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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-10-17

Harry Starke stories never let you down!

Just when you think the “Harry” stories can’t get any better another great new read comes along.
Harry has never had a fight on his hands like this one, someone wants him dead, but that someone wants to play games.
Once again, all the team are pulling for Harry, but there isn’t much they can do to help him, Harry does everything he can to keep them out of the way because he knows what will happen to them if they interfere in this battle of wits.

The thing is, Harry thinks he knows who wants him dead but he doesn’t know who is trying to do the deed. This adds to the excitement, which, in this story, gets quite intense.
Brilliantly entertaining Five star story, Highly recommended.

Narrated by Tom Lennon, who yet again makes Harry and the team come alive. Each time I listen to a new Harry Starke book I am reminded yet again of how lucky we are that someone chose Tom to narrate this series.
Audiobook review copy provided by the narrator

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-17-17

Great start to a series

Content warning: this story deals with child abuse which may distress some readers.

Detective Kate Springer is seeing a police psychologist, ostensibly because of her involvement in a shooting incident. However, as time goes by, Kates childhood secrets, so carefully hidden in deep her mind, begin to emerge.

When called to a crime scene Kate gets a real shock when she first looks at the body of the young girl because she bears such a strong resemblance to herself at that age.

The investigating team pull in several men to assist with their murder inquiries and when Kate, by chance, sees one of them being interviewed, she is horrified, he is like a ghost risen from her secret past.
How will she cope? Can she maintain her outward composure when all the time her mind is trying to make sense of this awful situation?

This story contains some interesting characters, Kates work partner Patrick Jessop is the perfect foil for Kate with her funny little ways. They get along quite well but that doesn’t prevent Kate from hiding her secrets from him. Her relationship with her therapist is interesting too, I can see this being built upon in future books.

Though quite gripping and fast moving for the most part, it did seem as if certain parts were being read straight from a text book, particularly the information regarding alcoholism, for me, this somewhat intruded on the flow of the story.

I’m not usually too keen on the psychologically damaged, kick ass type of character in books, but must say, that Kate, despite her flaws, comes off as far more interesting than most.
I have made a couple of negative comments but I really did enjoy the story and would happily read more about Kate Springer, I’m sure this will be a successful series.
Ah yes, just one more thing, I’m sure all us frumpier RNs didn’t take too much offence!

Narrated by Angel Clarke who is a seasoned performer with several audiobooks under her belt. Her experience shines through, I loved her as Kelly in particular.
Angel brings a vitality to the characters, but a little too much at times I thought as couple of female voices were just a tad over animated for my taste.
Audiobook provided by the author in return for an unbiased review

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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-09-17

Harry Got Bored - But Not For Long!

When Harry returned to work after his last adventure it was to discover that his staff were so efficient that they had nothing for him to do. Amanda was busy trying to get her old job back, Kate was busy, even Jaque was too busy to chat. He was a bit put out about this …. and Harry was bored!

That is until Helen Nicholson walked in. Helen did not believe that her son Peter shot himself, she was convinced it was murder. Having made several unsuccessful attempts to get the case reopened, she was looking for someone to dig up fresh evidence. She did not expect Harry to accept the case.

Well, of course, being Harry - a bored Harry, he surprised her by accepting.
However, when she told him who her sons shooting companions were on that day Harry could see why
1: nobody else wanted to touch it and
2: that this was going to be a very, very tough assignment.
You see, one was now a senior circuit judge, one was an Assistant U.S. Attorney and the third, a high flying lawyer.

Harry was right, it was tough going, but what an assignment it proved to be! Can Harry win this one?

In true Blair Howard style we get a fully engaging fast paced yarn, inhabited by all those wonderful, richly developed characters that Harry fans have come to know and love. Have no doubt, Without Remorse will keep you guessing.

Yes, narrator Tom Lennon lives up to our expectations again, giving us yet another outstanding performance and a high quality recording, thanks Tom.
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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-20-17

A Tropical Wedding, a Honeymoon and ... a Murder!

Every book in this series has something new and fresh to offer the fans of the Harry Starke series and this one is no exception. Harry has gathered all those close to him, family, friends and employees and swept them off to a beautiful exotic location to witness his marriage to the beautiful Amanda. Of course, where Harry is concerned, trouble is always just around the corner ….

A murder, right there on the island and he has no choice but to give in to the plea for his help from the victims father. “But” bewails Harry “I’m on my honeymoon”. August, his father, explains to Harry that they both owe this man a huge debt of gratitude, when Harry learns the reason for this debt, he has no option but to help.
Suspects soon arise, and in what is a “locked room” mystery, albeit on an island, Harry must discover which one is the murderer - all without the benefits of specifically trained investigators and on the spot forensic amenities.
Come along and enjoy the ride, another great Harry Starke investigation from author Blair Howard.
….and another great narration from Tom Lennon who never fails to deliver the goods. The voice, the delivery and the outstanding interpretation of the characters all combine to provide a wonderful, high quality listening experience
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6 of 6 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-21-16

I Keep Loving the Harry Starke Series

What marks the Harry Starke books above many a P.I. series is that each book is so different to the other. There’s nothing run of the mill about this series, it never gets stale, and in this book we see yet another side of Harrys complex character.

