HUNTING A PSYCHOPATH: The East Area Rapist / Original Night Stalker Investigation - The Original Investigator Speaks Out by Richard Shelby

huntingPUBLISHING INFO: Booklocker, 9/2014
GENRE: Nonfiction/True Crime
SETTING: California, 1970's-1980's
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: Hunting A Psychopath chronicles the ongoing search for the identity of the serial rapist and murderer known both as the East Area Rapist and Original Night Stalker. The author first lays the groundwork for how the investigation was conducted. Then using what reports are still available, plus some personal insights, he examines each assault in the order they occurred. Gradually the methods used by the EAR/ONS in first searching out his victims, then stalking them, come to light.

The EAR/ONS first surfaced in June, 1976, in Sacramento, CA. He was last heard from in May, 1986, in Irvine, CA, where he brutally murdered an eighteen year old woman. In between those years he stayed busy, assaulting fifty-three people, and murdering twelve more, while spreading a blanket of fear across central CA and parts of Southern CA. It has been over thirty years now and still he has not been brought to justice.

Perhaps this continuing interest is because those wanting to involve themselves in the investigation know it can still be brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

MY THOUGHTS: Richard was a detective on this case from the start and tells of his experience with the EAR's victims and suspects. I learned of a few men who were suspects at the time of the crimes, such as Art Pinkton, William Boren, 'Jamison', and so on. Some were cleared by DNA in the 2000's. There were chapters at the end, each dedicated to a few other suspects and I enjoyed learning about them.

Not too much info was given for each of the rapes, likely because that had been covered in a previous EAR book. I'd have liked to have read interviews with some of the victims. A couple of them have been interviewed for EAR documentaries.

It's still unknown to this day who the EAR is and still unknown if he's dead or alive. Police do have his DNA and I have no doubt that he'll be identified before too long.

Mr. Shelby's written a great, informative book on this case. Anyone who's interested in the EAR should be thrilled to read this.

Listen to what is believed to be EAR's voice here. He made this call to one of his rape victims.

Please watch the documentaries below.

MSNBC Investigates 'Deadly Behavior' episode.

E!'s THS Investigates from 2009.

I.D.'s (Investigation Discovery) Dark Minds, season 2, episode 1, from 2013.

There are several websites dedicated to his monster: Ear-ons.com, Casebook of the Bedroom Killer, The Quester Files.

There's an informative discussion board dedicated to the case, ear/ons/gsk, here. Ear-ons has a complete listing of all EAR's crimes, link.

Here's an article Michelle McNamara did on EAR for L.A. Magazine.



I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



CAR WASH ANGELS 2 ADULT DVD

Car Wash Angels 2STUDIO: VCA
LENGTH: 135 minutes
RATING: XXX
RELEASED: 2000
SCREENSHOTS: link
MY GRADE: B-

FROM DVD: Four years ago Car Wash Angels shot out of the cannon as the definitive Jim Holliday movie. It has since become one of the largest sellers of the decade. Now it's time to return to the wacky Burton Allen Institute for the sequel and find that Dr. Elvis T. Melble and his trading card collection are missing. His long lost sons (Elvis Jr. and Montgomery C. Melble) join in on the search, while the Car Wash division goes mobile. What viewers will care more about are the 33 girls and the 12 high impact sex scenes, guaranteed to give you double your money's worth…. Will Bobbi Bliss and Anita Cannibal both be able to deep throat the monstrous Julian?? Watch the always hot Renee LaRue in her first on-screen anal. To top it all off, only the second and last all-three-holes-filled scene Jill Kelly will ever appear in - with Evan Stone, Julian and a surprise 3rd party. The sequel to the classic will not disappoint true porn fans.


SCENE 1: Chloe's on her hands and knees on the bed blowing Evan, who's standing by the bed. He eats her ass as she fingers herself. He fucks her in the ass while she lays on her back, right leg over his shoulder. She has an orgasm with zero vaginal/clitorial stimulation. She gets on top, reverse cowgirl anal, and has another orgasm. Anal from behind and she comes again. He comes on her back.

SCENE 2: This was a boring outdoor lesbian scene between Bobbi and Syndee that I quickly skimmed through.

