Mystery

Murder on Cold Street (Lady Sherlock #5)

Murder on Cold Street (Lady Sherlock #5)

By: Sherry Thomas

Blurb:

Inspector Treadles, Charlotte Holmes’s friend and collaborator, has been found locked in a room with two dead men, both of whom worked with his wife at the great manufacturing enterprise she has recently inherited.

Rumors fly. Had Inspector Treadles killed the men because they had opposed his wife’s initiatives at every turn? Had he killed in a fit of jealous rage, because he suspected Mrs. Treadles of harboring deeper feelings for one of the men? To make matters worse, he refuses to speak on his own behalf, despite the overwhelming evidence against him.

Charlotte finds herself in a case strewn with lies and secrets. But which lies are to cover up small sins, and which secrets would flay open a past better left forgotten? Not to mention, how can she concentrate on these murders, when Lord Ingram, her oldest friend and sometime lover, at last dangles before her the one thing she has always wanted?

Review:

Out of all the Sherlock spinoffs I’ve read, admittedly, there haven’t been many, the Lady Sherlock series is my favorite. So far, I’ve enjoyed each book, and after five books, the series has not dipped at all in quality.

Murder on Cold Street picks up right after the previous book. Charlotte and her crew have had next to no time to recover from everything that happened in France when they learn that their old inspector friend has been arrested and will be charged with two murders. It’s all very dramatic and mysterious, precisely what you want in this type of story.

Charlotte doesn’t waste any time starting her investigation. You know that he didn’t do it, but the question is will she be able to solve the mystery in time. This is always a fun story, though, it was also used in a previous book.

Inspector Treadles is sort of on the outs with Charlotte and co. He found out that she was, in fact, the great detective and not her make-believe brother. Treadles has very firm ideas about what women can and cannot do, which has also hurt his marriage. It’s actually his marriage that pushes him to reevaluate how he thinks, and I love that about him. One of my favorite parts of previous books was seeing the brief glimpses into his relationship with his wife. They were the one couple that seemed like they were in a happy relationship.

Treadles’ relationship with his wife was a central focus of the story, but Charlotte’s relationship with Lord Ingram was also progressed. This has been developing throughout the series, but it looks like things are starting to happen now. No more dancing around. Reading the couple’s reactions to each other made me smile.

I appreciated Thomas’ inclusion of Lord Ingram, realizing the amount of privilege he has as a man of power. He could see how much harder Charlotte and Mrs. Treadles had it. However, I appreciated even more Charlotte’s realization of the privilege she had as a white woman when compared to a character that was a biracial woman. Those conversations and insights pushed Murder on Cold Street to be one of my favorites of the series.

5/5

Shadows In Death (In Death #51)

Shadows In Death (In Death #51)

By: J.D. Robb

Blurb:

Lt. Eve Dallas is about to walk into the shadows of her husband’s dangerous past.

As it often did since he’d married a cop, murder interrupted more pleasant activities. Then again, Roarke supposed, the woman lying in a pool of her own blood a few steps inside the arch in Washington Square Park had a heftier complaint.

When a night out at the theatre is interrupted by the murder of a young woman in Washington Square Park, it seems like an ordinary case for Detective Eve Dallas and her team. But when Roarke spots a shadow from his past in the crowd, Eve realises that this case is far from business as usual.

Eve has two complex cases on her hands – the shocking murder of this wealthy young mother and tracking down the shadow before he can strike again, this time much closer to home. Eve is well used to being the hunter, but how will she cope when the tables are turned? As Eve and the team follow leads to Roarke’s hometown in Ireland, the race is on to stop the shadow making his next move . . .

Review:

I’m just going to go ahead and say SPOILERS right off the bat. I’ve got some thoughts on this book, and I don’t want to avoid anything.

Shadows In Death is the fifty-first In Death book. Probably the longest series I read, and it is pretty amazing how consistent it is. However, there are a few stinkers, and for me, this is one of them.

