Belle Manor Haunting by Cheryl Bradshaw

14th September 2021.

In the fourth book in the series, Addison finds herself at the heart of another mystery from the past. This time it’s the death of a young girl in a hit and run. The heart of the mystery is Belle Manor, which hides plenty of secrets, including the identity of the killer.

This investigation holds more surprises as Addison discovers the history of her own family, especially the psychic powers that pass down the female line. She has to choose whether to embrace what history has ordained or walk away as her mother did. Her decision could have a profound effect on her husband and family.

The personal dilemma lifts the story to make it the most intriguing and satisfying book of the series so far. With conflict and pressure on all sides, Addison has to decide her future while solving a complex murder mystery.

It’s a fascinating story that begs a fifth book.

Description

Addison’s eyes open to find she’s been transported several decades into the past. She’s sitting in the back seat of a car. Sara is beside her. The car stops at an intersection. Moments later another vehicle in the opposite direction barrels through the stop sign, slamming into the car before jerking the vehicle into reverse and fleeing the scene. Who is the driver of the other car? And what secrets within the walls of Belle Manor provide the answer to little Sara’s untimely demise?

Belle Manor Haunting by Cheryl Bradshaw

Blackthorn Manor Haunting by Cheryl Bradshaw

3rd August 2021.

I’ve enjoyed the previous two Addison Lockhart outings, liking the combination of murder mystery and the paranormal. Like all the author’s books, they’re easy to read, well written and filled with characters you root for.

This third novel follows the same path as its predecessors with Addison picking up visions of a lady dressed in black and a young boy, Billy, in and around the house. It’s clear the lady needs help, but why and how?

It’s just what you need on your wedding day.

Matters are complicated by Catherine, the owner of Blackthorn Manor. Far from a welcoming host, she goes out of her way to get Addison out of the place. But she’s not going anywhere until she’s solved the mystery. Assisted by her grandmother, she sets out to get to the root of the mystery with surprising results.

I must admit I felt some sympathy for Addison’s new husband, Luke, who was side lined at one point while she went off to investigate the mystery. Otherwise, it was another enjoyable adventure that started slowly, but soon built up a head of steam.

I’m looking forward to the fourth in the series.

Description

A woman in black stares at the sea, her body transparent, eyes brimming with tears.

Hoping to get a better look at the woman, psychic medium Addison Lockhart leans out over the manor’s windowsill, gasping when she feels an intense pressure pressing down on her back–someone thrusting her forward. She grabs the side of the window to brace herself, but it’s too late. She’s already falling.

Who is the strange, melancholy woman haunting Blackthorn Manor? And why is someone out to keep Addison from unlocking the manor’s darkest secrets?

Blackthorn Manor Haunting by Cheryl Bradshaw

Rosecliff Manor Haunting by Cheryl Bradshaw

17th July 2021.

This is the second story in the series featuring Addison Lockhart. She dreams about twin girls who died as children many years ago in a nearby manor house. It seems like they fell to their deaths from an attic window. But did they?

This is another entertaining and well-written murder mystery with a supernatural twist. Though Addison is psychic, she uses determination and deduction to solve the murder and bring peace to the spirits of the children.

If you like a cosy mystery with strong characters and a bit of a twist, this series is well worth a try.

Description

Psychic medium Addison Lockhart jolts awake, her brow sweaty, head throbbing. The dream had seemed so real.

The twins, eleven-year-old Vivian and Grace, were so full of life she wanted to reach out, touch them. But she couldn’t. The girls had been dead for forty years. Why then had they appeared to her, summoning her help? Were their untimely deaths really an accident, or was something far more sinister to blame?

Rosecliff Manor Haunting by Cheryl Bradshaw

Mastering Your Mystery by Cheryl Bradshaw

1st July 2021.

This excellent guide to mystery writing is divided into two parts. The first offers advice on all aspects of how to write a murder mystery, including plotting, characterisation, cliff hangers, victims, villains, red herrings and much more. The second half of the book offers guidance and tips on marketing your murder mystery novel, including writing a series, advertising, covers, blurbs and more.

With examples from her own novels and those of contemporaries, the author offers her own personal experiences and unique insights to inspire and guide you. I found the section on marketing particularly relevant and useful, giving me many ideas and examples of new avenues to explore.

It’s the most practical, inspiring and useful book I’ve ever read on writing and selling murder mystery novels. If this is something you’d like to try, or if you’re an author who wants to expand your sales, this is a must have book.