SCENE 3: Devin, who's supposed to be a handyman at the institute, walks into Shayla's room. She's sleeping on the bed. She wakes up, he asks her some personal questions then she lays back and he eats her pussy. She gets on all fours and he eats her asshole from behind. Devin stands by the bed, she sits on it in front of him, pulls his denim overalls down and blows him. She gets on all fours on the bed, he spits on her asshole and rubs his dickhead over it and fucks her ass crack. She gets on top of him, facing him for awhile, then turns around without breaking contact for reverse cowgirl. She rubs her clit and comes. She lays on her stomach while he fucks her, the puts it in her ass. He comes on her disgusting right foot and she licks some of it off.

SCENE 4: Jill and Julian are sitting on a mattress in a truck bed, chatting. She blows him, they 69, then her fucks her on her back. They stand up, she leans against the back window and he fucks her from behind. Reverse cowgirl, then she kneels and he comes on her face, chest, and hair.

SCENE 5: Renee and Evan are chatting in his office. She sits on his desk, she kneels in front of her, pushes her dress up, and eats her pussy. She lays back more and he eats her asshole. She kneels in front of him as he leans back against the desk and blows him. Reverse cowgirl, her rubbing her clit, then anal reverse cowgirl on sofa, her still rubbing her clit until she comes. She lays back against the sofa while sitting on the floor, he stands beside her and comes on her chest.

SCENE 6: Bobbi and Anita are wearing bikinis when the go over to Julian's stand at the car wash. They take turns blowing him.

SCENE 7: Barett and Devin are talking in some room. She sits on the desk, he kneels and eats her pussy. She leans forward on the desk. left leg up on it, he's licking her asshole, the fucks her pussy, then ass. Anal reverse cowgirl on desk. She squirted a little but it just dribbled out. Or maybe she just pissed herself a little, who knows.

SCENE 8: Julie walks into the room and goes over to both Barett and Devin in scene 7. Devin's sitting on the desk and they both blow him. Barett leaves the room and Julie continues to blow him. She's naked from the waist down, leaning over the desk, left leg up on it, Devin fucking her from behind. Anal in same position. He picks her up without breaking contact with her ass, sits himself down in a chair and she continues to fuck him anally in reverse cowgirl position.

SCENE 9: Jill tells Shayla about a dream she had involving an all-girl orgy starring:  Allysin Chaynes, Anita Cannibal, Brooke Hunter, Charmane Star, Chaz Vincent, CleoNichole, Daisy Chain, Gina Ryder, Inari Vachs, Kimberly Jade, Salina del Ray, Temptress, Tracy Love, Victoria Evans, Violet Love.

SCENE 10: Ron Jeremy and Bobbi are talking in his office, him behind the desk. She leans across his desk, he gets behind her and eats her pussy. He sits on the floor, she kneels between his legs and blows him for awhile. He sits on the desk and she continues to blow him. Cowgirl position vaginal sex on black sofa, then she turns around, back facing him, without breaking contact and continues to ride him for a long time. Doggie position next. He comes on her right foot, she sits on the back of the sofa and licks it off.

SCENE 11: Angela, Jill, and Felecia are outside on a blanket wearing bikinis. At one point Angela used a dildo in Jill's ass while using a vibrator in Felecia's ass at the same time.

SCENE 12: Jill and Tabitha are naked on the bed eating each other out. Evan stands on the bed and they both blow him. Tabitha rides him then turns around, reverse cowgirl, rubbing her clit a lot. Both blow Julian, then he fucks Jill on her back. He lays back and she gets on top. Jill blows him while Evan fucks her ass from behind and Tabitha uses a dildo in Jill's pussy at the same time. Jill gets on top of Julian, Tabitha standing over his face, facing Jill, Jill eating her pussy. Evan gets behind Jill while she's still on Julian and fucks her ass. Tabitha puts her ass in Jill's face and Jill eats it. Jill lays on her back and both guys come on her.

MY THOUGHTS: This wasn't anything special. It was the sequal to Car Wash Angels 1. It was filmed in August 1999 and you could definitely tell it was the late 90's because of the clothes and hairstyles...and awful breast implants, which most of these women had. I didn't even try to follow along with the plot and couldn't begin to tell you what it was.