“Retribution” begins with so much happiness, Harry, August, his father, Rose his stepmother and Amanda his fiancee are at the country club. Rose pushes Harry and Amanda for a wedding date, Harry surprises them all with not only a date, but also, actual wedding plans. A great celebration is arranged and everyone is over the moon.

Not for long though, when Harry is told the terrible news of his brothers death he puts life on hold. He vows to find the murderer.
His quest for retribution results in his life and the lives of his family and staff being put in great danger. To avenge his brothers death Harry and his team of two face seemingly impossible odds, there is a lot of gunfire and there’s violence aplenty. What follows is a dangerous, exciting and nail biting adventure.
How the heck does he get out of this one?

Yes, there is a lot of violence in this book but it is balanced out with some tender and moving moments as the family bonds are strengthened in their time of grief.

To get the full back story on Harry and all the other characters it is well worth reading the earlier books in this series

Narrated by Tom Lennon who, once again, succeeds in bringing Harry and all the characters to life. Most audiobook fans agree that a good narrator adds an extra dimension to a story thereby making it that much more enjoyable, and Tom Lennon excels in doing just that. Top job Tom!

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-04-16

Great Mystery Starring Damien Dickens and Millie!

A mortally wounded Miss America entrusts a mysterious Russian coin to Damien Dickens, PI, before she dies. After Damien disappears while researching the significance of the coin, Millie tracks her husband's abductor to Florida. When his captor falls to his death from the balcony of a seventh floor apartment, Damien escapes; then he and Millie join forces to unravel the web of intrigue surrounding the Russian coin and its connection to the murder of Miss America.

This is the second book in the series and can probably be read as a standalone, but I would highly recommend that you read The Green Pearl Caper first.

Damien gets a call for help from the somewhat foppish Stephane Major, manager of the Boardwalk Hall, home of the Miss America Pageant. The good Mr. Major is overwrought, Miss America is missing! Damien agrees to meet him at the Boardwalk Hotel and Casino where Miss America - aka Miss Cynthia Mills - has her suite.
When Damien searches her rooms he discovers her in the bathroom. She has been badly beaten and is on the point of death, but she manages to convey to him that he must safeguard an old coin. She dies before she can provide any more information.
The distraught Stephane Major begs Damien for help, Damien accepts, but his investigations lead him in to great danger and he is abducted.

His resourceful wife Millie decides that she will find her husband who, having escaped from his captors has had to undertake a gruelling trek from somewhere in the wilds to somewhere civilised. He becomes ill and confused, eventually a police officer, thinking that Damien was drunk, drugged or crazy, approached him to see what his problem was and, as thanks, got his nose broken! Damien is taken to hospital but nobody knows who he is.
Meanwhile, Millie is still searching for him, and there follows great drama and excitement.

We were introduced to Millie in the first Damien Dickens mystery, "The Green Pearl Caper".
Millie worked as Damien's secretary until things went awry, but happily, they were eventually married. I was delighted to discover that in this latest mystery, Millie's character has been greatly expanded, part of this book is written from Millie's point of view, which, in my opinion is an excellent move, adding dimension and interest to the story.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable listen, a great mystery, lovely ending and with some wonderful characters, Particularly Millie and the unforgettable Mr. Stephane Major, n’est-ce pas?

Narrated by Tom Lennon who, once more does an excellent job. By using just the subtlest changes of tone, rhythm and pitch he makes each character so distinct and recognisable. He is very easy to listen to, his voice never intrudes upon the story but enhances it.
The recording quality is excellent.
Audiobook provided by the narrator, author or publisher for an unbiased review

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-15-16

love dogs? love a mystery?

I always enjoy a cozy when one of the lead characters is a dog, and Bella is the real star of this show.
Kate Davidson gets upset when a homeless man, George, sets up right out side of her yoga studio to sell his papers. It isn't so much George that she objects to as his dog Bella, she goes crazy if another dog comes near, Kate worries that the racket she makes will disturb the calm atmosphere of her yoga classes. Times are tough for Kate at this time and she can't afford to lose customers because of raucous Bella.

Despite a rocky start, she and George come to an arrangement, but Bella is sick and losing weight, George discovers that she needs expensive enzymes in her food to keep her well. He tells Kate that he has an idea of how to get the money and then disappears for a few days.

Meanwhile she is deterring the advances of the charming pet store owner because he has a beard, she hates beards and, coincidentally, so does Bella.

George returns, Kate discovers his body, the police initially assess his murder as a drugs deal gone wrong, they don't seem to believe Kate when she denies that possibility. Kate temporarily takes over the care of Bella until she can find her a new home.

Kate is angry with the attitude of the police and so decides to investigate Georges murder herself. everyone warns her off, but she is determined and carries on anyway.

