Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged mystery

Pictures of You

Reading Pictures of You is like having encounters with people you randomly meet on the street, at the beach, on in a park.

Miss Don’t Touch Me, Vol. 2

My knowledge of graphic novels is limited to having only read The Watchman. When you’re reading a book you imagine what the character looks like and maybe even the environment where she lives. When you experience a graphic novel, an interconnected array of words and colors awaits you much like what a child sees when looking at a picture book. I think it’s a fabulous genre and I look forward to reading more. _[Miss Don’t Touch Me, Vol.

Chasing Alliecat

In this action-packed thriller written for a young adult audience, author Rebecca Fjelland Davis brings multiple themes to the forefront, places them on the table and gets dirty—dirty as in riding mountain bikes in the woods of a small town and scarily getting involved with some unsavory characters in the wilds of northern Minnesota. With a plot interwoven with themes of death, friendship, family, and abuse, this novel provokes your senses and makes it all worthwhile.

The Incident at New Providence

The Incident at New Providence begins with the uncomfortable reunion of two sisters who can fairly accurately be called Country Mouse and City Mouse. At that point, however, any resemblance to a cute children’s story comes to a screeching halt. Olivia Free-Woman has written a story with racism, sexism, sexual abuse, abortion, small town politics, and a lesbian heroine that feels entirely plausible. As with most entertaining fiction, the back story evolves throughout, leaving the reader intrigued without feeling too much in the dark. The action moves the story forward as Terri (City Mouse) discovers things she wishes she hadn’t about some of the people she grew up with, and her big sister Grace struggles to keep her from getting into trouble.

The Autobiography of Jenny X

The Autobiography of Jenny X is amazing. Every time you think you know what is going to happen, author Lisa Dierbeck takes the story in a different, exciting direction.

Old Photographs

Old Photographs by Sherie Posesorski is the story of Phoebe Hecht, a teenage girl who is struggling through most boring summer of her life. Originally from the small town of Barrie, Phoebe moved to Toronto about a year ago when her mother married Greg, a very rich, very serious doctor. While her mother is excited about all the changes in their life, Phoebe is less than thrilled.

Possible Lives (Las Vidas Posibles)

As a geologist, Clara’s husband Luciano often travels to Patagonia for work. After calling Clara from the road, he stops answering his cell phone. Once she’s confirmed that he failed to check into his hotel, Clara leaves a note and sets out to find him. Thousands of miles from home, she checks into the room herself. She meets with a police inspector and asks for help finding her husband.

The Monochrome Madonna

For the last year or so now, I have been avidly pursuing murder mysteries by an Indian author or with an Indian connection. Some have turned out very good, and some were simply tolerable. The latest in this genre to fall in my way is The Monochrome Madonna by Kalpana Swaminathan (of Kalpish Ratna fame). I approached the book very positively, having read much praise of their work, but I have to confess that The Monochrome Madonna left me feeling let down.

Laughed 'Til He Died: A Death On Demand Mystery

I do like a good mystery, though I normally tend to go for either an author I know, a series I know, or a “world” I know. Since the author and locale of Laughed ‘Til He Died were both completely new to me, the fact that this book held my interest, and had me doing some late-night page-turning to see how it all turned out, speaks well for it. A South Carolinian island is the location for this latest installment in the Death Walked In series.

Running Dark

Running Dark is the second book in Jamie Freveletti’s action-mystery-thriller series featuring chemist and long-distance runner Emma Caldridge. The first book, Running from the Devil, establishes the character of Caldridge as a strong scientist with a flair for quick thinking and physical endurance in the worst of situations.

Orion You Came and You Took All My Marbles

Orion You Came and You Took All My Marbles follows Finley, an investigator of sorts, as she fumbles her way through her latest mission and attempts to capture it all down on paper.

Lost Girls: Sex and Death in Renaissance Florence

Founded in 1554 by a group of charitable women who called themselves the Compagnia della Pietà, the Casa della Pietà, or Compassion House, was built in Florentine to shelter girls who had been orphaned or abandoned by their parents. The goal of the home was to keep children and adolescent girls from turning to (or being forced into) prostitution in the absence of familial support, and to provide them with the possibility of a dowry and marriage. Despite these good intentions, only 202 of the 526 girls and women who resided in the home survived their stay.

Murder Under the Bridge: A Palestine Mystery

Political intrigue is a great backdrop for a mystery. Look at The Manchurian Candidate, The Third Man or any of Henning Mankell’s wonderful Wallander mysteries. A murder can highlight the struggles for power, the needs of the many versus the needs of the few, and the ways people hurt each other at both the micro and macro levels. If they are written well. If they aren’t, the work feels something like Murder Under the Bridge by Kate Raphael.

Cook the Books

Cook the Books is part of a series of mystery books (Gourmet Girl Mysteries) by mother-daughter writing team Jessica Conant-Park and Susan Conant. Chloe is a graduate student in her mid twenties, who lives by herself and has a passion for food. She has an incredibly gorgeous best friend named Adrianna, who is married to a goofy but honest and lovable free-spirited (broke) man named Owen.

