Monthly Archives: February 2020

Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection Books 1-3 by Barbara Venkataraman

Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection is the first three books in the series.  Jamie is grieving, is continuing with a successful family law practice and finds herself thrust into mystery and intrigue.  All the while, her emotional turmoil plays a significant and sometimes entertaining role in the stories.

Barbara Venkataraman does an excellent job of building Jamie’s character along with other characters who are not only pivotal but just as interesting.  Duke Broussard is key to all three books although Venkataraman brings him in slowly in the first book.  From a murdered rock star, a divorce case turned murder, and murder in the park system – while they are out of Jamie’s league, her friends step up and help her solve the cases.

Venkataraman takes her time building the characters and story plot.  The dialog is well done and realistic.  In each book, there are moments of hilarity yet also seriousness.  One cannot help but love Jamie – she is a small part residing within each of us.

The narrator, Carrie Lee Martz performed the book very well.  She spoke clearly and added the emotions needed to further the story and engage the listener.  My only issue was Duke did not sound like he was described in the book; I had trouble reconciling his looks to his sound.

I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries and intrigue.

Star Rating:  * * * *

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Heaven, Hell, or Houston by Thom Erb

WARNING:  Explicit violence and rape of women and young girls as well as foul language.

Some people have all the luck and then there are guys like the volatile, alcoholic Texas Ranger, Jay McCutcheon.  From a long line of Texas Rangers and alcoholics, McCutcheon just wants to dump the stupid drunk perverted Governor’s security detail and get home to his wife and baby girl.  A year of living apart, McCutcheon wants to save his marriage and change.  He was well on his way until the yellow rain fell raising the dead to walk and eat. Oh, then there was Stacy-Jo a runaway who won his heart and whom he protected as much as possible from the uncanny situations she often found herself thrust into.

Toss in the evil Isandro Dianira, who recently escaped from prison and decided to rape and pillage everyone and thing in sight, and McCutcheon’s night just got worse since he’s the one who was responsible for Isandro’s prison term.  Isandro was the leader of a gang and one who had a special friend living in his head who told him to do “things.”  Such as slicing animals and … well torturing and murdering anything that has a pulse since he was old enough to walk!

If one can get past the violence, it is an authentically written book with the dialect, words and everything written in a very realistic manner.  Thom Erb has written an excellent book (violence aside) that captures what everyone fears but doesn’t realize  – who is the person entering the convenience store?  What are they likely to do?  What sets them off?

Vivid imagery, Erb paints a picture with his words.  Listeners can see the tired, angry Texas Ranger vividly as well as the evil Isandro.  Zombies do make an appearance but it is the evil Isandro and McCutcheon that are the center of the drama.  A strong plot and well-developed characters.

Doug Miller did an excellent Texas Ranger voice for McCutcheon, he was a little weak for Stacy-Jo’s New York accent but overall, he did an excellent job.  Not only could I feel his energy through his reading, but I could also feel the oozy slimy gunk flowing from the evil Isandro and the pervert on the bus by his talented reading by tone and voices.  His enunciation was perfect.

I enjoyed the book and was sorry to hear it end.  I would recommend this book to adults only given some of the content.

There were no issues with the production of this audiobook.

Star Rating:  * * * *

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