The Dark And Deadly Pool by Joan Lowery Nixon

The Dark and Deadly Pool by Joan Lowery Nixon | Book Review

Title: The Dark and Deadly Pool
Author: Joan Lowery Nixon
Published: 
May 1989 by Laurel Leaf
Genre: Young adult mystery
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary:

Liz enjoys her summer pool job at the glamorous Ridley Hotel.  Until the night, a dark and lonely night, a ghasty shadow surges up from the pool.  A face — eyes wide, mouth gaping — stares at Liz.  A hand clutches at her sneaker.  Then it, whatever it is, is gone.

But danger isn’t.  Strange things are happening at the hotel, and a shaken Liz wants to know why.  But whoever is behind the trouble will stop at nothing — even murder — to get what he wants…

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I used to love Joan Lowery Nixon’s books when I was younger. I’ve read this one before, but of course, I couldn’t remember anything about it. So I thought I’d give it another read.

rp-plot

Mary Elizabeth takes a summer job at a luxury hotel. She works in the pool area scrubbing tiles, collecting towels, and making sure the locker rooms are tidy. She’s also in charge of closing up the pool at the end of the night.

She’s afraid of the dark and being at a large empty resort alone in the dark scares her all the more. One night she stays a little later to calm her nerves and get over her fears. That’s when she sees a mysterious figure swimming in the pool. They scare each and he disappears. It’s later still that a body turns up in the pool. With the help of her co-workers, specifically Fran, Liz investigates and solves the various crimes and murders.

This mystery plot is like most where the non-detective protagonist attempts to solve crimes on her own. Whereas she didn’t have a suspect list, she was more interested in the why and the how. Of course, she wanted the criminal to be caught, but she was mostly curious as to how they were getting in and out of the hotel undetected.

The ending was unexpected as well as you try to figure it out along with Liz. The culprit is the least person you would suspect and, in the end, Liz didn’t really save the day. The law enforcement did.

rp-characters

I found all the characters to be enjoyable. I liked having Liz as the protagonist, even though her character development at the end was a bit out of the blue. She wanted a tall man for a boyfriend and Fran was much shorter than her. She was against being with him because of that, but at the end she randomly overlooked it.

Fran was a fun character as well. He was the comic relief, but he was also Liz’s rock throughout the whole endeavor. Tina, another employee, was like Liz’s best friend and she helped out a lot as well.

Then, of course, there were Liz’s bosses and the various guests at the hotel. It was a fun, well-rounded cast of characters.

rp-writing-style

Nixon did a wonderful job at portraying the mystery. Liz didn’t find or figure out any clues or evidence right away or too easily and each crime was spaced out just enough.

The words on the page flow well and are easy to read. This is another quick read being shy of 200 pages.

rp-overall

I enjoyed re-reading this story even though I didn’t remember much of it. I look forward to reading her other books, some I’ve already read before. I also look forward to re-reading this again in a few years. Nixon certainly has a way with words and all her books are great.

The Dark and Deadly Pool by Joan Lowery Nixon gets…
4 stars book review4 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Take good care of yourself.”
“I will until you get home, Mom, and then I’ll give up and let you do it.” –Joan Lowery Nixon, The Dark And Deadly Pool

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature

*This post contains affiliate links.

The Ghosts Of Now by Joan Lowery Nixon

The Ghosts of Now by Joan Lowery Nixon | Mystery Book Review

Title: The Ghosts Of Now
Author: Joan Lowery Nixon
Published: 
May 1986 by Laurel Leaf
Genre: Mystery/Horror
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary:

It’s Friday night and Angie Dupree is alone in the house when the phone rings. “Your brother is dead,” whispers a voice. At the hospital, Angie finds Jeremy in a coma from which he may never recover.

Angie is on her own trying to piece together the events of that horrifying night. Her family is new to town.What could Jeremy possibly have discovered that led him so deeply into danger? Angie won’t rest until she finds out. But she doesn’t know someone is ready to do anything to stop her. . .

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

Joan Lowery Nixon was a favorite author of mine when I was younger. She was a great writer and her books were always quick reads. I picked this up again mostly for nostalgic reasons, but since I could barely remember the story, it was like reading it for the first time.

 

rp-plot

Angie and her family move to Texas after her father gets transferred from his job. It’s not the first time they’ve packed up and left their lives to live a new one temporarily before their father gets transferred again. It’s hard for Angie and her brother, Jeremy.

Like most “new town” stories, Angie and Jeremy aren’t too happy with the move. Angie is in her senior year of high school and plans on moving back to her original hometown for college. This is just a temporary home for her.

Jeremy meets a new friend and goes out one night, no one knowing where he went. He ends up in a coma and Angie takes it upon herself to find out what exactly happened that night.

