Book 200: THE BROKEN TEAGLASS Review

It’s difficult to imagine that work at a dictionary company and word definitions and citations could be mysterious. But these are the elements that Emily Arsenault quite artfully combines in The Broken Teaglass.


Billy Webb is a new hire at Samuelson Company, an esteemed dictionary publisher in New England. Billy recently graduated from college and is now working as an editor. Parts of his responsibilities include obtaining new citations or “cits” for word usage, as well as checking previously filed cits to determine if usage and definitions have changed. He discovers several cits for a book but cannot find any reference to the book in the library or anywhere else. Curiously the cits are rather long and seem to be telling a story, the story of a murder. Even more curious, the cits seem to make reference to Samuelson and several employees. Billy, with the help of a Mona Minot – a coworker, begins to investigate and seek out more cits in order to learn the entire story. 


The cits tell a story of despair and in many ways seem to reflect Billy’s life. Billy and Mona seem to have a friendship that borders romance, just like their mysterious author. Their stories are revealed bit by bit, just as they unravel the mystery of the cits bit by bit. Although Billy is in his mid-twenties, in many ways this is also a coming-of-age tale in addition to a mystery. I wasn’t sure about the story when I first read the blurbs as I presumed it would be a dry or plodding tale. Imagine my surprise when I began reading and simply couldn’t tear myself away (even with the reading block). The Broken Teaglass is an artfully crafted story to be savored, perhaps while drinking a delicious cup of tea (may I suggest Darjeeling or Oolong).


Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book 193: A CRACK IN EVERYTHING Review

A Crack in Everything by Angela Gerst is a mystery suspense novel featuring betrayal, politics, real estate and of course murder. Unfortunately Susan Callisto finds herself dragged into the drama of all of these.


Susan Callisto is a lawyer and political consultant. After working for a few years with a large firm she decided to go solo. Most of her work relates to a few real estate consultations and consulting on political campaigns. Susan is currently dealing with a former elderly client – Nino Biondi – that refuses to leave his restaurant’s rental property and an entrepreneur and political candidate – Roddie Baird, while trying to figure out why her relationship with Detective Lieutenant Michael Benedict fizzled out. She must also deal with a walk-in client that appears to want to run for political office but may have a hidden agenda. Charles “Chaz” Renfrow says he wants to run for mayor to allow his business a fair shake but he’s left it a bit close as applications must be submitted within four days. Susan advises him on what needs to be done and briefly meets his assistant, Victoria “Torie” Moran, and his son, Glen Renfrow. As if she didn’t have enough to deal with she uncovers Torie’s body the day after meeting her and a few days later Chaz is dead. The good thing is these investigations have brought Michael back into her life, the bad thing is that her political client Roddie appears to be the prime suspect. Can Susan figure out what is going on to free Roddie and save his political life? What do these murders have to do with real estate? The more Susan uncovers the more mysteries and betrayals she finds. Can she uncover the truth before she becomes the next victim?


There’s a lot of drama and action going on in A Crack in Everything. The characters are well developed and even likeable. Regrettably I just couldn’t get past the somewhat convoluted storylines. At the end all of the little connections are tied together, but while reading it just seemed like it was a bit much. Look for A Crack in Everything to be released on 09/06/2011 by Poisoned Pen Press.


Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from NetGalley. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book 151: THE SILENT GIRL Review

There are a few authors (okay does 25 count as a few) that I try to read on a regular basis. I’ve read most of these authors previous writings and greatly look forward to new books, Tess Gerritsen is one such author. I recently had the opportunity to read The Silent Girl and am I glad I did.


The Silent Girl is another story in the Rizzoli & Isles series, one series that I follow (sorry I don’t watch the TV show but I’m diligent about reading the books). This was a little different or at least it felt different for me. Perhaps it’s because Jane and Maura are moving on with their lives and even though they work in fields that are closely aligned they are growing apart in this stage of their friendship. Of course it might have something to do with Dr. Isles testifying against a police officer responsible for killing (subduing) a prisoner that was responsible for another police officer’s death. Maura knows that she did the right thing with her testimony, after all she only provided the facts. But not many police officers see it the same way so she has become persona non grata at crime scenes. The first time this happens is when she is called out because a severed hand was found along with a nearly decapitated body. Evidence leads to a retired Boston PD detective, a martial arts school, and reveals that the body was injured with a sword. The link is a 19-year-old Chinatown murder-suicide case. As Jane, her partner Frost, and newcomer Tam, investigate further they realize that this particular case may not have been solved and perhaps wasn’t as cut-and-dry as it initially appeared. Did the accused murderer, Mr. Wu, really commit these crimes before killing himself? What was the motive? And what exactly does the Chinatown murder case have to do with the disappearance of two teenage girls? And what does the Chinatown murder case have to do with the current murders?


There are minor storylines that appear throughout, such as Maura’s ability to see things as black and white when the police department wants shades of grey, or Jane’s family’s reaction to her mother’s engagement. Ms. Gerritsen has provided a tale that is intriguing and alien. She brings in ancient Chinese myths, tales and legends into a current homicide and makes it work. Her characters are strangely exotic and unique but wholly believable. This may not be a traditional mystery/suspense thriller but it works and works quite well. 



Disclaimer: I received this book free for review purposes from the Early Reviewers program at LibraryThing. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book 148: HALF-INCH Review

How far is too far seems to be the question raised in Half-Inch by McCarty Griffin. Pammy Hilts is an abused wife whose husband, Bobby, has moved out and filed for divorce. Pammy has put up with 12 years of physical, emotional, mental and verbal abuse. She has been cut off from all of her friends and has no skills. All that’s left are her dreams and she is beginning to dream of revenge.


Pammy knows that Bobby isn’t going to leave her alone even after a divorce. Although Bobby has moved out and apparently has a new love interest, she knows the abuse will continue. What’s a girl to do except get rid of the problem permanently. Pammy has obvious problems with the notion of taking a life, no matter the circumstances, and most of this short tale deals with this conflict. At first glance Pammy may seem to be a poor, down-trodden and ignorant woman, but she proves otherwise. At times sad and other times funny (tongue-in-cheek), Half-Inch is a story about survival. This is a quick read that is perhaps perfect for a lunch break or a lazy afternoon.


DISCLOSURE:  I received this book free from the author for review purposes. I was not paid, required nor otherwise obligated to provide a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”