book reviews / Uncategorized

2 Murder-Mysteries and 1 Coming-of-age

Here are three more great NetGalley books I am thrilled I didn’t miss reading:

  1. Deck the Hounds — Andy defends a homeless Iraqi vet who is wrongly accused of murder and separated from his only friend, a dog
  2. Woman of Courage — A single young woman is called to convert the heathen Indians to Christianity and gets more than she expected
  3. Clincher — When she is accused of murder, a farrier sets out to go behind the scenes of her ranching town to find the truth

Deck the Hounds (Andy Carpenter #18)Deck the Hounds

by David Rosenfelt


I am a big fan of David Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter series. I read all of the early ones and would read every one he publishes except, well, I’ll be honest: The ebooks got expensive and my local library didn’t carry them. I cheered when NetGalley offered his latest, Deck the Hounds (Minotaur Books 2018) and was lucky enough to grab a free copy. By now, in the series, Andy is married with an adopted child and two (three?) dogs to round out his family. When he sees on TV that a homeless Iraqi vet who he knows mostly through the soldier’s dog has been arrested for murder and his dog placed in a shelter, likely scheduled to be euthanized, Andy can’t sit by and allow that to happen. Though he rarely practices law anymore, and then only for innocent defendants in a case that appeals to him (a family inheritance left him wealthy), this case qualifies. It doesn’t take long to realize this vet is being framed and Andy is his only hope of vindication.

As with all of Rosenfelt’s books, this is filled with humor, clever quips, and feel-good events that make you wish there really was an Andy Carpenter and that all dogs lived in his house. Here are a few examples:

“… reaching his hand through [the cage] to gently pet the dog. It’s not that difficult because the dog seems equally anxious to make the connection and is lying right up against it…”
“Two seconds in Marcus-time is an hour and a half to anyone else” [refers to Andy’s investigator].

My only complaint, and one that didn’t hurt the rating, is that Rosenfelt spent a smidgeon too much time reviewing past activities. Even at my age, I do remember events longer than five pages but maybe others don’t. So, really, it’s OK. Just calling this out. Overall, this–as with all of his books–is a delightful read that I hated to put down even to eat dinner.

–free from NetGalley for an honest review

Woman of CourageWoman of Courage

Wanda Brunstetter


Wanda Brunstetter’s Woman of Courage (Shiloh Run Press 2014) begins when young Amanda Pearson is jilted by her fiancee and sets out on a three-thousand-mile journey across early 1800’s America to help a missionary couple in the Oregon territory. Her father joins her but dies of a heart attack early, leaving her with a tough but fair guide. When he is killed, she is alone, bereft of even the most basic survival skills, and would have died herself if not for a mountain man who unexpectedly finds her near death after bears ravaged her campsite. He places her in the care of another mountain man who is married to an Indian (Mary) he hopes can save her life. Despite these initial setbacks, her faith in God is not shaken and He always seems to answer her prayers.

While there are many fascinating characters in this story, one of my favorites is Mary–Yellow Bird to her native Nez Perce tribe. She was kidnapped from her People and sold to her trapper husband who is ambivalent about their relationship until one seminal event that changes everything for both of them. Seeing the white man’s life through her eyes is humbling and educational.

While this surely is a book about a woman of courage–which of these two women the author refers to, I’m not sure–the thread that connects everything is Amanda’s unrelenting drive to spread the word of God and turn nonbelievers into Christians. I have to admit, I cringed at the idea of forcing religion on those with their own long-held beliefs but I know historically, this is what happened. Brunstetter, a New York Times bestselling author, addresses this with respect for all those involved and as nicely as possible.

–free from NetGalley for an honest review

The Clincher

Lisa Preston


In Lisa Preston’s The Clincher (Skyhorse Publishing 2018), first of her Horseshoer Mystery series, Rainy Dale thinks her life is finally coming together despite a rocky start and secrets she won’t even share with her boyfriend and landlord, Guy. When one of her farrier clients is murdered and she is the last to see her alive, Rainy takes it upon herself to run down clues she remembers from that last appointment, her client’s unease with something she didn’t explain, and several unusual events Rainy noticed when leaving the client’s ranch. Rainy is young in years only. She is no stranger to adversity and despite her difficult history, has a moral streak that won’t allow her to walk away from someone who needs her help, even if they’re dead.

The dialogue is authentic and hard-nosed, the narrative crisp and witty, with no wasted words. Throughout the book, the author shares much about Rainy’s profession which made me feel pretty darn knowledgeable in this area by the last page. Still, it took me a while to get into the story. Though Rainy is a strong voice for the main character, and unique in both her job and her attitude, she is as approachable as a porcupine and has a chip on her shoulder that makes her think a light in the tunnel is a rattlesnake with a headlamp. She is judgmental of almost everyone for no apparent reason and dismissive of her boyfriend who seems to be the only person in her life who really cares about her without question.

Lest you think I didn’t enjoy this book, by the time I finished, I was checking to see when the next in the series would be available (no answer to that question). If you like unique stories that teach, you’ll enjoy this book.

–free from NetGalley for an honest review

View all my reviews

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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and Born in a Treacherous Timefirst in the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Survival of the Fittest, Spring 2019, first in the Crossroads Trilogy. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning

26 thoughts on “2 Murder-Mysteries and 1 Coming-of-age

  1. Pingback: 4 More NetGalley ARCs–3 Great, 1 Good | WordDreams...

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