Carolyn Haley

Carolyn Haley is a writer, editor, and reviewer living in northern New England. Through her business, DocuMania, she writes articles for regional and national magazines, and commercial copy for catalogues and websites. Mainly she helps other authors with diverse projects through editing, production, and education.

Ms. Haley began writing novels in her teens, and in adulthood found her niche in hybrid romance. The Aurora Affair delves into questions about anomalies, spirituality, and reincarnation in a romantic suspense/metaphysical mystery that addresses how and why psychic power might relate to love and sex.

Wild Heart, an equestrian romance set on Cape Cod in 1975, tackles finding your authentic place in a world that’s set up to push you only one way or the other. The novel also addresses balancing dreams against the realities of love.

Her forthcoming uncozy romantic mystery, Killer Heart, gets into why an ordinary woman might become a murderer—and get away with it in rural Vermont.

At the other end of the spectrum, Ms. Haley’s nonfiction book, Open Your Heart with Gardens, explores interacting with the living green world in all walks of life. It formed a volume in DreamTime Publishing’s Open Your Heart series, designed to help people master their lives through what they already know.

Ms. Haley’s yard and garden blog, “Adventures in Zone 3,” spun off Open Your Heart with Gardens. She also is a guest blogger on fiction for the professional publishing site “An American Editor.”

When not writing, Ms. Haley enjoys gardening, paddling, flying, riding, and birdwatching, ­along with autosports and spectating the arts. Her enduring passion, however, is books.

Book Reviews by Carolyn Haley

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"There are enough red herrings and all-too-human flubs in the detecting to keep suspense high and resolution impossible to the very end.

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“thanks to the author’s skill, the plot is tight, the scenario plausible, and the narrative tidy and intelligent, conveyed with a wry undertone throughout.”

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“not only informative and insightful; it’s also satisfying, entertaining, and makes you wish there were more farms like it where we can all get our food.”

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Arapaho Summer provides a constant stream of adventures woven through with romance and idealism.”

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Bomber’s Moon delivers action and adventure, passion and compassion, philosophy and pathos, deft characterization across diverse personalities and backgrounds, description of plac

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When you read a few hundred novels a year, you learn to tell from page one who’s got the storyteller gene. Or at least the storycrafter skill.

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“a big brava! to Sara Donati for giving us this novel. It shows a writer who never stops improving technically while still burning with passion for her subject.

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“an engaging story. . . . an experienced author at the peak of her craft.”

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For a small town on the northern tip of Ireland, there are an awful lot of suspects for multiple types of crime.

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“If you’re the right reader, you’ll have a soaring experience. If you’re the wrong reader, it will be a crash landing.”

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Well-researched historical fiction takes readers to new (old) places and brings the time and people alive. That is, if the story works as a story.

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Lady Georgie Rannoch has come a long way since the Royal Spyness series began.

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Donna Andrews has done it again: served up another amusing and intelligent adventure in her Meg Langslow cozy mystery series—now up to volume 25.

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When you’re a dedicated novel reader, it’s hard to switch to short stories. That format is just too . . .

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“Given the timeliness of this novel vis-à-vis our current era, along with how well it’s written, there would be no surprise if it garnered an award.

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“a galloping good yarn peopled with realistic characters operating in an intimately evoked environment, perpetually dynamic. Such is the stuff that makes good stories . . .”

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“The crafting . . . is superb . . .”

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“This ability to satisfy multiple audiences while presenting something fresh makes The Black Jersey a definite winner.”

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Sentient animals are tricky to characterize in novels without making them cartoonish.

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The aerial drones that have emerged in recent years are just like any new technology: a two-edged sword that can help or harm.

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This book, final volume of a trilogy, has been hailed as “hilarious” and “comedic” and similar terms.

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“[I]f you relish seeing how ordinary people of good heart and intentions can get twisted off the right path, and sink deeper into serious trouble while they wrestle with their consciences,

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The appeal of this series is its utter straightforwardness. No “stylin’.” Sheriff Dave Cubiak goes about his business, is confronted by a crime, and steps right in to solve it.