I don't think the sex scenes were long enough. The only one I can say I really liked was the one with Ron and Bobbi, specifically reverse cowgirl on the sofa.



INSIDE SEKA: THE PLATINUM PRINCESS OF PORN by Seka with Kerry Zukus

sekaPUBLISHING INFO: BearManor Media, 9/2013
GENRE: Autobiography
PURCHASE: link
OFFICIAL SITE: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: Seka—The Platinum Princess, the Marilyn Monroe of Porn, the queen of XXX cinema’s Golden Age, and John Holmes’ favorite leading lady. Seka is a legendary performer in the annals of adult cinema, and many would say the greatest. Seka’s name was so big in XXX that her name above the title was not enough—her name had to be in the title!

Seka’s real life story, though, is as enigmatic as her screen persona. She was never a victim—on-screen or off. This is no tale of remorse, abuse, or self-destructive behavior. Seka was post-feminist before the term was born. Inside Seka is the story of a survivor, a trailblazer, and an icon—still one of the most popular and famous porn stars ever; the last of the natural beauties.

MY THOUGHTS: Seka (Dorothiea 'Dottie' Hundley) is very honest and blunt. She's not very humble and is a touch arrogant when it comes to her looks and popularity. Despite that I like her a lot. She was a true porn star in the seventies through the mid-80's. Her career came to a halt when AIDS came on the scene heavily. She wanted to use condoms but the production companies didn't want to so she left but ended up making a few more films after that. She was never very responsible with her finances.

Her life has been pretty interesting. I got a bit tired of hearing about the nonporn celebrities she's met over the years. She's childless and has been happily married to Carl, husband number two, since the 2000's. She didn't mentioned why she never had kids. Did she just never want any or did she never find the right man to settle down with? She didn't say.

There are many black and white photos peppered throughout the book including a few topless ones. Thankfully she never got implants. She did have three breast lifts.

She did an interview to promote her book in September 2013. There's more info about her films here.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


TEMPTING A SINNER by Kate Pearce

temptingPUBLISHING INFO: Aphrodisia, 7/29/14
GENRE: Historical Erotic Fiction
SETTING: England, 1827
SERIES: The Sinners Club, #2
PURCHASE: link
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: C

FROM PUBLISHER: Within the circles of British intelligence, Benedict, Lord Keyes, is known for his cold brilliance and strict military demeanor. Yet this icy exterior masks a man of smoldering passion and scorching sexuality who will do anything to keep his past a secret. . .

Miss Malinda Keyes refuses to be intimidated by Lord Keyes. In fact, she enjoys a good battle, especially one of erotic wiles and carnal cunning. Determined to expose his lordship's past, she will use every wanton weapon in her arsenal to tease and tempt this sinner into the ultimate sensual surrender. . .

MY THOUGHTS: The synopsis doesn't really tell you what this book is about so I'll explain. Benedict, 36, with blond hair and blue eyes, has been estranged from Malinda, 35, with red hair and hazel eyes, for eighteen years. They grew up together and married when they were seventeen and eighteen. Ben's father forced them apart because he felt Malinda was beneath his son, so he made up a horrible lie to scare/run Malinda off. Malinda thought they were divorced this whole time, I'm not sure why, but they weren't. They reunite and rediscover their love for each other. I found both of them to be bland. There's a mystery they're trying to solve about who killed her father years ago. I'm sorry to say I was completely uninterested in that, which was the entire plot. Honestly, I couldn't wait for this story to end. It's completely different than the first in the series, which I couldn't get enough of.

I liked the explicit sex scenes and there were over twenty of them. There were two m/m scenes, one threesome, a few scenes between others at the Sinners Club, and the rest were just between Malinda and Ben. I'd have liked more m/m scenes. In fact, I'd like a future Sinners Club novel to have only m/m scenes.

It needs to be made more clear in each book in the series just what the Sinners Club is, exactly. It's more than a sex club for ex-military people. I couldn't get a feel of the layout of the establishment either.

