Blood Opal – The Curse of the Blood Opal!
Rating: 5 of 5
Author: Carole Sutton
Tags: crime fiction, murder, mystery, Cornwall, Goodreads author
After a long day at work, Pug Germaine returns home only to find it in complete disarray. Convinced her husband has tossed it during one of his more and more frequent foul moods, she cautiously searches for his whereabouts only to find him in the arms of another woman both of them covered in blood—murdered! Horrified she contacts the police and soon learns not only has he been cheating but he has leveraged all of their assets on bad investments. In a heartbeat, she’s lost everything—her husband, home, and business. Determined to start anew, she sails off. But Pug’s troubles are only beginning. Her husband’s killers haven’t found what they are looking for and they are convinced Pug has it.
In Blood Opal, Carole Sutton once again demonstrates her prowess in creating rich characters, describing beautiful settings, and formulating an engrossing and complex plot. So drawn was I to her unlikely heroine Pug, that I easily felt her fears and frustrations and wondered as she did who to trust. The legend of the Blood Opal and its curse and back story were fascinating and with the prodding from Celeste—Pug’s friend and confidant—one can not help but wonder if there is some truth to the curse as death follows in its wake.
Sutton’s knack for storytelling quickly engrosses the reader in this well crafted murder mystery and doesn’t let go until the final page is turned. Fans of this genre should quickly add this to their shelves.
And the Devil Laughed – Murder in a Small Australian Coastal Town
Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Carole Sutton
Recovering from the trauma of her own brutal attack and subsequent personal tragedies, detective Hannah Ford attempts to regain her career and life by going undercover to investigate drug trafficking in a small Australian coastal town. But things quickly become more complicated for Hannah when a local bar maid’s body turns up in a newly excavated grave. Convinced these events may be connected, Hannah investigates both crimes in hopes of finding the truth. Unfortunately, she must battle her past demons haunting her every move while the town’s killer soon stalks her as their next victim.
For those who have ever lived in or visited a small town, there is something special about the way everyone knows everyone else – their families, their past, their desires, and their secrets. But while the town’s residents are inviting to visitors, being able to be truly taken in and trusted as one of their own is quite a different matter. Inherent in these small towns is a mistrust of outsiders especially when something untoward such as a murder takes place. Suddenly everyone clams up concerned that external prying eyes may discover secrets folks would rather have left buried and forgotten. In And the Devil Laughed, Sutton does a marvelous job at creating such a small town. Her characters are wonderfully complex, flawed, and filled with intrigue – each one having their own personal hardships, interests – and more often than not – something to hide. The isolation of this tight knit community further adds to the overall ambiance of this unique mystery.
As in her debut novel, Ferryman, Sutton draws on her sea fairing experience to provide the reader with a sense of realism that can only be achieved by someone having a love and passion for sailing. In Agatha Christie flair, Sutton introduces us skillfully to an eclectic mix of characters each having their own potential reasons for committing the crime. I, for one, was left guessing until the very satisfying and action packed ending.
Sutton’s readers will not be disappointed. And the Devil Laughed is an entertaining and engaging read.
Ferryman – Murder on the English Channel!
Rating: 5 of 5, TMBOA Recommended
Author: Carole Sutton
After scrimping and saving all his life, Steven Pengelly flies to Guernsey, an island in the English Channel, to buy a beautiful thirty-foot sailboat to live his dream. Preparing to take his new boat – Touché - back across the Channel to Cornwall, Steven’s luck further improves. The young attractive blond that had shown him the boat – Angela Dupont, asks him for a lift to the mainland. Not one turn down a free crewmember or a pretty face, Steven takes her on and their trip across the channel sparks a romance. All is well until Steven learns Angela to be more opportunistic than partner willing to dump him quickly in search of a greater fish to hook. Suddenly, she turns up missing and Steven’s world crashes down around him. Convinced she has been murdered, investigator’s believe Steven to be the main suspect. Though there is no body, the evidence against Steven mounts leading to his conviction.
Two years later, Angela’s body turns up. Forensics, however, prove her murder to be recent, confirming Steven’s innocence. After his release, all Steven wants to do is move on with his life, but another young woman searches him out seeking his help in finding her recently missing sister. Believing there is a connection between her missing sister and Angela’s murderer, she convinces Steven to help find those guilty.
Carole Sutton’s Ferryman pulses with action, intrigue, and mystery. Those who love sailing will appreciate the passages describing the thrill of racing, the battling with the elements, the danger, and the teamwork needed to survive and thrive in competition. The novel’s locals are wonderfully described from the ports on Guernsey to the frequently visited sailing haunts. Sutton also seamlessly alternates between the novel’s 1970s present day events and the events that unfolded years earlier during Angela’s abduction. She introduces each subplot carefully wetting the readers appetite throughout keeping the mystery moving forward. Sutton also shows great care in building the sociopathic foundations for the book’s antagonist. This ensures credibility and realism to this character that in lesser books would have been flat and unrealistic.
I really enjoyed this book. I found myself turning the pages at a rapid pace and staying up late to make my way to the end’s climax. Ferryman is one of this years favorites for me. I’m looking forward to Sutton’s next release.