On The Devil’s Side Of Heaven By Roger Peppercorn [Book Review – Mystery Month]

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On the Devil's Side of Heaven by Roger Peppercorn | Crime Thriller | Mystery | Book Review | RachelPoli.com

I received a free digital review copy from the author’s publicist in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

With the drop of a judge’s gavel, Walt Walker has finally lost everything. The badge and gun he used to carry and the moral certainty of right and wrong, good and evil that used to keep him grounded. Now Walt, sans gun, gets his badges from an Army Navy store. He spends his days in South Florida, working for a boutique insurance firm as their investigator. He spends his nights in dive bars, trying to forget the mess he has made of his life.

Ronald Jacobs always preferred the title Human Resource Manger to Hitman. But now that he’s retired, he can concentrate on living in the shadows as a respectable gentlemen farmer. Far from the reach and pull of his past life.

Their transgressions are behind them but a chance encounter and a failed assassination attempt sets the two of them on a collision course of violence and retribution. Hunted by contract killers, the law, and corporate bag men, they are pursued across the unforgiving adobes and the sweeping vistas of the Mesa Valley in Western Colorado.

Survival means putting their past in front of them and their differences aside, because in this world the only thing that matters is to cast not others on the devil’s side of heaven, lest you be cast in with them.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I like the cover, it’s simple and a pretty picture of a forest. One look at it and for reason I can tell what the genre of the book is.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

This was an instant read for me mostly due to the genre. I enjoy crime and thrillers and this was a little different from what I usually read.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

The plot isn’t a bad one as two old friends – who also happen to be brother-in-laws meet up once more to foil some bad guys’ plans. The plot itself was fairly well executed and certainly fit for a thriller. There was plenty of action involved and it moved pretty quickly.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I’ll be honest, I couldn’t get into any of the characters. Walt, the protagonist, was a bit of a cliche – he lost his job, got divorced and lost his kids, and he sits in bars all night trying to drink away his problems. It kind of got old pretty fast.

Ronald wasn’t too bad of a character. However, he’s a retired hit-man but I couldn’t picture him ever being a hit-man other than the fact he was good with guns.

Even the group of bad guys. They acted tough, high-and-mighty, and swore a lot, but it seemed like it was all for the sake of them being the “bad guys.” There was no depth to it.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

I had a hard time reading the book due to the writing style. The POV switched between the characters. It was third-person omniscient, which is fine, but Walt’s parts were in first-person. So, sometimes I was reading the story along with Walt and other times I was with Ronald or an assassin with a third-party unknown narrator. I wasn’t sure which one to believe and it just made the story confusing, especially trying to piece the parts together.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This wasn’t a bad book, but it was hard for me to get into. I would have liked to see more consistent storytelling with more in-depth characters. It was hard for me to keep track of, though with the fast-pace action and high crime, you may want to give this one a try.

On The Devil’s Side Of Heaven by Roger Peppercorn gets…
Book Review Rating System | 2 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com2 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“He was a killer of all killers and he feared no man. But if his wife was mad, he came a-calling just as pronto as any lovesick dog.” –Roger Peppercorn, On the Devil’s Side of Heaven

Buy the book:

Amazon

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Poirot Investigates (Hercule Poirot 3) By Agatha Christie [Book Review – Mystery Month]

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Book Review: Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie | Mystery | Short Story | Classic | RachelPoli.com

I bought a paperback copy from Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

First there was the mystery of the film star and the diamond… then came the ‘suicide’ that was murder… the mystery of the absurdly cheap flat… a suspicious death in a locked gun-room… a million dollar bond robbery… the curse of a pharaoh’s tomb… a jewel robbery by the sea… the abduction of a Prime Minister… the disappearance of a banker… a phone call from a dying man… and, finally, the mystery of the missing will.

What links these fascinating cases? Only the brilliant deductive powers of Hercule Poirot!

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

The book cover is simple enough. I’ll admit, I think they could have done better since this is a collection of short stories. I’m not really sure where this fits in with the book, but I do like the art style.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I bought this book because I’ve been enjoying the Hercule Poirot series. This is the third book in the series and I’ll admit I was surprised when I started reading as I didn’t realize it was short stories at first. I thought it was a novel like the two books before it.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

This book holds 14 short stories, all about Poirot and his partner, Hastings, solving them. Some of the cases were murder, others were robberies or missing persons. Each one was unique from the others.

I’ll admit some of the stories were hard to follow since they were so short. Each story was roughly about 15-20 pages and I felt as though some of them were too short for me to catch up with how fast Poirot figured everything out. I had to re-read some, but I enjoyed them all the same.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

Agatha Christie writes in a different style than books typically are today (since this book was originally published in 1924). I’ll admit, it’s not something I’m used to, so there are a few lines I need to read over to comprehend them. I was never one to follow “old English” easily especially since French is thrown into the book as well.

For the most part, it was easy to follow. While I wasn’t expecting the short stories at first, it was nice to read instead of a full length novel.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was a nice addition to the Hercule Poirot series. I wonder if there are other books in the series that hold short stories or if this was the black sheep of the series. Still, I enjoyed it and it was nice to read an Agatha Christie book again after so long.

Poirot Investigates (Hercule Poirot #3) by Agatha Christie gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com 4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“‘Poirot,’ I said. ‘Am I quite demented?’
‘No, mon ami, but you are, as always, in a mental fog.'” -Agatha Christie, Poirot Investigates

Buy the book:

Amazon

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Here Lies Daniel Tate By Cristin Terrill [Book Review – Mystery Month]

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Book Review: Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrill | Young Adult | Mystery | RachelPoli.com

I bought a hardcover copy at Barnes & Noble.

Summary:

A young, street-savvy runaway looking for a place to call home realizes he might have conned his way into the wrong family in this fast-paced and thrilling novel from award-winning author Cristin Terrill.

When ten-year-old Daniel Tate went missing from one of California’s most elite communities, he left no trace. He simply vanished.

Six years later, when he resurfaces on a snowy street in Vancouver, he’s no longer the same boy. His sandy hair is darker, the freckles are gone, and he’s initially too traumatized to speak, but he’s alive. His overjoyed family brings him home to a world of luxury and comfort he can barely remember. In time, they assure him, he’ll recover his memories; all that matters now is they’re together again.

It’s perfect. A miracle. Except for one thing.

He isn’t Daniel Tate.

He’s a petty con artist who accidentally stumbled into the scam of a lifetime, and he soon learns he’s not the only one in the Tate household with something to hide. The family has as many secrets as they have millions in the bank, and one of them might be ready to kill to keep the worst one buried.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

The book cover is what originally caught my eye in the bookstore. The picture of Daniel Tate (or is it?) is like a puzzle which shows what the book is really about.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I’m a sucker for mystery and once I saw the cover, I was sold. I was intrigued by the title as well.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Our protagonist, Danny – though we don’t know his real name – is a con artist. He ran way from home as a child and has been running, in and out of the system, ever since. After being put into a group home and playing the “traumatized” card, the staff there think he’d be more suited for a mental institution. In order to get out of that, he impersonates a missing child who resembles him just a little – Daniel Tate, missing since he was 10-years-old, six years ago.

This plot was twisted and there was a lot of drama involved, but it was so good and well woven together that I found myself sucked into the story the deeper I got into it. I thought I had figured out the mystery long ago, but more curve balls were thrown and you don’t know the “truth” until the very end.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I enjoyed each and every character. The protagonist and narrator had a great voice to tell the story. He was such an interesting well-rounded character that I loved reading his story.

The members of Danny’s family were well-round too. Each one had a unique personality along with their own dark secrets to be kept. The family dynamic is similar to a soap opera’s, but it worked. Normally I don’t care too much for that, but the author made it work well.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

The story was written in first-person through “Danny’s” eyes. We see him before he arrives at the Tate’s house and beyond. The book is almost 400 pages long and there are no chapters, just page breaks. The page breaks didn’t always mean time was passing either. Sometimes it was an internal thought from Danny or it was just a new topic. It felt as though there were no chapters because I was going through the motions with Danny.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This book turned out to be a lot better than I originally thought. I was so invested in the mystery and the characters alike that I wanted it to end so I could know the truth – but also now that it’s over, I want more.

If you’re looking for a good mystery with lots of speculations, twists and turns, and well-rounded characters, give this one a try.

Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrill gets…
Book Review Rating System | 5 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com5 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“The room felt faded and stale, like it belonged to a world that didn’t exist anymore.” -Cristin Terrill, Here Lies Daniel Tate

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Favorite Mysteries That Are Not Books [Mystery Month]

Yes, I do more than reading and writing.

I play video games, I watch TV (rarely, but I do), and… Well, that’s kind of it.

Favorite Mystery Non-Books

Psych

This was a TV show that ran from 2006 to 2014. It was the best show ever and I was super disappointed when I found out it was over.

The protagonist, Shawn, pretended to be psychic to get out of some criminal charges and he ended up working for them solving crimes as their psychic. Tagging along was his best friend Gus, and two Detectives, Juliet and Carlton.

It was a funny show and I loved watching it with my sisters. I was sad when Netflix took it down because I have yet to collect the series on DVD. If you haven’t watched it, it’s a must.

There are books based off the show that are great as well.

Pretty Little Liars

This is another TV show that started in 2010 and just ended yesterday. Honestly, I’m not sure how this show has lasted seven years because the more I watched it, the more I found it ridiculous. I haven’t watched the last two seasons, but I do plan to at some point. I am curious how it ends.

This was a tough mystery to help solve because no matter what you thought, the opposite thing happened. Still, it kept you at the edge of your seat.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

I’m sure you’re all sick of me talking about this one. This is a video game where you play as a defense lawyer, investigate, and solve crimes in court. It’s a silly game and has a lot of fantasy antics, but it’s a great one.

The mysteries are in-depth and the character development is phenomenal.

Professor Layton

Similar to Ace Attorney, Professor Layton is another mystery video game where you play as an archeologist who has a love of puzzles and riddles. Because of that, he often gets hired to help solve certain mysteries, which are usually crimes. As you investigate in the game, you come across a plethora of puzzles and riddles. It’s a lot of fun mind games.

Though I’ll admit, I usually play with Kris because while I love riddles, I’m not that great at them.

Criminal Case

I found this game on Facebook, but it is an app on my iPad. It’s a simple game and there’s not true “story,” but you solve crimes finding clues through look-and-find games.

That’s basically the whole game, but I find look-and-find games to be fun. I recently just heard of another one, that’s more in-depth in the story, but I haven’t played it myself yet.

What are some other hobbies you enjoy other than books? Let me know in the comments below!

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The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner

The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner | Book Review

Title: The Good Neighbor
Author: A.J. Banner
Published: 
September 2015 by Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Mystery Thriller
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary:

Shadow Cove, Washington, is the kind of town everyone dreams about—quaint streets, lush forests, good neighbors. That’s what Sarah thinks as she settles into life with her new husband, Dr. Johnny McDonald. But all too soon she discovers an undercurrent of deception. And one October evening when Johnny is away, sudden tragedy destroys Sarah’s happiness.

Dazed and stricken with grief, she and Johnny begin to rebuild their shattered lives. As she picks up the pieces of her broken home, Sarah discovers a shocking secret that forces her to doubt everything she thought was true—about her neighbors, her friends, and even her marriage. With each stunning revelation, Sarah must ask herself, Can we ever really know the ones we love?

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I’ve been getting into deeper mysteries and getting into thrillers and suspenseful novels lately. This book was bought on a whim when I went to a newly opened bookstore and saw it sitting on the shelf.

rp-plot

Sarah and Johnny are living a good life. They’re fairly close to their neighbors and close to each other, yet they don’t seem to know absolutely everything about each other or their friends. While Johnny is away for business, a fire breaks out at their next door neighbor’s house in the middle of the night. Sarah dives in to save their four-year-old daughter, but the parents don’t make it.

The fire spreads, burning Sarah’s house down. From there, she and Johnny have to rebuild a new life from scratch, discovering secrets about each other and their neighbors along the way.

The plot was well crafted and while it had the typical “wife suspects the husband” cliche, there were plenty of twists and turns along the way. I didn’t know who the culprit was until it was revealed at the very end. It was only then that all the pieces fell into place and I realized that I could have figured it out myself. It was definitely an interesting take on such mysteries.

rp-characters

Each and every character had a purpose. There were minor characters, but even they were there for a reason. I’ve read books where minor characters are there as filler because there, in fact, other people in the world.

I enjoyed all the characters, especially the protagonists. I haven’t said that about a book in a long time. Normally I would find Sarah annoying with her “investigating,” but it was so well written and crafted that I had to agree with her and I found her relatable.

rp-writing-style

This book was easy to read. The chapters were short, some being only about two or three pages long. It made it for a fast read, but the writing itself made it a fast read anyway because it was just so good.

The scenes and chapters flowed nicely right into the other. It was easy to follow along and other than the obvious, “who dunnit?” question, I didn’t feel stuck or confused at all as I read.

My only complaint was that the ending was a bit abrupt. A chapter ended at the climax and at the beginning of the next chapter it was the aftermath. However, there was no indication of how much time had passed since the incident.

rp-overall

Overall, this was a great read. It was quick, suspenseful, and well written. The characters were likeable and I really cared about everyone. If you love mysteries and thrillers, this is definitely a book to pick up. I’ll be reading more from A.J. Banner now as well.

The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner gets…
5-Star Rating | Book Review 5 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“Ironically, her eyes seemed more hidden now behind mascara than they had behind her glasses.” –A.J. Banner, The Good Neighbor

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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