Eve is called to a dead body, and of course, Roarke is with her because, at this point, he’s a police officer. While there, Roarke sees someone from his past. A man that is a professional killer and who happens to hate Roarke with the power of a thousand suns.

The murder that starts the book is not the main story. It’s wrapped up within the first hundred pages. As in Eve is in interrogation and getting a full confession at page one hundred. So nothing much there, though I did find it one of the more enjoyable parts of the story. The book’s main plot is finding Cobbe, the man who wants to kill Roarke and everyone he loves.

Things truck along, and it’s all going good. Lots of excitement, lots of conversation, and stuff with Eve and Roarke, and then we get to the end. Depending upon future books, it’s possible we can point to this moment as the moment the series jumped the shark. At one point, almost all of Eve’s detectives are in a plane flying after the bad guy. In the air, they’re able to hack something and get a lock on Cobbe’s plane. He is, of course, headed to Ireland to kill Roarke’s family. The cops are in a faster plane, so they beat him there and set up a trap.

Just a note, Cobbe is supposed to have over four hundred murders linked to him, and it’s believed to be significantly more. He has alluded capture for over twenty years. Then he loses every brain cell he has when he decides to go after Roarke. He’s supposed to have come unhinged, but you’d think the number of dead bodies would increase dramatically, but they don’t. He just makes a series of really stupid decisions that go against twenty years of history. Once again, the book explains that he just hates Roarke soooo much and that his ego is sooooo big that this is all logical.

Anyway, the cops are all in position, Cobbe has no idea they followed him, walks into the trap, lands a punch on Eve, and is cuffed. Case closed roll credits.

Only no.

All these cops, including New York Police Commander Whitney, are standing around with Roarke’s family when Cobbe starts cursing out Roarke. Nothing new. We all knew he hated him. There have been childhood stories about the hatred and everything. There’s clearly bad blood here, but he’s captured. He’s going to prison. The evidence against him is insurmountable. Every police organization on the globe wants him. After two decades of evading capture, he’s caught in less than a week by New York cops. That should surely be enough.

Nope.

They end up un-cuffing Cobbe, and he and Roarke fight in the middle of a ring of cops. You see, Cobbe had been going after one of their own, so it was only natural that they would want to see a climactic fight. Roarke, a man with regular lessons with world-acclaimed fighters, toys with Cobbe, letting him land a couple of punches, cause the pain feels good. Then easily takes him down. They cuff him, interrogate him in a root cellar, then it’s over.

I have never been a fan of cop shows where the cops abuse their power, and that dislike grows every year. When there’s been a storyline that builds over several stories, and there’s a fight before the criminal is cuffed, I’m all on board, but it just angers me when something like this happens. They had him. He had never been talked about in previous books. Yet, because he reminded Roarke of his horrible past and because they all knew he was coming after Eve and Roarke, it was okay for them to step outside the law for a bit and smack him around. No. Just not.

As far as stinkers go, this was a big one. Robb has built fifty books of goodwill, so I’m not bailing on the series or anything, but I am concerned about the future.

2/5

Side Note: There should be a trigger warning at the beginning of this book for animal cruelty.

The Happytime Murders (2018)

Happytime Murders

The Happytime Murders (2018)

Director:

Brian Henson

Starring:

Melissa McCarthy

Elizabeth Banks

Maya Rudolph

Bill Barretta

Plot:

When the puppet cast of a ’90s children’s TV show begin to get murdered one by one, a disgraced LAPD detective-turned-private eye puppet takes on the case.

Review:

This is a dirty, filthy movie. If you want to see puppets do stuff you’d never see on Sesame Street than feast your eyes.

The Happytime Murders is a noir film with puppets. Phil, Bill Barretta, is a disgraced cop turned PI. He was the first puppet to ever become a police officer and he botched it because he missed a shot and accidently killed another puppet. The movie opens with him going into his office and discovering a curvaceous broad with a sob story. It hits all the usual noir tropes, with the addition of puppets and their weird quirks.

