Tag Archives: Anne Cleeland

Four BOOK HOOKS on Friday

Book Hooks

Four BOOK HOOKS on Friday
Book Hooks . . . also known as, the things that attract me to a book before I read the synopsis teaser.  There are so many books on the market, and even though you can narrow down your choices by interest and reading the backs of the books, the sheer number is still rather daunting.  As I have mentioned previously, I love to wander bookstores to see what might strike my fancy, and I started to think about what attracts me to pick up one book to peruse the back synopsis and not pick up another.  To use the old cliche, I guess I do check out books by their covers.  So, here are four things that I look at BEFORE I read what the book is about.  A shout-out to my youngest for coming up with the title BOOK HOOKS; thank you, peanut!

Author
I almost always look first at the author of a book . . . of course it helps that most stores arrange their books alphabetically by author!!  Although, I noticed recently, that a local Barnes and Noble separated cozy mysteries from other mysteries.  Hmmm.  “Cozy” mysteries is somewhat of an ambiguous term and I don’t like that they are telling me what is cozy and what isn’t.  Rather annoys me; kind of like when they pushed the mysteries to the back of the store.  Kind of gets my goat . . . but I digress.

I have a list . . . of course I have a list . . . of about 50 favorite authors that I follow and read regularly. Sometimes I add new ones and sometimes I have to break up with them, but if I see a book by one of “my” authors, I am going to pick it up.  Now, I don’t always read every series by each of the authors, but I am more likely to try something new from an author I like.  I do this with movies too; I follow certain actors, regardless of the film itself.  Richard Armitage is in a movie . . . yup, I’m gonna see it.

Cover Art
I suppose this is the cliche at its finest, but if a book has a castle and a character in period clothing, I am going to pick it up!  I know that was how I found both of my two most favorite authors – Anna Lee Huber and C. S. Harris.  Huber’s first cover indicates a period mystery set in Scottish Highlands (uh, yeah!) and Harris’ cover shows a darker, more gothic environment.

I will admit that the cartoon-y, cutesy covers tend to turn me off though and some books covers just don’t give the right feel for the book.

Title
I appreciate a good play on words and enjoy a creative title.  Kate Carlisle’s Bibliophile series attracted me with the title Homicide in Hardcover, and I enjoyed the contradiction of Anne Cleeland’s Murder in Thrall.  A newer series by Loretta Ross (check out my review next week!) has Death in every title, but it is the name of main character.  Most of Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy mysteries are Irish phrases and song titles – In Like Flynn and Oh Danny Boy.

Because I tend to be a bit detailed oriented . . . you kind of figured that out, right . . . I really enjoy titles that have a pattern.  C. A. Belmond’s series all starts with “A Rather . . .,” as in A Rather Lovely Inheritance and A Rather Curious Engagement.  Juliet Blackwell’s witchcraft series titles all have clothing references in the title: A Toxic Trousseau and Hexes and Hemlines.  When I see a series of titles on the shelf that seem to follow a pattern, I will pick them up.  Sue Grafton’s Alphabet Mystery series and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series appeal to my sense of organization.

Endorsements
Finally, I look at endorsements.  I figure that if an author that I enjoy likes the book, there is a reasonable chance that I might also enjoy it.  I will get especially excited when more than one of my favorite authors comments on the book!  Both Anna Lee Huber and Deanna Raybourn commented on the Simone St. James books and that was clincher for me to try her out.  I have often wondered though how an author is asked to comment on another author’s book; is there an insiders secret code?  Hmmm.  Might have to research that.  Finally, once I have found a possibility based on one of these four draws, I will then read the synopsis.

Of course the real challenge starts next; how do I choose which to purchase from the stack that I have assembled?!  Ah, the life of a reader!  How about you?  What attracts . . . or detracts . . . you from picking up a book?

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Ice Blue

Ice Blue

Title:  Ice Blue (Lord and Lady Hetheridge 1)
Author:  Emma Jameson
Publisher:  Lyonnesse
Publication Date:  2011
ISBN:  978-148-192180-0

Book Summary:
It is not easy for a woman to be a Detective Sergeant in the male-dominated New Scotland Yard, but Kate Wakefield is bold and brash and just a bit outspoken.  When her superior makes an unsolicited move on her and she retaliates verbally, she is brought to the attention of Chief Superintendent Anthony Hetheridge.  Instead of firing Kate, Hetheridge is impressed with her insight and thoroughness and brings her on to his team.  Hetheridge is as different from Kate as can be; in addition to being almost 30 years her senior, he is also the ninth Baron of Wellegrave.  His aristocratic demeanor and reputation for solid and comprehensive investigating make him a legend at Scotland Yard.  Struggling to control her quips and comments, Kate find that she enjoys working with Hetheridge and appreciates his calm and collected demeanor.

They are called to investigate a particularly brutal murder of a financier.  Malcolm Comfrey is dead and a number of people are pleased about it.  Complicating matters further, Mrs. Comfrey attempts to take advantage of her past relationship with Hetheridge to hurry the case along as she is less than forthcoming with answers.  The drug usage of her daughter Jules and Jules’ fiancé Kevin further obscures the facts.

Kate, however, is not without problems herself.  As guardian to her 8-year-old nephew Henry and caregiver to her mentally challenged brother Ritchie, Kate is constantly juggling home and work.  Her current “out” with boyfriend Dylan becomes more complex with his sudden disappearance when she has news that must be shared with him.

Kate and Hetheridge are both very private people but in order to solve this case without either of them losing their jobs . . . or their lives . . . they must figure out a way to open up with one another about the crime, their own histories, and the possibility of a future.

Book Commentary:
This is one of those “if you like this, you might also this” books.  I ordered it on a whim and am so pleased that I did.  This first story was good but I felt that much of it was devoted to exposition about the characters and their backgrounds.  That being said, I am intrigued enough about the characters and their crime-solving prowess to check out further books in the series.

The author creates a really dynamic relationship between these two very opposite characters.  Although I figured out early “who dun it,” I was very interested and engaged in seeing how the proof and motive evolved.  The author plays a lot on the challenges of a female detective in a very male-dominated environment.  There is a lot of humorous, and almost to a point crass, interchange between the characters that has a very honest and real feel.

The series is billed as a “cozy” mystery but I think it is a bit more than that.  Certainly not as complex as a Deborah Crombie or Elizabeth George Scotland Yard mystery, there is certainly more depth than your average cozy mystery.  I am looking forward to checking out the next book in the series. 

Who might like this book:
If you like a Scotland Yard contemporary mystery, you might want to check this one out.  The contrast of a titled Chief Superintendent and a lowly detective inspector is one that always holds promise and potential, and this one throws in a massive age difference as well.  Fans of Elizabeth George, Anne Cleeland, or Deborah Crombie may enjoy the similarities.  There are four books currently in the series:

Ice Blue
Blue Murder
Something in Blue
Black & Blue