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The Fourth Wise Man tells the story of Artaban who had originally planned to journey to Bethlehem with the other three wisemen to pay homage to the new King of the Jews but was delayed by his acts of kindness to others along the way. He does miss the birth of Jesus but continues a lifelong search of the King with a most wonderful journey and blissful end.
This is one of my all time favorites for any season and always brings tears to my eyes to think of the beauty of Artaban's life. Here's what Mr. Van Dyke had to say about his story:
"Who seeks for heaven alone to save his soul May keep the path, but will not reach the goal; While he who walks in love may wander far, Yet God will bring him where the blessed are."
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Katherine Sutcliffe gives us a fast paced story of an FBI profiler with a useful gift that borders on being a curse. With the help of a seductive detective, she strives to stop a killer targeting prostitutes. However, even his protection may not be enough to keep her alive. This is one that I hope is only the beginning of a longer novel, the cliffhanger ending is chilling.
Fiona Brand carries readers to an exotic and unique setting as two people find themselves suddenly free to pursue a forbidden love. Passion flares from every page as a reserved widow and a sexy bad boy find love despite small town politics and the threat of home invasion.
Rounding out the collection, Eileen Wilks gives us a snappy, fast moving werewolf story. Werewolves appear to be behind a series of murders, and a beautiful detective is forced to work with one to solve the case. Her prejuidice against his kind quickly melts under their mutual attraction, but conflict of interest and the mix of their races might be more than their love can overcome.
***** Each of these stories is a gem, well worth the readers' time. The only fault with this anthology is each story deserves to be a full length book. *****
"Hot August Moon" by Katherine Sutcliffe. FBI profiler Anna uses her psychic skills to locate killers. She investigates the mutilation murders of a friend and her two children under the direction of district attorney Jerry, who once broke her heart. This gory tale is for those who enjoy explicit mutilation scenes with unanswered questions.
"After Midnight" by Fiona Brand. In New Zealand, the rape murder has left everyone frightened especially recently widowed Jane since her farm is isolated. She avoids her nearest neighbor Michael because she feels guilty that she desired him while her spouse was dying. Michael wants her too, but first must deal with being the prime suspect. This is a strong romantic investigative tale tat showcases the talent of this fine author.
"Only Human" by Eileen Wilks. Chinese-American detective Lily investigates a murder that appears to be the work of a werewolf. To infiltrate the clans, Lily enlists the help of werewolf Rule though she detests the species. Soon they fall in love, but first they must weed out the rogue killer.
The novellas are well written and because the stories are so different this anthology will appeal to a wide variety of tastes.
Hot August Moon (Katherine Sutcliffe)...Anna Travelli was a special profiler of the FBI. Moved into the depths of the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI, no one understood why Anna had to be at the scene of the crime to profile the killer. Anna knew though, she knew that she would see through the eyes of the killer and sometimes even the victim. Her current case brings her back to New Orleans and the lover and love of her life that she left behind. Jerry Costos never forgot Anna, not even in the years they spent apart. Now they are working together to solve the murder of the family of a good friend of them both. In the midst of it all, Anna knows that it could never work out. This is a prequel to Bad Moon Rising, which I already read and loved. If you haven't read Bad Moon Rising, you will not like how this book ends and you will be very dissapointed.
After Midnight (Fiona Brand)...Jane O'Reilly went from city girl to country wife when she married her husband, Patrick. When Patrick died of cancer, leaving Jane behind, she was determined to go on and keep the farm running. She hadn't seen her volitale neighbor, Michael Rider, in nearly seven years since the day his startling confession ruined any chance she would have at happiness with her husband. After standing by Patrick, Jane is now determined to find out if what she felt for Michael all those years ago was real. The day that Michael met Jane, it ruined his marriage and almost his life. Determined to give her time, he left for seven years. Now he's back, and adament on claiming her. But there is evil lurking in the shadows, and all Michael and Jane have are each other. I really enjoyed this book. It was short and sweet and held everything you would be looking for in a romance.
Only Human (Eileen Wilks)...Lily Wu was promoted to a detective in the homicide division of the San Diego Police Department because of her determination to find justice. When horrible murders start taking place, she is forced to work with Rule Turner, who may be the only one who could help find the murderer. Descended from a species that was not quite human, Rule's clan didn't believe in fidelity or faithfulness. Lily didn't think that would be a problem early on, afterall he was only a means to an end. Rule knew exactly who Lily was, all he had to do was get her to see it. Together they embark on a journey of discovery, from finding a murderer as well as a traitor, to discovering what it is like to find your soulmate. A definetly different book, I nevertheless really enjoyed it.
DON'T MISS IT!
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This book has all of the things I want in a four star rated book. The writing is always competent and sometimes quite witty. The plot moved along with only one or two annoying digressions into tourist information. And, most important, I like Dorothy. Maybe it because I've recently helped my own mother cope with widowhood but Dams has created a character who ran both true and likeable. Of course, the hint of an upcoming romance with the widowed chief constable will have me back for more soon.
The mystery itself is solid. There are plenty of suspects with reason to kill the victim. Was it church politics? Was it a matter of musical taste? Was it an agrieved employee? Was it a jealous scholar?
I've held back a fifth star for a couple of reasons. While I throughly enjoyed the book it isn't so outstanding that I'll be recommending to friends (yet). Also, as a non-Christian, I felt Dams was a bit heavy handed with the religious angle (even if the victim was a Canon).
I was drawn in by the charm of this book. It starts out rather quickly and the pace never lags until the gripping conclusion. Dorothy is an interesting main character. I felt her interest in the murder was a little under explained, but I was willing to let that go. I really enjoyed the writing style. The first person narration felt like a letter to a friend and the scenes where Dorothy argued with her self were funny because they were so true.
Having already discovered this author's other series, I now look forward to reading more in this one as well. She is a truly talented mystery author.
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The married couple whose unlikely detective antics are at the center of this series are dull and preachy in this book. Their activities are farfetched in most of the books, but their charm and the atmosphere of their village make the books enjoyable. Unfortunately, this book lacks both charm and atmosphere. Instead of the glorious side of Cornwall, we see Cornwall as a center of illegal drug activity. Instead of charming interplay between Alan and Dorothy, we see preaching and the discussion of topics which most married couples (or even dating couples) would long have exhausted between them. There is an awful lot about Alan that Dorothy does not know, ranging from how he feels about criminals and capital punishment to what he did in the military. How could they not have discussed such topics? Alan is often patronizing to his wife, and Dorothy for the first time seems relatively unintelligent.
The mystery itself is the real weakness in this novel. It is based on the most unbelievable set of coincidences. This string of coincidences begins with the fact that Dorothy proposes a trip to Cornwall to try to solve a mystery that Alan had failed to solve thirty years earlier, and they (by chance) end up staying in the hotel with the daughter of the murder victim. Help!
I kept reading, and finished the book, but I do not recommend it. The characterizations in it are as superficial as the relationship Alan and Dorothy apparently have, and the plot is absurd.
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I do have to agree with the other reviewers regarding the fact that the episodes of this series that take place in England are better than this one. I enjoy the interaction of Dorothy with the English mentality/way of life, and hope that the next book in the series returns to the UK.
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