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“The Mad Hatter Mystery is credible and enjoyable, and makes readers hungry for the next opportunity to match wits with Dr. Gideon Fell.”

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“Serious Moonlight succeeds in its story mission.”

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Rocky Mountain National Park Ranger Tim McIntyre thinks best when he’s fly-fishing. The best scenes in this book are when he does exactly that.

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“if you like learning about what makes people tick, and you appreciate the underlying absurdity and pathos of life, then Department of Sensitive Crimes will tickle your funny bone

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Feel-good stories abound, but this one offers a fresh and creative context: crop circles.

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“Marc Cameron is a crackerjack writer who knows how to evoke character, place, and action.”

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This novel is promoted by the publisher as “a dramatic and moving re-imagining of the characters from Ibsen’s The Lady from the Sea,” albeit in a different location and context.

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“Louis L’Amour fans and potential fans, hit the bookstores! This is one of his novels not to miss.”

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“It’s a perfect book for people who just want to read an intelligent, informative, and satisfying story.”

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“Kudos to Kate Morton for spinning such a tale.”

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Love epic space adventure? Then this doorstop-size novel is for you.

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In the first three volumes of this sturdy series, K-9 officer Mattie Cobb proves that both she and her scent-tracking German shepherd partner, Robo, are an asset to the Timber Creek, Colorado, poli

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People talk a lot about “voice” when discussing fiction. In this book, voice comes at you loud and strong from the moment you open the cover.

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By the time a series has reached 47 volumes, its loyal readers have fallen into two camps.

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The generally accepted wisdom in fiction, particularly in novels involving action and crime, is to keep turning the screws on the main characters, tighter and tighter, until the reader can’t imagin

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“The idea at the story’s core—death by butterfly—is fascinating from start to finish.”

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Some titles capture the book’s contents well. This is one of them, as the whole murder mystery revolves around being an English gentleman in 1924.

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Open the cover on this one, and off you go to the races. Instant action, instant menace, instant character introductions in deft sketches that don’t hold things up for a second.

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When you’re a cop, it’s darn hard to get a real day off. Dave Cubiak, Door County sheriff way up on Lake Michigan in Wisconsin, thinks he finally can enjoy himself on a perfect summer afternoon.

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World War II is well covered in literature and history, but in The Great Darkness, first volume in the new Nighthawks series, Jim Kelly comes up with a fresh take—at least for historical f

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This intense character-exploration story draws you along wondering, What the heck happened to Kit to make her so closed to human relationships?

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When you have an imagination like Gareth Powell’s, you must write or paint or otherwise vent that imagination through art so your head won’t explode.

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Markswoman introduces a bright new series to fantasy fiction. It’s a strong start, but it comes with a hitch.

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Many young adult novels can be enjoyed by readers from 8 to 88. Others are tightly aimed at teenagers.

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After reading this book, you’ll want to tape over the camera eye on all of your devices and go back to paying for things in cash and communicating on paper.

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“an entertaining escape that showcases the virtues of logical thinking, along with a toe dip into a bygone industrial age.”

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Usually crime novels end when the villain is captured or killed, the victim saved, or justice served.

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If you like your crime novels as thick as stew and as twisty as spaghetti, this tenth volume of the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series will satisfy your appetite—with gravy and whipped cream on top.

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“gripping and entertaining, and suitable for both its teenage target audience and adults.”

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If you like happily-ever-after girl-and-horse stories, skip Dark Horses.

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“a well-written contemporary YA novel with likable characters and a few moral lessons that are obvious but not heavy-handed.”

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". . . the nonlinear narrative style takes a long time to arrive at whodunit, howdunit, and why."

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It seems ironic to wait in high excitement for a calm and quiet novel to come out.

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One expects Western adventures to be set against magnificent scenery and driven by wilderness experiences.

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There’s a log of big in this book: the Big Sky country of Montana, where a big family runs two big businesses on a really big spread; and when the problems come, they’re big ones.

