Overall: 5 stars
Plot/Storyline: 5 stars
Regulated for Murder is historical fiction, taking place in North Carolina during the last months of the American Revolution. It was also a suspenseful action-filled murder mystery. Author Suzanne Adair has written a superb story set against a realistic backdrop of revolution and the complexities of wavering colonial loyalties.
The book's title is based on the Regulator Movement, which was a North Carolina uprising, lasting from approximately 1765 to 1771, in which citizens took up arms against corrupt colonial officials. Although the last battle in the uprising had taken place ten years before this story, the fallout was still being felt in the colony.
When Lieutenant Michael Stoddard was sent with a message to Lord Cornwallis, he hardly expected to find his Loyalist contact Ezra Griggs murdered, even less to find himself suspected of the murder. Instead of a quick return to the comforts of garrison life in Wilmington, he found himself investigating the murder. There were plenty of possible suspects, but his time was running out, and if the locals learned that he was from the British army, he would be executed as a spy.
Regulated for Murder had all the elements of a marvelous historical drama, and the author wove the fictional elements into the historical background perfectly.
Characters: 5 stars
The story was filled with memorable characters. British officer Michael Stoddard was a decent man dedicated to investigating civil crimes and bringing the perpetrators to justice. He admired the saucy widow Kate Duncan, but she feigned disinterest until their paths crossed in a most unexpected way. Would she keep his secret and save his life, or would she turn him over to the rebels?
There was no shortage of bad guys. The sheriff and deputy of Hillsborough, where most of the story took place, were as evil as they came. When a murder took place in his town, the sheriff was far more interested in using it to his own advantage than he was in bringing the killer to justice.
Two of the most influential characters, Aaron White and Violet Griggs, were never seen or heard, but their stories had a profound influence on the story.
The British redcoats were, I believe, represented in an historically accurate way. Some were brutal warriors who gave no quarter, while others were decent types just trying to do their duty while maintaining their honor.
Writing style: 5 stars
The writing was professional quality. Dialogues were realistic. The book impressed me as being a finely-crafted story by an author who cared about her work very much. The story obviously required quite a bit of research about the American Revolution and what life was like for colonials in that era.
At the end of the book were an historical afterword, which gave some helpful background information on some of the events and places mentioned in the story; and a selected bibliography.
Note: Although certain characters in Regulated for Murder have appeared in other stories by the author, the book can be read as a standalone volume.
on December 24, 2011
This is a rollicking good yarn. Still, Adair's history is impeccable and provides a window into colonial life that our school history books zip over. The British Army in the colonies provided law enforcement and protected citizens, even those rebelling against the Crown. Lt. Michael Stoddard may be a soldier, but he's also a cop, sworn to protect and serve, whether it's the King and his interests or the folks in town. Even better, if Michael were a real man living today, he and his cohorts Nick and Kate would fit in just fine at your Super Bowl party. Adair manages a deft balance between period voice and showing us that people living in the colonies weren't that different from us. Plus, she spices the stew with plenty of excitement and peril.
on October 22, 2011
I love historical mysteries that teach and entertain at the same time and Suzanne's prior trilogy (Paper Woman, The Blacksmith's Daughter, and Camp Follower) was excellent so I was delighted to hear a character from the tales of the St. James family was getting his own series.
Lt. Michael Stoddard of His Majesty's forces in North Carolina during the American Revolution has a complicated past and an uncertain future. We travel with him from Wilmington to Hillsborough where he becomes embroiled in multiple crimes tied to past events. No cookie cutter plot here--the historical research is impeccable (I love authors who put historical notes and bibliographies at the back of a book for further reference), the twists and turns kept me guessing all the way to the end (and anxiously awaiting more because of the intriguing loose ends!) and there isn't a dry, boring section in the entire novel. Regulated for Murder's story lines are interwoven like the threads of a fine tapestry.
I had first learned of the Regulators and Hillsborough when reading Diana Gabaldon's The Fiery Cross. Ms. Adair's Michael Stoddard series promises to be as informational and entertaining as Ms. Gabaldon's works--the characters in Regulated for Murder are all multidimensional, and even the creepy Lt. Fairfax has honorable moments. I also appreciate the fact that so many of the characters in the story have their own demons to confront.
This will become one of my "keeper" series that I re-read in order to experience the subtle nuances over and over. Huzzah, Ms. Adair!
on September 5, 2012
Suzanne Adair's Revolutionary War mystery/thriller "Regulated for Murder" is a non-stop delightful read. The true-to-life story was meticulously fabricated after more research than I will ever do, no matter how many books I write (one to date...). The historical details are presented naturally without a hint of didactic interruption. Simply a great story, beautifully told.