It was at times funny and entertaining, but mainly because you were seeing puppets in weird places. The story wasn’t original and wouldn’t have been worth watching without the puppets. It was just, kind of, weird.

3/5

Dark in Death

Dark in Death

Dark in Death (In Death #46) By: J.D. Robb

Plot:

It was a stab in the dark.

On a chilly February night, during a screening of Psycho in midtown, someone sunk an ice pick into the back of Chanel Rylan’s neck, then disappeared quietly into the crowds of drunks and tourists in Times Square. To Chanel’s best friend, who had just slipped out of the theater for a moment to take a call, it felt as unreal as the ancient black-and-white movie up on the screen. But Chanel’s blood ran red, and her death was anything but fictional.

Then, as Eve Dallas puzzles over a homicide that seems carefully planned and yet oddly personal, she receives a tip from an unexpected source: an author of police thrillers who recognizes the crime—from the pages of her own book. Dallas doesn’t think it’s coincidence, since a recent strangulation of a sex worker resembles a scene from her writing as well. Cops look for patterns of behavior: similar weapons, similar MOs. But this killer seems to find inspiration in someone else’s imagination, and if the theory holds, this may be only the second of a long-running series.

The good news is that Eve and her billionaire husband Roarke have an excuse to curl up in front of the fireplace with their cat, Galahad, reading mystery stories for research. The bad news is that time is running out before the next victim plays an unwitting role in a murderer’s deranged private drama—and only Eve can put a stop to a creative impulse gone horribly, destructively wrong.

Review:

I did not like the first half of this book, at all. Because one of the side characters, that until then I’d only had positive thoughts of, said a word that Trans people find offensive, I was immediately on my guard. There were hints that the deranged serial killer was going to be Trans or non-binary and it kept me on edge in a bad way. Based on what there was I did not trust Robb to write about the subject in a well-researched and thoughtful way.

Making matters worse a female novelist was a main character in the story. I have not had good experiences with that, especially when it feels like there is some tongue in cheek things said to the reader through that character. Which was the case here.

Like I said the first half of this book was not for me in any way. The second half had us back in familiar territory, though, and I preferred that. We had a fair amount of Peabody, which I loved. Roarke was great. Sadly, the first half ruined the book for me.

2/5

Secrets in Death

Secrets in Death

Secrets in Death (In Death #45) By: J.D. Robb

Plot:

The chic Manhattan nightspot Du Vin is not the kind of place Eve Dallas would usually patronize, and it’s not the kind of bar where a lot of blood gets spilled. But that’s exactly what happens one cold February evening.

The mortally wounded woman is Larinda Mars, a self-described “social information reporter,” or as most people would call it, a professional gossip. As it turns out, she was keeping the most shocking stories quiet, for profitable use in her side business as a blackmailer. Setting her sights on rich, prominent marks, she’d find out what they most wanted to keep hidden and then bleed them dry. Now someone’s done the same to her, literally—with a knife to the brachial artery.

Eve didn’t like Larinda Mars. But she likes murder even less. To find justice for this victim, she’ll have to plunge into the dirty little secrets of all the people Larinda Mars victimized herself. But along the way, she may be exposed to some information she really didn’t want to know…

Review:

It took me forever to finish this book, my reading habit is still borked for some reason. There was nothing wrong with this, it was a normal In Death book, so don’t take that as a sign this one isn’t any good.

Eve witnesses the death of a Gossip Columnist and upon further digging discovers the woman was a narcissistic sociopath. It was an interesting story, wrapped up fairly quickly, easy enough to figure out who done it, but still entertaining.

I liked that we got to see more of the supporting characters than we have in the last few books, though, still not as much as I feel like there used to be. Eve is definitely growing as a character and didn’t dwell on some of the darker parts of the mystery as much as she would have in the past. Her and Rourke were on point during the story and we actually got a little bit of time with just him.

It was a nice, non-world shattering mystery and I enjoyed it.

4/5