Figuring out the puzzle in a mystery is always a lot of fun and has the added perk of exercising the brain.
The Body in the Snow is a modern version of a classic Agatha Christie plotline. Set in Llangurrey, a remote hamlet tucked miles away from the nearest town, is experiencing the worst snowstorm in twenty years. All roads and motorways have been closed.
I was immediately drawn into this cozy whodunit and the domestic dynamics among the characters.
The author begins by introducing the characters, a bit of their background, their family, marital status and so forth in very broad drawn strokes. You get the picture. There’s a Diva, a happy divorcee, a handyman and a host of other unlikeable characters.
Now, in present time, they find themselves neighbors, along with their past histories, secrets and personalities that clash with each other. The characters have such unique characteristics that I had no problem distinguishing them from each other, as is not always the case when there are multiple characters in a story. One of the more endearing interactions was between Bebe, a fading star and Beth, a rooky but spunky detective.
Fischer’s detective Beth is a lot of fun and brings lightness and charm to the novel. No gore or violence was a plus. It was simply a fun, light relaxing read and a pleasant way to exercise the brain muscles.
It isn’t because Hunting Mariah reminded me of my own in progress novel that I really loved this book, although that didn’t hurt. There’s a serial killer’s hunger for school girls whom Spina gives reasons for his macabre behavior as she allows us to get inside his insane mind and his intensifying obsessive need to kill. He will stop at nothing until he satisfies his warped hunger to hunt down Mariah.
The novel contains many plot angles that drive it forward. Of course, there’s why Mariah is being hunted by the serial killer in the first place – a mystery which the author is able to maintain throughout the novel. Why is she kept in isolation in a psychiatric ward and what are her memory blanks about? Why can’t Tony, a man who obviously cares deeply for Mariah but for reasons revealed only much later in the novel, return his love for her? Adding more tension are the secondary characters that inhabit this thriller and Spina has the talent to create suspense around each of them.
Although the author makes clear from the beginning who the killer is I kept wondering, as other characters were introduced and more twists were added, if it could be someone else.
Writing under the name Janice Spina the author is known for writing children’s books – at least over a dozen. Hunting Mariah brings J.E. Spina into the respectful world of fast-paced adult thrillers which will keep you turning the pages.
Following a wager of the gods, a statue of Aphrodite springs to life. She has thirty days to find true love or return to stone.
After two hundred years trapped in granite, Daphne will do anything to stay alive. However, she’s past her prime as a woman and her face is pockmarked after prolonged exposure to acid rain and pollution. Without the advantages of youth or obvious beauty, how can she attract a suitable partner in so little time?
In a world of instant gratification and hookups, is it even possible to find anything real? And do so before the month runs out?
Desperate for answers, she turns to others for advice and looks for love in all the wrong places. With days, then minutes remaining to her, she must listen to the wisdom of her now-fragmented heart.
…the story symbolizes the dilemma faced by many women – to open our hearts to love and risk vulnerability (in Daphne’s case, death) or to resist and turn to stone.
Heart of Stone is a romantic fantasy. Thelma Mariano began writing fiction in the confessions field, where she sold over 40 stories to women’s magazines (such as True Story, True Confessions and True Experience) put out by NYC publishers in the days of mass readership. She is also the author of three published novels: Night Cries (women’s fiction), ConneXions (psychological suspense) and SeaStruck (a paranormal romance).
Heart of Stone is a short and easy read. It ponders the notion of true love and the pain of a broken heart. The novel is set in some of Montreal’s landmarks: Old Montreal, Le Plateau and St. Denis Street. But the most remarkable one for me is of the chapel in the Old Port where the statue of Our Lady of the Harbor is immortalized in Leonard Cohen’s haunting song Suzanne.
The book is offered for free right now on Smashwords and Amazon. I had difficulty downloading it on my Kindle through Amazon but had no problems sending it to my iPad. Go figure!
The Wind Weeps
A romantic fishing tale
Although knowing practically nothing about fishing, Andrea accidently finds herself in the hard-working sub-culture of commercial fishing. She painfully learns the ins and outs of fishing from preparing the boat for the season to the camaraderie within the fishing community and its inevitable human tensions.
The setting is exquisite, wild and beautiful and the author has the talent to create vivid, emotionally packed images.
In her attempts to redefine a life for herself Andrea is forced to face the complexities of her abuse and their devastating effects on her romantic relationships.
This is a story about survival: physical survival, moral survival and survival of the soul.
The Wind Weeps, is a must-read for any woman who has been or is trying to get out of an abusive relationship. But it is also a man’s story as it involves the rugged world of commercial fishing on the gorgeous coast of British Columbia.
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