Review: Night Watch by Linda Hall

Genre: Mystery

Rating: Yay!

NW eBOOK COVERI don’t think I’ve ever read a mystery on a boat, unless you count binge watching NCIS (I don’t). Which, when you think about it, is an awesome place to have a mystery – the whole suspects all in one place scenario. And this story is so good – both in how it’s written and in the story itself.

When Emily Ridge accepts her first captaincy for a deluxe boat, she never expects to find this much trouble abroad. The daughter of eccentric billionaire Roy Patterson goes overboard and is found dead, and from there, Emily’s life spirals down a path that’s a little too familiar for her, as her husband Jesse was killed a few years prior.

This mystery is great – it weaves the mysterious circumstances around Jesse’s death with the girl’s death, and we quickly find out there is a link between the two. I particularly like how much of the lifestyle shone through, as someone who is a complete boat idiot but enjoys a cruise down the river. Getting a peek into how and why someone would want to be a ‘boat bum’ as Emily calls it was awesome.

There’s quite a bit of intrigue in this story, from oddly suspicious people to overly friendly old acquaintances, and that tied with the on-going events unfolding means this is a great read. Each chapter builds the story further and faster, and I found myself resenting having to put down the story to do mundane, real life things. Who wants to cook dinner when there’s a murderer around?

Ahem.

The only thing that gave me a bit of a pause in the story was one particular character, who had a brief past with Emily and instantly raised my suspicious meters. There were one or two instances with this fellow where I felt like Emily, who normally seems pretty logical and smart, flip flops so suddenly it didn’t really feel realistic, which meant I felt like one of the reactions may have been shoehorned in to make the plot fit. It was odd enough that it stuck out to me in an otherwise quite well-written story.

Given the phenomenal rest of the story, I feel the tiny things can certainly be excused under the guise of human foibles. This book freaking rocked, and I really, REALLY want to read the rest of the series.

Night Watch can be found at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Review: Beneath The Surface by Mike Martin

Rating: Maybe

Genre: Mystery

This is the third book in Martin’s, Winston Windflower mystery series. If you’re interested in what the Indies Gals had to say about the first book in this series the review is here.

The adventures of Windflower’s career with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police continues with a murder and some questionable police activities. Our RCMP, has plenty of problems on his hands and finds himself not only wrapped up in a murder that becomes something much more, but assigned to a human trafficking task force. The mystery aspect snagged my attention real good, and I was anxious to figure out how everything tied together in the end. I have to say my detective skills are pretty good thanks to my healthy obsession with other mystery movies and books.

On the other side we get a continuation of Windflower’s love of food. I was treated to every dining experience the RCMP had during the course of the book and if anything this shows me the author has a similar love for cuisine and trying new things.

Finally props to Martin for giving us a Native American character who explores his roots. I found this part of the story fascinating as well and really enjoyed the diversity Windflower brings to the book. Not through descriptions of his skin, but through talking about his heritage and have an abiding love for it. If you’re a history fan, there’s plenty of Canadian/Native American discussion in this book, which makes me want to do some research of my own.

Now the part that makes this book a maybe. First, while I love the fact Windflower enjoys to experience the pleasures of eating, I tended to get jarred out of the story as Martin took me on a tour of every meal. I wanted the mystery, skip over the pleasant conversations and walks after dinner… give me intrigue and how Windflower is going to crack the case. Second, while Windflowers internal narrative is involved and I felt comfortable with him some of the secondary characters were a little wooden to me. Similar speaking habits, not a lot of diving into them outside of a love for food like our MC.

Overall, if you like mystery combined with a foodie adventure and a love for glorious settings then this would be the book for you.

Snag this Winston Windflower mystery at:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

This Week’s Read: Beneath the Surface by Mike Martin

BTS_Front_highResBlurb: Sgt. Windflower is back and as usual he’s loving life on the east coast. He may be a long way from his home in Northern Alberta but he has been adopted by the locals as almost one of their own. He has a good life, good work with the RCMP, and a good woman that he has grown closer to in his years on the southeast coast of Newfoundland. But trouble is brewing just beneath the surface of this calm and charm-filled existence.

