Better Lock the Door

Category: Reviews (Page 1 of 2)

Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard Review

Elmore Leonard was a master of crime fiction writing. He wrote over 45 novels, many of them turned into TV series or movies. Mystery buffs know Leonard for his tight writing and on-point dialogue. The movie based on Out of Sight starred George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez.

Leonard was a recipient of the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and the Grand Master Award for the Mystery Writers of America. Many have called Leonard the “Dickens of Detroit.”

First Sentence

Foley had never seen a prison where you could walk right up to the front gate without getting shot.

Out of Sight with Jack Foley

Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard

Many critics have chosen Out of Sight as one of Elmore Leonard’s top novels. The reader will find Continue reading

Under Lock and Skeleton Key Review

by Tim Suddeth

A Secret Staircase Mystery by Gigi Pandian

Under Lock and Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian

Under Lock and Skeleton Key by Gigi Pandian (2022, Minotaur Books) is the debut book in A Secret Staircase Mystery series. I’d read an interview with this author and found the story’s premise intriguing. How can the body of someone walking around the day before wind up inside of a wall that had been sealed up for over a century?

Book Summary

That is the dilemma that faces Tempest Raj. Tempest, a disgraced magician who has to return to her parent’s home after they shut down her Las Vegas magic act because of a near catastrophe. Was the catastrophe the result of an accident, sabotage, or the curse placed on her family? Continue reading

Daughter of the Morning Star by Craig Johnson

Reviewed by Tim Suddeth


Daughter of the Morning Star

Daughter of the Morning Star by Craig Johnson

Daughter of the Morning Star (Viking, 2021) is Craig Johnson’s 17th novel in the Walt Longmire Mysteries series. The fictional Walt Longmire is the sheriff of Absaroka County in Wyoming, “the least populated county in the least populated state in the union.” The series has been the basis of the Longmire series on A&E/Netflix.

Longmire grew up in Absaroka County and played football at the University of Southern California. He and served in the Marine Corps as a military police officer where he earned several medals. Throughout the series, we’ve seen several of his relationships change. But one that has stood true is with his high school friend, Henry Standing Bear. Standing Bear is a giant of a man who is an integral part of the Native American culture.

In Daughter of the Morning Star, Tribal Police Chief Lolo Long contact Longmire to look into the threatening letters to her niece, Jaya ‘Longbow’ Long. Since Jaya’s sister went missing the summer before, Long’s worried that the threats may be more than just kids having fun. Continue reading

The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars

The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars was written by Anthony Boucher and published in 1940. The Case was a tribute to Sherlock Holmes.

Set in 1939, Hollywood, Metropolis Pictures plans to produce a movie based on one of Sherlock Holmes’s stories. However, they are getting backlash from the fans Holmes because the writer, Worth, wants to change the story to make it a tough, hard-boiled rendition. The executive at Metropolis discovers that, by contract, he cannot replace the hated writer. So, they decide to invite some of the members of The Baker Street Irregulars to oversee the production and give the film their stamp of approval. 

Continue reading

Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie

Reviewed by Tim Suddeth


Sleeping Murder

Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie

Sleeping Murder was the last Miss Marple mystery and Agatha Christie’s last published novel, coming out in 1976 after her death. Set in 1930 England, Christie tells us about newlyweds Giles and Gwenda Reed and their efforts to discover a secret buried in Gwenda’s memory.


Giles sends Gwenda ahead to find a proper house for the couple to move into and raise a family. Continue reading

Review of What Doesn’t Kill Us by David Housewright

Reviewed by Tim Suddeth

If you are looking for a book that is a mix of a police procedural and coming from the criminal viewpoint, What Doesn’t Kill Us, David Housewright’s latest novel released this year, might just fit the bill. Rushmore McKenzie has been shot and lies in a coma. His friends, both in the police department and from the other side of the law, will pull out all the stops to find out why he was in such a rough part of town in the middle of the night. And who shot him in the back.

This is the eighteenth book in the Rushmore Mackenzie series. A former detective for the St. Paul Police Department, who unexpectedly became a millionaire, now does the unofficial investigation when a friend asks. And he has a lot of friends who are looking for a chance to return the favors. Continue reading

Tear Me Apart by J. T. Ellison

Reviewed by Tim Suddeth

Whether you want a book to get you ready for

Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison

Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison psychological suspense

the 2022 Winter Olympics, or just a little suspense to enjoy as the nights get longer, Tear Me Apart may be the book for you. Best-selling author J. T. Ellison takes us from ski course to the ER, to the family closet where the most private family skeletons are hidden. Ellison knows how to ramp up the suspense and not let up.

Mindy is the new darling of US skiing, hoping to make this year’s Olympic ski team. Until a terrible crash lands her in the hospital with a mangled leg. But fears of missing Continue reading

“All The Devils Are Here” by Louise Penny

All The Devils Are Here by Louise Penny

All The Devils Are Here by Louise Penny

The 2021 Agatha Award for the Best Contemporary Novel went to “All The Devils Are Here” (Minotaur) by Louise Penny. “All The Devils Are Here” is the sixteenth book in the Chief Inspector Gamache series.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is enjoying his first night with his family in the beautiful city of Paris. He and his wife look forward to spending some time with their son and daughter. And they will get to know their grandchildren better. They are also hoping that their very pregnant daughter will deliver before they have to leave. Continue reading

Keith Roysdon’s History of True Crime

Early True-Crime Book

One of the most popular true-crime books.

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about true crime books and their place in crime fiction. (You can find it here.)

Over on the CrimeReads blog, Keith Roysdon wrote a very interesting post entitled “A Brief History of the Rise—And Evolution—Of True Crime Books.” Roysdon is a former political journalist, has co-authored three crime-fiction books, and is writing fiction.

“A Brief History” goes into more details about some of the key books and authors in the true-crime genre. As the title suggests, Roysdon explains the changes that has taken place in the genre and how more changes are still taking place. And he gives us some of the major works throughout it’s history.

I recommend this article to get a better appreciation for true-crime books. It, also, shows what a great benefit many of these books have been.

You can get the link to “A Brief History of the Rise—And Evolution—Of True Crime Books” here.

Michael Connelly’s The Law of Innocence

Michael Connelly has become of the most successful current authors by selling over thirty novels and more than eighty million books. As a former newspaper reporter, he worked the crime beat at the L. A. Times and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

Connelly shot out of the gates in 1992, when his first novel, The Black Echo, won the Mystery Writer’s of America Edgar Award for the Best First Novel.

One of his latest novels is The Law of Innocence, focuses on Mickey Waller, known as the Lincoln Lawyer because he does much of his law practice out of his chauffeur-driven Lincoln Town Car. Waller, a defense attorney, is pulled over by the cops after he leaves a bar where his team had been celebrating a big win.

Being pulled over to a defense attorney is just part of the game the play with law enforcement. Since he had stopped drinking, it shouldn’t be a big deal, right?

Except for the client’s body stuffed in his trunk.

You can find my deeper review on this riveting book over at Killer Nashville website. (Get the link here.)

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