What are the ingredients for an enjoyable murder mystery? Take Agatha Christie, add a famous, Belgian detective, a dash of a humorous butler, an unexpected guest, complex, well-developed characters and you have Hercule Poirot’s Christmas. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (Hercule Poirot Mystery) by Agatha Christie is seasonal book was originally published in 1939. It is the nineteenth book in the Hercule Poirot Mystery Series and is Christie’s response to the criticism of her brother-in-law. He told her that her murders were getting too refined. Therefore, Christie dedicated this book to her brother-in-law, James with “You yearned for a good violent murder with lots of blood … so this is your special story.” Continue reading Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (Hercule Poirot Mystery) by Agatha Christie
In An Unforgettable Christmas by Trisha Wilson, Chelsea Roberts’s family died in an accident on Christmas Day. As the holidays approach, she feels it best to spend time near friends but still feels hopelessly lonely. Nick Collins has found himself on his own with a newborn and while he has family all around, he’s also hopelessly lonely. Can these people find their way through the pain and find happiness together? Continue reading An Unforgettable Christmas by Trisha Wilson
In Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, Luther and Nora Krank typically do Christmas on overdrive but when their daughter, Blair, joins a Peace Corp trip in Peru for the holiday season they’re faced with a holiday season alone. Luther crunches the numbers and finds a vacation would save them a lot of money and stress. The Krank’s neighbors aren’t on board with their decision as it jeopardizes the block’s chances of winning the local decorating contest. With the Kranks fighting everyone, what happens when their daughter decides to come home for Christmas? Continue reading Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
The Physicists was written by the author, Friedrich Dürrenmatt in 1961. Dürrenmatt is a twentieth-century, Swiss playwright, novelist and essayist who is renowned for his philosophical crime novels (The Inspector Barlach Mysteries: The Judge and His Hangman and Suspicion) as well as in his satiric, tragic-comic dramas that are centered around post-World War II. The Physicists is his first classically constructed work and is generally considered his best play. It deals with the ethics of science. In 1963, the play was performed worldwide and was finally staged in New York in 1964. If you don’t mind spoilers, continue reading. Continue reading The Physicists by Friedrich Dürrenmatt
In The impending Sausage Sandwich of Doom by Kirk St. Moritz, Elliot Rose is the guy that makes the ghostly events happen on the television show Ghosthunters UK when he runs into a real ghost. Gordon Cole was Hapkito, a popular wrestler in the 1980s. Gordon thinks that his return is some higher elevation achieved but what’s really going on? Continue reading The Impending Sausage Sandwich of Doom by Kirk St. Moritz
Once I was a Soldier by Daniel Kemp starts with a spoiled and callus child of privledge and blossoms into a globe-trotting tale of politics, sex and deceit.
Melissa Iverson is a horrible person. Kemp opens Once I was a Soldier with the death of Melissa’s very wealthy and influential father. Kemp outlines her backstory and seeming lack of desire to connect with humans around her on a dead brother and mostly absentee and hostile mother. Rejecting an idea of friendship and using sexual partners for biological release, she is contemptuous and cynical of everyone she comes across. Her father is smart enough before what seems to be his untimely death to take the responsibility for her factories and workers off of her plate but fails to provide adequately for people who have worked in their home for 40 years. Melissa only cares if she’ll have to stoop to looking for employment and how degrading that eventuality may be. She is brusque and wholly repugnant and if I were not reviewing this book I would probably have stopped reading before the action really began. Fortunately, Melissa isn’t the only character in this tale of international intrigue.
When Melissa, who previously has never been to London, starts traveling she meets Terry, an undercover British Intelligence Officer. Terry is also involved with the wife of a politician who is looking to occupy the Oval Office. Kemp weaves their relationship in such a way that puts Melissa directly in the line of fire. Terry is not necessarily a nice guy but he’s less defined than Melissa so doesn’t come off as grating. Terry and Melissa have an active sex life between themselves and with others to the point where it’s gratuitous and reads as though perhaps the author is aiming for an E.L. James kind of flavor and that author’s healthy fan-base of middle aged women with money to burn and looking to live vicariously (I say this as a middle aged woman). Some of the more sweeping shifts in the novel read as unrealistic and while realism isn’t necessary to fiction Kemp, at point, pushes the bonds of suspension of disbelief.
Kemp has a colorful writing style that seems to lapse from time to time into purple prose. The dialogue style is quite formal which I initially thought was to indicate Melissa’s breeding but the style is maintained mostly throughout the hefty 376 page work of fiction. The author is English so one would expect a certain amount of formality but Kemp, at times, hits an Austenesque level of cultured language. Despite the far reaching settings, they don’t really read as unique.
“So did she like the novel?” you may wonder. I didn’t like the start. Once the action started going there were some interesting twists. Would I recommend Once I was a Soldier? Maybe. I’d be very selective in the reader. If you like romantic thrillers I think we’re part way to a recommendation. Kemp is a talented writer and the reviews I’ve seen of his work tend to be positive but he was just not a good pick for this reader.
If you like erotica and thrillers, you may like Once I Was A Soldier by Daniel Kemp.
Read an excerpt and buy Once I Was A Soldier by Daniel Kemp on
In Zenka by Alison Brodie, Zenka is a Hungarian pole dancer that mob boss Jack Murray saved from certain death. When he discovers that he has a son and finds that he’s not everything he could have hoped for, Jack asks Zenka to transform his warm-hearted and weak-spirited son. Will Jack and his son, Nicholas, turn out to be cut from the same cloth? Continue reading Zenka by Alison Brodie
In Coattails and Cocktails: Murder with a Twist by Rumer Haven, it’s 1929 and Silent Film Ingenue. Lottie Landry returns to the home of her adopted parents just outside of Chicago with her intended husband and frequent co-star, Noble Howard. Lottie isn’t sure about the engagement as her affections lie elsewhere. When things with Lottie don’t go his way, Noble threatens to expose what he believes has been going on between his lady love and her adopted father, media mogul Ransom Warne. Will it be a scandal or something more sinister that brings death to the household? Continue reading Coattails and Cocktails: Murder with a Twist by Rumer Haven
In Arkansas Summer by Anne Moose, it’s 1955 and Catherine is a college student. She travels from California to Arkansas to help her father sort out her grandmother’s situation in the wake of his father’s death. She reconnects with Jimmy, the son of her grandmother’s housekeeper and her favorite playmate as a young child. The attraction between them is strong, but the south is a dangerous place for a black man showing anything other than casual indifference to a white woman. Will their love survive the hate of those around them? Continue reading Arkansas Summer by Anne Moose