Book Reviews

The Rising by Heather Graham and Jon Land

Book review by Mark Zeid, author of Media Murder Mysteries

The Rising is one part romance, one part mystery, and one part thriller; totaling into one great story, which is no surprise considering the authors, Heather Graham and Jon Land.

The novel centers around two high school students, Alex Chin, a jock with a promising football career, and Samantha Dixon, a geek with an opportunity to work at NASA after graduating. When Alex is injured in a football accident, his and Samantha’s dreams are shattered. Alex’s CT scans show abnormal results. This leads to his doctor being murdered, then his parents. Alex flees and Samantha goes with him, even after he begs her not to. The two teenagers desperately seek safety and answers to secrets buried in Alex’s past, which will explain why he is being pursued and by whom.

This novel is an adventure guaranteed to thrill readers and excite their imagination.

Tom Boy by Shelley Blanton-Stroud

Book review by Mark Zeid, author of Media Murder Mysteries

This is the second novel with Jane Benjamin, a teenager hoping to become a reporter for a San Francisco newspaper. I love the way Blanton-Stroud describes the settings and life of 1939 and the escapades of Jane as she takes advantage of situations and manages to get into the women’s championship at Wimbledon, hoping to write a gossip column about Tommie O’Rourke, San Francisco’s own tennis star and local celebrity. However, Jane’s plans change when Tommie’s coach and friend dies suddenly at the tournament. As the friendship between Jane and Tommie develops, Jane discovers secrets about Tommie’s personal life, the coach’s death, and its connection to corporate participation in the coming war. Jane is placed in the position of how to gain justice without hurting those she has befriended.

Her Sister’s Death by K.L. Murphy

A book review by Mark Zeid, author of Media Murder Mysteries.

Reporter Val Ritter is shocked by the news of her sister being found dead in a Baltimore hotel. The police believe it’s suicide, but Val has too many questions. A chance meeting with Terry Martin, a retired detective, suspects Val is right—her sister’s death was not a suicide. Together they begin to search for answers to questions Val has about her sister’s life and her sister’s death. However, the answers to the mystery lie in events that took place a century before at the same hotel when a young bride’s honeymoon turned into a nightmare.

K.L. Murphy does a wonderful job of weaving the story between three viewpoints; Val’s, Terry’s and Bridget’s, the young bride whose dream wedding and honeymoon turns into terror. As Val and Terry work to find the truth, readers become absorbed in Bridget’s story. Readers are soon obsessed with the story and compelled to read on till the final pages. A great read and intriguing story.

Copy Boy by Shelley Blanton-Stroud

A book review by Mark Zeid, author of Media Murder Mysteries.

The book centers on Jane Hopper, a transitory field worker during the Depression of the 1930s, forced to run away from the camp life she knew to San Francisco where she knows only one person, another field worker who left a few years ago. As an eighteen-year-old woman, Jane tries to find a job, but fails due to her lack of life experiences. Finally, she acquires a job as a copy boy on a newspaper by pretending she’s a young man. Then a chance meeting with another young woman and the discovery of an old photograph of her father with a different family lead Jane on a mission to find out who are the people in the photograph and their connection to Jane’s father. However, what Jane discovers is a conspiracy of fraud and murder. Danger follows her as she continues her investigation.

I really enjoyed Blanton-Stroud’s use of descriptive terms that provide readers with everything Jane sees, hears, smells, and feels. This brings readers into Jane’s world as she progresses on her quest to find answers to the mysteries of the photograph and certain questions she has about her life. An excellent look at life during the depression and the hardships women dealt with in the workplace and life in the fields.

Murder in a Cape Cottage by Maddie Day

A book review by Mark Zeid, author of Media Murder Mysteries.

It is a week before Mackenzie “Mac” Almeida’s wedding when she and her fiancé, Tim Brunelle, find the skeleton of a bride, murdered more than 80 years ago. Naturally, Mac and her Cozy Capers Book Club cannot resist the mystery of who was this bride, and why she was murdered. Their investigation leads to a Romero and Juliet story of lovers and feuding families. But this crime is not completely in the past.

I enjoyed this mystery, and the way Day provides a clue to the mystery in each chapter, enabling readers to experience the yeaning Mac and her friend have to solve the mystery and bring an answer to the events of so long ago. This is the fourth book in the Cozy Capers Book Club series and a story designed to delight all fans of cozy mysteries.

Book Review – Tower Down by David Hagberg

The first page thrusts the reader into a suspenseful thriller as a
merciless killer works to bring down a New York City landmark, killing
hundreds of people, including many of the world’s wealthiest individuals.
But the plot doesn’t stop with a single attack. Authorities soon learn
another attack is imminent. This brings CIA’s Kirk McGarvey and his partner,
Pete Boylan, into the investigation as they track a killer who hides by
killing and stealing the identities of others. McGarvey and Boylan discover
the killer targets the super-rich as a way to intensify the effects of his
terrorist’s attacks. Their investigation takes them to the playgrounds or
the wealthy at the Cannes Film Festival, the Monaco Grand Prix, and the
Mega-Yacht Run at Mallorca. McGarvey and Boylan create a scam designed to
entice the greed of the very wealthy and at the same time, flush out the
killer. But this brings them into the killer’s sights, turning the
investigation into a deadly cat and mouse game; each trying to expose the
other before the next terrorist’s attack. The globe-trotting chase brings
all of the players back to New York for a final showdown.
Reviewed by Mark Zeid, author of Homicide in the Headlines.

Book Review – Pulse by Michael Harvey

Inspired by an actual event, this novel chronicles Daniel
Fitzsimmons journey as he deals with the death of his older brother, Harry,
and his search for Harry’s killer. The novel opens with the tragic death
from a traffic accident of Daniel’s and Harry’s mother. Fast forward eight
years to where Daniel is in high school, and Harry is a star of Harvard’s
football team. Daniel looks for a place of his own and rents a room from
Simon, a Harvard professor no one seems to know. Simon offers explanations
for Daniel’s strange psychological dreams where he seems to inhabit the
minds of others and animals. A night of adventure for college students leads
to Harry’s death. When Detectives Barkley “Bark” Jones and Tommy Dillon
arrive on the scene, they find Daniel there with Harry’s body, but Daniel
has no explanation on how he got there. The detectives are able to identify
a suspect. Furthermore, they reopen the investigation into Daniel’s mother’s
death, suspecting it might have been murder instead of an accident, The
police investigation, along with Daniel’s visions, lead them through a maze
of deception in a deadly quest for the real killer.