Books of Note – April 2024

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The Plea” by Steve Cavanagh – Excellent legal thriller with a ‘no way he can win this’ case. Smart writing, clever solution.


Apollo Murders” by Chris Hadfield- fantastic reimagining of Apollo space shuttle history. ‘What if?’ is explored in a page-turner from real life astronaut Hadfield with an entertaining look at the competition between Russia and the U.S. in the Space Race. Not sure if I could ever go into space after reading this one. Whew! 


Rum & Choke” by Sherry Harris – latest entry in Agatha nominated Seaglass Saloon series. Chloe Jackson, a librarian from Chicago, inherits part ownership of a bar in Florida. She’s an unexpected heroine who didn’t anticipate she would love the life at the beach, while solving a murder or two. She’s a runner, can sail, and has a soft spot for a hunky local. Great series.


Portrait of a Thief” by Grace D. Li – terrific art heist book dealing wonderfully with Chinese influences and national art crimes. Debut novel, nominated for multiple awards, also explores revealing character studies of the participants who seem to be in it only for the thrills.

Stay tuned for more.  🙂

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KN, p. 284 “2021 Kerrian’s Notebook Book Drawings”

2021 was a great year for the Kerrian’s Notebook subscribers to win a book (or two if they also subscribed to Nightstand Book Reviews. Winners were chosen randomly during quarterly drawings, using The winners were then notified through Facebook and/or the email addresses they had provided. A list of at least ten books was sent to the winners, from which they picked their prize(s). The majority of the books have been (and will continue to be in 2022) mysteries, thrillers, and novels of suspense, in keeping with the Kerrian’s Notebook theme. Many of the books were stay-awake reads, many were bestsellers, some were donated by the authors, and some were passed along to other readers.

Looking for a great read? Take a look at the terrific books the Kerrian’s Notebook subscribers chose in 2021:


Ellie Alexander “Mocha, She Wrote”

Kate Atkinson “Transcription”


Steve Berry “The Malta Exchange”

Terri Blackstock “Night Light”

Bethany Blake  “Something Borrowed, Something Mewed”

Laura Bradford “Assaulted Pretzel”

Laura Bradford “Suspendered Sentence”

Eileen Brady “Saddled with Murder”

Allison Brennan “Cold as Ice”

Sandra Brown “Smash Cut”

James Lee Burke “New Iberia Blues”


Lee Child “61 Hours”

Lee Child “Echo Burning”

Lee Child “One Shot”

Lee Child “Running Blind”

Karen Cleveland “Need to Know”

Bruce Coffin “Within Plain Sight”

Brandilyn Collins “Violet Dawn”

Sheila Connolly “Murder at the Mansion”

Cate Conte “Witch Hunt”

Patricia Cornwall “Scarpetta”

Bernard Cornwell “The Archer’s Tale”

Robert Crais “The Wanted”

Jessie Crockett “Drizzled with Death”


Jeffery Deaver “Skin Collector”

Robert Dugoni “8th Sister"

Robert Dugoni “Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell”


Jessica Estavao “Whispers Beyond the Veil”


Alice Feeney ”I Know Who You Are”

Joanne Fluke ”Chocolate Cream Pie Murder”

Joanne Fluke “Cinnamon Roll Murder”

Joanne Fluke “Wedding Cake Murder”

William R. Forstchen “48 Hours”


Robert Galbraith “Lethal White”

Tess Gerritsen “I Know A Secret”

Christie Golden ”Stars Wars: Inferno Squad

Sue Grafton “W is for Wasted”

Mark Greaney “Agent in Place”

JD Griffo “Murder at Veronica’s Diner”


Victoria Hamilton “Bran New Death”

Sherry Harris “From Beer to Eternity”

Jane Harper “Force of Nature”

Jane Harper “The Lost Man”

Erin Hart “Haunted Ground”

Noah Hawley “Before the Fall”

Dee Henderson “Danger in the Shadows”

Dee Henderson “Protector”

Dee Henderson “Rescuer”

Julia Henry “Digging Up the Remains”

Gregg Hurwitz “Into the Fire”

Gregg Hurwitz “Out of the Dark”


JA Jance  “Field of Bones” 

Iris Johansen “The Shattered Mirror”


Jan Karon “To Be Where You Are”

Philip Kerr “Greeks Bearing Gifts”

Jayne Ann Krentz “Promise Not to Tell”


Con LeHane “Murder at 42nd St Library”

Linda Lovely “No Wake Zone”


Debbie Macomber “Window on the Bay”

David Maraniss “When Pride Still Mattered”

Steve Martini “Guardian of Lies”

Kate Moretti “Thought I Knew You”


TJ O’Connor “Dying for the Past”

Richard Osman “The Thursday Murder Club”


Katherine Hall Page “Body in the Birches”

Gigi Pandian “Artifact”

B.A. Paris “Bring Me Back”

Louise Penny “How the Light Gets In”

Thomas Perry  “The Burglar”

Richard Preston “Hot Zone”


Reference “Malicious Intent”

JD Robb “Connections in Death”

MJ Rose “Cartier’s Hope”

Barbara Ross  “Sealed Off”

Carla Rossi “Unlikely Praise”

Hank Phillippi Ryan “Her Perfect Life”

John Sandford “Bloody Genius”

John Sandford  “Easy Prey”

John Sandford “Naked Prey”

Michael Sears “Tower of Babel”

Sarah Shaber “Simon Said”

Karin Slaughter “Fractured”

Karin Slaughter “The Last Widow”

Alexander McCall Smith “A Distant View of Everything”

Danielle Steel “The Good Fight”


Brad Thor  “Takedown”

Charles Todd “Racing the Devil”


David Weiden “Winter Counts”

Andy Weir “Project Hail Mary”

Jeri Westerson “Booke of the Hidden”

Tina Whittle “Blood, Ash & Bone”

Lynn Willis “Unholy Covenant”

Beth Wiseman “Listening to Love”



Happy Suspenseful Reading in 2022!