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In This Grave Hour is lucky number 13, and there’s no sign the series will stop showing how individual acts of heart can do much to counter collective tragedy.”

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Celine is the portrait of a remarkable woman: a plausible super-granny with endearing panache who helps heal broken hearts and wounded souls.”

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In Farleigh Field delivers the same entertainment mixed with intellectual intrigue and realistic setting for which Bowen has earned awards . . .”

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“a feel-good debut novel that’s hard to walk away from.”

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“The story setting and historical era are well researched and believably conveyed in a coming-of-age romance that presents the lessons of war and peace, love and hate, in bold block letters

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In this cozy police procedural set in the cozy French town of St. Denis, we have book nine of the cozy series about Bruno, Chief of Police.

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“Readers may be moved to stand up and cheer.”

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Author Cartmel has combined the tropes of the several genres into a surprising, refreshing story centered around old-fashioned records—the “vinyl” of title.

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There’s a reason some bestselling authors are so popular: They deliver stories that pull you right into a realistic world peopled with characters you love, or love to hate, in interesting scenarios

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“a winner read that should appeal to a variety of literary and genre tastes.”

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Practical Sins for Cold Climates is an unusual and refreshing take on the 'transformed by the wilderness' theme.”

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The heir is Evie, an American college girl sent on a quest through her dead mother’s letters. It leads her to Oxford University in England and discovery of her surprising birthright.

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This story is not as bleak as the title suggests.

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“if you like your novels dark and stormy, this one is a winner.”

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It’s said that people go to Alaska to start new lives, or at least to forget an unsuccessful past.

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Ann Cleeves is a busy gal, working on two concurrent series and having four overall, plus a few stand-alone novels.

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“a satisfying coming-of-age story via a fantastical adventure.”

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Anyone familiar with Nora Roberts’ work will find no surprises in this one.

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Number two in a series is always a challenge for an author, especially after a successful launch. Sharon St.

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“genuinely sweet . . .”

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Once readers have gobbled up The Company She Kept, there are 25 other volumes to discover or reread until the next one comes out.”

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This book gets off to a rough start, both for the heroine, who gets railroaded out of business by hostile locals and becomes desperate for money, and for the reader, who has to endure her aggressiv

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Poor ex-Chief Inspector Gamache.

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“light in spirit and tone, and abundant in levity.”

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“The craftsmanship is so good, it’s hard to believe this is a first novel.”

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“a stimulating thinking-person’s read . . .”

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Practice makes perfect, as evidenced by the latest by Peter Lovesey novel—number 15 in the Peter Diamond crime series, and more than 30 books altogether.

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“All the right foundation stones are there on which to build a solid series.”

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“the Thunder Road series . . . [is] off to an engine-revving start . . .”

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“a rollicking young adult novel loaded with action! adventure! romance! danger! while turning both genre and social conventions upside down.”

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“Readers who like classic whodunits immersed in location, along with development of complex characters, will enjoy this story.”

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Images are so clear it’s hard to believe you’re not in the story yourself, and people are so well drawn you’d swear you know them personally.”

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Nora Roberts delivers yet another solid entry into the romantic suspense category with this tale of recovery from betrayal.

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“a beautifully written story that takes some effort to buy into. If you can flow with its subtle pace, then a satisfying read follows . . .”

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“an old story of injustice brought creatively to new life by an award-winning writer.”

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“a winning combination from an expert storycrafter.”

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“a solid, entertaining story every time while demonstrating that good really can win against evil.”

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“. . . pretty much everyone can take away something positive from this book.”

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Such a chilling environment has room for many more adventures. Stay tuned, for this series will likely take off.”

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The book satisfies one’s appetite for a good story, salts and peppers it with scandal, and provides a tome’s worth of education . . .”

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“Author Simsion handles the whole with grace and craftsmanship, so that life-lessons are painlessly absorbed through storytelling rather than preaching.”

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It’s hard to imagine that anyone who reads fiction hasn’t discovered this series. For those who know and love it, here is number 15, in all its gentle delight.

