Book Review | Stratagem by Robin Caroll

Book Description:

A High-Stakes Simulation Adventure Leaves Grayson Thibodeaux the Prime Suspect. . .for Murder
Deep in the gritty underbelly of New Orleans, psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux loses everything when his wife leaves him to climb her company’s corporate ladder. He buries himself in his job of creating mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. When his ex-wife’s company hires Grayson’s to create an elaborate game, he doesn’t see how things can get worse. Until she dies during the course of the game he created…making him the prime suspect for murder.

Grayson Thibodeaux is a psychologist who created a business with his best friend, Colton York, a sociologist. They create virtual games for businesses that build trust and team build. He recently went through a divorce, and his wife Anna-Belle had unfortunately cheated on him with her boss. He tried to salvage the marriage, but she wanted out. At the onset of the book, they have a public argument in his office, and his staff witnesses her slap him when terms of their divorce agreement are discussed.

He and Colton create a game for her company, per the direction of her boss. Members of her office attend a team-building game to determine who will get a promotion. All office workers have to go to a certain location and follow certain rules. Only the CEU and board members know it’s a game. While attending meetings and accomplishing tasks, Anna-Belle falls ill because she has an allergy to cherries and passes away! Grayson immediately becomes the primary suspect, being the recently divorced husband.

Two investigators get assigned to his case, who know him pretty well, and have to overcome their bias to prove his innocence. Anna-Belle’s boss, his wife, other employees and Grayson all become suspects and one-by-one they get ruled out.

The pace of the book was fantastic. It was well-written with little things happening during the investigation that made me question a few people. I also loved the faith-based aspect attributed to Grayson as he tries to prove his innocence. It makes a strong character and was a great read! The outcome wasn’t predictable until the moment it was revealed, so it ended very well. I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a fast-paced, faith-based, suspenseful novel.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Barbour Publishing and NetGalley.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 ( “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review | And Then She Was Gone by Christopher Greyson

and then she was gone

I love mysteries, and this one did not disappoint. This story follows Jack Stratton, a 17-year old, who has goals of going into the military and becoming a police officer, mostly a detective. In his neighborhood, a woman goes missing and he jumps into the case, interviewing coworkers, family members and those in the vicinity of her disappearance. When her body finally turns up in a park, he continues to interview bystanders, and gets a slap on the wrist from the local police department for impeding the investigation. But he just can’t seem to help himself. He is drawn to figuring out who the killer is, and won’t believe that the police have the right person in custody.  He continues his own investigation amidst attempts by his parents, police and others to stop, but his persistence is unmatched.

Jack is an adopted child who had a very hard upbringing until he landed in a loving family. His desire to prove himself is evident and though sad at times, he grows up and learns lessons throughout the book.  When certain testimonies don’t add up, he keeps pushing until it makes sense.  This is definitely a novel that will take off into other novels, and Christopher Greyson has them laid out on his website. I found it to be a little juvenile at times, but I think that is because the main character is a young teenage boy, who hasn’t fully grown up yet.

I liked the book and would read other works by Greyson. Much thanks to him, NetGalley and Greyson Media Associates for the advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. Best wishes on your future works!

Book Review | Murder Freshly Baked by Vannetta Chapman


This was my first Amish mystery.  It is the third installment for the Amish Village Mystery series written by Vannetta Chapman, so I wasn’t previously acquainted with the characters or scenarios that presented themselves.  However, the author did a good job of linking the storylines.  If you missed the previous solved mysteries in the town of Artisan Village in Middlebury, Indiana, the majority of the characters have resurfaced, and this time, to solve whoever is tainting the pies in town!

After Ryan Duvall crosses the finish line, he falls down dead!  Who would do such a thing?  Once it is established that it was poison, the evidence seems to begin to point to a prominent member of the town, but Amber Bowman refuses to believe it.  There are a few townspeople to choose from, but see if you can narrow it down to the actual culprit.

I enjoyed the storyline, though it seemed to take some time for the actual mystery to develop.  The murder was within the first few pages, however getting clues and following those responsible took longer than I thought was necessary.  That is the only reason that I have given an average review for this book.

I loved the character Preston, a veteran who struggled with PTSD and his beloved pooch, Mocha, who helped him get through many of his episodes.

If you love simple mysteries set in a small Amish village, Vannetta Chapman is your author.  I would read another story by her any day!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers ( book review program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 ( “Guides Concerning Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”