Tag Archives: Susan M. Boyer

Book review: Lowcountry Boneyard, by Susan M. Boyer

lowcountry boneyard

Die-hard mystery fans often grumble about mysteries with a paranormal twist, because what’s the good of a mystery when you’ve got supernatural means to help you solve it? Susan M. Boyer’s latest instalment in her Liz Talbot mystery series smartly sidesteps this issue; Boyer’s private detective Liz Talbot may spend her days shadowed by former high school friend and now guardian spirit Colleen, but Colleen’s main role is to protect her earthly friend, not flaunt any investigative chops.

Sure, Colleen can read minds, but she can’t read everyone’s minds. And actually, during the course of Lowcountry Boneyard, Colleen proves quite unhelpful in the mind-reading department. She also shows little flair in the mystery-solving department. She’s a guardian spirit, and true to her nature, guard is what she does.

And Liz Talbot does need guarding. Hired by wealthy Colton Heyward to investigate the disappearance of his daughter Kent, who also happens to be the heiress of old wealth on her mother’s side of the family, Liz initially hopes the police’s assessment of the situation is right: Kent simply moved out without telling anyone where she was going.

But as Liz and her partner and lover Nick dig deeper into the investigation, it becomes obvious they are ruffling someone’s feathers. As several suspects surface, from Kent’s creepy and unsavoury twin uncles to her best friend Ansley to her boyfriend and aspiring master chef Matt, it soon becomes apparent that Liz and Nick are in real danger.

All the while the ghostly Colleen flits in and out of scenes, sometimes with information, sometimes with warnings. The only thing I found frustrating was the romantic subplot between Nick and Liz, which arises because of information Liz knows only because of Colleen. It seems very clear to me that Liz should tell Nick about Colleen. Maybe it’s just that I feel relationships don’t work well when lies are involved.

Boyer sets the tale of this investigation amidst the many charms of South Carolina. We’re taken through the beautiful streets of Charleston and introduced to the warm, friendly fictional town of Stella Maris. Along the way we also get a taste of Greenville, South Carolina. These are settings that work well with the characters and serve as a solid backdrop to the investigation at hand.

And that investigation is a mysterious tale that charms with its many twists and revelations. In the end, I wasn’t completely satisfied with the denouement, but only because Boyer has created a history filled with transgressions which cry out for justice. While current justice is served, justice for past crimes remain frustratingly illusive. Overall, Lowcountry Boneyard is a good read, a mystery well worth diving into.

Copy for review provided by TLC Book Tours.

Snapshot: May 5, 2015

Time: 9:38 pm

Feeling: Tired, but in a good way—I actually worked out today! Yay! While I’ve been talking about doing ten minute workouts, I decided to go with Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred. Figured I might as well go with the tried and true. We’ll see how it goes.

When I’m exercising, I have this tendency to visualize my body getting into shape (by this I mean I actually see in my mind’s eye, for example, my upper arms getting toned, as if I’m watching a time-lapse video)—I don’t do this intentionally, it just kind of happens. It’s good in that it keeps me motivated, but not so good because I end up with very high expectations! I actually expected my pants to be a bit loose today when I put them on. Which they weren’t, of course.

Eating: I was so good all day! Had a banana for breakfast, spinach and green peppers with a chicken burger (no bun) for lunch. Then souvlaki made with chicken, a big Greek salad and a small portion of Greek rice for dinner. But (you knew this was coming, right?) I was still hungry when I finished (it was only one stick of souvlaki—that’s my excuse, anyway) so now I’m noshing on a slice of cheese pizza. Sigh.

Drinking: A glass of wine. Ahhhh. Yes, it does go well with pizza!

Reading: I finished Lowcountry Boneyard by Susan M. Boyer on the weekend (review coming this Thursday). It was a good read, and as usually happens after a good read, I dived into a number of books to find the right one for my next read.