There was one interesting thing in this story and it had to do with a teenaged girl named Doris, who lives with Malinda. I didn't see that revelation coming and I'm disappointed that we didn't get to see how it played out.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Same review here.



the sinners club logo


BEYOND SCANDAL by Brenda Joyce

beyondddPUBLISHING INFO: Avon, 10/1995
GENRE: Historical Romance
SETTING: England, 1856
SERIES: St. Georges, #1
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: B

FROM PUBLISHER: Adoring and innocent, Anne Stewart was seduced by Dominick Saint Georges, Viscount Lyons, then brazenly abandoned on their wedding night. Now four years have passed, and England's most mysterious lord has returned to Waverly Hall.

Anne can never forgive Dominick for the shame he caused her. She is determined to resist his advances and ignore the gossip and speculations surrounding them, but shocking revelations and deadly intrigues are drawing her ever closer to her enigmatic husband, to whom she dares not surrender again - his secretive stranger who holds the key to her survival and her heart.

MY THOUGHTS: What an emotional rollercoaster Anne and Dom are on. The story seemed like it spanned just a few months. Anne is from America and is twenty-one. She went to live with relatives in England when she was eleven. She has blue eyes and black hair. She's loved Dom since she first met him when she was an adolescent and is very hurt that he's abandoned her for four years, the entire length of their marriage. I have no idea why he did that to her. Dom is twenty-eight, has golden hair and golden eyes. I got a little tired of them not getting along and the misunderstandings. That alone was a bit boring. What was very interesting was the mysterious things that were happening to Anne. Several people had a grudge against her and they were leaving cryptic clues for her alone to let her know they were behind the scary incidents.

Anne is too passive. Dom is alright except for the fact that he has two illegitimate children by his mistress of five years. It's unclear if he had that mistress, or any others, while married to Anne. I'm assuming he did. Adding those kids to the story was unappealing to me and didn't really serve a purpose.

The cousins Anne's lived with since she was eleven, Felicity and her brother Patrick, were a disturbed pair and I enjoyed them in the story. I didn't really like Dom's mother, Clarisse, too much. She's a bitter, jealous woman, same as Felicity.

Things got a bit convoluted toward the end when Dom found out about his paternity and who's behind the shenanigans.


NEVER CALL IT LOVE by Veronica Jason

never call it lovePUBLISHING INFO: Signet, 12/1978
GENRE: Historical Romance
SETTING: England/Ireland/W. Indies/America, 1778
TIMESPAN: 5-6 years
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: C

FROM PUBLISHER: When beautiful young Elizabeth Montlow lost her innocence it was not on a night of romantic dreams. It was in an act of savage violence by a man seeking vengeance.

Yet from this brutal beginning came an all-consuming passion that would take Elizabeth from the sheltered eighteenth-century English countryside to a lonely manor in Ireland, where she was forced to share her man with his ravishing and ruthless mistress... to a nightmare exile on a lush and licentious Caribbean island, where lust and murder went hand in hand... to the depths of the lawless American wilderness, where two men played a monstrous game of heart-wrenching deception with her as the stake...


MY THOUGHTS/SPOILERS: This didn't live up to my expectations at all. I learned of it at least five years ago online from someone who said it reminded her a bit of Stormfire. There were just a couple similarities, like hero and heroine's nationality, rape, hero being a smuggler, ect., but the plotlines/core of the story were dissimilar.

Elizabeth is twenty-three, dark brown hair, gray eyes, and is from England. I found Elizabeth to be very bland and passive. Patrick is from Ireland but lives in England, is tall and thin, has a 'dark' complexion, brown hair, brown eyes, and is thirty-two. He's been smuggling arms, cannons, and muskets for ten years. The story begins and ends in England, 1778-1783.

The first 100 pages of the story were the best of all and were mostly about Elizabeth's eighteen-year old disturbed brother, Christopher, the blond Golden Child. Christopher and his friends were wearing masks when they kidnapped and raped Anne Reardon, Patrick's seventeen-year old ward, in Christopher's unoccupied family home. They fooled her into thinking they'd let her go. They let her run away from them, they chased her, and she jumped out the window and died later from her injuries. He fooled Elizabeth and their mother into believing he was innocent but Elizabeth always had doubts. I find Christopher to be one interesting character, the most interesting of the entire story.

Patrick, who'd met Anne briefly at a ball or something the previous year, was very angry at her for covering for her brother, whom he believed responsible for Anne's death. He broke into her bedroom one night, demanding to know where her brother fled after the trial. She wouldn't give him any information so he raped her (p. 89), after slapping her for struggling. That's his only violence toward her in the story.

