Love is Murder
Any garage sale devotee or antique store aficionado is familiar with the idea of the junk box – a place where for a modest price you can purchase a plethora of odds and ends. Most of the stuff is exactly as the box describes it – junk. Sure, there is the occasional treasure but mostly there is just ho-hum debris that will simply move from the store’s junk box to your junk drawer. This book is much like that junk box, with a plethora of forgettable stories making up the “debris.” There is the occasional A or B story, but most are C or below. The authors, in trying to provide a story that was both suspenseful and romantic, often found themselves giving us neither.
Since there are 29 stories in this anthology, I’ve picked only a few to hit the highlights.
I Heard a Romantic Story
- by Lee Child
Grade : D- Sensuality : N/A
I Heard A Romantic Story by Lee Child finishes the volume. It is told in train of thought, first person narration. A deadly assignment takes a dangerous twist when a new player is thrown into the equation. The story wasn’t romantic. It wasn’t suspenseful. And it wasn’t, in my opinion, well written.
- by Roxanne St. Claire
Grade : C- Sensuality : N/A
The book starts with Diamond Drop by Roxanne St. Claire. Bullet Catchers, a private security agency, has been hired to protect an expensive shipment of diamonds from Antwerp to Paris. Donovan Rush is the man assigned to protect the gems. The train ride holds several surprises: thieves, guns – and a beautiful and mysterious woman who can do amazing things with her feet. The whole story came across as silly to me and I saw the twist in the plot coming from page two.
- by Andrea Kane
Grade : C Sensuality : N/A
Lockdown by Andrea Kane features Sloane and Derek Parker. Fans of the author will recognize them from her books Twisted and Drawn in Blood. Sloane and Parker are on their honeymoon when they stumble upon a hostage situation involving a bride, her bridesmaid, and the ring bearer. Fortunately, the bridesmaid is psychic and Sloane is confident she can work with the woman to talk the hostage taker down. Or take him down, whichever works. Seriously? A psychic hostage? I didn’t like the story for this and several other reasons. Kane is a strong writer, though, and I am familiar with Derek and Sloane so it wasn’t a total loss for me, just not very good.
- by John Land and Jeff Ayers
Grade : B Sensuality : N/A
Last Shot by Jon Land & Jeff Ayers is about a family on its last leg. Molly Wagner has lost her job. Her husband Bob is struggling in his. Their life revolves around young son Matt, but it looks like they are about to lose the home they hoped to raise him in. When Molly goes to Rexall Drugs to start putting together fliers to sell the house, some surprising things begin to happen. This is an interesting take on an old trope and a rather enjoyable tale. It was odd to find it in the middle of a mystery anthology, though.
- by Mariah Stewart
Grade : A- Sensuality : N/A
Without Mercy by Mariah Stewart is a Mallory Russo story. Fans will recognize Mallory and her fiancé Charlie from Mariah’s Mercy Street series. I’m a big fan of that series so this was the highlight of the book for me. Mercy Street is a private investigative firm that offers free services to select clients. They pick up missing persons cases after the police have deemed them “cold”. That is certainly true of Karen Ralston’s case, a thirteen year old girl who has been missing for over ten years. When old neighbors get in touch with Karen’s mom, new evidence turns up. Mallory follows that evidence to a tragic and disturbing solution. The romance is light in this one since most of our time is spent working the case. I found the story interesting and the mystery and its solution difficult but heartwarming.