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“Love. Lust. Paranormal power. An ancient curse, and battles between Good and Evil.”

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“. . . the story contains the intrigue, amusement, and intellectual challenge that Ms. Andrews reliably delivers.

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A Demon Summer is a hard-to-put down mystery.”

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“The ‘everyone’ characters in the book help the central characters weather their personal storms, making the novel heartwarming and inspiring. . .

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“The author leaves us with good launch material into the next volume.

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“The series is renowned for its accurate and often devastating presentation of Victorian London—a world of stark polarities between rich and poor.”

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“J. D. Robb continues to do a fine job balancing Eve the woman against Eve the career homicide detective. . . .

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“This volume, like its predecessors, can be read for sheer joy of the prose.

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The best stories show us how to come through crisis and find something uplifting on the other side.

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The fact that Ms. Haynes already has three suspense novels under her belt shows in her solid, clear, and, yes, suspenseful writing. . . .

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Love and Treasure unfolds with the classic perfection of a rose: from exquisite bud opening to perfumed flower of delicate or vivid color made ir

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“Rickman’s writing style reflects his subject matter: spooky and indirect, elegantly crafted but always a sense of shadow behind you, that you’ve missed something you should have seen.

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All superb storytelling aspects combine to make Concealed in Death another intellectually engaging and emotionally satisfying novel.

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“Nothing ventured, nothing gained—but in venturing, all could be lost. Some people just can’t accept that risk, and Clover is one of them.”

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"Dead Water shows these universals through the uniqueness of its setting and characters, adding another award-quality book to Ms. Cleeves’s body of work."

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“. . . entertaining reading many levels above fluff.”

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“. . . another cozy caper . . .”

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If you read a lot of mysteries, you’ll recognize elements of several subcategories in this reissue of a 1983 Carolyn Hart classic.

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“. . . reads as easily as a novel, loaded with derring-do and emotion . . .”

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“. . . provides too little about too much, filling in a hole in the WWII record while shedding little light on its chosen subject.”

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“Worth trying for both old and new readers. . . “

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The trouble with Sharyn McCrumb’s work is that it’s so finely wrought you get immediately sucked in and can’t put the book down.

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“. . . an engaging, traditional English village mystery in the vein of Agatha Christie.”

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A book doesn’t need action in order to be dramatic as proven by this deceptively quiet second novel by Chloe Aridjis.

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There are so many “In Death” novels now—this is number 37—that it’s starting to feel like one of those long running TV cop shows with edgy dramas and a terrific ensemble cast.

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“. . . a true thriller.”

This book would more appropriately be titled The Edge of Abnormal, for that’s what it’s about.

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This book revolves around a whopper of a moral problem: What do you do when only you are in a position to stop great evil, at the cost of betraying a promise and ruining your life?

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“. . . an original adventure . . .”

In any long-running series, the characters must grow or change in order to remain credible and hold reader interest.

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“What else can happen in this mystical, magical, yet terribly real world?”

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There have been many charming rogues through literary history, and Mr. Doig brings us another one: Morrie Morgan (nee Llewellyn), a gentleman opportunist and trouble magnet.

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“Few current series work as well as this one.”

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“. . . best read in small sessions to avoid the armchair traveler’s inevitable reaction: ‘What were they thinking?’”

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The challenge with cozy mysteries is finding the balance between lighthearted and serious. Murder, after all, is somber business.

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“. . . it works because of the originality and the fascinating detail wrought in the author’s capable prose.”

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“. . . a good balance between literary and entertainment fiction.”

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“. . . a straightforward, beautifully written thriller . . .”

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“. . . an important record of Victoria’s domestic and international influence, dazzling in its detail.”

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Elizabeth Lowell has mastered the art of writing romantic suspense.

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“. . . reliably fun and intriguing.”

Should you be in the mood for a light but intelligent read, try Stuart Woods’ Stone Barrington novels.

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“. . . a superb literary novel.”

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“The reader gets something new at each turn of the page.”

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“Don’t be surprised if Linda Barnes gets an award for The Perfect Ghost, . . .”