It begins with the discovery of a dead girl’s body in St. John’s, the capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador. The girl is from Grand Bank where Windflower has been stationed for the last few years. Sgt. Windflower and his associate Corporal Eddie Tizzard are pulled further and further into the case. The situation also grows to include a whole array of criminal activities from human trafficking and even the Russian Mafia.

Along the way Windflower not only has to deal with this crime wave operating all around the region, but with some challenges in his own life. He has to go back to his Aboriginal roots to find the answers to some very deep and disturbing questions. But nothing seems to bother his appetite and joy for life, especially his appetite. He continues to sample traditional Newfoundland dishes like fish and brewis but he also expands to include pan-fried sea trout and baked salmon, along with a range of desserts from blueberry buckle to his all-time favourite, peanut butter cheesecake.

His faith in the police force, that has become his life, is also threatened by a series of events that he becomes aware of that are certainly immoral if not even illegal. He is forced to face not only his own personal demons but those in real life that are lurking all around us. Sometime they are right in front of our face, but at other times they are hiding deep beneath the surface, waiting to be resolved.

Snag your copy at:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Kobo

Author Bio: 

I have always been a writer, even as I have earned a living doing many, many other things. For the last 15 years I have been a freelance writer, specializing in workplace and social policy issues. I have been published in newspapers and magazines across Canada, the United States and New Zealand. My first published book was Change the Things You Can: Dealing With Difficult People, published by Booklocker in 2011. The Walker on the Cape was my first published fiction book although I have published a number of short stories in periodicals and on-line. The Body on the T is the second book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series

I am a member of Ottawa Independent Writers, Capital Crime Writers, the Crime Writers of Canada and the Newfoundland Writers’ Guild.

Author Interview – Mike Martin

Cover WalkerToday I have Mike Martin in the IBRU hot seat, spilling the dirt on his upcoming books.

Mike, thank you for stopping by to chat with us. Could you please tell the folks at home a little bit about yourself?

Hi there. I’m a long-time freelance writer, now turned mystery writer. I am Canadian and live in Ottawa. I’ve been writing fiction for the last five years and have two books published in the Sgt. Windflower series, with another coming out next year. The Walker on the Cape is my first fiction book.
 
We get to follow Windflower through the Elias Martin case from start to finish. What did you have to keep in mind as you were constructing it?
I am a ‘pantser’ which means that I don’t really know what is going to happen next. The Characters talk and I listen and write it down. I just have to make sure that I let the story lead and not try and predict what is going to happen. It’s fun, but kinda like a roller coaster ride. I scream a lot!!
 
Obviously, you are quite familiar with RCMP protocol. How difficult was it to research what the RCMP does through murder investigations?
There is a lot of research required to make sure that you get it right. Luckily I have a few ‘experts’ as part of my reading and editing team who point out mistakes before I get too far. A lot of this stuff is actually common sense, and it is one of the areas where it’s much better to be simple and stick to the facts. Creativity here could get you into a lot of trouble.
Getting glimpses of Windflower’s personal life–his native heritage and his relationship with Sheila, for example–help to round out his character. Will we be seeing more of those aspects in future novels?
Absolutely. The second book in the series, The Body on the T, focuses much more on character development so readers will find out a lot more about Windflower. His character and mettle are tested personally and professionally and he has to rely on his culture and traditions to find strength and support.

What’s next for Windflower and, of course, you?
Book #2 in the series, The Body on the T. is just out in e-book form on Amazon.com and Chapters.ca so that means a lot of online visiting and blog tours etc. And I am working on the next book in the series. Book # 3 will have a special focus on Windflower’s native background including a visit from his uncle who helps him interpret some of his dreams.
That sounds fabulous!
The Walker on the Cape is available at:

Book Locker 

Amazon

Review: The Walker on the Cape – Cate’s take

Cover Walker

Genre: Mystery

Rating: Maybe

When the body of Elias Martin is found on the Cape overlooking Grand Bank, Newfoundland, RMCP officer Sgt. Winston Windflower embarks on an investigation that threatens to shake the foundations of the small coastal town. I have to say, I did enjoy this book, though it reads more like a police procedural than an actual mystery. We follow Windflower’s every move from the beginning of the case to its surprising end, and at points, the story is bogged down in technical detail. Where I thought Windflower might offer some kind of insight, he doesn’t, and I was a little disappointed in that aspect. I would have liked more from the protagonist.

