Strong Evidence (Marcus Lear Mystery Book 4)

Take a trip to Arizona with Marcus Lear in J. Kevin Earp’s newest book, Strong Evidence. In this fourth installment of the Marcus Leary Mysteries, a disagreement between Marcus and Jenny (his girlfriend) causes a rift in their relationship. Needing to get a way for a little while, Jenny leaves Perrys Island without telling Marcus where she is going. As a result, when a missing person’s case in Arizona makes its way to Marcus, he is forced to accept it and work it by himself.

During his investigation, Marcus discovers a link between Jenny and the missing person. Could Jenny be involved in the victim’s disappearance? Marcus doesn’t think so, but local law enforcement do. After all, there is strong evidence indicating Jenny’s involvement. Can Marcus discover the real culprit, prove Jenny’s innocence, and find the missing person before it is too late?

Well, I’m not going to answer that question…you will just have to read it to find out.

New Tricks (BBC)

These last two months, I’ve binge watched 12 seasons of New Tricks on Amazon Prime.

New Tricks is a BBC show about a British task force that investigates unsolved crimes and open cases. The leader of the Unsolved Crimes and Open Cases Squad (UCOS) is Sandra Pullman who was given the responsibility of establishing and running the unit after a PR fiasco involving the shooting of a dog during a hostage situation.

Pullman views her new position as a punishment, even more so when she learns that her staff will be comprised of retired police officers. These police offers are old men used to the police work of the 70s, when policy and procedure were lax and the idea of women on the force was out of the question.

Needless to say the combination of old and new policing, coupled with the cast’s quirky personalities, makes for a great story, some good laughs, and endearing characters. Definitely worth checking out!

Castle

Castle is an ABC television series that aired from 2009 – 2016. The series centers around Richard Castle, a famous novelist, as he accompanies the NYPD on their homicide investigations.

When we first meet Richard Castle, he is experiencing writer’s block and has killed off the main character in his profitable murder mysteries series – Derrick Storm. Unbeknownst to Castle, someone is killing people, using his stories for inspiration. Castle is interrogated by the police and ends up assisting them, much to the annoyance of Detective Kate Beckett, in their investigation.

In finding the murder suspect, Castle also finds the solution to his writer’s block – Kate Beckett. Inspired by her feisty personality, Castle decides to base his next series off of her.

With the permission of the New York mayor and despite Beckett’s objections, Castle tags along, accompanying Beckett and her team on their homicide investigations. Inevitably, Castle becomes an integral part of the NYPD, even if he does drive Beckett insane.

The show is full of humor, but does contain adult content. Castle is rated TV-14. Compared to some of the other mystery shows I’ve watched (like NCIS), there are more bedroom scenes and adult references. While they aren’t found in every episode, and you may go several episodes without any, they do occur more regularly than I would like. Consequently, if you have young teens you might want to watch the episodes beforehand before showing it to them.

Murder on Perrys Island by Kevin Earp

Murder on Perrys IslandIf you like playing detective, then you may want to check out Murder on Perrys Island by Kevin Earp. Unlike most detective stories where you are simply along for the ride, never knowing what the main character sees that allows him to deduce the identity of the killer, Murder on Perrys Island puts you in the front seat, right along with Marcus Lear (the main character). You are in every interview; you see what he sees; hear what he hears. So, if you are smart (and I’m not), you can probably figure out who the killer is by the end of the story. From my experience, this is rather unique; in most mysteries, you aren’t provided with enough details to solve the mystery yourself. So, it was nice being able to “detective” right along with Marcus Lear.

Just to provide a brief summary: Marcus Lear, an up-and-coming Columbus, Ohio detective, is involved in a self-defense shooting at work. While the victim/perpetrator lives, Marcus struggles with the guilt that accompanies severely injuring another person. Eager to get away from the police force, Marcus returns to his home, Perrys Island, where he hopes to relax and heal from the trauma of the shooting. Unfortunately for him, healing doesn’t come in the form of rest and relaxation, but in facing his fears and helping the local police force solve a murder.

One of my favorite aspects of the book was the internal struggle and guilt that Marcus experienced after shooting someone. Even though it was an act of self-defense, and the perpetrator/victim survives, Marcus does not leave unscathed. Too often in books and in movies, authors/screenwriters and even audiences gloss over the killing and death of characters. How often do we see a main character burdened with guilt at having caused severe injury or death, even if the bad guy “got what he deserved”? We don’t. And to see a main character experiencing PTSD as a result of shooting someone was appreciated. It really brings to light that while self-defense and fighting may seem exciting on TV or in stories, in real life, it is accompanied by emotions most of us can never comprehend and definitely never think about. This was, in fact, my favorite aspect of the book. I’ve never read a story or seen a movie that does not overlook the psychological ramifications of shooting someone, even if that shooting was justified.

There are many things I liked about Murder on Perrys Island, but I can’t possibly list them all. Most of the things I liked dealt with the relationships between the characters – not so much in what they say, but how they think. The characters are good people; they make mistakes; they know when they’ve made mistakes; they recognize the need to apologize; they are just very human.

Admittedly, I found the book slow at first (I’m not a very patient person), but by the end, I didn’t want to put it down. I couldn’t wait to see what happened and was disappointed when it ended.

I am looking forward to reading the second book as I very much want to see Marcus continue his journey toward healing while bringing perpetrators to justice.

*I am related to the author and was provided with a copy of Murder On Perrys Island (Marcus Lear Mysteries Book 1) free of charge in exchange for my review. I received no monetary compensation.

Death in Paradise (BBC)

Death in Paradise

Another reason I haven’t been posting lately is because I’ve been busy enjoying Death in Paradise. This murder mystery is more my style (unlike DCI Banks). Not nearly as graphic as DCI Banks, this show presents a good mystery with a little humor. I will admit, at first, I didn’t like the show. I watched it simply because it was clean and I needed something to watch. However, after several episodes, I found myself becoming attached to the characters. (I will say, that this show earned a spot on my “favorites” list with the arrival of the second detective inspector in season 3. He brought a level of levity to the show that wasn’t present before.)

I will say Death in Paradise has a very strong cast, especially in the first several seasons (it is always hard when some of your favorite’s leave the show). I enjoy watching it for the characters. And for those of you who like strong female leads, you will enjoy the character Camille Bordey, an outspoken woman whose not afraid to stand up for herself or others, and yet remains a caring and compassionate.