Book Reviews: Southern and Brit Cops, Chickies, and Romeo

“C’mon, let’s have sex,” she grinned.
“You want to have sex with ME? Has every other man in the world died?”

Fixin’ to Die
In Cottonwood, Kentucky, the new sheriff thinks she’s taken over the law enforcement mantle from granddaddy, and quickly finds that’s not the case as she attempts to solve the murder of the town doctor as well as a jewelry theft.
These two lines will tell you what kind of story this is: “I grabbed the old beacon police light, licked the suction cup, and slapped it on the roof of the Jeep, grazing the side with my finger to flip on the light and siren.” And “Like any business in Cottonwood, the door to the funeral home was unlocked and I let myself in.” Reminds me of Magoddy, though not trying to be as funny.
I am not liking these townspeople, though I suppose this is true to life in a small Suthin’ town. I did like the sheriff, though; I always enjoy a story better when I can get behind the protagonist, even if she’s not the smartest tool in the law enforcement shed. Hopefully with more experience–possibly with her new cop buddy–she’ll get better results, especially considering her atrocious interrogation technique.
About three quarters of the way I thought {the eventual killer} was in on it, but more in a covering-up way, so I was half-right, and consequently half-glad. The other half of me was disgruntled; I guess the clues were there, but if the sheriff couldn’t figure it out–even with the help of the supernatural and all her local knowledge–how can the reader?
AND WHAT ABOUT THE BITE MARKS?
Enjoyed the writing, but ultimately not the plotting at the end.
3/5

Deadly Crimes
In this second novel featuring the wonderful DCI Sophie Allen, things get personal.
A long time ago a man walking in the rain runs into a robbery and is killed. Back to the present, a guy in a white slavery ring finds a relative is one of the victims. She escapes, he doesn’t. Over the course of the book everything ties together, but makes this the most emotionally difficult case she’s ever worked on.
I liked Sophie a lot in the first book, and she’s just as badass here. The difference is we see a new side of her, endearing, loving, and most of wracked by tremendous guilt for having made assumptions about her father that were horrifically untrue. She’s picking up new family from all directions, and at times it threatens to overwhelm her. Difficult watching a character I’ve come to love go through so much, but of course she comes out stronger in the end. On the flipside, we find out a lot more about her daughters, one of whom turns out be quite wild, though in a good way; she’d be exhausting to have as a daughter, but everyone else sure loves her.
Blossom turned into quite the interesting character, but the clues about Jennie weren’t quite subtle enough. Absolutely no doubt about who the dominatrix attacker was, with enough clues sprinkled about, though I like how the author made her fellow cops think it was Sophie. My only question is how this young woman with absolutely no investigative experience found the bad guy in the first place.
This one was as good as the first, though maybe not as focused. Some of the “new family” scenes were a bit awkward, and as strong as the poor victim was, she seemed to recover a bit too quickly, even with all the help she was getting. But those are minor nitpicks. Already can’t wait for next one.
4/5

Little Chickies/Los Pollitos
A famous Spanish nursery rhyme about babies and mommies is turned into visual, as well as translated into English.
This is only 25 pages, but not even that long, as the first half is in English and then the second is the same story in Spanish. As someone who can read both languages, I’m impressed at how well the story translated while still making it rhyme. The artwork is lovely, which is really what matters here, since I doubt kids of this reading age care how corny the rhymes are.
Since I read this on the computer, I went to the website to see how the book works in real life, finding the accordion style fitting well for the two-language format, as well as the inserts that give a little motion to the story. Also saw a video with the song, which is no doubt what the kids will remember the most.
4/5

Romeo and Juliet In Plain and Simple English
As the title shouts, this is a version of the classic Shakespeare play “translated” into modern English; apparently the author was unaware this has already been done on the internet. But since it reminded me of a hilarious scene in a Star Trek book where a hammy actor does Hamlet in modern language and the Klingons love it, I gave it a shot.
Here’s an example of the “translation”:
Original: I strike quickly, being moved.
New: I will fight in a minute, if someone messes with me.
Amusingly enough, after a while you forget the new syntax and it becomes normal.
Only the first 25% is the new version. Then comes the original, and finally both together at 57%. That shoulda gone first, and was really all that was needed.
3/5

;o)

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