Category Archives: Poisoned Pen Press

Review: And There He Kept Her by Joshua Moehling

Title: And There He Kept Her by Joshua Moehling
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ, Mystery
Length: 337 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

They thought he was a helpless old man. They were wrong.

When two teenagers break into a house on a remote lake in search of prescription drugs, what starts as a simple burglary turns into a nightmare for all involved. Emmett Burr has secrets he’s been keeping in his basement for more than two decades, and he’ll do anything to keep his past from being revealed. As he gets the upper hand on his tormentors, the lines blur between victim, abuser, and protector.

Personal tragedy has sent former police officer Ben Packard back to the small Minnesota town of Sandy Lake in search of a fresh start. Now a sheriff’s deputy, Packard is leading the investigation into the missing teens, motivated by a family connection. As clues dry up and time runs out to save them, Packard is forced to reveal his own secrets and dig deep to uncover the dark past of the place he now calls home.

Unrelentingly suspenseful and written with a piercing gaze into the dark depths of the human soul, And There He Kept Her is a thrilling page-turner that introduces readers to a complicated new hero and forces us to consider the true nature of evil.

Review:

And There He Kept Her is a compelling debut mystery by Joshua Moehling.

Jesse Crawford has gotten himself into a situation that threatens his loved ones unless he breaks into a house on the outskirts of Sandy Lake, Minnesota. His girlfriend, Jenny Wheeler, is with him and they accidentally awaken the home owner, Emmett Burr. Emmett has good reason to prevent the teenagers from leaving his property, but what is he willing to do to protect his secrets?

Acting Sheriff Ben Packard is initially not overly concerned when his cousin and Jenny’s mom, Susan, reports her daughter has not returned home after sneaking out. But circumstances soon come to light that add urgency to finding the missing teenager. Ben discovers not too shocking information about Jesse that soon takes to the case in an unexpected direction. With time quickly ticking past, can Ben and his fellow investigator Jill Thielen locate Susan and Jesse before it is too late?

Ben has secrets of his own that he would prefer remain hidden. He has ties to the community that most people have not unearthed. He is also questioning everything about a relationship that tragically ended and left Ben mourning behind closed doors. Will he finally stop hiding a very integral part of who he is and live his life to the fullest?

And There He Kept Her is an intriguing mystery that is quite engrossing. Ben is a multi-layered protagonist whose flaws do not diminish his appeal. He is intelligent and his tenacity drives the investigation. Emmett has few redeeming qualities but his reactions after the break in are somewhat surprising. With time running out, Joshua Moehling brings this well-written mystery to tension-filled conclusion.

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Filed under And There He Kept Her, Contemporary, Joshua Moehling, LGBTQ, Mystery, Poisoned Pen Press, Rated B+, Review

Review: The Texas Job by Reavis Z. Wortham

Title: The Texas Job by Reavis Z. Wortham
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Historical (30s), Action, Adventure
Length: 418 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Some men are destined for danger

Texas Ranger Tom Bell is simply tracking a fugitive killer in 1931 when he rides into Kilgore, a hastily erected shanty town crawling with rough and desperate men—oil drillers who’ve come by the thousands in search of work. The sheriff of the boomtown is overwhelmed and offers no help, nor are any of the roughnecks inclined to assist the young Ranger in his search for the wanted man.

In fact, it soon becomes apparent that the lawman’s presence has irritated the wrong people, and when two failed attempts are made on his life, Bell knows he’s getting closer to finding out who is responsible for cheating and murdering local landowners to access the rich oil fields flowing beneath their farms. When they ambush him for a third time, they make the fatal mistake of killing someone close to him and leaving the Ranger alive.

Armed with his trademark 1911 Colt .45 and the Browning automatic he liberated from a gangster’s corpse, Tom Bell cuts a swath of devastation through the heart of East Texas in search of the consortium behind the lethal land-grab scheme.

Review:

The Texas Job by Reavis Z. Wortham is an action-filled novel which takes place in 1931.