Angie gets in over her head, like how most of these stories go. She meets a guy who knows everyone around town and he helps her. They investigate together before coming across the truth in a semi-anti-climactic ending.

While it was a good story, the plot did feel a little cliche to me. There weren’t enough changes to the I’m-new-in-town-I’m-going-to-crack-open-everyone’s-secrets kind of plot.

rp-characters

I enjoyed Angie’s character a lot. Once her brother was in a coma, it kind of opened her eyes. She realized her and her family weren’t exactly a “family.” They were just four people living in the same house.

She also got more aggressive as the book went on too. It was fun to see as she yearned to know what happened more and more. She was a sweet character, but it ended up being more about revenge rather than just knowing the truth.

Del, the boy who helps Angie, was an okay character. He was the typical, I’ll-sweep-you-off-your-feet-because-you’re-new kind of guy. He helped Angie a lot and was a nice guy. You even think he has something to do with Jeremy’s accident for a little while.

Overall, the characters weren’t too bad. There was a small cast of characters, but it fit nicely.

rp-writing-style

This book is short and sweet and nicely written. The story is straightforward and simple. The actual writing tells the story nicely, but there’s not a lot of tension to it. Still, it was enjoyable to read.

rp-overall

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book again. I think my tastes have changed since I grew older, but it was still a good read.

The Ghosts Of Now by Joan Lowery Nixon gets…
4 stars book review 4 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Mom’s perfume floats over to me, adding a comforting softness to the room.” –Joan Lowery Nixon, The Ghosts Of Now

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Bookstagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

newsletter-signature

*This post contains affiliate links.

The Other Side of Dark by Joan Lowery Nixon

The Other Side of Dark by Joan Lowery Nixon book review
Via Goodreads

Title: The Other Side of Dark
Author: Joan Lowery Nixon
Genre: Young adult mystery
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary (from Goodreads):

Stacy wakes up in a room that’s not hers, in a body she doesn’t recognize, to discover she’s been in a coma for four years. Her mother is dead–murdered–and Stacy, recovering from a gunshot wound, is the only eyewitness to her mother’s murder.She can recall only a shadowy face, so far. But the killer is not about to let her reveal his identity…

My Review:

I believe this was the first Joan Lowery Nixon book I ever read and instantly fell in love.

Stacy wakes up from a four-year coma and everything is different. She is now 17, not 13, her older sister got married and is now pregnant, her cat is gone, and her mother is passed away.

Stacy and her mother were shot by a man trying to rob their house. Her mother didn’t make it and Stacy is the only witness. However, it happened four years ago and her mind is pretty fuzzy.

The story is short at just under 200 pages, but we follow Stacy as she tries to regain her memory and figure out who killed her mother that dreadful day.

Stacy is a well-written character as her mind is still 13-years-old when she’s actually 17. She’s trying to catch up with the rest of the world as well as figure out what happened to her and her mother.

I loved the support from her sister and father throughout the novel, though I could have done without her friends. They were a bit annoying and seemed to try to get her back to reality way too fast. They cared about her, but they didn’t exactly give her time to wrap her head around things.

The plot was fun to follow as you tried to recount what happened with Stacy. You’re in her mind the whole time and you only know what she remembers, so it’s hard for the reader to figure out the mystery. In a way, that makes it a little more exciting. I read the book in two sittings, it was so good. It would have been one sitting if I didn’t have to go to work.

Overall, the book was quick and suspenseful with great characters.

The Other Side of Dark by Joan Lowery Nixon gets 5 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“At some time or another everyone gets hit by problems that seem almost impossible to handle. You can give up without a fight, or you can climb over those problems and move on, because there are lots of good things ahead for you to discover.” –Joan Lowery Nixon, The Other Side of Dark

Buy Links:

Amazon

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

*This post contains affiliate links.

When A Story Is That Good

When I lost the Internet in my house last week, I ended up spending my time away from the screens. No video games, no laptop for writing or blogging, I couldn’t even use my phone aside from texting.

I forgot how much I relied on the Internet, but I found other ways to entertain myself. There’s more to life than technology.

I spent a few hours reading an old book I got a long time ago. I remember reading it when I was younger, but I didn’t really remember anything about the actually story or plot.

It was a quick read, so I figured, why not?

A Deadly Game of Magic by Joan Lowery Nixon book review by Rachel PoliI read A Deadly Game of Magic by Joan Lowery Nixon. Nixon wrote mystery, suspense stories. They were quick reads, but they were the type of book that kept you constantly turning the pages. You know, you want to skip to the very end just to see what happens.

