Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Salon - Review, Review

It’s that time once again to sit back, grab a cup of delicious coffee (or beverage of choice), prop our feet put on the console tables in front of us, and relax as we review a couple of intriguing reads.

Today’s Sunday Salon features two books about murder, but in different categories. One I consider a cozy murder mystery and the other is more a thriller mystery or crime drama.

A DEADLY ROW by Casey Mayes

Enjoying a good puzzle from time to time and finally trying my luck at sudoku last fall I was delighted when I received a cozy murder mystery featuring a math whiz as the protagonist.

A DEADLY ROW is the first installment in the Mystery By the Numbers series. However, you don’t have to like puzzles or math to enjoy this adventure.

Savannah Stone creates math and logic puzzles for a living, while also filling in as her husband Zach’s assistant when needed. Zach, retired Charlotte (NC) Police Chief, does police consulting work from the couple’s home in Parson’s Valley.

The Stones are called back to Charlotte by the new police chief when their friend, Mayor Grady Winslow begins receiving threatening and cryptic notes from someone who has apparently already killed two people.

Arriving back in the city, the couple find they are staying at the plush Belmont Hotel thanks to the owner whose assistant was one of those killed.

As the husband and wife team try to fit the pieces of the puzzle together, they begin to wonder how much their friends have changed. The mayor, it seems, looks more like the killer than his next victim.

Meanwhile, Savannah is learning some new and intriguing information about family members she never knew.

Author Casey Mayes weaves just enough twists and surprises to keep you guessing until the last piece of the puzzle falls in place. But will Savannah figure it out in time to discover the mystery surrounding her own family?

Casey Mayes website is

A Deadly Row by Casey Mayes, A Mystery By The Numbers, Berkley Prime Crime, @2010, ISBN: 978-0-425-23641-3, Paperback, 304 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

by James Patterson and Liza Marklund

A killer is targeting young couples all across Europe. The killer is a charming American couple, Sylvia and Mac Randolph, who have a twisted secret besides being murderers.

The killers send a postcard to a newspaper followed by a letter with a photograph of a dead couple and then the police have to locate the bodies. So far the killers have left no clues nor evidence for the police to work with.

The killers arrive in Sweden followed closely by NYPD Detective Jacob Kanon. The detective is on a personal mission since the Randlophs killed his daughter, Kimmy, and her boyfriend six months earlier in Rome.

In Stockholm the postcard is sent to journalist Dessie Larsson. Dessie reluctantly teams up with Jacob to search for the killers.

The story is told in short, fast-pace paragraphs. Authors Patterson and Marklund take you into the world of bizarre killers, as well as those trying to stop the madness. Just when you believe it’s about over, the rug is pulled out from under you and you start wondering how is that possible. The twists, turns and surprises will hold you captive as you try to figure out who the real POSTCARD KILLERS are.

This was an audio book. Had it been a print book I probably wouldn’t have read it just because so much of the action takes place in Sweden. I would have been lost trying to interpret the language. I would have missed a good story. Listening to the dialect of the three wonderful narrators enhanced the story more for me helping put me in the area where the events were taking place. It also gave the main characters more depth.

James Patterson's website is

The Postcard Killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund, Read by Katherine Kellgren, Eric Singer and Reg Rogers, Hachette Audio, @2010, ISBN: 978-1-60788-382-1. Unabridged, 6 CDS, Approximately 7.5 Hours

FTC Full Disclosure - I requested this audio and it was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.


  1. Mason, I have to ask. You mentioned we'll be trying to figure out who the real POSTCARD KILLERS are, does this mean Sylvia and Mac aren't the killers? I assumed part of the book was in their POV.

    Both books sound like great reads.

  2. Mason,

    These both sound very intriguing, although I'm not a big fan of audio books. More of a visual person. But the first one really appeals to me. I'm afraid I'm too domestically challenged to relate to some cozies. Math - especially sudukos - I can handle.

    Thanks for the reviews.

  3. There are a couple of puzzle mysteries I have read - a crossword puzzle mystery and several different soduko mysteries. your first book is a new in this genre. Nice reviews.

  4. Mason - Thanks for this review. I'm glad you enjoyed these books. I have to say, when I say the first one, I was thinking of the television show Num3ers... That first one looks interesting!

  5. VR, that's where a twist comes in. Without giving anything away, I'll just say there is a time you begin to wonder and then you'll have an idea how's it was done. However, how it was done was way beyond what I had figured out. The third voice is their POV. I know that's not a yes or no answer, but for the most part - yes.

    Linda, there are some books I had rather read but this Patterson book was best as an audio for me. There are numerous places and people's names I would have never figured out because they're Swedish. Through the audio it was more real for me.

    Harvee, I've read the crossword puzzle mysteries and loved them. I haven't read any of the suduko mysteries. I'll have to check those out.

    Margot, I've seen clips for that show but haven't watched it yet. I'll have to check it out on Hulu to see. To me, the only thing missing in the first book was a puzzle (and answers) at the end for readers to try. Maybe in the next one.

  6. Mason, thanks for the review. I just finished A Deadly Row and have The Postcard Killers on my TBR list.

  7. Actually, that's a great answer! Makes the story even more intriguing without giving anything away - which I knew you'd never do, or I wouldn't have asked. :)

  8. I love a good cozy mystery and A Deadly Row has captivated me by the synopsis and the cover.

    I've also been meaning to read The Postcard Killers....

    Here's my Salon:

    Click on my name for the URL....

  9. "a charming American couple" in Europe? Nah, that made that part up.

  10. I love a good cozy once in a while! This one sounds fun! And I've been listening to Postcard Killers on audiobook and am really enjoying it!

    Great reviews! Thanks for sharing!

  11. I'm not much on math, but my daughter is. I'll keep A Deadly Row in mind for a Christmas present. Thanks.

  12. The cosy mystery sounds good.

    I am not going to read Patterson and Marklund´s thriller, though. I think it is a bit sad that Lisa Marklund who was a wonderful writer with lots of personality and imagination sells out by attaching herself to a bestseller writer. Sorry, but that is what I think.

  13. I'm writing a numbers mystery so the first book you mention is right up my alley!


  14. The first book, I will be sure to pick up when I can. Sounds like something right up my street.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.