berkley Prime Crime
Hardcover, $26.00, 310 pages
published: Nov. 2016
set in New Orleans
While checking out the naughty goods at the bondage booth at the Winter Market, Carmella Bertrand’s friend, Ava, changes into some form fitting merchandise. To Carmella’s surprise, Ava wasn’t trying to squeeze into the tight leather outfit, there was another type of struggle occurring that was causing the merchant’s tent to eventually collapse and the x-rated items aren’t the only thing that tumbled. “Glutton for Punishment” food critic, Martin Lash, is done stirring up bad business reviews. The proof is his body on the ground right next to them.
High on the suspect list is Chef Quigg Brevard, one of several local chefs to get a bad review from Lash. Soon Gabby, who works for Carmella, learns that Lash also was the executive director of a small non-profit group called “The Environmental Justice League.” Its passionate about preserving Louisiana’s swamps and bayous. The league doesn’t stand down when it comes to telling businesses they can’t continue doing what they’re doing.
Brevard knows that without Carmella’s intuitive amateur sleuthing, he’s going to prison. Doesn’t matter that he didn’t kill Lash, the police won’t believe him. He desperately needs her help. She’s fully aware that her boyfriend, Detective Edgar Babcock, doesn’t want her involved in an unofficial investigation. At the same time, she doesn’t want Brevard guilty for a crime he didn’t commit. So the investigation is on. It’s going to take a lot of digging and danger to get a snapshot worthy of real evidence, but if anyone can do it, it’s Carmella.
Probably one of the first books I reach for in my TBR pile are those written by Laura Childs. Each book is entertaining and loaded with character personality. She hasn’t failed to deliver a mystery that will transport me to another town where someone hopes to get away with a crime, but doesn’t. Glad to see a book that focuses on environmental issues. Loved the twist in the plot. Makes you think that if its possible, will someone attempt it. Both Carmella and her friend, Ava, took a lot of chances here. Amazing they made it out alive.
Four expensive appetizers out of five
February 26, 2017
Saddle Up For Murder
By Leigh Hearon
A Carson Stables Mystery
paperback, 315 pages
Leigh Hearon’s “Saddle Up For Murder” begins with the death of a senior in her bed. Few would question that as a suspicious death. Days later, Annie Carson, owner of Carson Stables in Olympic Peninsula County hears her young student scream during a riding lesson. Hannah informs Annie that she saw a man in the woods with a gun. They also notice a fawn separated from its mother. Riding lesson over, they return to Annie’s training facility. Concerned about the safety of her students and her flock, Annie personally investigates to see if a hunter is on her land. What she finds is a campsite and a toy lamb. That alone would logically signal the presence of a child. Though, there wasn’t any sign of a child’s sleeping bag. Annie knows it isn’t unusual to find signs of the homeless in wooded areas, but she doesn’t file this one away as simply a mystery.
Soon after, she’s contacted by Marcus, who was a suspect in his late wife’s murder until the authorities learned he was innocent and abducted by his wife’s killer. Wounded, he ended up at Olympic National Forest and struggled to get help. Annie apparently solved the case, with Sheriff Dan Stetson playing a minor role.
Marcus calls Annie and tells her that he’s flying home as soon as possible. So there’s hope that there might be a relationship down the line. After helping the sheriff with an animal rescue, Annie is confronted by a young woman named Ashley who would like to work at her stables. Annie doesn’t feel she needs an assistant, so she doesn’t hire her.
Sadly, the next day she finds Ashley dead in her barn. She has no idea why it happened on her property and it didn’t appear to be suicide. Guilt sets in for having not hired her. Could she have saved her life? Annie attends Ashley’s Memorial to pay her respects. The authorities, in the meantime, believe that her boyfriend, who is far from an angel, is somehow responsible for her death. So now there’s two deaths, the old woman who died in her bed and a young woman who died in Annie’s barn. Question is, are they related? Why is someone on Annie’s land? What is killing animals?
SADDLE UP FOR MURDER deals with some really heavy issues which reveal themselves one layer at a time like most mysteries. What makes this one different is that it ties them together into a deadly little package. I would have liked to have known more about Ashley’s life, rather than be introduced to her quickly in the first scene and when she confronts Annie. I also don’t think it was safe for Annie’s student to take riding lessons when she wasn’t sure who was sleeping on her property and if they had weapons.
What I enjoyed was the opportunity to read a book where horses and caring for them is at the heart of the storyline. I liked Annie’s courage and her determination to see through to the resolution of a bad situation. I’m hoping that her relationship with her half sister can grow. I also liked that from the previous murder of Marcus’ wife comes a positive transition and future for disadvantaged children.
four saddles out of five
March 1, 2017
What I’m currently reading or will read soon. The following books have been sent to me. This is only a few of them.