M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

True Hauntings and Fictional: Getting Your Mystery Fix with a Spook

The books in Heather Graham Krewe of Hunters series read two ways--as stand alones or as a strong series where a shifting, but continuing cast of characters solve interesting ghostly mysteries. She even adds more value for the reader by using interesting places for her settings.

{In fact, she teased me into buying this book by setting The Hidden in Estes Park, Colorado, a retirement-central extraordinaire if you like a high altitude and cold. [I prefer the flats along I25.]}

Seems like I've read a few books set in my local area, lately. Sometimes, the descriptions have been right on [Lee Child's Midnight Line]. Other times, I had a hard time recognizing the places. Graham got the mountains surrounding the bowl/park right. But, Estes Park is infested by unavoidable elk. Two days after finishing the book, I can't remember one mention of elk. They're one of the prime tourist Estes Park's attractions in addition to the Stanley Hotel.

Copycat murders provides the core mystery for The Hidden. Former Reb soldier, Nathan Kendall, is murdered, shortly after the US Civil War. The crime was never solved. Today, his ranch has become a guest ranch and museum.

When modern descendants [thank the various DNA sites for this] are killed in much the same way as Kendal, the museum director, Scalett Barlow, comes under suspicion for their murders. With a plot hop--a Krewe of Hunters member is her former husband who rushes to prove her innocent. Everyone gathers for the crime-solving fun. 

Of course, there is a romance. Actually, a couple of them, including the runaway marriage of Nathan Kendall and his wife, who lend their ghostly fingers to solving the muders.

The Hidden isn't one of Graham's better books. I thought it lack suspense, the m/c was rather sappy, and the plot predictable. Maybe I have read too many of them, and the well-constructed plot elements have become tedious for me. [Must admit the moose was a surprise.] Or, is it just the romance and bed scenes I find overly similar? 

On the other hand, I always get a good relaxing read from Graham's books, reads that tempt me to read one more chapter, even though it's midnight or after. Bottom line: when you craft a book as well as she does, even your less than stellar books are worth reading. It's not her fault I've usually guessed the perps 2/3rds into the storyline.

Want to read other peoples' reviews? You can also check out some samples on

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Other Interesting Reading

Stephanie Laurens has it made with her Cynster series. Her characters and backgrounds come ready made. She's now working on the grandkids of the first book m/cs, an English duke finding his true love during the French Revolution. The series has reached the Victorian era as she writes the stories of how the varioious members of the Cynster clan find true love. She gets a little explicit on the love scenes, but she really doesn't go overboard. Of course, an evangelical Christian whould probably disagree with me.

What's notable--her female Cynsters are just as strong and dangerous as the males. If you like your romance in period settings you might take a look at A Match for Marcus Cynster. -- Yeah, Laurens has strong non-Cynster ladies in her world--though they aren't as menacing as her masterful males.
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Have you ever though about writing a blog? Jane Friedman, one of the best bloggers, is holding a webinair [12 April 2018], sponsored by Writer's Digest, on how to do the blogging bit effectively. [Yes, there are ways to write better blogs than I do since I'm a confirmed dillettente.]

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My  Writing Rut

Don't think of my blog as a rut, but I do write it. Imagine my surprise when I noticed I've written 500 blogs. 

Actually more. I used to write a separate blog about my Far Isles Half-Elven. But I got in a rut when after writing Night for the Gargoyles. I couldn't get out of Andor. Seems publishers think demons are more interesting than elves. You can download ebook free, for sure, on Amazon , iBooks, and kobo/Rakuten. Don't know if it shows up as free in other countries besides the US, but you might take a look.

Night for the Gargoyles was the inspiration for There Be Demons, the first of a possible Demon War trilogy, which is available at the same places. Had to write a book to find out what happened when Gillen tried to teach for head-strong teens from the projects how to fight demons...and survive. I like to joke that the book has more reviews [good] than sales [bad, though it's approaching the average sales for an indie].


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