Brilliant Disguise: A Charlie McClung Mystery (The Charlie McClung Mysteries Book 1)

  • Title: Brilliant Disguise: A Charlie McClung Mystery
  • Author: Mary Anne Edwards
  • Print Length: 333
  • Publication Date: January 18, 2014
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Mystery, Cozy Mystery

Brilliant Disguise is the first of five mysteries in the Charlie McClung series.  Marian is a widow still trying to come to terms with her husband’s death some years before. As a result, there are very few people she allows to get close to her. One of them is Jodie and the other Dianne. One night, the neighborhood hears a loud commotion. Along with the rest of the neighbors, Marian goes to check. It doesn’t take long to learn that Dianne had been shot. Cause of death: suicide. Or is it?

Charlie McClung is a new detective in town and doubts the validity of the chief’s suicide claims. In fact, there are many things about the police department that are questionable. Being new, McClung doesn’t know who to trust, with the exception of a grieving widow next door to his victim. Together, McClung unofficially joins forces with Marian to figure out exactly what went wrong the night Dianne died.

Brilliant Disguise is a very light, fun read. It’s told in the omniscient point of view, which is my least favorite when reading. Personally, I prefer the third person and being inside the mind of one character at a time. It took some time for me to be OK with the first person, and I suppose after reading more omniscient POVs, I’ll get used to it. It just confused me at first, especially when the entire series is a “Charlie McClung Mystery.” But that’s just me. I still enjoyed the read. Because I tend to spend my time reading about (and writing) hard-boiled crimes and science fiction, this delightful cozy mystery was a refresher.

The characters are likable, although I disliked Dan, Dianne’s husband. I won’t say why in case I end up giving away too much to the plot. But Marian and McClung were fun to get to know. I felt Marian and McClung had great chemistry throughout the course of the book. There were a couple of parts in Marian’s grief of losing her husband that seemed to be too much for the purpose of the story. But I was glad to know a man entered her life to help her let go after ten years. And he’s Irish, at that, which scored major points in McClung’s favor. And a bit of jealous of Marian.

Above all, the story held at a steady pace. The mystery itself was sound. There was quite a bit of twisting and turning involved. I had no idea how it would end, although I had a few presumptions here and there.

Brilliant Disguise was aptly named. I recommend this book to anyone that’s a fan of mysteries and or clean romance. This is definitely one book I can see being played on the Hallmark mystery channel.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

*For more book reviews, click here.*

Biography

Mary Anne Edwards

Born in Mercedes, Texas, Mary Anne has lived in Georgia most of her life. A life-long fan of authors such as Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, and Elizabeth Peters, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Mary Anne decided to listen to the voices in her head and began writing her own series of traditional mysteries featuring Detective Charlie McClung.

The first book in the series, Brilliant Disguise, was released to critical acclaim in January of 2014. The next three in the series, A Good Girl, Criminal Kind, and Sins of my Youth were released soon afterward. The fifth book in the series, Flirting with Time, was released June 30, 2017. Mary Anne is currently working on the sixth book, Good To Be King, with at least four more to follow.

Mary Anne and her husband currently live in Smyrna, GA with an ill-tempered Tuxedo cat named Gertrude. Mary Anne is active in the Sisters in Crime Atlanta Chapter and sits on the advisory board of Rockdale Cares, a non-profit advocacy group for the developmentally challenged.

Once Removed #BookReview

  • Title:  Once RemovedOnce Removed by [La Salle, Ken]
  • Author: Ken La Salle
  • File Size: 1198KB
  • Print Length: 234
  • Publication Date: June 17, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Cozy Mystery

Once Removed starts off slowly with the funeral of Terence (Terry) Montez, who dies in an incomprehensible suicide. His wife, Isabelle is seen in the first few chapters going through the motion, sad and disheartened of her husband’s untimely death. Despite missing his presence, she wants everything to return to normal.

Things begin to get interesting when Isabelle’s daughter Iris finds a mysterious letter from Terry. Is  it a love letter, or a suicide note? Soon after Isabelle is obsessing over the letter, she finds another, then another,  until she begins to believe that the letters are clues. But is Terry really telling her something?  Isabelle and Iris begin studying the letters, finding that Terry had hidden clues within the contents.

Once Removed is full of twists and turns, keeping you guessing right up until the end. Following the clues along with Isabelle and Iris, I tried to figure it out myself, but like any good story, I had no clue how it would end, although bits and pieces I was able to draw together myself.

There were a few misspells and grammatical errors in the narrative. The characters were developed well, most three-dimensional, especially the main ones, Isabelle and Iris. The dialogue was mediocre, and there were some telling rather than showing in the narrative. Nevertheless, I had to keep reading because my interest in finding out the story behind the letters kept me from setting the book down.

Once Removed is a good, easy-going summer read. I recommend to anyone who likes to sit back and solve mysteries along with the characters.

Overall Rate: 3 out of 5 stars

Biography

Ken La SalleAuthor and Playwright, Ken La Salle grew up in Santa Ana, California and has remained in the surrounding area his entire life. He was raised with strong, blue collar roots, which have given him a progressive and environmentalist view. As a result, you’ll find many of his stories touching those areas both geographically and philosophically. His passion is intense humor, meaningful drama, and finding answers to the questions that define our lives. You can find out more about Ken on his website at http://www.kenlasalle.com.

The Serenity Stone Murder #Book Review

  • Print Length: 204 pages

Product Details

  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication Date: December 21, 2015
  • Sold by:Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1522772294
  • ISBN-13: 978-1522772293
  • Format: Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Cozy Mystery

 

“The Serenity Stone Murder” is a cozy mystery about two elderly women, Margaret and Louise, who attends a spiritual retreat, only to find themselves in the midst of a murder.

I found the characters were very well developed, especially the lead women. They are two unlikely friends who find themselves at odd with one another, but never for long. Margaret and Louise have a brief falling out when Margaret is upset by the accommodations they find after they are denied their room at the inn. The inn has a strict no pets policy and Louise refuses to board her dog, Vincent. In addition, Margaret is only along for the ride, deciding to use her time away from home by exploring the town and its surroundings. Like most of their retreat companions, Margaret and Louise are busybodies, eager for gossip. What I most identified with was Margaret’s desire for coffee, and the annoyance when she can’t find anything except herbal tea.

The pace of the story was slow, a bit too slow for me. The murder didn’t happen until the end of the second chapter, and I was wondering when someone would turn up dead. However, aside from that wondering, Marianne Jones does a good job at building the scenes and the characters.  I only wish the murder had happened earlier in the story.

The story is a decent tale if you have time to lay back and read leisurely. It was well-written and can be a fun read with patience. I enjoyed the women’s bickering the most in the story, but building up to the murder itself was somewhat weary for my tastes. There were no real reasons as to why Margaret and Louise chose to investigate the murder, except for curiosity and the desire to snoop. It would be interesting to see additional cozies with these two ladies finding themselves in the midst of other murders.

Overall Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Marianne Jones

Marianne Jones is a retired teacher, actor, and choir director from the wilds of Northwestern Ontario. Married, with two amazing daughters and two gorgeous granddaughters, she writes, blogs and celebrates life. Although not all her words are carved in stone, three of her poems are, in permanent installation at Prince Arthur’s Landing at Marina Park in Thunder Bay.

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