Suzanne's characters walk right off her pages. She lives and breathes details of the period by participating in reenactments of Revolutionary War battles. Clearly, time-travel is the best way to research.
As a recently-arrived Yankee in North Carolina, this story, set in my new home state is now a part of my appreciation for it.
I applaud Suzanne for her professional story-telling! Michael Stoddard, her intelligence-officer protagonist, had me watching over his shoulder all the way. Highly recommended!
on October 16, 2011
Every unpunished murder takes away something from the security of every man's life. - Daniel Webster
Lieutenant Michael Stoddard of the 82nd Regiment is a redcoat and criminal investigator in Wilmington, North Carolina. under instructions from his superior Major James Craig, he leaves for Hillsborough to deliver a dispatch to Ezra Griggs who works for Lord Charles Cornwallis. working undercover as Michael Compton, the Lieutenant arrives to find the courier murdered in his home. Michael finds himself deputized to assist the investigation. as clues and evidence pile up, so do decade-old secrets that someone wants to remain buried.
author Suzanne Adair's latest novel transports the reader back to 18th century America where the political climate is volatile, where loyalists and rebels abound and where innocent men and women are caught in between. by including known historical personages and weaving facts and imagination into the story, she has skillfully painted another plausible scenario of this tumultuous era.
the author's attention to detail is excellent and conveyed to me images in sepia tones. the speech, customs, behavior and nuances of the period are addressed very well too.
the story itself is interesting and i particularly liked how the criminal investigation part was approached and conducted to arrive at solutions sans the benefit of modern forensic tools and technology.
the characters themselves are well-developed. i noticed again how women were featured as having important roles and making significant contributions during the Revolution.
one of the highlights in the book is the tense and bloody reunion between Michael and his traitorous nemesis Lt. Dunstan Fairfax. how it turned out was something i did not expect but it was all for the best - for now...
Michael's strength lies in his mental faculties but he should really do something more about his physical ineptitude when he gets into a fist fight. his weakness though makes him somehow endearing and marks him as a true officer and gentleman especially in the eyes of the Widow Kate and his able assistant Nick Spry.
overall, this is a wonderful piece of historical fiction and murder mystery and i look forward to reading more of Michael's future investigative undertakings.
Disclosure of Material Connection: i received an eARC from the author herself. i did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was i obligated to write a positive one. all opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. this disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255,Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
on December 15, 2012
Set in 1781 North Carolina at the end of the Revolutionary War, Michael Stoddard working for Lord Cornwallis is sent to Harrisburg to deliver a letter to a courier, then return promptly back to Wilmington.
Once there Ezra Griggs ends up dead and Michael Stoddard becomes the number one suspect. With the aid of two women Kate Duncan and her Aunt Rachel, posing as Michael's cousin and Aunt they take him in, knowing the risks they face if his identity is uncovered.
Michael wants his name cleared, to find who the actual murderer is, and go home. As he begins to investigate this crime he starts to unravel some secrets, increasing the list of suspects. But his enemies are determined to find fault in Michael and continue to blame him. As he gets closer and closer to having his true identity revealed, he is also coming closer to the truth of the murder. Will he get his evidence out and his name cleared before he is charged and set to suffer the consequences of a killer?
Fantastic murder mystery.Suzanne Adair writes with great detail of the era , and brings us back to a time in History that will never be forgotten. Mixing true to the time events added with fiction, this makes for a fascinating read. I felt very satisfied at the end of the story and greatly enjoyed the historical setting. I will be reading more work by Ms. Adair. I highly recommend Regulated for Murder to mystery lovers as well as those who love historical fiction.
on October 14, 2011
Colonial America was a place full of intrigue and danger, for everyone involved. This included not only the colonists, but the British or "redcoats" as they were called. This story is about one, in particular. Lieutenant Michael Stoddard of His Majesty's Eighty-Second Regiment based in Wilmington, NC. The novel opens as Stoddard and his crew conduct a raid upon the offices of crooked land agent Horatio Bowater, who seems to have beaten feet, hastily, leaving a note claiming a "family emergency." Yeah, right ...
But that's not what the story is about. Not exactly. You see, Stoddard is sent on a mission by his superior, Major James Henry Craig. (Three names! He must be mighty important, huh?) Stoddard must deliver a message to General Cornwallis. Hey, even I've heard of that guy! :-)
However, there's more to this assignment than meets the eye. I can't go into details, for as they say, that would be telling.
Just know this. Michael has a kind of ... agenda. He takes dangerous courier assignments of this sort with a goal in the back of his mind. It all has to do with a really evil person working within the ranks of the British military.
