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Books 67-68: Playing with Bones and Plum Spooky

Book 67: Playing with Bones (DI Joe Plantagenet, #2).
Author: Kate Ellis, 2009.
Genre: Crime. Police Procedural. Ghosts/Haunting.
Other Details: Large Print Hardback. 368 pages.

Either the doll strangler's back, or there's a copycat killer on the loose....

Singmass Close has a sinister past. Reputedly haunted by ghosts of children, in the '50s it was the hunting ground of the Doll Strangler, a ruthless killer who was never brought to justice. When the strangled body of teenager Natalie Parkes is found in the same close, a mutilated doll lying by her side, DI Joe Plantagenet wonders whether a copycat killer is at work. With the recent disappearance of a local model and an escaped convict at large, this new, horrific murder stretches Joe's team to its limit. But as the bodies start mounting up and Joe's questioning brings him closer to the real strangler, he comes to suspect a shockingly creepy connection between all three cases...
- synopsis from author's website.

Again Ellis kept me on the edge of my seat with this second in her brilliant Joe Plantagenet series. I enjoy crime novels that have a little something extra and Ellis interest in history informs this novel along with the theme of ghostly children. There were plenty of red herrings to tease along the way and a genuine surprise reveal. I've quickly become a fan of Kate Ellis and once I've finished this short series I plan to move on to her long-running Wesley Peterson series of police procedurals.

Book 68: Plum Spooky (Stephanie Plum #14.5/Between the Numbers Holiday Novel #4).
Author: Janet Evanovich, 2009.
Genre: Chick Lit Crime Fiction. Comedy/Drama. Touch of Paranormal.
Other Details: Unabridged Audio (Length: 6 hrs, 28 min) Read by Lorelei King.

The one with the monkeys....

The mysterious Diesel returns and involves Stephanie in tracking down a dangerous character named Wulf Grimoire, who is also his cousin. This ties up with Stephanie's latest skip - boy genius Martin Munch, who failed to make his court appearance after stealing a piece of valuable equipment from the research facility where he worked and beating up his supervisor. They discover that Martin is Wulf's new business partner and that the two of them are up to no good in the Pine Barrens, home of the Jersey Devil and other strange phenomena. The case takes a sinister turn with a murder and kidnapping. Stephanie is also accompanied in this adventure by Carl the Monkey, whose owner Susan Stitch has gone on holiday leaving Carl and a note asking her to look after him at Stephanie's front door.

Evanovich expands her final 'Between the Numbers' to novel length. It certainly was an entertaining listen with the kind of weirdness that encounters with Diesel bring into Stephanie's life. I am glad that Evanovich decided to play him down as a potential lover for Stephanie. He flirts with her but she says a number of times that she considers him more like a brother. Again, I am glad that I included this in my listening of the series as there a major development in the Lula/Tank relationship that was very amusing and not unexpected given the circumstances of their engagement.

Janet Evanovich's page on 'Plum Spooky' - includes longer synopsis and link to first chapter excerpt.
Tags: animals, audio book, chicklit, crime fiction, myth and legend, police drama
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