Mastering Your Mystery by Cheryl Bradshaw

Eye for Revenge by Cheryl Bradshaw

25th June 2021.

This cross between romantic suspense and murder mystery finds a devastated Quinn, searching for the killer of her best friend Evie. Behind the small town respectability, there are secrets and jealousies to be unearthed.

With a brisk place and a flawed but engaging protagonist in Quinn, this story is as much about her battles and transformation as securing justice for Evie. As the pressure and danger mounts for Quinn, she stands her ground, putting her life on the line to avenge her friend.

This is another thrilling story from the versatile Cheryl Bradshaw, who always writes entertaining stories with pace, mystery and great characters.

Description

Quinn Montgomery has lost the will to live.

She wakes to find herself in the hospital. Her childhood best friend Evie has been murdered, and Evie’s four-year-old son witnessed it all. Traumatized over what he saw, he hasn’t spoken. And when Evie’s cold-blooded killer goes into hiding, Quinn isn’t only out for justice, she’s out for revenge.

Eye for Revenge by Chaeryl Bradshaw

Grayson Manor Haunting by Cheryl Bradshaw

22nd December 2020.

I’m a big fan of the author’s writing, especially the Sloane Monroe series, so it was great to read something different. The story starts when Addison Lockhart moves into the remote and dilapidated manor she’s inherited from her mother. Right away, you know there’s a dark secret to be uncovered.

Was someone murdered here long ago?

With the help of her architect and builder, Addison begins to piece together the mystery and the events surrounding the disappearance of movie star Roxanne Rafferty, who appears to be haunting the manor.

Addison is a likeable and resourceful character, driven by a need to unlock mysteries from her past and solve the disappearance of Roxanne. The tension builds slowly and steadily from the start. The danger increases as Addison digs deeper and finds her life and future in the manor threatened.

Then the revelation of an old family secret catches her off guard. Can she recover to solve the mystery and lay the ghosts to rest?

The story was well-written, engaging and kept me intrigued from start to finish. The paranormal element of Addison’s character was deftly and realistically handled without it taking over her investigation of the mystery.

I’m looking forward to discovering how her character develops in the next book in the series.

Description

When Addison Lockhart inherits Grayson Manor after her mother’s untimely death, she unlocks a secret that’s been kept hidden for over fifty years.

For Addison, it seems like she’s finally found the house of her dreams, until the spirit of Roxanne Rafferty comes to call. Who is Roxanne, why is she haunting Grayson Manor, and how will Addison’s connection reveal a secret to her own past that she thought no longer existed?

Grayson Manor Haunting by Cheryl Bradshaw

Dead of Night by Cheryl Bradshaw

3rd November 2020.

This novella sees Sloane Monroe at odds with boyfriend and new police chief, Cade, as they both investigate the brutal murder of Wren Bancroft’s mother-in-law. Events take a turn for the worse as the investigation tries to establish if she’s the killer.

All of Sloane’s trademark determination and refusal to give in to police pressure are on show, but combined with a little more tolerance than previous outings.

While I prefer the engagement of a full novel, it’s still a class act with a satisfying slice of mystery and intrigue that’s easily devoured in one session. It provides a good introduction to Sloane and the main players, but to get the full benefit, you should start at the beginning of a series.

Description

After her mother-in-law is fatally stabbed, Wren Bancroft is seen fleeing the house with the bloody knife. Is Wren really the killer, or is a dark, scandalous family secret to blame?

Dead of Night is part of the Sloane Monroe mystery series and is book 6.5 in series order. It can be read as a stand-alone.
Dead of Night by Cheryl Bradshaw

Gone Daddy Gone by Cheryl Bradshaw

23rd June 2020.  5 stars.

I fairly zipped through this novel, which either means it’s a quick read or I couldn’t put it down. It’s probably both as once again things get personal for Sloane Monroe. This time it’s Shelby, daughter of her boyfriend, Cade, who happens to be Chief of Police in Jackson, Wyoming.

When Shelby’s attacked and killed, the effect on Cade and Sloane is devastating. Naturally, there’s worse to come as she begins to dig below the surface to discover that Shelby was a high class escort, which takes our private eye in a new direction.

She’s forced to work with old adversary, Coop, who’s also a Chief of Police, and a former lover, to solve the murder. Then, as the attacks continue Sloane realises just how personal the killings have become.

As I’ve come to expect from Cheryl Bradshaw, it’s an emotional roller coaster of a ride with Sloane’s customary cool shaken to the core. Even with the help of those she loves, she’s struggling to hold it together at times, forced to reveal her vulnerabilities like never before.

