Craig Johnson: Daughter of the Morning Star

This review is by our frequent guest reviewer, Cathy Akers-Jordan.

Walt Longmire has been in some awkward and dangerous situations during his decades as Sheriff of Absaroka county. This year he faces one he had no way of anticipating: guarding a Indian teenage girls’ basketball team. Longmire, big, tough, and a man of few words, is clearly out of his depth. He survives but only due to the help of best friend Henry Standing Bear and Deputy Vic Moretti.

The story focuses on Jaya Long, niece of Tribal Police Chief Lolo Long. A year after Jaya’s sister Jeanie disappears, Jaya begins to receive threatening notes. Knowing she’s unlikely to keep her niece safe when she’s off the rez, Chief Long recruits Walt and Henry to do so and to find whoever is sending notes. Complicating the situation is Jaya’s status as a superstar basketball player. Traveling to other schools for away games means there are more opportunities for someone to kidnap or kill Jaya. read more

Sofie Kelly: Hooked on a Feline

This review comes to us from guest reviewer Cathy Akers-Jordan.

Have you ever lost your cat indoors? You know what it’s like. You look all over the house, in all the cat’s favorite places, call its name, shout “treat!” while shaking the a container of the same, only to turn around and find the cat sitting in the exact spot you’ve already looked five times? Welcome to the life of Kathleen Paulson. Unlike our cats though, her gray tabby Owen can literally disappear. His brother, tuxedo cat Hercules, can walk through walls and other solid surfaces. Neither cat cares who knows about his magical ability but Kathleen tries to hide it so everyone will avoid the feral cat colony on Wisteria Hill where Owen and Hercules were born. Of course, the cats assist Kathleen in solving murders. If you like light-hearted cozy mysteries with a touch of magic, this is the series for you. read more

Reavis Wortham: The Rock Hole

Review by Cathy Akers-Jordan.

For its 10th anniversary, Reavis Wortham’s The Rock Hole has been reissued with a new cover and a forward by Joe R. Lansdale.

In the 1964 the town of Center Springs, (East) Texas a series of increasingly violent animal mutilations takes place. Most corpses are found with a hint that the killer is looking for human prey. Then a grandfather finds footprints under his grandson’s bedroom window…

The Rock Hole features dual protagonists Constable Ned Parker and his grandson Texas Orrin Parker (called Top), who are based on Wortham and his grandfather. The book reflects Wortham’s childhood memories of daily life in a peaceful small town where no one locks their doors, neighbors listen to each other on the party line telephone, and sit on the front porch of the general store swapping gossip and telling stories. It’s so small that Constable Ned Parker’s main job is running his farm with his Choctaw wife, whom everyone lovingly refers to as “Miss Becky.” read more

Craig Johnson: Next to Last Stand

While waiting for Craig Johnson’s new Longmire novel, Daughter of the Morning Star (available Sept. 21), I couldn’t resist re-reading last year’s novel, Next to Last Stand.

What do a million in cash and a small study piece of Cassily Adams’s famous painting Custer’s Last Fight have in common? Both are found in the footlocker of veteran Charley Lee Stillwater after he dies of an apparent heart attack at the Wyoming Home for Soldiers and Sailors. Did Charlie have a connection to the famous painting which burned in 1946? read more

Rhys Bowen: The Victory Garden

We are welcoming a new reviewer, Cathy Akers-Jordan, an avid mystery fan, long time Aunt Agatha’s customer and all around lovely human.  Her more official bio follows this review.

Towards the end of WWI, 21-year-old Emily Bryce is determined to contribute to the war effort. She defies her parents and joins the Women’s Land Army. What follows is a coming-of-age story full of history, romance, and a little mystery with a satisfying twist at the end.

What makes the story fascinating is the focus on how British women adapt to their new roles while the men are at war. Even in the tiny village of Bucksley Cross on the edge of Dartmoor, where Emily ends up, social dynamics are turned upside down. There are no more servants because women are busy doing men’s work: planting, tending, and harvesting crops; caring for livestock; and running all the shops in the village, including the Blacksmith’s forge. Women from all classes of life work together side by side, freeing themselves from their corsets and social classes, in order to feed Britain. read more