Texas Ranger Tom Bell finds more than the fugitive he is searching for when he rides into a booming oil town. He discovers the sheriff has no interest in fighting the crime in his town so Bell takes matters into his own hands. He is soon the midst of ruthless criminals, corruption and gangsters as he looks into the mysterious deaths plaguing the wives of greedy husbands. Bell ends up in the crosshairs of ruthless gangsters who do not want him to find the answers he is searching for.

The Texas Job is an entertaining adventure set in the lawless oilfields of east Texas. Tom is a dedicated lawman who is somewhat larger than life as he evades the criminals who are after him. The criminals are rather one dimensional as they go to extreme lengths in their quest for riches. The storyline is a little convoluted with a plethora of characters. The oil town is richly detailed and springs vividly to life.  Reavis Z. Wortham brings this well researched novel to a dramatic conclusion.

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Filed under Action, Adventure, Historical, Historical (30s), Poisoned Pen Press, Reavis Z Wortham, Review, The Texas Job

Review: No Woods So Dark as These by Randall Silvis

Title: No Woods So Dark as These by Randall Silvis
Ryan DeMarco Mystery Series Book Four
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 448 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

Next in the literary, emotionally propulsive Ryan DeMarco Mystery series from Randall Silvis, critically acclaimed master of crime fiction.

There are good reasons to fear the dark…

Former Sergeant Ryan DeMarco’s life has been spent in defiance—he’s defied death, loneliness, and betrayal all while fighting the worst parts of humanity. He’s earned a break, and following the devastation of their last case, DeMarco and his girlfriend Jayme want nothing more than to live quietly in each other’s company. To forget the horrors they’ve experienced and work on making each other whole again.

But dreams of a peaceful life together are shattered when two bodies are discovered in a smoldering car in the woods, and another is found brutally mutilated nearby. Much as he’d like to leave the case to his former colleagues, dark forces are at play and DeMarco cannot escape the vortex of lies, betrayal, and desperation. He and Jayme are dragged back into the fray, where they must confront the shady dealings of a close-knit rural community.

Perfect for fans of murder mystery books and suspenseful thrillers alike, No Woods So Dark as These explores the atrocities humans are capable of when pushed to their limits. In this highly-anticipated addition to Randall Silvis’ books, Ryan DeMarco is forced into a case that might break him for good.

Review:

No Woods So Dark as These by Randall Silvis is a slow-burn mystery that is quit intriguing. This fourth installment in the Ryan DeMarco Mystery series can be read as a standalone.

Ryan DeMarco and his girlfriend Jayme Matson are still recovering from the events that occurred during their last case.  Although they are taking a bit of a break, neither can refuse State Trooper Captain Kyle Bowen’s request they assist on a gruesome triple homicide. Working alongside Troopers Mason Boyd and Daniella Flores,  Ryan and Jayme also agree to work with local reporter Chase Miller. The victims are almost impossible to identify so they are already at a bit of a disadvantage. However, after canvassing the town’s residents, they quickly zero in on a suspect.   Will DeMarco and Matson find the evidence they need to prove their theory?

Ryan and Jayme are both quite reflective throughout their investigation. Ryan has never quite made peace his past and he remains haunted by memories from various time periods in his life. Jayme has yet to come to terms with a painful loss but she is making a conscious effort to try to move forward.  Both feel a sense of impending trouble since trouble appears to be headed their way.

The case moves a little slowly since there is no viable evidence at the scene of the crime. Despite Ryan’s reservations, he agrees to allow Chase to assist their investigation. He proves to be a valuable asset as he uncovers a lead that could help identify the three victims. Locating a couple of possible witnesses, they are frustrated and saddened by events that unfold. Through good old fashioned detective work, DeMarco, Matson and the state troopers are soon closing in on the killer.

No Woods So Dark as These is an engaging mystery with an fascinating storyline. The characters are well-developed and they are quite contemplative throughout the story. The investigation is interesting and delves into the more unsavory aspects of life.  Although the case is quietly wrapped up, Randall Silvis brings the mystery to an absolutely jaw-dropping, cliffhanger conclusion. Old and new fans will enjoy this latest addition to the Ryan DeMarco Mystery series.

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Filed under Contemporary, Mystery, No Woods So Dark as These, Poisoned Pen Press, Randall Silvis, Rated B, Review, Ryan DeMarco Mystery Series, Suspense