Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Goddess Fish Promotions Book Review: Shadow In The Smoke

by Jo A. Hiestand


GENRE:  British mystery



Janet Ennis tragically died five years ago in what the police labeled an accidental fire. But Janet’s mother, Nora, believes it to be murder and arson. And she’s hoping ex-cop Michael McLaren can prove it quickly, for she’s losing her memory to dementia.As McLaren pokes through the case details, he becomes emotionally involved with the dead woman. Yet, Janet isn’t the only person who threatens mental well-being. A series of arsons on his own property hint that he’s upset someone connected with this case.

Motives for Janet’s murder rise like the smoky tendrils of a fire. And, motive aside, the murder scene seems a bit too pat: a drought-stricken landscape eager to lap up flames, and a conveniently locked door barring Janet’s escape.

Will McLaren solve the case while Nora can still comprehend the resolution, or will Harvester’s plans see McLaren’s career go up in smoke?



“I’m sorry, Mrs. Ennis, but even if I did take on your case, I don’t think you could afford my fee.”

“You haven’t told me what it is.”

He named his price, watching her intently.  She didn’t flinch at the amount but said, “I’d double that if you could find Janet’s killer.”

His right eyebrow rose in skepticism and as he opened his mouth to reply, she added, “I’m serious.  I’ve got the money.”

“It means that much to you, then.”

“Yes.  And it will to you, too.”

“The money’s nice, I admit, but”

“Oh, I’m not referring to the money, Mr. McLaren, though I suppose that will be welcome.”

“Then, what?”

“I meant coming up against your nemesis again and proving him wrong after all these years.”

“My nemesis…”

“Yes. The man you tangled with, the man who’s responsible for you leaving your police job last year. Charlie Harvester. ”

Review: I love British mysteries. I'm usually one for historical mysteries and those usually have a female lead characters. This was a little bit of a departure for me, but that didn't make it any less enjoyable.

This is a wonderfully suspenseful read about a death that occurred 5 years prior but her mother who is now suffering from dementia feels was a murder from arson.

Michael Mclaren really threw himself into the case once he started investigated it, and as Janet's life unraveled onto the pages of this book, you saw that her life was very complex. You also saw that there were a lot of people that had reason to want her dead. I also thought there were some unanswered questions at the end of this book, even though we do find out what happened to Janet.

This is a very fast paced novel that will keep you turning the pages.

Highly recommended

Rating 5 stars


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Jo A. Hiestand knew in grade school that she wanted to be a mystery writer.  But life got in the way: singing in a semi-pro folk group, traveling to New Zealand, working as a camp counselor, co-inventing P.I.R.A.T.E.S. (a mystery-solving treasure-hunting game), becoming a tour agent for a Scottish folk singing group, attending a citizen police academy and riding along with police officers…  But she needed to immerse herself in All Things British for her books.   England beckoned and she responded.

She bee-lined to Derbyshire, feeling it was the ‘home’ of her books.  Derbyshire also bestowed the essential English police contacts and transformed the St. Louisan into an Anglophile. 

She’s returned nearly a dozen times to Derbyshire, researching and photographing for her McLaren cold case detective novels.

In 1999 Jo returned to Webster University to major in English.  She graduated in 2001 with a BA degree and departmental honors.

Her cat, Tennyson, shares her St. Louis home.

Follow Jo and McLaren on these websites:
and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jo-Hiestand-Mystery-Author/203133803128



Jo A. Hiestand will award a McLaren-design tote bag AND a choice of a water bottle (McLaren designed) or a ceramic McLaren coaster tile (International giveaway) to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting. Here is the correct URL for the Rafflecopter giveaway: Enter to win a McLaren-design tote bag AND a choice of a water bottle (McLaren designed) or a ceramic McLaren coaster tile - International giveaway

Jo said...

Good morning, everyone! Thanks for hosting my book today.

Sandy said...

Congratulations Jo on the new release. Great Excerpt. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

Jo said...

Hi, Sandy. Thank you for the reply and interest!

Betty Woodrum said...

Great post! This has been a terrific book tour-I've enjoyed learning about you and your book!

Jo said...

Well, thanks, Betty. I didn't know you were following the book tour, but I'm very happy to know you have been. Hope you keep in touch.

Jo said...

Calling it an evening, now. Thanks again for hosting my book today. jo

Betty Woodrum said...

Jo, congratulations on your new release and it's definitely a must-read! Thank you for sharing and Happy Writing!