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A Kudzu Christmas by Patricia Sprinkle, et al
Edited by:  Jim Gilbert and Gail Waller

Publisher:  River City Publishing ISBN:   1579660649

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader

Something for under the Christmas tree. A collection of stories that will remind us what family is all about. They range from the basic family to the more exotic family relationship of a gay vampire detective's familial involvement.

Read what happens to little boys who tell younger boys there's no Santa. Visit the little girl Ginny who believes in wishing. Or pay a visit to an old woman who remembers when young ladies didn't use bad language. These and other tales, all by talented authors, will keep you happily reading.

Well-paced short stories put together by editors who know how to choose wisely. You'll want to curl up beside a fire and read these seasonal tales. They'll also make a great Christmas present.  Enjoy.  I did.



Sleep With Me by Joanna Briscoe

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA ISBN: 1596910127

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

Leila and Richard, a young couple in love, are entirely unprepared for the unsettling and alarming direction their lives are about to take shortly after meeting an odd young woman at a holiday party on the very night their baby is conceived.  The young woman, named Sheila, is instantly forgettable, but all too soon her seemingly coincidental reappearances make her a constant figure in their daily lives.  At first all seems innocent until her oddness begins to grow on Richard, taking him further away from Leila and the upcoming birth of their baby.  And as events begin to take on an increasingly ominous tone, as does the strange emails Richard has been receiving, it's clear that all this previously loving couple hold dear is in grave danger from this odd woman who has so insidiously insinuated herself in their lives.

This starkly bold and literate novel is so full of tension it's almost impossible to read it without feeling unnervingly unsettled.  And with the consistently smooth prose being both creepy and mesmerizing, you'll be hard pressed to put it aside once begun.  The characters, both repulsive and engaging, often at the same time, also add immeasurable depth to this already provocative story.  A definite must for your collection, that is, if you can stand the ominous anticipation and sense of impending doom of this not so easy but highly worthy read.   



The Green Room by Deborah Turrell Atkinson

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press ISBN: 1590581989

Reviewed by Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader

Storm Kayama's new Honolulu law office is just getting off the ground, and Storm is more than ready for a client to walk through the door.  And when Stephanie Barstow comes a'knockin, looking for a divorce from her husband Marty, a surf promoter, Storm is totally unprepared for the danger and excitement that comes along with her.  Referred to Storm by Storm's cousin Nahoa, a big time surfer who Storm hasn't seen for years, Stephanie is fearful of her husband and needs Storms help to secure a divorce that is long time overdue.  Along the way, Storm will become involved in the high stakes game of big time surf promoting and, of course, murder. 

One can't help but enjoy this exciting tale of the intricacies of surfing, the beauty of Hawaii, and the greed and madness that lead to murder.  Storm, an engaging heroine, easily adds to the entertainment value, making the read that much more enticing.  The only complaint is that it would’ve been helpful to have many of the surfing terms explained sooner in the book but, besides that, this read should please fans of this exciting and daring series.   



The Blood Knot by John Galligan

Publisher:  Bleak House Books ISBN:  1932557121

Reviewed by Anne K. Edwards, New Mystery Reader

Dog, aka Ned Oglivie, can't seem to stay out of trouble.  Even the simple act of fishing gets him in deep when he's bitten by a beaver in the water.

The reason for his becoming a wanderer is a private tragedy that sends him on the run away from his grief. His travels have brought him to an area controlled by the Kussmaul brothers, a not too nice family, who are currently disputing a woman artist's right to paint their barns without paying them for the privilege. 

Dog meets them when he goes to the local merchantile for help with his beaver bite and winds up wearing a hairball found in a deer on the bite. The woman who treats him says it will cure rabies which she is sure he got from the bite.

The next morning he wakes to gunshots and goes to investigate. He sees someone shooting at the body of the woman artist and calls in the law.

The question arises, did he witness a murder?  Or not?  Why does the apparent killer confess?  And why does the woman at the mechantile not accept the confession and tells Dog he didn't see what he thought he saw. And he finds himself wondering if she's right. 

Thus begins a tale with several very individual characters, both good and bad. Recommended as an interesting read that will require concentration to get the most from it. It is a well told story and you will be pulled into a world vastly different from what you are used to.  Be sure to keep your waders handy as you follow Dog upstream for both fishing and snooping.

A book I'm sure you will find well worth the time and enjoy.  I did.