Been a while since I last added anything. Sorry about that but I’m really bad when it comes to this sort of thing. That and I always have trouble putting into words how I feel about a book.
This entry is about Linda Ladd’s Claire Morgan series. There are now three books out – Head To Head, Dark Places and the latest, Die Smiling. I read Head To Head a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. Then I happened to stumble upon Linda Ladd’s MySpace site last year about this time to find the second book had just been released. Off I went to my local bookstore and started reading it immediately.
I was asked how I liked Dark Places in comparison to Head to Head. I was really wishing I had a copy of Head to Head to reread at the time. (I originally borrowed it from a friend, but have since gotten my own copy.) Thankfully, as I was reading along in Dark Places there were enough references to jar my memory. I thought DP was much creeper than HTH. Then again, Ladd hit on something which just really creeps me out. (I’m not going to say what though so I won’t spoil it for future readers.)
As I first started the book, I got tickled at my reaction at one part (the doughnut) at the first crime scene. I enjoy how Claire and her partner, Bud, interact. Then we moved on the ER scene. Yikes! Now I’ll pretty much read most anything as to what we Book Obsessors classify as sick s*** mysteries and I didn’t think much would phase me. Boy was I wrong. The ER scene had a shudder start at the top of my head and work all the way down. I can’t recall an author ever causing that kind of reaction for me. Ladd had me checking my bed before crawling in and shaking out clothes and shoes. One evening, when I got up in the middle of the night for something, I even turned the light back on to check the bed again. One of my Rotties gave me a look that distinctly said…you’ve lost your mind. She even managed the shudder reaction several times before getting to the end of the book.
And the ending was even more creepy. I had to set the book down several times before I could complete the ending. Just to kind of walk off the creepies.
I must warn animal lovers though that there are a couple of disturbing parts in this book. I was able to steel myself for what was coming, but it still bothered me. I get more upset with books and movies when the animals get hurt or killed.
This was definitely a 5 star read for me.
Some how or another, I keep picking up mysteries that take place during a beauty pageant. This is probably my third or fourth one in the last few months. Even so, I still enjoyed Die Smiling. There was a lower body count in this book as we get started and we seemed to spend more time digging up information, but Ladd still managed a shudder at the climax of the book when our heroine was confronting the killer. You know how a guy will grimace and hold himself in sympathy when seeing another guy just get racked. She managed a similar reaction from me. My hand automatically went to a certain area (don’t want to give anything away) just to make sure everything was still in place.
Between the main story and the secondary, Ladd had me trying to sort out the puzzle until close to the end and then delivered another of her 'have you on the edge of your seat' endings. Though I wasn’t overly thrilled with Bud’s choice of actions, I’m glad the author worked things out for us. This one gets 4 stars from me.
For anyone who enjoys sick s*** mysteries, Linda Ladd's Claire Morgan mysteries are perfect for you.
And let us not forget all those we lost seven years ago!