Angel and Apostle

Deborah Noyes’s Angel and Apostle, styled as a sequel to The Scarlet Letter, is a fascinating journey and an interesting effort to flesh out the life of a child attempting to live under the shadow of shame, guilt, and community exile.

Forbidden Passion

Forbidden Passion is a paranormal romance centered around the relationship of Dr. Marlena Bender and Sheriff Dante Valtrez. Set in the small Southern town of Mysteria, the book begins with Marlena returning home to confront her troubled past. Twenty years before, Marlena witnessed the gruesome deaths of her mother and sister at the hands of two men in the woods.

Secrets of Eden

Like Midwives and The Double Bind, Chris Bohjalian's newest suspense novel, Secrets of Eden, was (no exaggeration) nearly impossible for me to put down.

September Fair: A Murder-by-Month Mystery

Librarian and small-town reporter Mira James discovers the dead body of the latest Milkfed Mary, Queen of the Dairy, while covering the Minnesota State Fair for the local newspaper. Milkfed Mary is teenaged Ashley Pederson. Mira is covering a carving of Ashley’s head in butter as part of the Queen of the Dairy ceremony when the lights go out in the Dairy building. A few moments later Mira finds Ashley on the floor of a refrigerated booth, her skin a strange shade of red. Ashley’s body is the fifth Mira has discovered in the last few months.

Love You to Death

Love You to Death raises many moral questions: How far would you go to have a loved one returned to you? Would you fly halfway around the world on a moments’ notice because you had a hunch something was wrong? Would you put your own life in danger to save a loved one? Catching a last minute flight from Hong Kong to Illinois cost Elise McBride a fortune, but she would pay that numerous times over to make sure her sister came home safely.

Sleep No More

It starts in young children and for many continues throughout the early adult years: being afraid of night, the dark, and anything associated with what might happen when we close our eyes. Imagine closing your eyes while safe in your bed and then opening them find to find yourself standing in the middle of the living room. You have no recollection on how you got there or what you may have done in the process of getting there.

Thicker Than Water: A Kit O'Malley Mystery

When I took creative writing classes in college, our professor always said, “Show, don’t tell.” Meaning, let the reader see the story without articulating every detail. Well, Lindy Cameron, author of Thicker Than Water, tells everything through wordy dialogue, detailed facial expressions, and exhaustive character descriptions.

A Duty to the Dead: A Bess Crawford Mystery

It’s funny how everyone gets something different from a story. I like it best when a book is categorized in a genre that, after reading it, is slightly off from my own understanding. It makes it even more fun to read when my expectations are so astonishingly surpassed. A Duty to the Dead starts off with a bang. Before the end of chapter one, a gigantic wartime hospital ship, the infamous Brittanic, is at the bottom of the sea.

Dead Floating Lovers

Set in the lush landscape of upper Michigan, Dead Floating Lovers (the second in Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli's series of the Emily Kincaid mysteries) chronicles the experiences of aspiring mystery writer Emily Kincaid, who is enmeshed in one investigation after another as a journalist-cum-sidekick for the local law—her friend Deputy Dolly Wakowski. Floating in a remote upper Michigan lake, Deputy Dolly discovers bones that she thinks belong to her

The Red Blazer Girls: The Ring of Rocamadour

I should come clean about this now: I was a total mystery addict as a kid. Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, and The Boxcar Children were my favorites.

All the Dead Voices

I have always been drawn to a good crime story. When I was given the opportunity to read a writer previously unknown to me, a book that sold itself as a cross breed of modern American noir and Irish culture, I was excited at the prospect. I should have opted for a love story. All the Dead Voices is a strange mix of modern American urban gangster style with an Irish bent and a distinct dislike of the female in all her forms.

Yes, My Darling Daughter

“Such a pretty girl. Four years old; well loved by her young mother, Grace. But there’s something...'off ' about the child.” The above excerpt sets the scene for Margaret Leroy’s Yes, My Darling Daughter. Margaret Leroy offers a novel that is so original and suspenseful it pulls you in from the first page. The story involves Grace, a single mother who works full-time at a London flower shop, and Sylvie, her four-year-old daughter.

Miss Don't Touch Me

Miss Don't Touch Me is the story of a girl, Blanche, who works with her sister, Agatha, as a live-in maid in Paris at the turn of the twentieth century. When Blanche witnesses her sister’s murder, her world is destroyed. People think Agatha committed suicide, and nobody will believe Blanche.

Fed Up

Given the strained and perilous relationship I have with my own mother, I have a lot of admiration for any mother-daughter pair that get along well enough to successfully negotiate the writing of a novel. That said, Fed Up could have been a lot better than it was. I give the authors points for creating a strong and opinionated female character, Chloe, who solves the mystery of a poisoned woman on her own through a rough mixture of luck and logic.


Epic in its proportions, 2666 is a modern day mystery novel more akin to James Joyce than anything on the shelves by John Grisham. The five sections that comprise the book are set around the world, yet the heart of the narratives remains bound to the fictional Mexican border town of Santa Teresa.

The Séance

John Harwood’s The Séance combines all the great elements of a classic Victorian ghost story: Dilapidated mansions, noises in the walls, flickers of candlelight in a darkened window, and a fog rolling in across a menacing landscape—all the workings for a good scary read. The Séance is told from the perspectives of three dif