Here’s what I decided to read next:

fifthgospel.jpg

I’m just in the first chapter but it’s looking pretty good so far.

Listening: I just finished a reread of John Grisham’s The Pelican Brief; it was published back in 1992 but doesn’t feel too outdated. I must admit, though, I didn’t quite get why Darby was still being targeted by the bad guys once it was clear that her brief (the pelican brief) had been circulated among several FBI agents plus the White House. I don’t remember pondering such a question way back when I originally read it in print, so perhaps I missed something in my listening of it this time around (it happens sometimes—I find when you’re listening to an audiobook, you can get distracted for 30 seconds and miss something quite important). The version I listened to is narrated by the lovely Lorelei King, one of my favourite narrators.

Writing: Nope. Nothing. But I’m hopeful, as always.

Working: I had a big index due last week, and some articles due this week. But things are looking pretty clear for the next week or so, which is good since my mom’s being discharged from the rehab facility on Thursday and she’s decided to go back to her place rather than stay with me. So I’m not too sure what my days will be like for the next little while, and not having too many deadlines will let me figure out my time without too much stress.

Excited about: A while back I signed up for the SmithsonianX course “The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture” on edX, and it started today! Stan Lee is one of the instructors. Yes.

Now I just have to figure out how to make time for it …

Snapshot: April 28, 2015

Time: 9:47 pm

Feeling: Tired. It’s been tough juggling daily visits to see my mom in the rehab facility where she’s staying and all the regular every day things I normally do. And the end result seems to be tiredness. It’s not even 10:00 yet and honestly, the night owl me is nowhere in sight. I could pop into bed right now and drift off to a blissful sleep! But I’ve got a deadline coming up on Thursday, so no early bedtime for me, unfortunately.

I’ve been in a frazzled-but-don’t-know-I’m-frazzled state, more or less. I realized this today, when I got back from taking Dylan to dance and realized I didn’t make the bed this morning. You know how there are some things you just automatically do, out of habit, like brushing your teeth, or taking off/putting on your contacts? Making the bed right after I brush my teeth is one of my habit things, and I don’t think I’ve forgotten to do so for years. Until today.

Eating: A falafel dinner I picked up from a place downstairs when Dylan and I got back from his dance class. It’s so lovely having a number of places close by where I can pick up food for dinner.

Drinking: I had a glass of wine with my dinner. It was good!

Reading: I’m reading Lowcountry Boneyard, by Susan M. Boyer, for an upcoming blog tour. I’m liking it so far—a nice southern mystery, complete with a ghost (or guardian spirit, as she calls herself) to help (or hinder, depending on your point of view) our detective.

I also managed to get through more of Dune, although not enough, unfortunately, to participate much in last night’s Twitter chat for the readalong. I’m hoping I’ll be able to make the next Twitter chat but my goodness, Dune is a chunkster at over 800 pages (if you count the appendices). I figure I’ll just a read a bit at a time and see how it goes.

Listening: I finished Unleashed, an Andy Carpenter mystery by David Rosenfelt, and started started Dog Tags, an earlier book in the series. They’re fun, relaxing easy listening reads. I’m waiting for Hounded, the most recent in the series, from the library and once I’ve listened to that, I’ll have read them all so far.

Writing: No writing to speak of. But I got this fun idea today, which was nice.

Working: Finishing up an index on planning law (yes, my life is so very exciting). I’m also doing orientation later this week for that book marketing position I mentioned a while back. I’m hoping to post about it soon, once I settle into the work.

Curious about: There’s this Japanese cheesecake place on Bay St. near Dundas in Toronto that opened a few months ago and I really really want to find a moment to check it out. Only I’ll need more than a moment. Even when we were in deep freeze, there was always a long line-up outside the place.

Here’s what the line-up looked like this afternoon when we passed by:

Photo2015042882114PM.jpg

See the pink sign? That’s where they’re all headed. Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake.

Photo2015042882114PM1.jpg

It must be really good cheesecake!