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Croft and Wesson by Brad Magnarella

Reading and reviewing the stories in Eight in the Chamber anthology.  This is book #3, a short novella that has Prof Croft winging it to help out Wesson.  Will he make it out alive?


Title:
Croft & Wesson
Author:  Brad Magnarella
Series:  Prof Croft
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source:  purchased by reviewer in Anthology, Eight in the Chamber

 

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

This is a review of the third story in the anthology.  James Wesson really does not take his job seriously.  He has to use the assistance of Everson Croft in order to figure out why blond women are disappearing.  It could be a serial killer, right?  It’s nothing to do with the gold bracelets and any kind of magic, could it?

Well, you know it does.  Croft & Wesson battle a bunch of were wolves that James owes a huge debt to, they have to stay on the straight and narrow of the local Sheriff how is wiley and cantankerous and try and stop whatever or whoever is sending bracelets to the ladies in town.  The story is a good one.  It doesn’t add a whole lot to the over arching series story, so it’s a good standalone to test out the waters.

There is some grisly parts, a puzzle and one big scary dude.  Check it out.  It’s worth it!

 

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Bleak Harbor by Bryan Gruley

Bleak Harbor is a fast paced who-done-it with a twist as the kidnapped child in question is on the autism spectrum.

Title:  Bleak Harbor
Author: Bryan Gruley
Series:  Bleak Harbor #1
Publish Date:  December 1, 2018
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Publisher’s Description:  Their son is gone. Deep down, they think they’re to blame.

Summertime in Bleak Harbor means tourists, overpriced restaurants, and the Dragonfly Festival. One day before the much-awaited and equally chaotic celebration, Danny Peters, the youngest member of the family that founded the town five generations ago, disappears.

When Danny’s mother, Carey, and stepfather, Pete, receive a photo of their brilliant, autistic, and socially withdrawn son tied to a chair, they fear the worst. But there’s also more to the story. Someone is sending them ominous texts and emails filled with information no one else should have. Could the secrets they’ve kept hidden—even from one another—have led to Danny’s abduction?

As pressure from the kidnapper mounts, Carey and Pete must face their own ugly mistakes to find their son before he’s taken from them forever.



Agent Annie says…

 

Bleak Harbor is a fast paced who-done-it with a twist as the kidnapped child in question is on the autism spectrum.  I enjoyed the family dynamics of a mother, son and step father and all the various entanglements they each are caught up in.  I was definitely kept guessing as to who did the kidnapping. Unfortunately, I thought the last quarter of the book introduced too many possibilities and added more characters than I could keep track of.  Many of whom seemed just a distraction to the main story. I also thought the final reveal and the manner in which the kidnapping was pulled off was too complicated and I found myself doubting that the character was given enough backstory to make it believable. I also felt a connection to the small town on the shore of Great Lake Michigan since I am familiar with actual towns that are in the same locale.  The history of the town and the matriarch’s interaction with the townspeople was well done and I appreciated the “justice” that was meted out at the end. I would give this book 3.5.

 

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Cold Hard Steele by Alex P. Berg

Jake is at it again, however, Shay Steele is making progress on him!

Title: Cold Hard Steele
Author: Alex P. Berg
Series:  Daggers and Steele #2
Publish Date:  October 16, 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source:  purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s Description: Detective Jake Daggers hates three things–mornings, walking, and naked guys.

So when he and his sexy half-elf partner, Shay Steele, get called to a murder scene featuring a bare-bottomed doughy dude with an icy dagger sticking out of his chest, he’s not amused.

Even less happy? The Captain, when the lone murder turns into a cold-bladed epidemic.

In a case featuring frost mages, enchanted weaponry, and a jaded mystery writer, Daggers and Steele must race against the clock to discover who’s delivering deadly doses of COLD HARD STEELE.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

Jake is at it again, however, Shay Steele is making progress on him!  He’s trying to be available for his kid, which is a good start.  He’s calling Steele ‘detective’ like he actually means it as a profession and not a joke.  He’s making progress.

I enjoyed this book.  I read the book as well as listened to the audiobook.  The author is still the narrator.  I’m still not real keen on it because his change between characters leads to cracked voice syndrome which distracts from the story.  Further into the book, Jake becomes less annoying and more like a team player, so I will cut him some slack – but not much.  He didn’t know vampires existed in the last book.  In this book, he learns that werewolves are real.  Now, I find it hard to believe that in 10 years of detective work that the creatures Jake works with on a day to day basis didn’t mention werewolves.  There are goblins, ogres, elves, mages, magic users, and vampires.  Why wouldn’t there be werewolves?