And what a climax to an absorbing story that twists and turns with each attack, until the final revelation that means life will never be the same again for Sloane.

This series simply gets better with each book. While you can read this as a standalone, you’ll miss out so much unless you start at the beginning and follow Sloane’s difficult and achingly emotional journey through some brilliant and original investigations.

Highly recommended.

Description

On an early winter morning, college student Shelby McCoy walks the quiet, snowy path back home. A tree branch snaps in the distance. Then another. A man is there with her, following close behind, whispering her name. She looks back, sees him gaining on her, and runs. Who is this man, and why is he carrying a gun?

If you love a great mystery with a surprising twist, you’ll enjoy Gone Daddy Gone, a New York Times bestselling series.

Gone Daddy Gone by Cheryl Bradshaw

Bed of Bones by Cheryl Bradshaw

30th March 2020.   5 stars.

Anyone who follows my reviews will know I’m a big fan of this series, featuring private detective Sloane Monroe. Bed of Bones is the fifth book in the series and has Sloane working with other enforcement agencies to track down a serial killer.

It starts with a nail bomb in a cinema where a film is about to be shown, fictionalising a tragic incident in the town’s past. The woman who made the film is missing. Soon other women connected with the film go missing and the race is on to find out why before he strikes again.

Like all good protagonists, Sloane has her own personal issues to deal with, namely Giovanni, her on off boyfriend who was injured in the blast. This puts her in the thick of things once more as she tries to work out the connections with the past to track down the present day killer. Then there’s Cade, a sheriff with more than a passing interest in Sloane’s well-being to add further complications.

It all adds up to a smooth and exciting read, filled with sharp observations, wry humour and a determined detective who’s as smart as she is sassy. Sloane’s direct approach often puts her at risk as she slowly unpicks the mystery, leading to a thrilling and tragic climax.

While this story, like all the others, can be read as a standalone, you’ll enjoy it far more if you read the series from the beginning, starting with Black Diamond Death. (Check out my review of this story here.) Sloane has her problems, as you’ll discover, but this only deepens the character and adds another interesting layer to the backstory.

If like me, you prefer private detective stories to police procedurals, I would recommend this book and the series.

Description

Sometimes even the deepest, darkest secrets find their way to the surface.

Thirteen-year-old Willie Compton and his younger brother Leonard stumble upon a mine shaft while hiking the hills of Park City, Utah. A Slinky Leonard’s been flipping back and forth between his hands slips through his fingers. Leonard bolts forward and reaches out to grab it, but he slips, then he falls into the shaft.

Bed of Bones tells a tale of murder, shining a big, bold light on Park City’s tragic past. A past that’s about to revisit the present.

Bed of Bones by Cheryl Bradshaw

Stranger in Town by Cheryl Bradshaw

12th January 2020.  5 stars

I’m a fan of this series featuring Sloane Monroe, a feisty, no-nonsense private eye with a heart of gold and a sly sense of humour. With each novel I learn more about her, her past and what drives her.

This is the joy of a series. Pretty much like in real life, you get to know the characters a bit better the more time you spend with them. So it goes without saying that it’s worth starting with the first in the series, Black Diamond Death. (You can check out my review here).

In this fourth outing, Sloane’s hired by the parent of a missing girl, abducted a couple of years earlier. There are links to second missing girl, but no clues to where they are, what’s happened or if they’re alive. Determined to get to the truth, Sloane sets out to investigate. Almost immediately, she clashes with the law, particularly Cade McCoy, who resents her intrusion into police work.

But Sloane’s not easily put off and starts to dig, uncovering small leads. The pace picks up. She and McCoy race to find the girls before the FBI takes over the investigation.

The direct, no nonsense style makes for a brisk pace with just the right amount of detail, backstory and humour. All the characters are well-drawn and engaging, the investigations realistic with plenty of challenges to test Sloane. Her personal life is also shifting and changing, posing more issues to resolve, leaving plenty to look forward to in the next story.

I would recommend this novel and series to anyone who wants entertaining crime fiction at the cosier end of the scale, particularly if you’re a fan of Sue Grafton or Sara Patesky.

Description

A frantic mother runs up and down the aisles of Maybelle’s Market, desperately searching for her missing daughter.

But she’s far too late. Six-year-old Olivia is already gone, already in the arms of a stranger. Will private investigator Sloane Monroe find her before it’s too late?

Stranger in Town