Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Salon: A Hard Death and Crunch Time

Sunday Salon is a place and time to relax, unwind and discuss the latest books we’ve read or received.

The 2 books I want to tell you about today are both mysteries, but fall into entirely different sub-genres. The first book could be called a hard core thriller. It’s very fact-based with detailed graphic descriptions of the murders and some adult language. The second book is a cozy murder mystery. While there is murder and violence, it’s not as graphic and recipes are included.

So make sure you have your cup of coffee (or tea) handy, sit back and let’s take a trip to a small Florida coastal town.

A HARD DEATH by Jonathan Hayes

Dr. Edward Jenner is one character I wanted to grab by the shoulders and try to shake some sense into.

But sometimes it doesn’t pay to get to close to the doc. People around him keep turning up dead. He’s a brilliant forensic pathologist who seems to have a knack for finding trouble and murder.

Jenner is called to Port Fontaine (Florida) by his mentor, Dr. Marty Roburn, the Douglas County Medical Examiner. Roburn wants Jenner to fill in for him while he takes his wife on a much-needed and long overdue vacation. Jenner’s had some problems in New York so he goes to help out his friend.

A couple of weeks on the job and Jenner is on the scene of a car pulled from a canal with a decaying body inside. Jenner finds a second body in the trunk. This one, a female, is bound and leads to the couple’s identity - Dr. and Mrs. Marty Roburn. While trying to sort out why his boss was tortured and killed, Jenner is lead to 4 bodies tortured and hanged in the heart of the Everglades. The case gets even more twisted and deadly as Jenner continues to put the pieces together.

Meanwhile, the doc’s love life is another series of twists and turns where you know he’s going in the wrong direction, but can’t seem to help himself.

A HARD DEATH will keep you in suspense with murders, cops on the take, drug dealers, and slimy sex offenders. There’s non-stop action from Jenner’s first run until the boats circle in the swamp for justice. This is not a cozy murder mystery, but a gritty look at the seedy underworld of drug dealers and the many lives they touch. Author Jonathan Hayes pulls the reader in and doesn’t let them go.

A HARD DEATH is a sequel to PRECIOUS BLOOD, but is a stand alone read. Readers are given glimpses into Jenner’s past, but not enough to make it difficult to keep up. For a heart-pounding, nail-biting, take-your-breath-away ride, check out A HARD DEATH.

Author Jonathan Hayes’ website is

A Hard Death by Jonathan Hayes, Harper/HarperCollins, @2011, ISBN: 9780061691768, Hardcover, 432 pages

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

Once you catch your breath, let’s head to Colorado and visit the folks of Aspen Meadow north of Denver to see what’s cooking

CRUNCH TIME by Diane Mott Davidson

When it comes to caterer Goldy Schulz, I think Julia Child, Jessica Fletcher and a bit of Lucille Ball all combined together.

While Goldy can cook like Julia and has amateur sleuthing abilities like Jessica, she tends to have Lucy’s habit of getting into trouble. CRUNCH TIME is no exception to the rule.

Goldy sets out to help her friend and fellow chef, Yolanda Garcia, out of a sticky situation. Yolanda’s rental house is torched by an arsonist and she and her uncontrollable aunt, Ferdinanda, move in with Ernest McLeod, a former cop turned P.I.

When McLeod is murdered and his house burned, Goldy invites the 2 ladies to stay with her and her family. In true Goldy fashion, the twists and turns keep you guessing what will happen next and who the killer really is.

CRUNCH TIME is the 16th installment in the Goldy Schulz Mystery, but is a stand alone read. Author Diane Mott Davidson gives readers an added treat by sharing several of Goldy’s delicious recipes in the back of the book. Crunch Time Cookies (click on the name for the recipe) is among the yummy tidbits shared.

Drop by Aspen Meadow and see if Goldy can catch the killer before the killer serves Goldy up on a platter.

Author Diane Mott Davidson’s website is

Crunch Time by Diane Mott Davidson, A Goldy Schulz Mystery, William Morrow, @2011, ISBN: 9780061348150, Hardcover, 480 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.

Have I caught your attention with either or both books? What have you read this past week? What are you reading now?


  1. Mason - Thanks for these reviews. You're right that these are very different kinds of mysteries, but both look intriguing :-).

  2. I love Diane's Goldy and I'm always happy te read what's happening to her.
    I'm also proud to be Canadian today with news of Agatha's best novel for Louise Penny and best short story for MJ Maffini.
    Have a good salon day Mason

  3. These both sound good...I haven't read any of the Goldy books in awhile...time to return!

    Thanks for sharing...


  4. Like the title of the first one. I've never met an easy death, though!

  5. Crunch Time sounds good (of course I´d be tempted by an edible cosy :D)

  6. I really like the cover from CRUNCH TIME. Both books sound good. Thanks for pointing them out.

  7. They both sound really good, but I think I choose...A Hard Death to begin with. I like gritty novels where you want to shake the main character.

    Thanks for the reviews!

    Now I have to make myself coffee at 5:54 p.m. because of your tempting photo. Gee thanks.... :)

  8. Thanks for the reviews Mason! I've never read anything by Jonathan Hayes but his character Dr. Jenner sounds interesting so I'll have to look him up.......
    I absolutely love the Goldy Shulz
    series and have every single one...I love that Diane Mott Davidson includes recipes in each book's an added plus! and you hit the nail right on the head in describing Goldy- part Julia Child, Part Jessica Fletcher and definitely part Lucille Ball...she makes me laugh and smile even through a murder myster:)

  9. Julia, Jessica AND Lucy - sounds like a must read to me! Thanks for the reviews :)


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