Anyway, Shay Steele saved the day by figuring out a lot more than she should have since Jake has seniority as well as experience.  Steele is one smart cookie by figuring out the daggers being used, however, if you are good at figuring out who-dun-it, you will figure it out easily.  If I could figure it out, anyone can because I’m not that smart.

Shay is getting a little touchy feely in this story so I don’t know if a romance is in the air or not.  I kind of hope not because I think Shay deserves better, but we’ll see.  Yes, I will be reading book #3.

Other reviews of the series:

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Red Hot Steele by Alex P. Berg

Jake Daggers is the less humble version of “Columbo”.   He’s ditched his old partner, thinks he’s got it made until the captain pairs him with Steele.  Red Hot Steele.

Title: Red Hot Steele
Author: Alex P. Berg
Series:  Daggers and Steele #1
Publish Date:  October 16, 2014
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source:  purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s Description:  Detective Jake Daggers likes his murder investigations the way he likes his women–straightforward, easy, and with a killer body.

So when his older-than-dust partner throws his back out on a goblin raid, his captain assigns him a new running mate–a sexy young half-elf by the name of Shay Steele.

It seems like a match made in Daggers’ imagination, but Steele’s no pushover. She’s a powerful forensic psychic, and she’s got sass oozing out of her boots.

In a debut case teeming with fire mages, foundries, and a dead guy who’s crispier than bacon, it’s pretty clear Daggers isn’t the only one getting a heaping helping of RED HOT STEELE.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

I listened to this story as well as read it with my own eyes.  I will say that I preferred the written word over the narrated one.  The author narrated his own book and while that may be fiscally responsible, it made the main protagonist less likable for me.  Jake Daggers is a chauvinistic jerk face.  He shouldn’t be because I would guess he’s not that old.  He’s got some good quips, I’ll give him that, but his attitude comes off as disrespectful more than funny.  Every woman is checked out for her bust and ass.  His coworkers, while being pretty descent guys, are disrespected.  I am very familiar with giving my coworkers a hard time and having fun with it, but go so far as hurting their feelings is too far.

I think I may be being too sensitive.  The male protagonist is probably being written as he is so that he can grow as a person in the later books.  I certainly hope that is the case.  Jake Daggers is the less humble version of “Columbo”.  He has worked 10 years as being a detective with the captain even complementing him on being his best closer, but he struggles to figure out who-dun-it.  Daggers was slow on the uptake for things a 10 year veteran should have known.  Either he just didn’t care to put in the effort or he’s burned out.  I don’t know which.

The next thing that I couldn’t get over was that everyone was hard of hearing.  It seemed like the dialogue had quite a few “Huh?” or “What?” questions that started a response.  And it was everyone.  Not just one character, they all seemed like they weren’t paying attention.  It was really obvious when listening to the narration.

I liked the story.  This does not qualify as a romance.  There is a degree of violence, but only really after the fact.  With all the complaints listed, I will say that I liked the secondary characters. This story really reminded me of noir detectives from the 1920’s who called all women “doll”.  The scenes were set in a universe where there are ogres, goblins, elves and magic users.

I give this book a 4 because it was good writing and the flow was good.  I wasn’t really bored.  There weren’t any spots that dragged where I felt I need to skip paragraphs.  The author did a good job and yes, I will read the next book.

 

Other reviews in the series:

 

 

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Blood Money by Chris Underwood

Reading and reviewing the stories in Eight in the Chamber anthology.  Reviewing book #2

Title: Blood Money
Author:  Chris Underwood
Series:  Lost Falls #1.5
Publish Date:  July 8, 2018
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source:  purchased by reviewer in Anthology, Eight in the Chamber

Publisher’s Description:

As Lost Falls’ resident folk wizard, I can track down anyone.

It should’ve been a simple job. Find the girl, bring her home.

Except she’s not just any girl. She’s the bloodslave of one of the most powerful vampires in town.

And I’m not sure she wants to be found.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

This is a review of the second story in the anthology.  I started reading Cunning Devil, so I sorta knew the premise but not the characters.  If you happen to pick up this anthology, don’t worry, there are no spoilers that will ruin anything.  It’s a good intro to the characters, what they do and what kind of trouble they find.

I liked this story plenty.  The writing is good and the protagonist is pretty good at what he does.  The world that the author has built has trolls, vampires and maybe more creatures that I haven’t met yet.  It appears that Lost Falls is a town that is home to quite a few supernatural creatures.  I don’t know the why of it yet.  I’ll probably learn a lot more when I finish book #1.

The author writes well.  I especially liked the risk Ozzy took to save the troll.  And I like the name Ozzy. All in all, the story was really good. I like what I read so I’ll proceed with book #1.  Oh, like I said, don’t worry about reading this story before the others.  It felt very stand alone-ish.  I figured out the character to a degree that I was not lost.

 

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