Sunday, September 23, 2018

Single Malt Murder (Whisky Business Mystery #1), by Melinda Mullet (author), Gemma Dawson (narrator)

Audible Studios, June 2017

When the uncle who raised her dies, Abigail Logan inherits a highly regarded whisky distillery in Scotland. Unfortunately, Abi is a photojournalist experienced at doing her work in war zones, not a distiller, or even much of a whisky drinker. With her friend Patrick, a writer for Wine & Spirits, and her Irish terrier, Liam, she heads off to  Scotland, expecting to attend her uncle's funeral, settle the estate, and put in motion plans to sell the distillery to someone better qualified to run it.

That lasts until, on the one hand, people start telling her that women can't run distilleries, and on the other hand, the threatening notes start arriving.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Hiding With the Billionaire (Billionaires of REKD #1), by Donna K. Weaver

Emerald Arch Publishing, September 2018

Billionaire romances are not usually my thing; they often feel especially artificial. I can't necessarily claim this one is grounded solidly in reality, but I like the characters. They, including the four billionaire friends, seem like real, credible, likable people.

The basic background: A few years ago, some Harvard students, while still in grad school, created a game which hit it big, and sold it for millions. With that money, they started their company, REKD, and created a new game, a competitive arena type game, and went big into esports. Our first billionaire, Rafe Davis, is the CEO of the company, and persuaded his friends to locate in his native North Carolina, to be near his mother, stepfather, and younger siblings. Another of the friends, Kayn, has a sister, Ahri, who got married three years ago, to a guy Kayn never approved of.

For the past year, their marriage has been getting steadily worse. Then one day he comes home, tells her he's leaving, and oh, by the way, she needs to get out, too, because otherwise she'll be in real danger. Go to her mother, or her brother.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Dark Tide Rising (William Monk #24), by Anne Perry

Random House/Ballantine Books, ISBN 9780399179914, September 2018

Businessman Harry Exeter comes to Oliver Rathbone, who summons old friend and Thames River Police Commander William Monk, on a nasty, wet, cold evening.

Exeter's wife Kate has been kidnapped. The kidnappers are demanding a large ransom--one he can, with some difficulty, raise. He's ready to pay, in order to get his beloved wife back. Yet it has to be delivered on Jacob's Island, less an island than a slum built on a swamp and sinking into the river. He needs knowledgeable and trustworthy escort to even get to the right spot.

Of course Monk agrees. It's the only think to do. (Even the US was still decades away from the events that led to today's now long-standing Never Pay Ransom policy on the part of law enforcement.) He carefully selects a small team of his most trusted, reliable men, and escorts Exeter when the time comes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Captive on the Fens (DI Nikki Galena #6), by Joy Ellis (author), Henrietta Meire (narrator)

Tantor Audio, September 2017

DS Jospeh Easter's daughter, Tamsin, is about to marry Niles, a young detective constable with the Greenborough police force. Freddie Carver, a vicious criminal boss formerly based in London and more recently hanging out in Spain, is apparently in Greenborough and planning to stay. Joseph and DI Nikki Galena are determined to  catch him before he becomes a fixture in their district. Two dead young women have turned up, both apparently held prisoner and tortured for some time before being killed and dumped.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Lost Carousel of Provence, by Juliet Blackwell

Berkley Publishing Group, ISBN 9780451490636, September 2018

Orphan Cady Drake grew up in Oakland, in foster care and group homes, until, finally, stealing something from an antiques shop, or trying to, throws her into the path of Maxine, the antique store owner. Now Maxine has died, Cady has lost her unborn, accidental baby to a miscarriage, and even finding new photography assignments seems too much.

Her only other friend, Olivia, is unwilling to leave it at that, though. Cady has an antique carousel rabbit Maxine gave her, believed to have been made by French sculptor and carousel maker, Gustave Bayol. Cady is fascinated by its past and by carousels, and suggests she go to France to photograph French carousels for a book on the history of carousels in France. And as it happens, she's already pitched the idea to a publisher her magazine works with. It's approved; Cady just has to agree.

