Lady Justice and the Lost Tapes by Robert Thornhill

51t3bYfFjZL._SL300_Narrator: George Kuch

Publisher: Robert Thornhill (2016)

Length: 5 hours 38 minutes

Series: Book 2 Lady Justice

Author’s Page

Note: While this is Book 2 in the series, it works perfectly fine as a stand alone novel.

Walt Williams was a retired senior real estate agent but he felt he still had more in him. So he joined the Kansas City police force as part of their senior citizens outreach program. Now he and his partner, Ox, traipse around the more colorful sections of town in this tale. The mafia wants certain real estate freed up and use nearly every dirty trick there is to get people to sell. Meanwhile, one of Walt’s friends uncovered a lost rock and roll treasure that needs to be kept under tight wraps for now.

This was a fun light-hearted murder mystery. There’s lots of corny jokes and the plot is pretty straight forward. The characters are lovable in a good-will-always-win-out sort of way. I really liked how this book had so many seniors in it. Some still work. Some are retired. Several do volunteer duties. Walt’s girlfriend, Maggie, is still working as a realtor and that gives Walt a bit of an advantage as he looks into the unusual circumstances of some recent sales.

Throughout this book, Walt plays dress up, going undercover more than once. The locations of interest to Walt and the police department include some lively bars that cater to the LGBTQ community. While there are plenty of jokes from both Walt and his fellow officers, they felt rather dated, like something an older uncle would say and the next generation would be slightly embarrassed for him.

Speaking of the humor, there’s plenty of it in this book. Everything from a whoopee cushion to a stand-up comedian to one-line zingers to ribbing from fellow officers. Some of it was well timed and funny. Some of it was rather worn and just got a groan from me. Sometimes I felt like the author had a big book of jokes sitting beside him as he worked on this book and he felt obliged to put in at least 3 jokes per chapter.

I did enjoy the main plot concerning the mafia moving in and forcing owners to sell their houses or businesses cheap. The story did a good job of showing the various ways the mafia went about getting their way. They did everything from polite requests to buy outright to dirty trickery to intimidation to torching a place. At first Walt is the only officer that is interested in checking this out but as things escalate, the force in general becomes committed to putting an end to it.

The minor plot line, that dealing with the lost tapes of a rock and roll idol, didn’t really appeal to me. I just wasn’t into the R&R idol and therefore, this chunk of the book didn’t grab me. When the main plot line wrapped up, I still had about 1.5 hours of book to listen to! Well, that was mostly this second minor plot line and a big holiday celebration. They were cute but not nearly as interesting as the mafia.

All in all, it was a fun, quaint little mystery. If you’re looking for something light and, perhaps, a bit predictable, then this would be a good book to check out. For me, it was so-so.

I received a free copy of this book.

The Narration: George Kuch did a good job. He had an unexpected range of voices and even did a decent job with the female voices. His voice really fits well with the variety of seniors. There were a few times where I heard a few mouth noises but they didn’t distract from the narration.

What I Liked: No age discrimination in this tale!; Ox is a great side kick; Maggie is still a working woman and does volunteer work too; some of the humor made me chuckle; the mafia plot was interesting.

What I Disliked: I didn’t care for the rock and roll minor plot line; sometimes the humor was a bit tired or dated.

What Others Think:

Cross Plains Public Library

Blood Ties by Ashley Fontainne & Lillian Hansen

FontainneHansenBloodTiesWhere I Got It: Review copy

Narrator: Rebecca Roberts

Publisher: RMSW Press (2015)

Length: 11 hours 39 minutes

Series: Book 1 The Magnolia

Fontainne’s Page   Hansen’s Page

LiAnn Tuck, retired detective, and her daughter Karina Summers, along with the dog Ranger, are moving from sunny California to Sheridan, Arkansas. There, they move in with LiAnn’s parents (Ruth and Junior) to help keep up the small farm and care for them. It’s a much slower pace and they have lots to learn. Both ladies are accomplished in their careers and both had to leave broken-hearted affairs in California.

Meanwhile, the Mob has their claws in one of the local independent living retirement homes, The Magnolia, as well as a mortuary and an ambulance service. Sometimes they assist the aging into their graves a little early and harvest the organs for sale on the black market. But they come under LiAnn’s and Karina’s notice when a Magnolia resident, Cecil, talks to them about his concerns. He has a lot of money in different banks and he worries that someone is trying to steal from him. Karina, who use to co-own a detective agency, dives right in to the new case. It’s just the thing to add some zest to her life.

This story starts out a touch slow, being more focused on developing the main characters. Yet there is still movement with the plot even as the two ladies move from California to Arkansas. The book cuts back and forth between them and the main Mob family. They are definitely crooked but they have their own woes as the head of the family starts to slip mentally. Things eventually turn into a cat and mouse game as the Mob becomes aware that someone is looking into their affairs.

The mystery was well laid out with several moving parts where things could go wrong. As things start to unravel for the mobsters, the danger increases for LiAnn and Karina. I loved the tension and the plotting on both sides. Then there is all this romance stuff that I could have done without. Both ladies left failed relationships behind and both have difficulty moving on. Yet both give it a go in Sherridan, each hesitant to do so. There’s one detailed sex scene that was sweet. There’s also some ridiculous endearments. Meh.

I liked that so many age groups were represented in this book and the senior citizens weren’t simply background or a mild comedic relief from the main story. The Mob family have this ingrained attitude or culture they were raised with that really becomes the center of what drives most of them. And yet they still watch out for each other even as they steal from others. The ending was pretty intense. I was worried that one family member wouldn’t make it. The ladies kept their common sense handy throughout the story.

I received a copy at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: Rebecca Roberts was pretty good, pulling off some Italian and New Jersey accents. She also did a good job of making old people sound old. However, her male voices lacked masculinity.

What I Liked: Two women detectives looking to start new lives; the Mob and nursing homes are not what I expect but it works out great; the Magnolia is a beautiful setting; the ending was intense.

What I Disliked: Not really a dislike but the romance stuff was filler for me and not really all that interesting; the narrator could use more masculinity in her male character voices.

What Others Think:

Sandy Wolters

The Audio Book Reviewer

Sherry Snider Fundin