For me, the story went downhill from there and became very boring. They got married because she was in a desperate situation. Patrick had been considering marrying Miora Ashley, a wealthy twenty-seven year old widow back in Ireland. I'm not sure why he wanted to marry Elizabeth. He didn't really feel any affection toward her and though she brought a dowry to the marriage, he had much more to gain by marring Miora. Miora became his mistress only after realizing she could no longer marry him, since he was married to Elizabeth. She disappeared from the story for awhile and was brought back to give the readers a suspect for an event that caused Patrick, Elizabeth, and Colin to flee to the West Indies.

The most boring part of all was when Patrick, Elizabeth, and his half-brother Colin were forced to flee the West Indies (after already having to flee England because Patrick was caught planning an uprising against England) and settled in America (Pennsylvania). There they had to live off the land and it made for dull reading. Not much happened the entire few years they lived there until Elizabeth got bad news about Patrick that lead me to believe they wouldn't have a happy ending.

Something eventful, a few confessions, happened near the end involving a secondary character that I didn't see coming. This person had lied about several important things and were involved in murder because they were angry and jealous of another person. I felt a little sad for them at the end.

It was mentioned very early on that Patrick and Colin were responsible for Anne's father Tim's death in a boating accident but the reason for that was never given. We weren't told if the death was intentional or not.

I don't think Patrick ever told Elizabeth that he loved her though she did overhear him once talking out loud about loving her. He never showed affection toward her or gave the impression that he was interested in her at all.

Overall, this wasn't an interesting love story and damnit, I'm disappointed.


PLEASURABLE BARGAINS (Eden's Pleasure/Antonia's Bargain) by Kate Pearce

pleasurable bargainsPUBLISHING INFO: Ellora's Cave, 6/2007
GENRE: Historical Erotic Romance
SETTING: England, 1815 & 1816
SERIES: House of Pleasure
MY GRADE: A/B

* This book contains two previously published e-books

EDEN'S PLEASURE- Eight years ago, after a summer of sexual dalliance with Gervase Harcourt and his twin brother Gideon, Eden was forced into marriage. Now widowed and twenty six, she is eager to enjoy her freedom and explore her deepest sexual desires. When she crosses paths with the delectable Harcourt twins again, they offer to make amends for their part in her miserable marriage by fulfilling her sexual fantasies. They introduce her to Madame Desiree's House of Pleasure where any erotic dream can become a reality. She also learns love has its darker side and that for Gideon, not all the fantasies played out at Madame Desiree's are pleasurable. As Eden explores her sensuality she realizes her heart still belongs to Gervase. But is she more than just a sexual plaything to him? Forced to consider another unwanted marriage and convinced that her barren state is why Gervase hasn't offered to marry her, Eden flees from Gervase and the sensual web he's spun around her. But Gervase has learned his own lessons at Madame Desiree's... Originally published in 2005. House of Pleasure book #0.5

MY THOUGHTS: I really liked this. The story was only 88 pages and oddly enough it didn't seem that condensed. Needless to say the story was mostly sex (and it was hot! hot! hot!) but it did have a plotline. Eden was married to an abusive elderly man and had a horrible marriage. She's always been in love with Gervase and is finally free to marry him. His father doesn't want them to because she may be barren but they do anyway. I never felt that they were in love. The twins are twenty-nine, blond and blue-eyed. Eden's got black hair and green eyes.

I felt this short story was more about Gideon than Gervase. Gideon's married to Caroline, a masochistic woman and he just can't deal with it. They have a bad, sexless marriage but he can't divorce her because she'd blackmail him over a secret of his that she knows. I would have liked for this story to have been longer. I find Caroline interesting and would have liked to know more about her and her background.

I grade this story an A.

