5 Magnetic Mysteries for the New Year
At the end of 2019, Hidden Gems subscribers were treated to a myriad of mysteries to read and review for FREE – and we’ve cross-referenced the ratings and reviews to select five of the most compelling. It’s always tough to pick from all the great reads authors share with us, so if you’re a fan of the mystery genre, don’t hesitate to sign up and enjoy them all!
Wings and Broken Things by Trixie Silvertale
Trixie Silvertale‘s Mitzy Moon series are a unique blend of paranormal and cozy mysteries – with a frisson of romance thrown in for good measure. In this book, the third in the series, we really see our determined psychic hit her stride as she tries to track down who ran down her beloved veterinarian.
“Another wonderful book by this author!” Darla writes, in her 5-star review. “Mitzy has two cases to solve. The local vet is hit by a car but the driver doesn’t wait to see if he is ok. And, an angel statue is stolen from a widow’s yard. Are they connected sonehow? Mitzy thinks they are and goes about to prove it by solving both of them. Sheriff Erick is still as handsome as ever and not accepting her advances. Ghostma is still as snarky as ever as she and Mitzy grow closer. I can’t wait until the next book in this series comes out because I’m going to be excited to see what these lovable characters will be up to next. If you like cozy mysteries, read this series!”
“Great characters and a fun story,” praises B. J. Taylor in her 5-star review. “The first two books in the series revolved around a murder. I was a bit concerned thinking that is the murders continued at that rate there would be few residents left and tourists would avoid the town. So it was a relief to find this book did not have a murder but still had a case for Mitzy to crack. A hit-and-run and a theft put Mitzy once again in the path of Sheriff ‘Too Hot to Handle’ Harper as she does her own investigation (with the help of Pye).”
Whitetooth Falls by Justin Joschko
Ontario-based author Justin Joschko has already impressed readers with his Yellow Locust novels, but brings a new edge to the genre with Whitetooth Falls. Set in the city of Niagara Falls, the stories sees local homicide detective David Moore facing grisly murders targeting the local mob – and an increasingly horrifying idea of what – not who – the perpetrator might be.
“A dark, gritty detective thriller with a supernatural twist,” writes reviewer Jo. “I thoroughly enjoyed this book, for the most part. The characters are realistic and likeable, the descriptions are wonderfully noir-esque, the action is excellent, the dialogue is snappy and great (love that detective banter!) and things generally kept moving at a decent clip. It really keeps you wondering whether it’s gonna go all the way into supernatural stuff, or if there’s some smoke-and-mirrors type stuff happening. The conclusion was satisfying, and a little surprising (wasn’t expecting one character to go where he ended up, but I liked it). Overall, it was a great read, and I’ll definitely keep an eye out for the author in the future.”
“It’s been a while since I read a good edge of your seat thriller or a spine-tingling horror, and I got my fix on both with Whitetooth Falls,” writes Vine Voice Momma Becky, in her 5-star review. “The story does have its grisly side with the descriptions of some of the murders, but it’s not over the top. In fact, I like that Justin Joschko went for plain ol’ good writing and storytelling to keep me turning the pages rather than depending on gore for shock value. It is bloody, but when you’re dealing with werewolves and organized crime, that’s to be expected.”
H_NGM_N: Murder Is the Word by JC Gatlin
Newscaster Tori finds herself reluctantly returning to her hometown, when a childhood friend dies in a suspicious suicide. Tori’s newsroom instincts soon prove pertinent – and she begins to uncover a web of lies, an elaborate conspiracy, and the disquieting truth that her best friend was actually murdered.
“A powerful first chapter hooks the reader,” reviewer Melody A. Dimick praises in her 5-star review. “Looking for a summer beach read? Like mysteries? JC Gatlin’s book is a weekend read full of red herrings and unique characters. It’s also a story of coming to grips with one’s past and moving toward one’s future.”
Reviewer Jeanette writes: “While I’d suspected who the murderer was just over halfway into the book (along with one other possibility) Gatlin kept me guessing with enough false trails to keep me reading and satisfied with the ending. There were a couple of minor discontinuities and I felt that Darla’s tragic situation and also the portrayal of mental breakdown in the closing passages was at times dealt with superficially. Yet, Tori’s emotional journey was strongly written and the paranormal element (what was real, what was fake) gave an interesting dynamic that fans of Scooby Doo or The X-Files would, I think, love.”
The Case of the Unhealthy Health Club by David Staats
Seemingly bucking the stereotype, David Staats second novel in the Walter Dure “Hard Case” Mystery series sees a beautiful, trophy wife trying to solve the untimely death of her middle-aged husband. Although everything points to death by natural causes, hard-boiled attorney Walter Dure suspects otherwise – and as he defends the health club where the death took place, he uncovers a conspiracy that goes deeper than anybody could have suspected.
Reviewer Geraldine Cosentino gave the book 5-stars, writing: “The story is told from the perspective of several of the book’s characters; primarily a summer intern and Walter Dure himself, whose ingenuity and persistence finally solve the cause of death. This is an intelligent well-written, traditional mystery. All the clues are there, and the solution (which surprised me) makes sense.”
C. Sasser similarly enjoyed the book – writing: “This was an interesting mystery that kept the reader guessing throughout and the pages turning to find out the answer. There were many twists, turns and surprises that kept the reader guessing and made the journey entertaining. There was a great set of characters to add to the mystery. The answer was kept until the end of the story.”
Kicked to the Curb by Joanna Campbell Slan
Divorcee Cara Mia Delgatto might not sound like the first choice for a mystery protagonist, but this smart and passionate businesswoman finds herself embarking on the second of her whodunnit adventures in this book by Joanna Campbell Slan. When a prying reporter winds up dead on her doortstep, she uncovers a chilling conspiracy involving a local boys school that had chilling parallels with real-life news headlines.
“Great cozy mystery,” writes one of our favorite reviewers, Pamela R. Mitchell. “I enjoyed every minute of this delightfully entertaining cozy mystery with interesting suspects, small town vibe, twists, turns, ups and downs that kept me glued to the book from beginning and I really didn’t want it to end. I felt an instant connection to Cara Mia Delgatto and loved her dynamic with her friends and residents of Florida’s beautiful Treasure Coast. Even though it is book two in the Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series, I had no problem reading it as a standalone but I am so intrigued, I want to read all of the books in this series.”
“I loved that this was a middle aged protagonist, and I, also loved how the book is told from varying points of views,” writes Allyson A. in her 5-star review. “Cara Mia Delgatto owns The Treasure Chest in Stuart, Florida – which uses items to re-purpose them into pieces of art. While trying to drum up business, Cara holds a special event just for the media – and winds up with a dead reporter on her hands.”