It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

What can be cozier than Christmas? That’s right, nothing.

I wait all year for the holidays, especially Christmas. I love decorating my three Christmas trees. Yes, three of them.

For me Black Friday does not mean running out to the store. It means putting on Christmas pajamas and my elf slippers and making a whole bunch of noise when their bells jingle. Of course it takes me an entire day to put up everything.

Beyond wreaths and garlands there are also stockings to hang. And lights to string up. Not to mention the table decorations.

I don’t even ask my husband to help me beyond dragging down the huge containers in which the lovely decorations are held 11 months out of the year. Because I know exactly how I want things to be arranged. And more importantly, because I know I am crazy and he shouldn’t have to endure such annual insanity.

By the next day there’s a great chance my back will be killing me. Which puts me in the mood to read about murders. Cozy mystery murders of course.

You shouldn’t be surprised… after all, Christmas can be deadly!

Blanche on the Lam by Barbara Neely

Blanche on the Lam is written by Barbara Neely and published in February of 1993. This first of the series introduces us to Blanche White, our main character, who is employed as a maid.

This is not “Maid in Manhattan”

This is not a typical maid’s tale. There are no rags to riches to be found in Blanche on the Lam. This simply is not that story. But it is actually a far better tale and loads more entertaining.

I have read comparisons between Blanche on the Lam and the movie “The Help” as well. Admittedly I have never had an interest in watching “The Help” (sorry Octavia Spencer- it is nothing personal). But I can say that I would compare this book to one of Tyler Perry’s “Madea” movies. Because it is simply a real riot.

As a result I now have an excuse to use some Madea gifs in order to express my thoughts on this novel.

Blanche Goes to Jail… at least she is supposed to

Easily the best opening chapter I have ever read ever is in this book! I literally laughed out loud at the mental image of Blanche sneaking out of the bathroom of the courthouse on the heels of her conviction for writing bad checks.

A grand opening indeed. It was a pretty funny way for her to happen upon the family that she comes to work for in this novel. A real unsavory bunch of characters for the most part. See Blanche works for an agency that supplies temporary maids to the wealthier members of her town.

She arrives at the home of Grace and Everett completely out of sorts and is put to work immediately preparing lunch. To her credit she seems to prepare an awesome spread wherever she goes. The food being mostly classic American cuisine but heavy on vegetables and salads.

Blanche also meets Grace’s cousin, Mumsford, who has a form of Down Syndrome. Despite her desire to not get close to her employers Blanche finds herself with a strong connection to Mumsford. Their friendship is truly sweet.

Don’t Underestimate Blanche

This novel is scored throughout with an undertone of issues related to racial and gender discrimination. To Blanche’s employers she is rarely invisible until she can be used as a pawn in their sinister games. She is is not taken seriously due to her dark skin and job title. Naturally, she is in fact, the smartest person in the house.

Along the way she meets and utilizes various people who become her allies and provide her with information to get her out of the trap in which she finds herself ensnared. She is not one to be trapped and we witness her struggle to survive the things put in place to frame her.

There is true comedic gold at the beginning of this story. Ultimately I loved that Blanche simply refused to be a victim of the powers that be. She used everything that was against her in order to solve the crime and get herself out of a precarious situation. Blanche used her invisibility to her favor and trusted her instincts.

Overall this was a great read. I enjoyed the fact that Blanche was so self-assured and yet smart enough to know when to step into the shadows. There are three additional books in the series and I will be reviewing them in the future.

Murder, She Uncovered by Peg Cochran

Released May 2019, Murder, She Uncovered is a novel by Peg Cochran. This cozy mystery is the second in the Murder, She Reported series. It centers around the main character Elizabeth “Biz” Adams who is a newspaper photographer in New York City.

When we are introduced to Biz we discover that among the elite she is kind of a big deal. In a city of the haves and the have nots, Biz is part of a family that has always had. We are talking old money not nouveau riche. Taking place in the late 1930s made this a real treat. It gives us the chance to see how rich people lived back when old fashioned champagne glasses were just, well, champagne glasses.

I really loved that this series is set in a big city. It doesn’t follow the traditional cozy formula which places us readers in small town USA, usually on the heels of a bad breakup. I loved how the pace of the book went along swiftly which matched the pace of a somewhat hectic city. Things move fast there and so does Biz, despite having a physical handicap.