ANTONIA'S BARGAIN- This book is the stand-alone sequel to Eden's Pleasure. Since the suicide of his first wife, Gideon has avoided emotional interactions with women in favor of less emotionally draining liaisons with men. When he unmasks "Anthony" Maxwell and finds he is, in fact, Antonia, he is still sexually intrigued enough to want to bed her. A reluctant heiress, Antonia knows she has to marry but she intends to do it on her own terms her wealth in return for a husband-free bed. Gideon offers to help her infiltrate the world of the ton dressed as a man so she can see her potential suitors in their natural habitat. In return, she agrees to allow him to teach her every trick in his sexual repertoire as long as he doesn't take her virginity. Her fear of marriage and pregnancy is a puzzling barrier that Gideon, despite his exceptional skills, finds difficult to penetrate. As they become more scandalously intimate, he has to decide whether to help Antonia face her fears or walk away from the only woman he believes he could ever love. Originally published in 2007. House of Pleasure book # 1.5

MY THOUGHTS: This 126 page sequel wasn't as good as I'd hoped. I find Antonia's not wanting to get married or have sex because of her parent's bad marriage silly and odd. I don't find her and Gideon's 'love' believable at all. I like both characters though I like Gideon more, probably because I know more about him. They have the suicide of someone close to them in common.

I wasn't impressed with the sex scenes, which was mostly oral sex. I'm not sure why Gideon wanted to marry her. I didn't sense a love connection. I also didn't like Antonia dressing like a boy.

This story gets a B from me.


ARE YOU IN THE HOUSE ALONE? by Richard Peck

are you in the house alonePUBLISHING INFO: Viking Juvenile, 11/1976
REISSUED: 2000, Puffin Books
GENRE: YA Contemporary Suspense
SETTING: Connecticut, USA
MY GRADE: B

FROM PUBLISHER: Sixteen-year-old Gail is living the upper-class suburban life when she begins receiving terrifying phone calls and notes in her locker. And the calls keep coming. When she's attacked by the town's golden boy everyone refuses to take action against him and his powerful family. A frightening drama that deals with heavy teen issues and the idea of justice (or lack thereof) from bestselling author Richard Peck.




MY THOUGHTS/SPOILERS: I'd never heard of this book before, not until last year when I watched the 9/1978 CBS made for television movie on Youtube. I finally bought the book and received it a few days ago. It's only 160 pages long and needed to be at least 100 pages longer.

The book didn't really seem dated at all. The plotline was almost completely believable. Some of the dialogue from the school's guidance counselors wasn't believable, with them not believing her and also some of the comments the police officer made to her.

The notes that Phil sent Gail were explicit but they weren't detailed in the book.

Near the end there was an incident where a female student was raped and beaten one night and Gail believes Phil did it. No reasons were given for that and no proof was brought forth.

How the film differs from the book: I think in the film they made her seventeen years old. There was no mention of her being on birth control pills. They also changed her last name from Osburne to Osborne. The woman Gail babysat for, her last name was changed from Montgomery to Hirsch. They changed her boyfriend Steve Pastorini's last name slightly to Pastorinis. She met him in the film but when the book began she'd already been dating him awhile. The movie takes place in California, not Connecticut.

I think Kathleen Beller did a pretty good acting job and didn't look too old for the part at twenty-two years old. She's now married to musician/professor Thomas Dolby (She Blinded Me With Science). Her friend Alison's acting was believable too though she didn't speak too much. Dennis Quaid, twenty-four at the time, clearly looked too old for the part. Steve was played by Scott Colomby, who was a younger-looking twenty-six at the time.

The part I mentioned earlier where a girl was raped and beaten, in the film they showed a girl getting the same anonymous note saying that she's being watched. Gail, who's into photography at school, sets up a hidden camera that's pointing to that girls locker. It snaps a photo every two seconds. Sure enough, the camera captures Phil putting another note on the same girls locker. The girl reads the note, balls it up and throws it away but there's no mention of her being raped later. I like that that was expanded on in the movie.

Near the end of the movie Phil beats up Gail in one of the empty rooms at school and is caught for it, but that doesn't happen at all in the book.

In ways each one was better than the other so I don't prefer book over movie or vice versa.


THE SPOOK LIGHTS AFFAIR by Marsha Muller and Bill Pronzini


spook lightsPUBLISHING INFO: Forge Books, 12/2013
GENRE: Fictional Historical Mystery
SETTING: California, USA, 1895
SERIES: A Carpenter and Quincannon Mystery, #2
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: C

FROM PUBLISHER: In 1895 San Francisco young debutantes don’t commit suicide at festive parties, particularly not under the eye of Sabina Carpenter. But Virginia St. Ives evidently did, leaping from a foggy parapet in a shimmer of ghostly light. The seemingly impossible disappearance of her body creates an even more serious problem for the firm of Carpenter and Quincannon, Professional Detective Services.

