Winston Barnes, Sheriff of a Coastal North Carolina town in the 1980s, is investigating a plane crash. The pilot, passengers, and cargo have disappeared, a young black man is dead, and everyone is a suspect. At the same time, racial tension is exploding in the town, and the Sheriff’s daughter has left her husband and returned home. To top it all off, the Sheriff is in the middle of running for re-election.
This is a mystery told from multiple points of view, but also the story of a town torn apart by racism and corruption. Racism is the main theme, but the issue of grief is also explored. The author gives us a look deep into the hearts of the characters, especially Jay, Ed Bellamy, Winston, and Colleen. Not many mysteries can touch the heart, but this one does by baring the souls of the characters so well. It is written with the slow, rhythmical pace of a small town, but will occasionally reach out and slap you in the face with a shock or surprise, just as life will sometimes do. Fans of mysteries will enjoy this novel, but anyone who loves a well-developed story with complex characters should give this a read.
I received a free copy of this book from William Morrow and Custom House via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
The photo on the cover is very relevant to the book. I’ve gotten used to graphic design on the covers, which I think might pop a little more than photos, but the colors in the clouds do stand out. Since Cash is already a best-selling author, is the cover still just as important? What does everyone else think?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Wiley Cash is the New York Times bestselling author of A Land More Kind Than Home. He’s been a fellow at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and he teaches fiction writing and literature at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, where he serves as Alumni Author-in-Residence. His new novel, When Ghosts Come Home, will be available September 21. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, photographer Mallory Cash, and their daughters.
See my previous review of Loving Modigliani below. I really enjoyed this one! Loving Modigliani is on sale starting Feb 14th through February 17th on Amazon. The ebook price has been reduced to $3.99. It’s a great time to pick up your copy(Amazon Link). As you can see from my raving review below, I highly recommend you check this out. I’ve joined another blog tour to help promote this great book. The tour schedule is:
Loving Modigliani is one of those books that is so good that I don’t feel my review will do it justice. It is so good that I stopped halfway through and bought it in print version because I only had an electronic copy. I always keep print copies of my favorite books. It is so good that I didn’t want to put it down, and I was sad when it was finished. It made me realize that if I ever write a book I need to demand this type of excellence in my own work. I even created a new Category on this blog, Diamond Level Reads, for books that are beyond special. Below is my humble attempt at a review and my bow to an accomplished author, Linda Lappin, who has woven together a remarkable piece of fiction based on real events.
It is Paris, 1920. It is also Jeanne Hébuterne’s day of death, 48 hours after her common-law husband, Amedeo Modigliani, died of meningitis. Modigliani was an early 20th Century artist of post impressionist inspired portraits and nudes who died basically destitute, but became famous years later. As the book begins, we meet Hébuterne on the street where her body lies after she fell or jumped, despondent and hugely pregnant, out of a window. We follow her spirit to a wheelbarrow rumbling through the streets of 1920’s Paris, which is described in such detail that we feel we are there. We watch along with Hébuterne’s spirit as her belongings are stolen, including her diary, a bangle, and a family portrait. We flash back with her to her life with Modigliani and her own growth as an artist. We cheer her as she struggles to move forward and begins to search the afterlife for her beloved “Modi.”
In a separate timeline in the 1980s, an art student stumbles upon some long hidden secrets and is given a window into the life of Jeanne Hébuterne. What will she do with this information and who will try to stop her?
This is an amazing historical novel with sub-genres of fantasy, mystery, and the paranormal. It is a tribute to the art world of Paris, specifically the post-impressionist era of the early 1900s. Linda Lappin’s ability to describe the sights, sounds, and smells of 1920’s Paris transports us there immediately. Her portrayal of the art and artists of that time is meticulously researched. Her ability to create a work that seamlessly binds together history, mystery, fantasy, and the paranormal is awe-inspiring. Her characters are so real you can see them, feel them, love them, and hate them. Lappin’s description of Hébuterne’s afterlife is full of unexpected turns, pitfalls, and surprises with huge nods to the art world. The realities of Jeanne’s life with Modigliani are shown to us, from infidelity to drunkenness to abuse and neglect, but above all we are shown Jeanne’s all-consuming love for this man, so well described in this book. Lappin shares the spirit and talent of Jeanne Hébuterne in so many ways, through her art, her music, and her steadfast determination and willingness to buck the rules of society. I wish I could speak more of the last line of the book without giving out any spoilers, but it is a perfect ending, tying everything together.
My personal rules for historical novels, regardless of sub-genre, is that they must transport me to that time and place. Loving Modigliani did this instantly. They must also teach me something, and I learned so much about the 1900s Paris art scene that I am interested in exploring it further.
Although I was given a free digital copy via Netgalley, I also bought a print copy on Amazon. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
About the Author:
Prize-winning novelist Linda Lappin is the author of four novels: The Etruscan (Wynkin de Worde, 2004), Katherine’s Wish (Wordcraft , 2008), Signatures in Stone: A Bomarzo Mystery (Pleasureboat Studio, 2013), and The Soul of Place (Travelers Tales, 2015). Signatures in Stone won the Daphne DuMaurier Award for best mystery of 2013. The Soul of Place won the gold medal in the Nautilus Awards in the Creativity category.
Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet both find themselves guests of the Kendall Family at a month-long house party in a grand estate in Derbyshire. Elizabeth is implored to attend by her cousin Rose Kendall, and Darcy is a friend of Rose’s husband Nicholas. Darcy is immediately captivated by Elizabeth, but knows he is expected to marry a woman of greater means. When a murder occurs on a neighboring estate, and then one of the Kendall’s guests is attacked, the evidence appears stacked against Mr. Darcy. Will Elizabeth listen to the murmurings against Mr. Darcy, or will she rally to his side?
This is a compelling take on Pride and Prejudice, combining the classic love story with a murder mystery in a new and different setting. Not all of the original characters make an appearance in this variation, but the characters presented are interesting and well developed. This is not a typical Pride and Prejudice variation, but the attraction between Elizabeth and Darcy is palpable, and the conflict between them is well done. The addition of the murder mystery takes this variation to a new level. Miller has an amazing ability to create a fascinating but horrifying villain and provides a back story for the murderer that is chilling and captivating.
Fans of both historical romance and mysteries will enjoy this new take on a time-honored love story.
I downloaded this book on Kindle Unlimited, where KU subscribers can borrow the book for free.
Kelly Miller is a native Californian and Anglophile, who made her first visit to England in 2019. When not pondering a plot point or a turn of phrase, she can be found playing the piano (although like Elizabeth Bennet, she is errant when it comes to practicing), singing, and walking her dogs. Kelly Miller resides in Silicon Valley with her husband, daughter, and their many pets. A Constant Love is her fourth book published by Meryton Press. The first three are novels: Death Takes a Holiday at Pemberley, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic sequel with a touch of fantasy; Mr. Darcy’s Perfect Match, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic variation; and Accusing Mr. Darcy, a Pride and Prejudice Regency romantic mystery. Kelly’s blog page is found at http://kellymiller.merytonpress.com, her Twitter handle is @kellyrei007, Instagram: http://kelly.miller.author, and she is on Facebook: http://facebook.Author.Kelly.Miller
Kelly has a new novella that has just been released. It is called A Consuming Love: A Pride and Prejudice Variation. The Amazon Description is below:
The methodical world of rich, proud Fitzwilliam Darcy is in chaos: a country lady of modest origins has utterly captivated him.
The knowledge that Elizabeth Bennet is an unsuitable match fails to diminish Darcy’s fascination for her, nor does his self-imposed distance from the lady hinder her ability to intrude upon his thoughts at all hours of the day. What can solve his dilemma?
When circumstances compel Darcy’s return to Hertfordshire in assistance of his friend Mr. Bingley, he must confront his unfathomable attraction to Miss Elizabeth.
In this “Pride & Prejudice” Regency novella, one afternoon spent in company with Miss Elizabeth Bennet is enough to make an indelible and life-altering impression upon Darcy, setting him on a rocky course towards the fulfillment of his desires. Will Darcy attain happiness, or will his ingrained pride be his downfall?
A Consuming Love is only $3.99 on Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited subscribers can borrow it for free. Link
Poppy Redfern and the Fatal Flyers is the second book in the “A Woman of World War II” mystery series by Tessa Arlen. Although it is the second in a series, it can be read as a standalone. It is 1942 and Poppy, employed by the London Crown Film Unit as a scriptwriter during the war, is sent to work on location at an airfield. The film she is working on is about the Air Transport Auxiliary pilots, or “Attagirls.” This amazing group of female pilots flew many different types of planes and transported them to airfields all over Britain during World War II. Sometimes these transports occurred during severe weather conditions. Poppy begins to work on the film and starts to get to know this intriguing group of talented and professional female pilots. When two “Attagirls” are killed in accidents during seemingly routine flights, Poppy and her boyfriend Griff begin to investigate.
This was such an interesting read, especially since I had never heard of the “Attagirls.” The history of these brave women is fascinating, and the author provides more facts about them in a historical note at the end of the book. The murder mystery is well done, with many twists, turns, and red herrings. The villain is not easy to figure out, so the reader is surprised at the end. The characters are compelling and well developed. Our heroine, Poppy, proves to be a witty and clever sleuth. Her relationship with her boyfriend Griff is complicated at times, but that just makes it more interesting. This is a great combination of World War II historical fiction and cozy mystery. I would recommend this book to fans of both genres.
Tessa Arlen is the author of the critically acclaimed Lady Montfort mystery series—Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman was a finalist for the 2016 Agatha Award Best First Novel. She is also the author of Poppy Redfern: A Woman of World War II mystery series. And the author of the historical fiction: In Royal Service to the Queen.
Tessa lives in the Southwest with her family and two corgis where she gardens in summer and writes in winter.
Dr. Claire Roget, forensic psychiatrist, is asked to interview a serial killer, Jonah Kobi, in an attempt to solve a cold case and find a missing girl. Marvel Trustom has been missing for six years. Can Claire win a battle of wits with a psychopath in order to fulfill the wish of Marvel’s dying father?
This is an interesting book that contains two mysteries, one which will be revealed within the book. The mysteries are complex and held my attention. Claire’s interactions with Marvel’s family are just as compelling as her interactions with the psychopath Kobi. However, the time spent on Claire’s personal life was uninteresting. Her relationship actually ticked me off at times. Her significant other treats her badly and I cannot figure out why she stays with him. Claire is a brilliant psychiatrist. Why would she put up with this?
There was not a lot of action in this book. It was mostly a battle of wits on two fronts. It was not your typical gruesome serial killer story.
This is part of a series but can easily be read as a standalone. I received a free copy of this book from Severn House via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.