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Visiting Detective Kylee Kane “HOA Murder”

Sunset in Beaufort, South Carolina

The Jazz Corner is one of our favorite venues for dinner and live jazz when we’re visiting Hilton Head Island in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Tonight was the last night for a popular NYC jazz combo. As usual, the tables are scrunched together in the intimate setting, making it next to impossible not to eavesdrop on folks seated at adjacent tables.


Sheila’s just placed her standard order for She-Crab soup and crab cakes, when I hear the woman at the next table say, “Mom’s right. Whoever killed Finley put that trophy deer head in his lap to sidetrack authorities. And it’s working. Deputy Ibsen’s convinced one of the Bambi-loving crowd is responsible.”


Bambi lovers? A corpse holding a trophy deer head? I can’t pretend I didn’t hear. My curiosity won’t let me. The couple’s conversation sounds matter of fact. Neither the man nor the woman—I’m guessing they’re either late forties or early fifties—seems shaken or hysterical. I decide it’s okay to intrude.


“Hi, I’m Charlie Kerrian, and this is my wife, Sheila,” I begin. “We just arrived on the island a couple of hours ago for a mini-vacation. I apologize for listening in, but our tables are so close. Was someone murdered here recently?”

“Not here,” the woman replies. “The murder took place on Hullis Island Friday night. I apologize. We shouldn’t have been jabbering about it in a restaurant. You needn’t be concerned. There’s no Lowcountry crime wave. Please don’t let my big mouth ruin your vacation.”


Sheila chuckles. “My husband failed to mention he’s a detective. You haven’t worried him, just piqued his curiosity.”


“That’s a relief.” The woman smiles. While her short, curly hair is snow-white, her smooth skin says the white hair is premature. “I’m Kylee Kane,” she adds, “a retired Coast Guard investigator.”


“And I’m Ted Welch,” the man says. “I’m hoping Kylee will soon change her standard introduction and say she’s a security specialist for Welch HOA Management. That’s my company. We manage more than a dozen homeowner associations in Beaufort County, including Hullis Island where the man was murdered.”


Kylee shakes her head and grins. “Ted, I’m not going to start introducing myself as your security specialist. My consulting gig won’t last that long—just until this killer’s caught, we find out who’s sending hate mail to Mom, and your HOA clients quit worrying about crazed killers sneaking into their neighborhoods.”


“Can you back up?” I ask. “What did you mean about the killer trying to pin the rap on Bambi lovers, and why is your mother getting hate mail? Are the two related?”

“Afraid so,” Kylee says. “Hullis Island has a deer overpopulation problem. The board of directors of the HOA decided to solve the problem by opening the island’s nature sanctuary to hunters as soon as the peak tourist season ends. Finley, the man who was murdered, was a loud proponent of slaughtering all the island deer. His landscape company’s sales had nosedived after people decided buying edible plants amounted to a free lunch program for deer.”


“And how was your mother involved?” Sheila asks.


“Mom doesn’t think the board has the right to open our nature sanctuary to hunters without allowing the HOA membership to vote on the matter,” Kylee adds. “She sent an email to all her neighbors expressing her opinion. Mom knows the overpopulation has to be addressed, but she thinks there are less drastic solutions. A postcard that said it was time for hunters to target old-lady busybodies as well as deer was hand-delivered to Mom’s mailbox a few hours later.”


Ted adds, “I just wish the authorities weren’t so fixated. They seem convinced the neighborhood feud about the island deer explains why Finley was killed. But the deceased wasn’t a likeable guy. He’d accumulated lots of disgruntled customers. Kylee and I plan to talk to some of those folks. My new security specialist excels at interviewing people.”


“Yes.” Kylee laughs. “In your sales pitch for me to join your firm as a security consultant, I believe you described me as having the ‘tenacity of a demented squirrel looking for a buried nut stash.’”


“True,” Ted agrees. “An apt description. Hasn’t changed since you worked so hard to ignore your little brother and me in grade school.”


The lights flicker and a man takes the small stage to introduce the jazz combo. “Please respect our talented musicians,” he says. “No talking during the performance.”


While Sheila and I came to hear the music, I’m sorry I’ll have to wait to hear more of the story.


Linda Lovely

Warm thanks to Linda Lovely for stopping by to chat with the Kerrians and give us a straight-up-fun peek into Kylee Kane’s (and Ted Welch) encounters with murder at the HOA. To find out how the story ends, you’ll have to read:

Multi-layered plots are always central to Linda Lovely’s novels. With her fully fleshed out central characters perfectly set up to navigate the twists and turns of the story lines, this entertaining mystery writer always delivers a thoroughly engrossing read. “With Neighbors Like These,” is a stellar, page-turning beginning to her brand new HOA Mystery Series. Launch date was set for July 13, 2021. Click on the link to order.


Please visit to learn more about Lovely and her upcoming events.

As sometimes happens, Kerrian’s Notebook has overlapped with Nightstand Book Reviews, so please check out Linda Lovely’s complete Book List here.


*Photos supplied by Linda Lovely.  🙂



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