Thursday, October 30, 2014

Charles Todd novel "A Matter of Justice"

Title:  A Matter of Justice (Inspector Ian Rutledge #11)
Author:  Charles Todd
Pages:  330
Year:  2009
Publisher:  William Morrow
The psychological aspect is ramped up in this novel.  Inspector Ian Rutledge is called from a friend’s wedding celebration to take over an investigation of the murder of a member of the local gentry that universally was disliked.  Ian has his hands full of suspects where normally his investigations take time to turn up a single suspect.  Several in the town have motives to kill the cruel man found dead, hanging from the ceiling in an old barn by a contraption used during the local Christmas pageant to make the angel fly.  Who would want to humiliate this man?  What is the meaning of having the victim trussed up with angel wings dangling from the ceiling?
As Ian’s investigation progresses, there are two attempted suicides, an act of vandalism at the town bakery and a policeman under suspicion as a possible suspect for the murder.  Ian is relentless in pursuing justice and leaves no stone unturned.  He pushes himself beyond his limit physically and is involved in a car accident, but as soon as his car is back on the road, he is off to London to continue asking questions and gathering information.  He also is always on guard lest someone suspect he is mentally unstable.  He must guard against anyone discovering the existence of Hamish.  He is often on his own, confronting suspects or reluctant witnesses.  He is also often seen as the “bad guy” as he keeps asking question after question until he gets an answer in his pursuit of justice.
This particular story brought to the fore the capacity of humans to show great greed, deception, anger, manipulation, lie, cruelty and spite.  Inspector Rutledge must sort through all these traits and emotions to find the truth in order to bring justice to the victim.  His constant companion guilt via the manifestation of Hamish sometimes helps and sometimes hinders.  The depravity of some people is depicted vividly.  While sometimes distressing, it made for a realistic and riveting story.  Just when I thought the mystery was over, there was another twist.  I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!
My rating is 5 stars.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Pale Horse by Charles Todd

Title:  A Pale Horse (Inspector Ian Rutledge #10)
Author:  Charles Todd
Pages:  360
Year:  2008
Publisher:  William Morrow
Inspector Ian Rutledge barely has time to breathe between cases that his superior sends him out to solve.  Secretly, his boss hates Ian and is hoping he fails; then, he’ll have proof to have him removed from the force.  However, Ian isn’t cooperating and keeps coming up stellar with his sleuthing abilities.
This current case takes Ian back to a place he visited as a young boy with his father.  There is a giant pale horse carved in a hillside by long ago peoples.  Ian remembers fondly the time spent here with his father, but now he is sent to track down a missing scientist by order of the military.  This, after he just returned from investigating the finding of an unknown corpse in a church abbey, wearing an opera cloak and a gas mask.  No one has seen the dead man before and the local constable likes the school teacher for the murder, pursuing a personal vendetta against the school teacher.  Ian is able to clear the school teacher, but still needs to identify the body before burial.  Before he can accomplish this, he is sent on his quest to watch for the reappearance of this scientist.  The scientist lives in a set-apart area just below the pale horse in one of nine small cottages.  Each cottage is occupied by a person who wants to be left alone with their secrets.  Ian finds help with the blacksmith, but all the other cottage dwellers are terse with him.  No one seems to want to identify the body in his other case either.
Then, a cottager is found murdered soon followed by another.  Ian finally is able to link his two cases together, but still must find out who killed the man found in the abbey and who is killing off the cottagers one by one.  Ian patiently waits sometimes and sometimes purposely plants seeds of doubt when talking to suspects or potential witnesses.  All the while he is drawn to the pale horse and remembers his past.  Unfortunately, that past includes his time in France during WWI.  He still is transported at times back to the battlefield whether in nightmares or while awake.  His horror, grief, anger, shame and guilt are his constant companions in the voice of Hamish MacLeod, a corporal under Ian’s command during the war who Ian had executed.  Can he ever be rid of Hamish?  Can he discover the killer’s identity and proof before the killer strikes again?
This story was slow in some parts, but the psychological aspects of Ian and how he deals with his guilt among other emotions and how he interacts with others while trying to ferret out information is interesting to read and kept me tuned in to the story.  The ability to perform his job while still carrying around so much anguish is remarkable.  The depictions and descriptions by the authors about WWI bring it alive on the pages of the story.  I’ll be reading book eleven in the series soon and am very interested to see what case Ian will be investigating next.
My rating is 4 stars.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Web of Lies by Brandilyn Collins

