August saw me revert to my mystery roots, with a deadline looming. I read books by Robin Cook and Mary Higgins Clark, usually dependable, that were only so-so.
Fortunately for me, I also read two fellow finalists for the Carol award in the mystery category. They were both very enjoying. (In fact, I've decided I have zero to no chance of winning). Check out Mindy Starns Clark's mystery, Under the Cajun Moon. She did every thing I tried to do in Gunfight at Grace Gulch (not my finalist)--tying history in with a contemporary mystery--only better. Kept me turning the pages to the end.
And for excellence in a cozy mystery, I enjoyed The Case of the Mystified M.D. by A.K. Arenz. Having a grandma for a heroine didn't hurt either!
Also this month I read Crimson Cipher by Susan Page Davis (interviewed about this book in July). As Susan's critique partner, I'm always amazed when I come back and read the finished book, as I would any other book, in great chunks at a time. She's a terrific writer and she certainly delivers in this story of espionage and danger in the years leading up to WWI.
For a different take on a mail order bride story, check out The Vigilante's Bride by Yvonne Harris. A young woman is forced to leave the only home she has ever known--an orphanage--and go west as a mail order bride. Before she reaches her husband to be, her stagecoach is robbed by a vigilante. Harris weaves the complexity of what makes a hero or a villain in this fascinating tail of the old west.
**A reminder: Leave a comment on any or all posts this month for your chance to win one of Darlene's books or Second Chance Brides by Vickie McDonough**