N.O.K.D. = Not Our Kind Darling

Okay I admit I learned what NOKD meant by watching a Lifetime movie. It involved a woman of low class and new money overhearing some members of the upper echelon referring to the fact that she’s still not their kind… darling.

Why do I find these things so humorous? Because I am humored by the cattiness that money can bring out in people. It is the worst.

And I was very glad to see that the author did not shy away from this topic. Classism very much exists and I am sure during the the 1930s when this book takes place it was just as big of a dividing line as it is today.

Hailing from a high society background allows Biz to move in circles which place her among the rich people in West Hampton. That’s right kids, the illustrious Hamptons where P. Diddy has his white parties and Tommy Hilfer has a home.

It goes without saying that the Hamptons are where the wealthy people in Manhattan who have had money since the Mayflower landed like to Summer. Biz fits right in. But don’t let the beautiful surroundings fool you, The Hamptons can kill you.

Especially if you are a poor maid who hasn’t even been living in America for very long. But that is where Biz and her partner, a reporter at the newspaper, come in to solve the crime before the police steal all the glory. At least that seems to be the goal.

Case closed…

This book is expertly paced. Events unfold seamlessly and there is not a whole lot of flowery language to get in the way of things. Like any well reported story it tells the who, what, where, when and why early on and keeps the primary focus of that in sight at all times.

Although with that being said I did not mind the side plots and found them interesting. There wasn’t an overflow or romance, Biz does not need a man in order to help her solve the crime or to save her. She is no damsel in distress and you can’t imagine how glad I am for that.

Which brings me to another element I enjoyed- Biz is very much human. While her disability may not be pronounced it does mean that she is differently abled. This is the first cozy mystery I read in which the main character had any kind of notable thing that could possibly interfere with snagging a criminal. Biz doesn’t need to rely on any type of animal for magical help either. The conclusion was plausible which goes a mighty long way in my opinion.

Murder She Uncovered has it all. A solid mystery set in the 1930s among the wealthy inhabitants of NYC and a main character with an independent spirit. It drew me in and I absolutely want to read more from this author in the future.

The next book on the horizon is titled Murder, She Encountered, and will be available in December.

Beyond the Gravy by Mandy Morton

Beyond the Gravy written by Mandy Morton is book seven in the Feline Detective Agency series. It was published May 16, 2019.

A Land Full of Criminal Cats… and tea trays full of food

I was pleasantly shocked, and initially a bit alarmed, when I discovered that this book, series is all about cats. It occurs in a world much like the ones humans live in with the exception of the fact that there are no actual humans. How wonderful!

It actually did not take me long to forget that humans actually exist. These cats have all the characteristics and personalities of humans and the only time I remember they are cats is when paws and claws are mentioned instead of hands and fingers. It was too easy to get sucked into.

They don’t even eat cat food. They eat a whole lot of food, especially the main characters. If ever I doubted that English food cannot be delicious I was steadily reminded by mentions of crisps, savory pies and biscuits on just about every page.

Mind you, this is not a novel about cats who cook. But the two main characters, Hettie and Tilly, live in a little apartment connected to a bakery and happen to adore food.

This novel at heart is about criminal activities in their community and the frequent meals provide these foodies fuel to investigate.

Hettie… the main detective

Hettie is a former lead musician of a folk band who is on the stern side when she doesn’t have her catnip pipe to calm her down. She leads the detective agency and has a rather cynical attitude towards life. Her sense of humor is pretty dry and she is quick to be critical.

Having fallen into the world of being a detective she is honest enough to admit she is not exactly the best detective in the world. But she does seem to have a bit of luck on her side as well as a fun little sidekick that helps her get the job done.

Tilly… the sunny side up sidekick

Tilly is a comforting little character. She likes cardigans, reading mysteries and keeping the small flat she shares with Hettie nice and cozy. Tilly is sometimes unnerved by Hettie’s brash nature but goes out of her way to make Hettie’s life easier. Once a street cat, she was homeless and ill when Hettie met her and is thoroughly appreciative to have a roof over her head.

Not to say that she doesn’t have a fun little life, because she does. She typically answers the agencies phone calls and inquiries while also being a valuable sidekick. Sure she often prepares the tea and plans dinner but she is in my opinion probably the brains behind their operation. Due to her love of criminal tales she adds valuable knowledge which helps them to solve crimes. Of all the novels I have read Tilly would receive the best supporting actress award.