I got so into the book. I haven’t read such a thrilling suspense story in a long time. Kris sat beside me re-reading Harry Potter and she tried talking to me a couple of times, but I ignored her every time. I either didn’t hear her, or I decided to finish the paragraph before responding. But then after that paragraph, I would just continue to the next and the next and the next.

Once I got to page 76 in the book, I read a line of narration that said, “A sudden thud shook the back door.”

It’s such a simple sentence. It’s not very descriptive, but it’s described enough.

At this point, I was halfway through the story, so I was very much wrapped up in the characters and plot. So of course, I felt for the characters. What was the loud thud? They’re in a huge abandoned home in the middle of a storm, in the middle of nowhere. Of course, the door shaking is going to freak anyone out; especially if someone is trying to break in.

Needless to say, when I read that line, one of the doors in my house slammed shut.

I sat up abruptly on the couch and peered out into the kitchen. I didn’t see or hear anything. I looked at Kris and she was still reading her book as though the sudden slamming didn’t bother her one bit.

I tried to get her to get up and check it out, but she thought I was being nuts and told me there was nothing wrong.

I had assumed the door that slammed was the basement door. Kris said it was the wind, but I said there was no wind anywhere. The windows were closed in the kitchen and there wasn’t anything in the basement. We didn’t even have the fan on.

Then she asked me to get her cookies. I agreed. I was hungry and I the door slamming was nothing, right? Maybe the dog or cat ran into the door or something. They’re both very clumsy and walk into walls all the time.

But if I went into the kitchen, I would have to pass the basement door.

I was already freaked out from the events going on in the book. So even something as small as a door slamming was making me uptight and nervous, especially since that exact thing just happened in the book.

I was brave, though. I went into the kitchen. I peered down the basement stairs, but it was dark. I couldn’t see anything. Either way, I sighed in relief. I was being crazy.

I got the cookies and as soon as I put the step-stool back, I turned around to grab the cookies off the counter.

Then the door to my parents’ bedroom slammed shut.

Even though I had to pass by the basement door and my parents’ bedroom door, I darted back into the living room with a panic yelling at Kris.

There was nothing in the house, and I knew that, but there was definitely something in the house.

Kris laughed at me, but she decided to humor me and check out my parents’ bedroom.

Sure enough, they had a window wide open and the wind was slamming doors closed.

And that’s all she wrote.

Kris and I got back to reading like nothing happened. Except she now enjoys telling people that story because I freaked out.

At least it was a good book.

Have you ever gotten so into a story that you brought it into reality with you? Let me know in the comments!

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

A Deadly Game of Magic by Joan Lowery Nixon

A Deadly Game of Magic by Joan Lowery Nixon book review by Rachel Poli
Via Goodreads
Title: A Deadly Game of Magic
Author: 
Joan Lowery Nixon
Genre: Young adult mystery
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary (from Goodreads):

Caught in a violent storm, Lisa and her three friends take refuge in an old deserted house.  Inside are strewn odd tricks and gadgets-the props of a practiced magician.  Doors slam shut.  The phones go dead.  A ghostly hand creeps across the mantel.  But the group’s fascination at these effects quickly turns to horror.

Lisa has always dreamed of being a magician.  Now her life and the lives of her friends-depend on her skill.  Because one by one the tricks are becoming more sinister, luring the group closer and closer to the terrible secret at the end of the corridor…

My Review:

Joan Lowery Nixon was my favorite author when I was a kid and I haven’t read any of her books in a long time. So when I picked this one up from my shelf, nostalgia hit me as I smelled the book.

This book is written well through the first-person narration of Lisa. She gets caught in a storm with three of her “friends” and they all end up trapped in an old magician’s house. They believe they’re alone as they wait for a tow truck for their broken down car, but it turns out someone is in the house with this.

This is a classic ghost story, except the culprit isn’t a ghost. Supernatural things don’t happen, it only looks like it because they’re all magic tricks.

This is a quick read, but even if it wasn’t I still think I would read it in one sitting.

The characters were each likable and unique with their own voices. Their relationship with one another was a bit cliche as they all don’t know each other well, but by they end of this experience they’re all great friends and realize they have a lot in common.

My only problem about this novel was that I still have some questions. I won’t specifically say what due to spoilers, but there was something that didn’t get answered even though the mystery as a whole was wrapped up neatly.

And, this is a nit-pick of mine, while the ending was satisfying, I wish there was an epilogue of some sort to let us know what happened to the characters after they got out of the house.

A Deadly Game of Magic by Joan Lowery Nixon gets  out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“She laughed, but the tone was as dry as ancient dust.” –Joan Lowery Nixon, A Deadly Game of Magic

rachel poli sign off

Twitter | Tumblr | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump