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Carol Mello

San Jose,CA USA
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  • The Boy with the Painful Tattoo

  • Holmes & Moriarity, Book 3
  • By: Josh Lanyon
  • Narrated by: Kevin R. Free
  • Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 314
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 294
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 296

It's moving day at Chez Holmes. Somehow, against Kit's better instincts, he and J.X. are setting up house together. But while J.X. is off at a writing conference, Kit unpacks a crate that should contain either old books or new china. It doesn't. Within the mounds of Styrofoam popcorn is a dead body. A very dead body. There goes the neighborhood.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Just when I want to strangle Kit...

  • By Penelope Forrester on 01-12-15

Christopher Holmes solves another wacky mystery

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-18-18

Somehow Christopher Holmes always gets himself stuck in mixed up mysteries with odd characters. It is as if there is this fiendish hand (perhaps the author's?) directing his fate that gets him involved with criminally minded people against his will. These lunatic characters refuse to let Kit (Christopher) live his life, now with J.X. in San Francisco, in peace and contentment.

Due to delivery van mix ups, it is nearly morning when J.X. and Kit move into a beautiful house in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. J.X. has to leave to attend an authors conference and Kit, whose writing career is in rubble, refused to attend with J.X. and be humiliated. So, he stays home at the new (old) house to unpack and wait for more deliveries of new furniture.

Kit makes a trip to the hardware store where a fan, who met Kit at the same conference where Kit and J.X. originally met and fell in love, recognizes Kit and immediately becomes an annoying pest. Jerry Knight. There is something creepy about Jerry from the start.

When Kit gets back to the house, he starts unpacking boxes and putting stuff away. Searching for his own china settings, Kit goes down to the basement. He finds his china packing box but, instead of china, it contains a dead body. (It is the fiendish hand of fate I wrote about. It has it in for Kit. Always tossing dead bodies in his path.) Thus begins another week or two of hellish events for Kit Holmes. They do not even stop after J.X. gets back from his authors conference. Kit is bedevilled by multiple (five!) lunatic characters in this book. He manages to survive but the whole mess puts a strain on Kit and J.X.'s new life together.

How come Kit has to do all the "heavy lifting" in these mysteries while J.X. hangs around looking unbearably handsome and annoyed or bossy??? Really, J.X. is the ex cop and best selling author; but Kit is the real detective even if he writes cozy mysteries about Mr. Pinkerton, a cat.

Cameos by Adrien English and his lover Jake, as well as Rachel Ving (on multiple annoying phone calls) and new neighbor Emmaline and her cat Pinky.

Fun. Highly recommended.

  • Lord Edgware Dies

  • A Hercule Poirot Mystery
  • By: Agatha Christie
  • Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
  • Length: 6 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 414
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 371
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 366

When Lord Edgware is found murdered the police are baffled. His estranged actress wife was seen visiting him just before his death and Hercule Poirot himself heard her brag of her plan to "get rid" of him. But how could she have stabbed Lord Edgware in his library at exactly the same time she was seen dining with friends? It's a case that almost proves to be too much for the great Poirot.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • AKA 13 At Dinner a Somewhat Predictable Mystery

  • By Tomsde on 08-20-12

Agatha Christie as narrated by Hugh Fraser

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-14-18

Whoever convinced the actor, Hugh Fraser, who played Captain Hastings on the TV adaptations of Poirot novels, to narrate the Poirot audio books was brilliant. He is perfect. The way he does various voices on these audio books proves he is a very skilled actor indeed.

This particular Poirot mystery is famous for how the killer carried out three murders and nearly stumped Poirot. It is an enjoyable audio experience and the mystery is well written.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • The Mystery of the Curiosities

  • Snow & Winter
  • By: C. S. Poe
  • Narrated by: Derrick McClain
  • Length: 7 hrs and 15 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 86
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 79
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 79

Life has been pretty great for Sebastian Snow. The Emporium is thriving and his relationship with NYPD homicide detective Calvin Winter is everything he's ever wanted. But then an unknown assailant smashes the Emporium's window and leaves a peculiar note. Sebastian is quickly swept up in a series of grisly yet seemingly unrelated murders. The only connection tying the deaths together are curiosities from the lost museum of P.T. Barnum.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • The Story has great potential!

  • By Almill on 04-05-18

Sebastian Snow mystery book 2

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-03-18

Yikes, someone is basically stalking Sebastian by leaving dead bodies for Sebastian to find. A clue left with each body challenges Sebastian to find out why each was murdered, to find evidence that proves the victim's death was "justified." In other words, his stalker is practicing vigilante justice. Calvin is worried for Sebastian's life. So was I. This killer is vicious and does not mind collateral deaths of innocent people. Sebastian is incurably curious and cannot resist. Even better than book 1 . Max, his Emporium employee, is adorable in this book because he wants to play Watson.

  • All She Wrote

  • Holmes and Moriarity, Book 2
  • By: Josh Lanyon
  • Narrated by: Kevin R. Free
  • Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 392
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 368
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 363

A murderous fall down icy stairs is nearly the death of Anna Hitchcock, the much-beloved "American Agatha Christie" and Christopher Holmes' former mentor. Anna's plea for him to host her annual winter writing retreat touches all Kit's sore spots - traveling, teaching writing classes, and separation from his new lover, J.X. Moriarity. For J.X., Kit's cancellation of yet another romantic weekend is the death knell of a relationship that has been limping along for months. But that's just as well, right?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Josh Lanyon does it again!!

  • By Anthony on 04-03-13

Second book slower,more ground covered in our heroes' relationship

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-28-18

The book opens with Kit and JX having a fight about their telationship, all Kit's fault. Kit flies to New York to help at a workshop being run at old friend Anna's estate. She tells him someone is trying to kill her. Soon one person is dead (Nella), then a second death occurs. The plot becomes twisty, our heroes unravel it in the end though there is no proof.

  • Stranger on the Shore

  • By: Josh Lanyon
  • Narrated by: Jeremy York
  • Length: 9 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 396
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 373
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 372

Twenty years ago little Brian Arlington was kidnapped from his family's Long Island estate and was never seen again. The trail went cold, but investigative journalist Griff Hadley has always thought there was more to the story - much more. When the Arlingtons' patriarch invites him to stay at their estate to research his true crime book, Griff can't say no. It's the story of a lifetime. But not everyone is happy about Griff's presence. Relatives and staff alike regard him coldly, including Pierce Mather, the Arlingtons' attractive lawyer.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Possibly the most enjoyable mystery romance I've ever read! Quintessential Lanyon!

  • By Christopher P. on 09-19-15

I like the non-series Josh Lanyon books

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-19-18

Another really enjoyable non series mystery gay romance novel. Griffin is an investigative newspaper writer who has become obsessed with the The Great Gatsby and with a child kidnapping that took place in the 1990s. He gets permission from the head of the Arlington family to write a book about the kidnapping and do some investigative research. Jarrett Arlington says he wants to know what happened to his grandson, Brian, presumed dead, whose body was never found. At the estate of the Arlington family, he meets handsome but arrogant and distrustful family lawyer, Pierce Mathers. Most of the family would prefer not to know what happened to the four year old child Brian. There is a lot of annoying resistance to Griffin's efforts to do research to write the book. Someone even arranges an accident on a foot bridge for Griffin. Meanwhile, Pierce and Griffin are attracted to each other but do not trust each other. It is a sticky situation. As the relationship between Griffin and Pierce becomes stronger, the case of the missing child becomes more dangerous, especially for Griffin. The mystery is well done. (A kidnapped child is a classic mystery novel plot. It has been done by many well known golden age mystery writers and even some modern mystery writers.)

The narration is very good. It is not at all annoying the way some narrations are: too fast or too slow, weird voice characterizations, or characters all sounding the same. It was just right.

  • Among the Living

  • PsyCop, Book 1
  • By: Jordan Castillo Price
  • Narrated by: Gomez Pugh
  • Length: 2 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 677
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 640
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 639

Victor Bayne, the psychic half a PsyCop team, is a gay medium who's more concerned with flying under the radar than in making waves. He hooks up with handsome Jacob Marks, a non-psychic (or "Stiff") from an adjacent precinct at his ex-partner's retirement party, and it seems like his dubious luck has taken a turn for the better. But then a serial killer surfaces who can change his appearance to match any witness' idea of the world's hottest guy.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Perfect narrator for one of my favorite books!

  • By Jesi Lea Ryan on 08-17-14

Book 1, Victor Blayne series, recommended

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-16-18

I am not into creepy but this series was recommended by another reviewer in a review of a Josh Lanyon ebook/audiobook. This author, Jordan Castillo Price, this series, Victor Blayne. It was creepier than I expected (remember, I have a low creep factor threshhold). The characters were each unique and interesting. Some I liked immediately. Victor Blayne grew on me.

I had to stop part way through, take a one day break to steel myself for the ending I foresaw coming. I finally was ready and finished the book. It is really good. It would make a terrific TV series, if they would do one about a gay psychic cop in Las Vegas on broadcast or cable TV. It will have to be an independent production for streaming. It is that good.

Not sure if I could watch. With that darn low creep factor threshold of mine, viewing the psychic monsters might freak me out so bad that I would have nightmares for weeks. It happened once when I was a child.

Different type of mystery book for me than usual (the psychic monster, not the gay relationship). It was very very good. Good detective work by Blayne.

  • Elephants Can Remember

  • A Hercule Poirot Mystery
  • By: Agatha Christie
  • Narrated by: Hugh Fraser
  • Length: 5 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 365
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 327
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 323

"The Ravenscrofts didn't seem that kind of person. They seemed well balanced and placid..." And yet, twelve years earlier, the husband had shot the wife, and then himself - or perhaps it was the other way around, since sets of both of their fingerprints were on the gun, and the gun had fallen between them. The case haunts Ariadne Oliver, who had been a friend of the couple. The famous mystery novelist desires this real-life mystery solved, and calls upon Hercule Poirot to help her do so.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Hugh Fraser is awesome!

  • By Mandy Cruze on 04-24-15

Ariadne Oliver and Poirot investigate old murders using old memories

Overall
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-14-18

Not a fast moving mystery, nor one with lots of action.

Poirot is old, perhaps retired. Mrs. Oliver's goddaughter, Celia, needs her help. Mrs. Oliver visits Poirot and tells him what Celia needs to know. Because her boyfriend, Desmond, is getting pressure from his overbearing adoptive mother to break up their, Celia and Desmond's, relationship. Why is she dragging up old history? What is Mrs. Burton-Cox up to? What really happened all those years ago to Celia's beloved mother and father?

Mrs. Oliver hunts up elephants, the memories of old people who might know something about the past. Poirot assures her that even if they do not remember correctly, whatever the elephants remember is helpful. Poirot consults the detective who investigated the case (he is now retired and devoted to his roses) about everything he remembers about the case. Poirot puts the puzzle pieces together to assemble the truth about the past because after talking to both Celia and Desmond, he realizes they need the truth in order to marry; Celia is afraid to marry without knowing the truth.

Poirot also meets Mrs. Burton-Cox and investigates her! He finds out the truth there too. It is a good thing for Desmond that he does because she has been lying by omission. (This part surprised me. I am so naive sometimes.)

At the heart of the novel are identical twins, Molly and Dolly. If I say any more, I might spoil your chances of solving this mystery yourself, as I did. Listen carefully. The clues are there, this is a fair play mystery.

There are a lot of conversations in this novel which is why it moves slowly. However, the resolution is very satisfactory and solving this one is satisfactory too. I also enjoy the Christie novels containing Mrs. Ariadne Oliver. She is so amusing. Her scenes with her new secretary in this one are quite funny.

  • Murder Takes the High Road

  • By: Josh Lanyon
  • Narrated by: Gary Furlong
  • Length: 7 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 164
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 154
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 154

Librarian Carter Matheson is determined to enjoy himself on a Scottish bus tour for fans of mystery author Dame Vanessa Rayburn. Sure, his ex, Trevor, will also be on the trip with his new boyfriend, leaving Carter to share a room with a stranger, but he can’t pass up a chance to meet his favorite author. Carter’s roommate turns out to be John Knight, a figure as mysterious as any character from Vanessa’s books. His strange affect and nighttime wanderings make Carter suspicious. When a fellow traveler’s death sparks rumors of foul play, Carter is left wondering if there’s anyone on the tour he can trust.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Interesting story, not a fan of narration

  • By DJR on 11-09-18

Entertaining mystery tour in Scotland with romance

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-08-18

Carter stubbornly refuses to give his expensive mystery tour ticket, booked years in advance, to his ex-lover Trevor to use for Vance, Trevor's new partner. Carter is still bitter a year after the breakup. Trevor and Vance are really obnoxious. It is always fun when there is an awful ex around in romance novels to hate. Carter gets an unexpected roommate for the tour. John, the roommate, acts suspiciously but Carter is attracted to him and John is attracted to Carter. Rumors fly that one of the passengers on the previous tour died. Then, a passenger on Carter's tour dies.

Good surprises in the mystery tour and a good new romantic partner for Carter. I really enjoy Josh Lanyon's novels.

  • The Magician Murders

  • The Art of Murder, Book III
  • By: Josh Lanyon
  • Narrated by: Kale Williams
  • Length: 6 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 144
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 138
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 138

Jason West, hot-shot special agent with the FBI’s Art Crime Team, is at the Wyoming home of Behavioral Analysis Unit Chief Sam Kennedy, who is recuperating from a recent hit-and-run accident, when he’s asked to consult on the theft of a priceless collection of vintage magic posters. But before Jason can say “presto change-o”, the owner of the art collection turns up murdered in a national forest. 

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • things are heating up!

  • By B on 06-28-18

Very enjoyable mystery/suspense and gay romance (Jason and Sam)

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-06-18

I enjoyed Josh Lanyon's Holmes and Moriarity novels. This is my first listening or reading of one of The Art of Murder series books. There are four mystery cases confronting Jason West (and to a lesser extent Sam Kennedy).

1. Who attacked Jason West in the parking lot of the Chinese restaurant?
2. Who killed the unlikable magician who was divorcing his wife?
3. Who stole the same magician's collection of valuable magic memorabilia? The magician himself or his wife or someone else?
4. Was the death of the other magician, Santos, a suicide or murder, i.e. Is there someone killing magicians in Cheyenne?

I enjoyed listening to this tremendously and will probably re-listen to it again in the future which is why I have given it 5 stars.

Update: I have just listened to this a second time. It was even better the second time than the first. I noticed several things I had missed the first time around. There are some humorous things I missed the first time. This book is intense so the humor is welcome. The three poodles (which must be the very smallest breed of poodles because Ruby can pick up and hold all three at once) behaved annoyingly but humorously. Take note of the description of Ruby's tablecloth. There are other humorous elements, if you listen carefully. Right now I am trying to keep in mind two non-humorous things I missed first time I listened.

1. During the fire, while Jason is frantically searching for Kennedy, he keeps repeating to himself, "Where are you?", which foreshadows the ominous ending.

2. I had overlooked that the envelope was not postmarked which meant it had been hand delivered in person by the stalker. This makes it even creepier. How did I miss that first time? I must be getting senile 😋. It also means I am awaiting the next book in the series with a certain amount of trepidation, since I can think of nothing but even more terrifying things that might happen to Jason (or Kennedy).

  • Vengeance in Death

  • In Death, Book 6
  • By: J. D. Robb
  • Narrated by: Susan Ericksen
  • Length: 11 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,904
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 2,339
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,345

He is an expert with the latest technology...a madman with the mind of a genius and the heart of a killer. He quietly stalks his prey. Then he haunts the police with cryptic riddles about the crimes he is about to commit - always solved moments too late to save the victims' lives.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Another Winner from J.D. Robb

  • By Nancy J on 07-08-13

This book was truly a turning point in the series

Overall
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-24-18

I do not own all of the In Death Series audio books. I started acquiring them along about three years ago due to visions problems in one eye. Audible books for bestsellers can be expensive. I was going backwards at first. Then I switched my acquisition strategy. So, I still do not have them all.

Susan Ericksen does a good job and she got better over time. The only voice I do not care for is Trina's, the hair and beauty expert Eve meets through Mavis. Generally, it is a pleasure to listen to her narration of the In Death series of books. Reviews often reflect the plot of the individual books rather than Ms. Eriksen's adept narration.

So recently after skipping around between my favorite plots, after listening to Rapture In Death, I thought, gee, Carol, why not listen to the series from the start? I have many of the earliest books by now. So, about two weeks ago, I began my goal.

I had forgotten many minor details of the early novels. They are not as polished as the later mid series novels. Eve is more of just another detective in the murder division rather than its titular head as she is in the later books. She is micro-managed a lot by Whitney and Tibble. Damn irritating. She is so good at her job. Why can't they trust her as they do a year or so later? I had forgotten the insult of their lack of trust, the micro-managing of a skilled investigator with "killer" instincts. I had forgotten Eve's often lack of self assurance. So Naked In Death, Glory In Death, Immortal In Death, and even the two following In Death books, were frustrating (even though Rapture is one of my favorites). So many characters doubting her or second guessing her. She takes so many emotional slings and arrows from others. She is more fragile than she is later. I felt a little too much of her pain in those earliest Eve Dallas books. In reading this book, I felt the later Eve emerging from the fragile Eve. Her assurance is finally increasing and she is emerging from her horrid past because she is finally truly loved, feels loved, feels worthy of that love. That is what I hear in this book more than in the preceding books. It stands out for me. Because it is stronger here, I feel less pain for Eve because she is stronger because of the love. She is a stronger warrior with love behind and around her. I see it, hear it, in this book. I remembered it was good. It is good, very good, better than I remembered.