Irene Peggledrip… resident cat psychic of gravy

Irene is the local psychic medium, because doesn’t every city in the world have a resident who can see into the great beyond? Even in the world of cats in this case. Irene in particular sees the future through gravy. Yes. Gravy.

But she has been alarmed by some hair raising experiences at her residence that has left the fur on her back standing on end. A pack of wild cats who are long dead have been wrecking havoc and tearing her home apart.

This is all very bad for business which prompts Irene to dial up the Feline Detective Agency.

Hettie and Tilly have their reservations about accepting her case. Who wouldn’t? It is spooky business and when I tell you these ghost cats are are causing chaos I absolutely mean it. It was delightful and worth a really good laugh. However living near the bakery costs money so our fearless duo accepts the check and promise to assist.

Agatha Crispie… and the wild trip of a lifetime

Tilly wins a contest to visit the famed crime writer Agatha Crispie at her home. The journey to claim her prize comes with its own set of obstacles including a serious run in with a cat biker gang and a night at a hotel where the proud and despicable owner revels in historic hangings.

At this point I am fully immersed in this world. We have cats wearing leather, actual gangs and high speed chases. What more could I ask for? Tea. Of course. Because tea must be had- along with more biscuits, scones and cheese straws than you can shake a paw at.

The whole cast is memorable…

Throughout this novel I was introduced to so many wonderful characters of various backgrounds. There is the surly and functioning alcoholic postmistress, Lavender Stamp, who lives to send all of her customers away in tears. There is Bruiser, a leather clad biker who chauffeurs Tilly and Hettie around. The Butter Sisters own the bakery and keep the food mukbangs going with daily vouchers they provide to the Detectives. There is even new cat in town who opens a restaurant and claims the heart of one of their friends.

Case closed…

What a refreshing read. I feel full enough after all of the tea, pies and baked goods to say that it was enjoyable. This is a fantastical tale where you can easily forget you are reading about cats with human qualities. I really enjoyed the foodie aspects being tied into the narrative so often.

This novel was very well paced. I learned a great deal about the characters along the way. Their personality types mirrored those of humans and were equally well fleshed out.

Since the cats live in a world that is seemingly lawless it made perfect sense that a detective agency would be needed. Despite the two main charcters, Hettie and Tilly, being polar opposites their strengths and weaknesses combine to make a great duo. Tilly couldn’t have been sweeter and Hettie couldn’t have been grumpier. Both are intelligent and observant and when they link wits they uncovered enough to solve the riddle.

The fact that they were working on a case for a psychic was interesting to say the least. I would say that it would be hard to wrap their paws around ghosts that even the psychic that hired them cannot handle. I enjoyed the way the truth unfolded, although I think that Hettie had more than a little bit of luck on her side, and ultimately I did not come near to guessing the whodunit in this fantastic work.

The other characters all had such definitive personalities it made me want to read more about them in the other books in this series. Where else can you hear tales of a drunken, angry cat who runs the post office? Or kitties that are sky high off of catnip?

I will have future reviews of this entire series to post in due time. Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.

A Twist In The Tail

A Twist in the Tail is book number one in the Oyster Cove Guesthouse Mystery series. It was released on May 16, 2019.

Josie Waters isn’t starting off so well…

Josie Waters is recently divorced from a wealthy and well respected chef. She returns to her hometown of Oyster Cove, Maine to start a whole new life. Josie begins by purchasing a unique Victorian guesthouse once owned by her mother’s friend, Millie Sullivan.

I was not really able to grasp why she bought a guesthouse where she would be somewhat expected to live up to the culinary treats that her predecessor had offered her clients. But she gets an “A” for effort I suppose. She is trying her best to improve her cooking skills while sinking her life savings into her new venture.

The old mansion is going to need repairs. And that is going to cost her some money. Anyone who owns a home can sympathize.

Which is why it is why it is especially dreadful when she discovers that one of her patron’s dead body in a wing of the mansion that has been enclosed and is clearly in a “do not enter zone”. Someone clearly didn’t heed the construction zone signs and even worse that someone happens to be a known food critic who had already complained about his eggs not being done to his liking.

Mom and Millie to the rescue…

Thankfully Josie has a mother who is a nosey individual and listens in on CB radios along with her friend Millie. They do not mind getting right down to the bottom of whodunit. Even if they’re in the way of everyone while doing it.

Nero, Marlowe and their kitty gang…

One gift that Millie left behind were two criminal investigation cats, Nero and Marlowe. They don’t think Josie is the smartest creature by far so they quickly take to acting out and throwing things around in order to slam clues in her face. They’re not above messing up her whole house in the process.

Seeing their side of things was a lot of fun. They even have an entire kitty gang that runs the streets of Oyster Cove checking out everything and everybody. What would dense Josie do without their collective efforts?

Case Closed…

It did seem like everyone made an effort to find the killer in this book. Josie had her mom, Millie and childhood crush Mike on her side. The cats had their kitty gang all ready to spring into action. And in the end the main character, Josie, seemed to need all the help she could get.

There were some things that I found repetitive, particularly between the narrative of the cats and Josie. I think I would have preferred it from one perspective. The relationship between Nero and Marlowe was entertaining. Very neat to see a cat detective and a protege. I loved how well they worked together.

There was a subplot involving some pesky birds but I found that it wove nicely into the unveiling of the mystery. I rather liked the bickering between Josie and her high school rival Stella- it was just enough cat fighting for my liking.

But I won’t deny that if there was a book devoted exclusively to the cat crime fighting squad I would be all over it. As for whodunit I loved the final scenes and learning the motivations of the killer. The person that was killed had a number of people who would benefit from their demise and I enjoyed guessing along the way until the conclusion.

Would Josie be able to solve a crime entirely on her own? I think that is yet to be seen. Perhaps a sequel will convince me.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Murder with Collard Greens and Hot Sauce by A.L. Herbert

Murder with Collard Greens and Hot Sauce is book three in the Mahalia Watkins Soul Food Mystery series. Written by A.L. Herbert it was published on March 26, 2019.

I have not completed a book in this series before and listened to the audio version of this book. This was a standalone novel with very few references to preceding books.

Mahalia… owner of the Sweet Tea soul food restaurant and our determined main character…

Mahalia, also known as Halia, truly loves cooking and her restaurant. I loved the descriptions of her restaurant and despite being very chaotic I saw how it could be a calming place for her. Serving up delicious soul food is certainly her dream job and she lives for it.

She is on the conservative side and only becomes more aggressive when hunting down the truth. While Sweet Tea may be her life’s work she doesn’t express a particular interest in romance much to her Mother’s eternal dismay. Her mom is intent on having a grandchild even though Halia often reminds her that she is now in her 40s and is not worried about having a child.

As for Sweet Tea itself the descriptions of the offerings would leave your mouth watering. From her savory, crispy fried meats to her mother’s sweet baked goods, it is a book that a foodie would enjoy. Having family from the south I would say that while well researched the recipes were more for a northern soul food palette rather than a traditional southern soul food pallet

Wavonne… the cousin who did not come to work, she came to play

Mahalia’s cousin Wavonne was pure comic relief. She helped to get them into a lot of the funnier predicaments throughout the book. Where Mahalia may be a stick in the mud at times Wavonne lives with her head deep in the clouds and sometimes embraces delusions of grandeur.

She dresses wildly and wouldn’t be caught dead in khakis. Beyond confident she is ambitious and not afraid to jump in front of a camera for a chance at fortune. Nor is she ashamed to pursue wealthy older men who are widowed after perusing the local obituaries.

Basically she is a lot of fun. Even though she is over the top I could not, and would not want to, imagine the book without her. Her clownish antics would earn her a best supporting actress award.

For what she doesn’t bring in her work efforts at the restaurant she makes up for in taking the reader to interesting places and situations. Such as when she gets drunk at a party, causes a rift between a couple and then ends up chatting with a dog- spilling the tea about her woes.

Wavonne even shines at a drag queen nightclub where her outfit and makeup, unfortunately, fit right in. I really liked what a contrast she was to her cousin Mahalia.

Prince George’s County, Maryland… where money and culture meet

I am somewhat familiar with Prince George’s County, Maryland and found many of the books descriptions of the area and people to be pretty apt. It does have a prominent Black American population and there are pockets of affulence throughout the county.

Monique… the Queen of hair, hanging on by a strand

People are not always who they seem to be and Monique would be an excellent example of this. While she has a growing hair care empire that has experienced many successes her life behind the scenes does not match what she presents to the outside world. It was interesting to see how in order to be successful it was imperative that she keep certain parts of her personal life deeply hidden because they would contradict with her brand.

