Sweet book review: Double Crossing

double crossing 500x750Author Meg Mims describes her historical Western mystery-adventure, Double Crossing, as a sort of True Grit on a train. It’s an apt description, with a determined heroine, Lily Granville, setting out from Chicago in 1869 to track down her father’s murderer and hiring an unknown tough guy, the Texan Ace Diamond, to help and protect her. The deed for a California quicksilver mine has also gone missing, with neither the killer nor Lily knowing where it is, and presumably the mine’s ownership is the motive for the murder.

To thwart the plan, Lily boards the newly completed First Transcontinental Railroad to join her uncle, now her legal guardian, in Sacramento. The train serves as the story backdrop, with the dangers of wilderness travel heightened by the killer’s ongoing attempts to locate that deed (as no one seems to believe that Lily doesn’t have it hidden away in her luggage or corset). Lily must also learn to work with and trust her former Confederate cavalry protector, a task Diamond does little to assist.

Double Crossing is a classy debut for Mims. Although the mystery is a hair too simple, the adventure plotline is well drawn, with twists and turns like a mountain railroad, and the characters are a crafted balance of believable, historically accurate, and sympathetic. Mims treats the setting as an extra character, with well-crafted descriptions of actual places that are accurate to the time period. Her writing is elegant and easy to read, a testament to her MA degree from Seton Hill University’s excellent Writing Popular Fiction program. (No, I’m not biased. Even if I attended the same school for the same degree.) The interspersed Bible verses and inspirational elements are historically accurate, help define the characters, and enhance the plotline.

The romance is kept out of center stage and enough plot elements remain unanswered at story’s end to assure this reviewer that a series, or at least a sequel, is in the works. With most current historical mystery series confined to the Regency or Victorian England, and with the current tendency to ignore historical elements that don’t fit the author’s agenda, an accurate series set in the American West is a welcome addition.

Normally this reviewer would not assign a five-star rating to a mystery that I solved, but here mitigating circumstances include: a) the book’s high quality, with any proofreading errors unnoticed by this reviewer, b) the excellent adventure plotline, characters, and historical accuracy, and c) the multiple “mini-mystery” plot elements that I didn’t solve, including the mine deed’s hiding place. The good easily outweighs the mystery’s simplicity and overturns that rule.

Double Crossing is available at Amazon. The sequel, Double or Nothing, is also available.

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Sorry.

#SweetSat is suspended until further notice. Sorry, everybody, but I’m burned out.

Gunnar

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The Sweet List 08/24/2013

peanut butter and jam sandwich cookiesHi, everybody, and welcome back. Here’s another easy back-to-school dessert — soft peanut butter cookies sandwiched with jam filling and daubed with sprinkles. Hey, it’s just another variation on the good old fashioned PBJ. Thanks to CakeFYI.com for the image, the link, and the great idea, plus a peanut butter cookie recipe at the link.

Here’s the Sweet List. Click and enjoy. Cheers,

Gunnar

1. Rose Anderson ~ Paranormal Romance
2. Rachel Rossano – medieval fantasy romance
3. Leah Sanders – contemporary romance
4. Marsha Ward~Westerns with Heart & Grit
5. Carrie-Anne Brownian ~ 1930s historical fiction
6. Laurel-Rain Snow – Contemporary Fiction
7. Joselyn Vaughn, contemporary romance
8. Edie Hart, erotic romance (some swearing)
9. Elaine Cantrell-fantasy romance
10. Patricia Kiyono – historical romance
11. Gunnar Grey, mystery~adventure
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Sign-up link for #SweetSat 08/24/2013

Back to school toaster pastryHi, everybody, and welcome back. How’s this for a back-to-school dessert? One toaster pastry, two iced cookies, some licorice or chocolate candies, and yellow and black icing — and just think of the substitutions you could make to turn this into a themed party cake. Thanks to MyMommaToldMe.com for the image, the link, and the fabulous idea, and there are a lot more ideas on the website.

Now, let’s link. Click the cute little blue smiley guy below to access the inLinkz tool. And have a great week — we’ll see you Saturday morning.

Cheers,

Gunnar



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The Sweet List 08/17/2013

fancy coffeeHi, everybody, and welcome back. There’s coffee, and then there are fancy international coffees, mixed with chocolate, liqueurs, honey, cinnamon, whipped cream… are you there yet? Suffice it to say, I love them all. Thanks to Theme Party Queen for the image, the link, and some great, simple recipes for mixing up your own. The site also contains some neat ideas for, well, theme parties.

Here’s the Sweet List. Click and enjoy.

Cheers,

Gunnar

1. Indigo Chase-Sci Fi/paranormal
2. Carrie-Anne Brownian ~ 1930s historical fiction
3. Rachel Rossano – medieval fantasy romance
4. Marsha Ward~Westerns with Heart & Grit
5. Rose Anderson ~ Paranormal Romance
6. Patricia Kiyono – historical romance
7. Laurel-Rain Snow – Contemporary Fiction
8. Juli D. Revezzo–fantasy & paranormal romance
9. Edie Hart, erotic romance (some swearing)
10. Heather Gray – Contemporary Inspirational Romance
11. Wendy Knight ~urban fantasy
12. Brenda Maxfield – Young Adult, New Adult Contemporary
13. Elaine Cantrell, contemporary romantic suspense
14. J. Gunnar Grey, mystery~adventure
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Sign-up link for #SweetSat 08/17/2013

new cage 004Hi, everybody, and welcome back. I’ve successfully moved Pete and Tweet back into a cage together, separate from the big aviary, where the younger birds can’t pick on her. That’s her, the yellow and green bundle of complacent mischief, sitting behind poor good-natured Pete, who gets between her and trouble every time. And don’t let Tweety’s innocent expression fool you; she bites like a pit bull, as she’s proven every time I have to shove medicine down her throat. Which we’re doing again; I’ve resumed giving her the anti-inflammatory, because she seems more comfortable with it.

At least she and Pete can be together. That’s something.

Now, let’s link. Click the cute little blue guy below to access the inLinkz tool. And have a great end-of-summer week out there, okay?

Cheers,

Gunnar



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The Sweet List 08/10/2013

ice cream sandwich cakeHi, everybody, and welcome back. Do you need one of those easy-to-make (or assemble) recipes for hot summertime gatherings such as company picnics or family reunions? Here’s a great one. It’s a cake made with ice cream sandwiches, arranged in a disposable deep dish foil pan, and whatever you want to pour over the top of them. Suggested pourings include chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, bits of candy bars with or without nuts, fruit, bits of crushed ice cream cones — the list is endless. Thanks to Mom’s Cooking Club for the image, the link, and a recipe that’s perfect August.

Here’s the Sweet List. Click and enjoy. Cheers,

Gunnar

1. Rachel Rossano – medieval fantasy romance
2. Carrie-Anne Brownian ~ 1980s historical fiction
3. Marsha Ward ~ Westerns with Heart & Grit
4. Indigo Chase-Sci Fi/paranormal
5. Marsha A. Moore – Fantasy romance
6. Susan Aylworth ~ YA & contemporary
7. Edie Hart, erotic romance (some swearing)
8. Laurel-Rain Snow – Contemporary Fiction
9. Elaine Cantrell, contemporary romance
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