The Perfect Ghost is a bundle of surprises.

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“. . . shows how acting like an adult and staying true to yourself and others is the way to success in any pursuit.”

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“Ms. Hart conceives a fascinating situation and lays out its complexities in careful, graceful prose.”

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The prolific Nora Roberts under her pen name J. D. Robb offers adventure #36 in her In Death series of futuristic police procedural/romance hybrids.

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“The prose is what makes this novel enjoyable . . .”

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Ms. Clark debuts with a sharp novel combining all the right elements into a page-turner.

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“. . . brings the author to life beyond what she conveys in her own pages. . . . [a] thorough presentation of her life.”

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This book is exactly what it appears to be: A collection of horse stories written by a Who’s Who of literary stars over the past century.

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“. . . isn’t that the point of literature, of art: to reveal universal truths and grab your emotions by the throat and shake them? Yep . . .

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“. . . both charming and touching . . . [a] fresh take on an old and venerable institution . . .”

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“Bloodline shows the younger Mr. Francis gaining strength and confidence . . .”

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“. . . hard to put down.”

This is a cool book, not in the hip way or the frosty way, but in a low-amplitude, dispassionate way.

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“. . . deadly serious with all plot, character development, and events revolving around Eve’s determination to put a twisted criminal mastermind out of action.”

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“. . . literary in quality . . .”

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“. . . a complex, atmospheric story. . . . artful and competent writing.”

If you like to get down to the soul level in your reading, open up a Louise Penny mystery.

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One of the joys of genre mystery fiction is that despicable people usually get their comeuppance.

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“One can almost hear the haunting music as he rides off into the sunset . . .”

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“It’s comforting to know that the people we rely on care about us and their work with all their hearts.

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“While the story, like most crime novels, is focused on the who-done-it-and-how plotline, each scene has an emotional subtext that seeps into the reader’s heart and mind.

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“Men and women who have shared the infertility experience will find words that speak for them and to them in this book.

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“Save this book for a day when you really need a lift. It can be read in one sitting and will restore your faith in humanity.”

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“Following this couple through their adventures offers readers book after book of entertainment and emotional satisfaction. If Ms.

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“Restless in the Grave continues the Stabenow tradition of gritty, compulsively readable, all-too-human novels.

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“Readers already familiar with the series may enjoy the deeper exploration of Duncan and Gemma’s relationship and family issues, whereas newcomers—especially those looking for a police proc

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“Readers who know and love horses surely will be drawn in and mesmerized by True Colors and her herd, as will most anyone fond of, experienced with, or simply interested in animals.

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“Historical fiction can be the best education, because it engages people’s minds and hearts differently than the classroom—and often better.

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“Usually art and science are discussed as opposites, and the people who apply them are not only opposite types but often hostile to each other. Mr.

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“In City of Whispers, volume 29, Ms. Muller continues to deliver what she’s known for . . . Fans of Sharon McCone will welcome her next adventure.

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“. . . the truth it presents is compelling, and the characters—both place and people—are worth knowing.”

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“Highly recommended for anyone who wants to look at life and the United States from a new viewpoint—and to savor the sounds, tastes, scents, and textures while at it.”

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“What makes all the characters delightful is Ms. Conant’s refusal to anthropomorphize the animals. Rather, she tends to go the other way, using canine nature to explain people. . . .

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“Weeds, therefore, makes a quiet and enlightening read, enjoyable in one gulp if you’re an enthusiast or in small doses if you’re new to the subject.

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Writing a novel is always challenging.

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A book doesn’t always need action and crisis to be dramatic.

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This book can be summed up in four words: It’s excellent. Read it.

If you need more details before opening the cover . . .

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The prose in this new series goes down as smoothly as the fine scotch favored by the lead character, Dr. Zol Szabo.

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If Wishes Were Horses could start a lively debate in a book club about what constitutes a romance.

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Many, if not most, series authors reach a point where they want to change direction, either to freshen the experience of writing about the same characters year after year, or because the characters