The life of a diva comes with a great deal of scrutiny. Monique lives under a microscope and seems to love all of the attention. She does not shy away from the limelight and promotes her line on television with camera crews documenting all aspects of her journey. She has managed to make a significant impact on the hair industry with her products. It has made her wealthy and a household name to some.

She seemed to be someone that many would envy. Having personal assistants, an over the top tour bus and stylists at her beck and call. She also has a husband, a frenemy and an assistant who are the keeper of her biggest secrets. It is said to keep your friends close and your enemies closer and Monique is taking that advice to heart even if it kills her.

Odessa… a frenemy until the end…

Super bold, thin and determined to not live in Monqiue’s shadow. She does not bite her tongue. Odessa and Monique are opposites in many ways and have legendary clashes.

Monique does not hesitate to shame Odessa with snide remarks about the lowly Coach handbags she carries. Odessa is quick to criticize Monique’s weight and plus sized figure. Their story, and history, was scandalous and worth the read.

Nathan… a despicable husband and maybe a wife killer…

Many divas struggle to find mates who will be okay with their success. Monique was not exactly an exception. Her husband had his own ideas about how to handle the fruits of her success and as Halia digs deeper she finds out that he is a man who has skeletons in his closet.

He finds himself as the prime suspect when Monique is killed and that is when Mahalia’s sleuthing kicks in.

Rife with stereotypes

I had to see this book as pure entertainment in order to get through it because of the blatant stereotypes that spilled over from page to page. The author clearly has something going on with him that makes him believe that it is okay to refer to “good hair” versus “bad hair” so very often. Or at all for that matter. While I will say he probably did do genuine research on the black hair care market the stereotypes were absolutely unnecessary.

I was saddened by this. It seemed pathetic and the generalizations were largely unkind. The vast majority of black people do not have the texture of hair that the author described as “good” and there is absolutely nothing bad about that. The author is not Black American so I question where such thoughts came from particularly in light of the fact that there has been a natural hair movement within the Black American community for over five years now.

Some of the stereotypes played into the mystery itself which was the reason I set my negative thoughts aside because hair typing was a part of the story. Unfortunately the stereotypes did nothing more than take away from what could have been a five star read. One star docked for that.

Case closed…

At the end of it all I would read the other books in this series. I think it was well written and it held my attention throughout. Although I could have done without all of the stereotypes- they did not enhance the story.

The ending was a bit confusing because while the killer was not blatantly obvious to me certain things that pointed that person out would have been obvious to Mahalia long before. The conclusion was as dramatic and over the top as the rest of the book so in that regard it was pretty fitting. Perhaps this was done to allow some of the characters to be a little bit more fleshed out than they would have been had Halia put the pieces together quicker.

The character themselves, aside from shameless stereotypes, were all given unique voices. There were suspects that had equal motives to have killed Monique. The frenemy was an interesting character who stole the scene many times. From the beginning I wanted to know more about her.

Nathan is an unsavory character, that is clear, but I did like that Halia was able to push aside some things as she searched for the truth.

There were many people that wanted to upstage Monique and she sought out the motives and possibilities behind them all. With so many suspects I found myself looking forward to the finding out everyone’s bad deeds. And I was not disappointed- it was deliciously scandalous!

The soul food and culinary aspects of the book were pretty great. Food was woven well into the background and the descriptions of it were mouth watering. Mahalia’s restaurant, Sweet Tea, sounds fairy tale perfect. In that I think this book really stayed true to itself.

In listening to the audiobook version my one and only criticism would be that the accent of one of the characters was supposed to be Dominican but sounded more Jamaican. Otherwise I thought the narration was good.

The book had several hilarious moments brought to us mostly by Wavonne. But I suppose that happens when your sidekick is larger than life and more dramatic than a Broadway show.

Game of Bones by Carolyn Haines

Game of Bones is the 20th book in the Sarah Booth Delaney mystery series. It was officially released on May 14, 2019.

Digging the scene…

Someone’s got dirt and blood under their nails. That’s for sure! And Sarah Booth is tasked to find out who done it when she’s hired by an archeologist, Frank Hafner, to prove he didn’t kill his nemesis during a controversial Native American mound dig.

The murder victim is Sandra Wells, also a professor, who was battling with Frank in front of the cameras as they filmed for a reality TV show.