What Martin does give us is a by-the-books (mostly, because what’s the appeal of a guy who does it by the books all the time?) murder investigation. We get to play along with Windflower and his side-kick Eddie Tizzard as they work the case, interrogate suspects, and put the pieces together. We also get glimpses into Windflower’s personal life through a friend who has connections to the pretty owner of the café he frequents, but the focus is on the murder of an old man with few friends.

All in all, this was a good story, but l really wanted more from the narrative. I felt too much like an outsider looking in on the book, and it was difficult for me to get into Windflower’s mind.

 

The Walker on the Cape is available at:

Book Locker 

Amazon

This Week’s Read: The Walker on the Cape

Cover Walker

A man’s body is found on the Cape in a small fishing community on the East Coast. At first everyone thinks it’s a heart attack or stroke. But then it is discovered that he was poisoned. Who would do this and why? Finding that out falls to Sergeant Winston Windflower of the RCMP along with his trusted side-kick Eddie Tizzard. Along the way they discover that there are many more secrets hidden in this small community and powerful people who want to keep it that way.

Windflower also discovers two more things; a love of living in a small community that is completely different from his up-bringing in a remote Indian reserve and maybe the love of his life. He gets a taste of East Coast food and hospitality as well as a sense of how crime and corruption can linger beneath the surface or hide in the thick blanket of fog that sometimes creeps in from the nearby Atlantic Ocean.

 

The Walker on the Cape is available at:

Book Locker 

Amazon

 

Author Interview: Hour of Predators

Hour of Predators cover1) Claire is an interesting girl. Her decision-making surprised me several times, and led me to wonder: do you think she might be borderline sociopathic?
 An interesting idea, but I see Claire as an extremely damaged girl who has been betrayed and violated by those with power over her. Her suspicion of almost everyone, paranoia, and desperation aren’t neurotic; they’re well-earned. Her inner strength, however, is indomitable, and she survives despite everything her small world can dish out.
2) A lot of this book revolves around the relationships, and how people approach them. Were there any characters whose ideas about relationships turned and surprised you?
No, I’m not surprised by the things my characters do, although they so often veer from my carefully planned order of events. Their unexpected actions are the inevitable results of the characters themselves–their personalities, lives, experiences, etc. They are so fully formed in my mind that I just go with it and let them have their ways!
3) What sparked your interest in Native Americans and their culture?
I grew up in Oklahoma and like many Okies I have Native American blood in my veins, in my case Cherokee. That might have sparked my interest initially. I have always been fascinated with the most ancient Americans. I have traveled to the ruins of their habitats, collected their pottery, and studied their languages. When I encountered the Nuxalk in a college linguistics class I had to know more and visited Bella Coola. The place seemed the perfect setting for a mystery.
4) What’s in the future for your writing? Any current projects?
I’m eight chapters into the second Marcus Chao mystery, A Premature Death, and have rough ideas for the third.
Lane Stark has had three enduring passions through her life: travel, art, and the written word. She has traveled the world, lived abroad in both Europe and Asia, and experienced many cultures. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in linguistics, has studied eight languages, and recently ended a career as a graphic artist. She has now turned her creative attentions to full-time writing and leisure-time photography. Travel provides a wealth of inspiration for books, and she finds herself weaving tales around the people she meets and the places she explores. She and her husband have indulged their love of the vagabond life by moving into an RV full-time and following the roadways to new adventures. She is currently working on a second novel featuring RCMP Inspector Marcus Chao, A Premature Death.
The Hour of Predators can be found at Amazon and Smashwords.

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