Title:  Web of Lies (Hidden Faces #4)
Author:  Brandilyn Collins
Story Length:  346
Year:  2005
Publisher:  Zondervan
Annie Kingston is now three months out from an attempt on her life by the Poison Killer (Dead of Night, book 3 in the Hidden Faces series).  She is called upon for her artistic skills again to help the police find a murderer.  Just as she finishes that sketch, she is contacted by a woman, Chelsea Adams, who says she receives visions from God and He has given her a new one.  She shares the terrifying vision with Annie and then asks Annie if she will draw the face of the only person Chelsea sees in the vision.  Annie is reluctant to get involved.  Visions from God, really?  She is unsure if she believes Chelsea, but God soon makes it clear that Annie and Chelsea need to meet for Annie to draw this picture.
As both sketches are circulated, Annie can’t help but wonder if the two cases are related.  Soon thereafter, a body is discovered nearby.  Is this also connected to the other two cases?  Annie is stymied and frustrated by the local policeman in charge of the case.  He doesn’t believe her or Chelsea when they see him to tell him about Chelsea’s vision.  The situation escalates with a kidnapping of someone close to Annie.  Chelsea firmly believes her future is in God’s hands no matter what, so she agrees to help Annie by confronting the kidnapper.  Can they perform their rescue before it is too late?  Who is the kidnapper and why is he out to hurt Annie?
This novel has got great suspense, tension and a nail-biter ending!  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and wish there were more in the series.  I’ve grown to respect Annie now whereas in the first book I thought she whined too much and felt sorry for herself.  Now, what a woman of God she has become!  What spiritual growth!  She still has issue she has to work on, but don’t we all?  I’ll miss Annie and her children, her sister and Dave as well as detective Ralph Chetterling.  Chelsea Adams appeared in this book and really impressed me with her faith, resolve and dedication to doing what God has called her to do regardless of what other people think or how it might impact her.  I know Ms. Collins has written other books featuring this character, so I’m going to check those out.  I’ll let you know what I think of them.  Kudos, to the author for a great read!
My rating is 5 stars.

Note:  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at

Monday, October 27, 2014

Jodie Bailey's "Quilted by Christmas"

Title:  Quilted by Christmas (Quilts of Love Series)
Author:  Jodie Bailey
Story Length:  211 pages
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Abingdon Press
Justin Callahan has returned to town after being in the Army for 12 years.  When he left at age 18, he left behind his girlfriend after a huge argument.  He now returns after leaving the military to help his father run the family construction business.  He sees Taryn and begins to wonder if they can rekindle what they once had.  He knows that he has returned a changed man, but will Taryn want anything to do with him after 12 years of absence?
Taryn McKenna has been keeping a secret for 12 years.  Her grandmother is the only one who knows about it.  Taryn loves her grandmother, who raised her after her mother died when she was a young teenager.  They are working on a quilt together for her cousin’s wedding on New Year’s Day, but events happen that threaten its completion on time.
Taryn and Justin grew up together and she has loved him forever, first as a friend and then as something more.  When he left, after saying some hurtful things to her, she was left with a choice as to how to proceed with her future.  She has lived with her decision for 12 years and now Justin has returned.  The truth weighs heavy on her heart, but will she have the strength to tell the truth?  She has learned to rely on God and His strength, so she prays for his guidance.
I really enjoyed this story with its look at real people who have choices to make and might make the right choice for the wrong reasons.  Both main characters have matured in life’s experiences and in their faith as they reconnect 12 years later.  There is hope, love and forgiveness depicted by more than one character in the story.  I just loved the feisty character of Taryn’s grandmother or Jemma.  She loves fiercely and protectively.  She has down what she thinks is best for her granddaughter, but she learns that with age comes wisdom and that perhaps she didn’t make the best choices.  The characters in the story were believable and I could connect with them emotionally, which made the story more enjoyable.
My rating is 4 stars.

Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at