Professor Frank Hafner, we are judging you…

Remember that sleazy professor you had in college who was single and always free to mingle? And not just with his fellow professors. You know the guy who seemed to prefer to flirt with the students that were not yet working on doctoral dissertations? Well Frank is that guy.

We soon discover that the world of academia is as full of bedfellows as it is fellowship students. He isn’t dense and knows that everyone in town, as well as those watching the excavation unfold on TV, are aware that he had more than a little pick axe to grind with Sandra Wells.

Sandra Wells… dead woman possibly walking

Sandra is not a woman who was fun at parties. Well maybe she had fun at parties but probably only after sleeping with most of the men there. Held in low regard but highly esteemed for her money she doesn’t care about the sacred mound.

Sandra is the type of professor who you knew would rather be anywhere but in an actual classroom.

The harsh reality is that her students didn’t like her. Neither did her fellow professors. She ends up dead in a way that robbed her of any beauty, the one thing she had going for herself, she once may have had.

Native American mounds… stepping on the wrong turf

One of the things I liked about this book was having a chance to learn a bit about the existence of burial mounds. It was a good history lesson and one that is rarely discussed. The author didn’t shy away from the harsh reality that some disenfranchised groups are powerless in protecting their heritage from those who are known to plunder and have the money and economic backing to legally do whatever they please.

Peter Deerstalker… the Legal Eagle who is ready to shut it all down

Peter is a member of the Tunica Native American tribe. As an attorney he is well used to people trying to exploit his people. That in itself gives him a reason to be a suspect in Sandra’s murder. He has been in close contact with her (really, which man in this book hasn’t?) and a strong motive to harm her.

College students… always thinking they know it all

It seems everyone has an ulterior motive for being on the dig site. Especially the students. Sure these kids want to get a good grade but for some of them they are looking for much more.

The students and young people were milling about and on the outskirts of many events in the novel. Some were sleeping with professors. Some were literally casting spells.

Kawania… you can take the girl out of the coven but you can’t take New Orleans out of the girl

Hailing from New Orleans she is eager to name drop Marie Laveau as part of her family lineage. A student of Sandra’s she plays up her familial history and her Native American bloodline. As well as person who won’t hesitate to put a spell on you. She adds a bit of American Horror Story: Coven to the air. Like Peter Deerstalker she is a member the Tunica tribe.

Delane Goggans…

She’s got it bad, she’s hot for teacher. Okay, I will try not to reference bad songs from the 80s again but it needed to be said and no lies were told.

Delane is clearly in love with Frank Hafner and it is suspected that she will do almost anything to protect him from getting sent to the state penitentiary.

Case closed…

This book exceeded my expectations in many ways. Sarah Booth has grown up and is able to show a sensitivity which I did not anticipate seeing. I loved revisiting the effervescent Jitty, the ghost, and could have used a lot more of her quips and barbs. This time she presented herself in many invocations of Native American women which offered food for thought along with a dose of history.

There were some supernatural elements and rumors throughout this book. But I suppose that is to be expected when we are dealing with Sarah Booth who has her own personal ghost. Whether some of the supernatural elements were based on superstition or stereotyping is a question I will turn over in my brain in time to come.

I liked the college students being introduced and seeing them run around Zinnia. It was nice to see them as focal points within the story. They really made for good characters and I was constantly wondering how much they were involved with the murder. The topic itself, of excavation of Native American burial places and areas of importance, was an excellent choice for a cozy mystery.

The author did a good job of presenting the big business behind digging up bones. As well as what it means to the disenfranchised people who are helpless in watching their ancestors and their way of life be examined without their permission. Reality TV being incorporated was very cool and I could imagine the characters and persons of interest playing up for the cameras.

There weren’t many things endearing about the murder victim and I enjoyed the candor the suspects used in talking about her deep flaws and true intentions. It was fun to discover all of the various secret motivations behind those who worked on the excavation site. A couple of the surprises made my jaw drop; I simply did not see them coming.

The mystery itself was one that kept me guessing. I had no idea that things would unfold the way they did and basically any theory I would have been able to develop would have not have even come close to the truth. I call that impressive. There were not a ton of subplots in this book- it was pretty straight forward and things were wrapped up nicely in the end. The action scenes were good and the multiple discoveries that mattered the most occurred in the final pages.

Thank you to Net Galley and to the publishers of this book for providing me with an Advanced Reader Copy of Game of Bones in exchange for my honest review.