Anyhow, so ... Michael gets the assignment to take the message to Cornwallis. And, to do that, he must connect with a man named Griggs in ... what city? ... Hillsborough. Right! But as Michael arrives he sees a shadowy figure slipping away into the trees, and he goes into Griggs' house (eventually, because no one answers the door) and guess what? Griggs is, like, so dead! Oh, no! So not good! :-O
And then the sheriff (who's kind of a, um, grouchy guy) shows up and questions Michael, who tells him his name is Michael Compton and that he's a business man from Cross Creek who came to pay respects on behalf of a neighbor, as well as to deliver a love letter, blah, blah ... way to go, Michael! Make it up as you go, brother!
Hey! I'm cheering for the redcoat. Whose side am I on here? LOL
Like I was saying, Michael comes under scrutiny due to this murder. He gets enlisted to help solve it, against his will, so he does what he has to in order to keep the peace and maintain his cover. Because Hillsborough is full of people who don't exactly warm up to redcoats, if you get my drift.
Fortunately, he has local sympathizers in his, um, "cousin" Kate Duncan and Aunt Rachel White. (Boy, is Rachel a piece of work or what? Kind of a hard case.) They take him in and help him out. And, yes, a few sparks fly between Kate and Michael. Hmm ...
What this all adds up to is a great mystery and suspenseful historical thriller. Suzanne Adair's writing is smooth and evocative. The action scenes will leave you breathless. And the notion that no one knows who's on what side pervades the story in a most intriguing way.
The thing is Michael only has so much time to relay his message to Cornwallis and how's he going to do it if he's stuck in Hillsborough solving a murder, while trying not to blow his cover? Heavens to Betsy (Ross)! LOL
And Michael really wishes he had his able assistant Nick Spry there to help him. Did I not mention him? Yeah, Nick Spry. Except he sometimes goes by Miller.
I realize this seems terribly confusing. But it will all make sense, if you read the novel. Trust me on this. Really! :-)
And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I highly recommend this book.
on December 21, 2012
I love the 18th century--the growth of democracy and the realization of human worth and the equality of all have their roots there. Most of the fiction, especially mystery fiction, set in this time period has a European location, so I was delighted to find Suzanne Adair's series set in the American south. Protagonist Michael Stoddard is an interesting choice of hero, being that he is the enemy. A British redcoat! His character is deftly illuminated as he uncovers an old murder crying out for justice. I thoroughly enjoyed this well-researched book and appreciated learning new material about the war that shaped America.
on August 12, 2013
Regulated for Murder is historical murder mystery set in colonial North Carolina towards the end of the American Revolution. This whodunit has plenty of suspense, a thrillingly complicated plot, and a wonderful, flawed, but brilliant hero!
Lieutenant Michael Stoddard has been ordered to carry a message to Lord Cornwallis through a contact named Ezra Griggs murdered. But when he arrives at Ezra's cabin, Michael discovers the man's brutal murder. Even worse, he soon finds himself as a suspect in the victim's murder. Even more incredible, he is forced by local authorities to investigate the murder. With plenty of suspects, and the fact that Michael must keep his identity as a member of the British army a secret lest he be executed for spying, the pressure is on! Desperate to get out of his predicament, and with time running out, Michael learns that solving this murder is no easy task.
This is mystery writing at its best. The characters are all intriguing. Suzanne Adair kept me on edge, never fully believing or disbelieving any of the suspects. Michael Stoddard was everything any reader would want in a hero, handsome, talented, decent, intelligent, and most of all really unlucky! Misfortune seems to find him and makes his tasks challenging. And of course, there is a wonderful love interest by the name of Kate Duncan which adds plenty of drama to the suspense. There is a ripe picking of villains too!
Suzanne has worked hard in her research to really bring this era alive in her story. An excellent author with a creative muse that promises more great mysteries. If you love a great murder mystery in a fascinating historical setting, I highly recommend you read this novel!
on October 14, 2011
I love history, and I love mystery. Suzanne Adair has combined the two in REGULATED FOR MURDER for a thrilling page-turner. What I love about Ms Adair's books is that the history is precisely researched and presented, but never intrudes on the story. And who but Suzanne Adair could make me root for a Redcoat? Michael Stoddard is a wonderful hero--compassionate, loyal, of high moral fiber, and determined to fulfill his mission no matter how distasteful. His ongoing enmity with a sociopathic fellow British officer causes Michael pain and remorse, but he refuses to yield. Michael Stoddard is everything a hero should be, and everything his widowed lady love desires. Do yourself a favor and delve into REGULATED FOR MURDER.