Sabina hadn’t wanted to take the assignment, but her partner John Quincannon insisted it would serve as entrée to the city’s ultra rich and powerful. That means money, and Quincannon loves the almighty dollar. Which is why he is hunting the bandit who robbed the Wells, Fargo office of $35,000.

Working their separate cases (while Sabina holds John off with one light hand), the detectives give readers a tour of The City the way it was. From the infamous Barbary Coast to the expensive Tenderloin gaming houses and brothels frequented by wealthy men, Quincannon follows a danger-laden trail to unmask the murderous perpetrators of the Wells, Fargo robbery. Meanwhile, Sabina works her wiles on friends and relatives of the vanished debutante until the pieces of her puzzle start falling into place. But it’s an oddly disguised gent appearing out of nowhere who provides the final clue to both cases—the shrewd “crackbrain” who believes himself to be Sherlock Holmes.

MY THOUGHTS: Slight spoilers ahead. I'm so disappointed in this story. It started out so good and interesting but became too far fetched. John and Sabina own a private investigation business and like in the previous book in this series each was working on a separate case that turned out to be connected. Why couldn't they have worked cases that are unrelated in book two? My interest waned when the 'ghostly sightings' came along but that, thankfully, turned out to be something other than what we were lead to believe. I give the authors' credit for originality regarding the suicide/ghostly activity but the story just wasn't believable because of those things, IMO. I think what happened with the suicide was ridiculous and just not likely to have really happened. There was really no good reason for eighteen year old Virginia to want to do that anyway.

The whole robbery plot being connected to Virginia's case wasn't something I'd suspected. The Sherlock Holmes imposter made a very brief yet helpful appearance then went on his merry way. Not a fan of his character but since his time was so brief in the story, I didn't mind him. John is still letting it be known he's interested in Sabina but she's still not interested in him that way. A new man has come into her life so we'll have to see where that goes in the next installment.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


DEATH COMES TO LONDON by Catherine Lloyd (Kate Pearce)

deathcomestolondonPUBLISHING INFO: Kensington, 11/14
GENRE: Historical Mystery
SETTING: England, 3/1817
SERIES: A Kurland St. Mary Mystery, #2AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: B-

FROM PUBLISHER: A season in London promises a welcome change of pace for two friends from the village of Kurland St. Mary until murder makes a debut. With the reluctant blessings of their father, the rector of Kurland St. Mary, Lucy Harrington and her sister Anna leave home for a social season in London. At the same time, Lucy's special friend Major Robert Kurland is summoned to the city to accept a baronetcy for his wartime heroism.

Amidst the dizzying whirl of balls and formal dinners, the focus shifts from mixing and matchmaking to murder when the dowager Countess of Broughton, the mother of an old army friend of Robert, drops dead. When it's revealed she's been poisoned, Robert's former betrothed, Miss Chingford, is accused, and she in turn points a finger at Anna. To protect her sister, Lucy enlists Robert's aid in drawing out the true culprit.

But with suspects ranging from resentful rivals and embittered family members to the toast of the ton, it will take all their sleuthing skills to unmask the poisoner before more trouble is stirred up.

MY THOUGHTS: I liked this one a bit more than the previous installment. It's a plot about poison and greed. Poor Oliver. Lucy and Robert worked together to help solve the mystery surrounding three deaths. I don't dislike Robert like I did before. He worked well with Lucy. Still no chemistry between them and they definitely have a platonic friendship. I don't like the marriage proposal at all and felt it so out of place, out of the blue, and unnecessary.

The dark plot was interesting but it wasn't too surprising who the culprit was. That's never a good thing. I don't understand why some mystery writers have the killer confess all right at the end. It's so annoying and unrealistic. Another annoying thing is the reappearance of Robert's ex-fiancé. She was in this book for no good reason just as in the previous book. This book is under 300 pages and all characters were underdeveloped. Honestly I think I'm finished with this series.

I received this from the author in exchange for an honest review.