Cady is not initially enthusiastic, in part because she finds coping with people challenging in the best of circumstances, never mind in a foreign country where she knows no one, and her mastery of the language is imperfect. But she has no other plans, and has to do something...

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Mistress of Pennington's, by Rachel Brimble

Aria, July 2018

It's 1910, the women's suffrage movement is in full swing in the UK, and Elizabeth Pennington, daughter of Edward Pennington, owner of the finest shop for men's and women's clothing and accessories in Bath, is determined to succeed her father as the store's head. Unfortunately, Edward Pennington doesn't believe women, including his daughter, are capable of being competent business people. He has grudgingly made her head of the women's department, and she's doing well, but what does that prove?

Joseph Carter is a glove maker in Bath. He and his father run Carter & Son, making and selling gloves and hats for women. Yet the time of the small, independent shop is passing, the elder Carter is approaching an age where he should be retiring, and Joseph has a vision of making his gloves known, admired, and wanted on a much larger scale. Pennington's is, potentially, the key to that.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Bloodlines:Cove Point Manor, by William B. Taylor (author), Bill Nevill (narrator)

William B. Taylor, March 2018

Alex Tinsdill takes a Y-chromosome DNA test, hoping to learn more about his paternal family prior to his great-grandparents. Not long after uploading his results, he's contacted by a New York City lawyer, telling him he is the long-sought heir to a fortune and a large estate on Long Island.

With little to hold him in Toronto, he figures it can't hurt to go to New York and check this out. Having learned the truth about his ancestry--his great-grandparents made creative use of the truth, though what they said certainly wasn't all lies--he goes to Long Island to see his new property. There he meets Maggie, the property manager who has maintained the property for years, having inherited the job from her father and grandfather.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Leverage in Death (In Death #47), by J.D. Robb (author), Susan Eriksen (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, September 2018

Dallas, Roarke, Peabody, and the rest are confronting a nasty pair of killers, smart, capable, but definitely not pros, engaged in a bizarre and deadly form of market manipulation. The very first victim is a man who walks into the meeting where the luxury airline he works for and an economy airline are going to finalize their merger, and blows himself up with a suicide vest, killing eleven other people and injuring more.

He had absolutely no discernible motive to do this. He was heard to say to the president of his company, right before he detonated the bomb, "I'm sorry, I don't have a choice." He had plans for celebrations after the meeting, first with his own staff, and then with his wife and daughter.

The wife and daughter are found, alive but somewhat battered, and bound with zip ties, at home.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The Coming Storm, by Michael Lewis

Audible Studios, July 2018

The age of Big Data is upon us, and mostly what we hear are the troubling and potentially terrifying consequences of business and government having easy access to all of our data. That's a real problem that we have to devote time and attention to dealing with.

Yet Big Data can do many other things, many of them very beneficial. The misnamed Department of Commerce collects enormous amounts of data about, among other things, the weather. Before the growth of the internet into its modern form, that data mostly sat on paper, and later on tape, and eventually some of it on servers, in the bowels of NOAA--the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, inside the Commerce Dept. Then a grad student with the foresight to see how useful vast stores of data could be went looking for weather data to test out a theory for his research, and stumbled upon a hole in the Commerce Dept. systems that let him download that data and work with it.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Restriction (The Rise of Magic #1), by C.M. Raymond (author), L.E. Barbant (author), Michael Anderle (author), Kate Rudd (narrator)

LMBPN Publishing, July 2017

This is the first book of a trilogy, set in the already  well-developed fictional universe of the Kurtherian Gambit, which is founded on (Arthur C.) Clarke's law, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

I haven't read any of the previous Kurtherian Gambit books, so some of what I say that relates to previous events may be imprecise or just wrong.

The invention and escape into the wild of nanotechnology caused major changes in humanity, changes which allowed some people to attain powers not easily distinguishable from magic, some became vampires, ore werewolves, and others to just go completely mad and turn into cannibals. This is called The Age of Madness, and it lasted entirely too long. There was a long-ruling vampire named Michael, and faces with yet another attempt to overthrow him, he recruits Bethany Anne. She becomes, among other things, one of the major mythic figures of the world that will follow her. I think this is when humans start to get real control of the "magic" that is now inside every single human.