I quite enjoyed the story, except for Kate! Kate, you see, knows best. She has a really nasty mouth on her, upsetting people for no better reason that they dared to disagree with her, and nothing is ever her fault. She complains greatly about how little money she has but has no qualms about spending plenty in the coffee shop and on other things that it didn't seem likely she could afford. she didn't quite fit in with the whole yoga philosophy.

Still, she did seem to improve in character and temperament towards the end, so maybe there is hope for her yet in future stories. Who knows maybe Kate will start a new trend: the protagonist you love to hate!

I recommend this book for anyone who loves a cozy - and a dog!
Thoroughly enjoyable narration by Anne James, pleasant voice with good pace and rhythm. I loved how she portrayed Kate at her most indignant and obnoxious! Good gender differentiation, Anne gave each character a distinct and easily identifiable voice.

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4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-18-16

Great Read, Interest in Politics Not Required!

We Are Holding the President Hostage was first published in 1986, now, 30 years later it is available as an ebook and audiobook.

The story opens in Egypt with the attempted kidnapping of an American Assistant Secretary of State, when this went awry, the terrorists immediately changed plans and kidnapped Maria Michaels and her five year old son Joey who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The kidnapper, Ahmed, has no idea that Maria is the daughter of the very powerful Mafia leader, Salvatore Padronelli “The Padre”.

The Presidents attempts to negotiate freedom for Maria and Joey are failing and the Padre is becoming very impatient.
The Padre holds a meeting and tells his men of his audacious plan.

Meanwhile, at The White House, first lady Amy Bernard is finalising plans for a grand State Dinner.
The evening of the dinner is when the Padre strikes, some of his men, dressed as waiters, snatch the President and hold him hostage in the presidential quarters.
However, things do not proceed as smoothly or as quickly as the Padre had expected.

Meanwhile, Maria and Joey are in captivity with only their basic needs being met, it is quite touching, the way Maria attempts to comfort her son.
Back at the White House it’s interesting to hear of some of the less ethical plans that some of the Presidents men come up with.
The final plan causes the First Lady to doubt her husbands integrity and the tension is building.
Though a little slow to start, this was an exciting read, I couldn’t wait to find out how they would resolve the situation, and there is a little twist in the tail.
I would also recommend it even if the reader has no interest in politics.
Eric Bryan Moore has a versatile voice ranging from the trusting to the menacing. His good pace and rhythm carries the story well and makes it an easy listen. He gave a distinct voice to each character of which there were many, the accents, again, quite a few, sounded natural and authentic.
I hope we will be hearing more of him in the future

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-23-16

Good twist at the end. Well worth a listen

Guilty as Sin is the second book in the Knight and Culverhouse series, the author provides just enough back story for this to be a standalone read.
I thought the opening was promising and the idea for the plot interesting, but what could have been a big story just fell short of the mark for me.
I enjoyed some of the characters but I'm not sure about Wendy, it didn't seem right to me that the police force would have allowed her to return to such a responsible position so soon after suffering such horrific personal traumas.
It was a bit too gory for me too but that is just a personal opinion, if you don't mind a bit of gore there is a very good murder scene!
For me there was just too much going on for such a short book, and it lacked polish but it was worth reading for the twist at the end.

Excellent narration by Nigel Patterson, I like his voice, so easy to listen to and he is so good at accents. His characters are all so believable and realistic, a pleasure to listen to.
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5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-22-16

What a Great New Mystery Series: Eddie Shoes!

This is great start to a new series, Edwina Schultz was right to change her name "Eddie Shoes" is a far more appropriate and cool name for a Private Investigator. She herself is cool and feisty, but she isn't one of those hard headed female P.I.s who are always making ridiculous choices that land them in predictably dangerous situations.

I enjoyed the plot, being a relatively short book it moves along at quite a pace which keeps the reader interested.
Eddie gets a lot more than she bargained for when she takes on the case of the wronged wife looking for hard evidence of her husbands infidelity. When Kendra, the mistress, turns up dead the action starts.

Just to add to Eddies problems Chava, her mother turns up. Chava, being a mere 16 years older than her daughter, has not been the most motherly of mothers. Now she has got herself in to a bit of a fix and needs a roof over her head for a while and decides to visit her daughter. She is a wonderfully written character, quirky and just as feisty as her daughter bringing a whole new and interesting dynamic to the story. I hope she stays around a long time as I loved reading about their evolving relationship.

Later in the story a mysterious hero comes to Eddies rescue, a fabulous chap, a real big fella whom I'm pretty sure we will all come to love.

I thought that this was a thoroughly enjoyable story, well written with fresh and interesting characters, hopefully this is the first of a nice long series.

Moira Driscoll was an excellent choice for this book, she gave each character a distinctive and easily identifiable voice. I thought she captured Eddies character perfectly, lively and feisty when appropriate, I especially appreciated how she conveyed all the hidden undercurrents of emotion in the relationship between Eddie and Chava. An all round high quality production.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful