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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This book would have been a lot better if the author hadn't lost track of his investigators in the middle and screwed up who did what. I hate when authors do that. This is especially annoying because it was relevant to the solution of the mystery, which makes the flaw pretty serious.

Better characterization and differentiation of perspectives would certainly be an improvement. Maybe other readers don't even notice the error because the perspectives are so similar.

But it was a decent enough quick-read mystery other than that.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Henry Simpson's debut murder mystery, A Splendid Little Murder: Death on La Tempestad, occurs on an island off the California coast, where a killer takes the life of a visitor. La Tempestad is no ordinary island for it's part ranch, part hunting preserve, and part hideout for the powerful, who come to enjoy themselves in private. Neither is the murder ordinary. It's the most serious crime there in decades for it's the death of young Congressional aide, Gina Raines. Her mysterious death triggers the rest of the story and brings on stage two main law enforcement characters, Ed Lane and Miranda Bell, both from the Federal Police.
Who killed Gina Raines and why? The two set off to find out, and there are plenty of suspects.
Did Congressman Alonso Duncan, despite being married, have an affair with his attractive assistant, and did that somehow lead to her death?
Could Vito Garza, a charismatic farrier and Raines's island riding companion as well as a parole, somehow be the culprit?
Or could Duke Stockton, married playboy and the ranch's chief executive officer, based on the mainland, somehow sneak onto the island and do it?
Was there an accomplice?
Then there are drugs, a mysterious boat docking at night, loading, then leaving the island.
A further plot complication for the two investigators is the discovery of two leases, pertaining to the ranch. Does this discovery matter to the murder, or is it just an interesting local tidbit?
These issues and the twists of the story keep the reader turning the pages. For Gina Raines's death is a tangled business, as many a murder is, that Lane and Bell manage at the end to untangle, thereby solving the crime.
Among Henry Simpson's strengths: a nice ear for dialogue, a good sense of how to construct a murder mystery, and a nice sense of place in describing the island. One would wish, though, more attention to the editing, that the two lead characters could have been a little more unordinary,and that the author could have elaborated more on what the Federal Police are. All in all, though, a good novel with many more surely to come.
Henry Simpson, a writer worth watching.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 27, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
A quick read about a serious subject. The mystery creates few surprises, but there are a few interesting characters. I would have preferred more detail about these characters and their relationships to add depth to the narrative. Some of the interaction felt contrived and lacking in emotional substance. The story kept my interest, but it would have been helpful to have more information about the various characters, It was difficult to remember how everyone fit into these loosely woven groups. It was fun to follow the detectives as they interviewed the possible suspects, and then to read how they shared the information they each gathered to discover the discrepancies from the various 'persons of interest.' I would recommend this book to someone who loves mysteries, and is short on time to read. This book was given to me for an honest review. I hope this is helpful to future readers.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I recieved this book free to review. It reads relatively fast, only a few areas drag a little. Dialect of the characters was well represented without making it difficult to decipher. It had the mystery with action and adventure to go along with it! The characters are kept a little thin, but what the author put in what was needed for the characters to be believable. I was a little surprised at the secondary crime in the book, figuring we were only looking at one crime, but it added a little more depth to the island. All in all it was a good read, and enjoyable relaxing book to sit and enjoy. Definately worth reading once, and maybe even worth a second read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Instead of giving a synopsis of the whole book, I would like to focus on the writing style of the author. What I enjoyed the most was the realistic dialogue of all the characters. For me, this is the most important aspect of a story. Simpson has a keen intuition and insight into real life people, how they speak, and their mannerisms. The setting and sometimes even the plot will not ring true if the players are shallow, fake, or unrealistic. Great character development is key to any great story, especially mysteries like this one. I will read more from this author and look forward to his future works.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I received this book free from Freebooksy for my willingness to write a truthful review.

When I received this book I had not read any books by Henry Simpson. As of late, when I read a murder mystery I usually have it figured out in the first 5 chapters, and it was a pleasant surprise when that did not happen this time. The overall length and writing style was good. It was an easy, but descriptive read.

There where two situations in which I found it hard to suspend my disbelief.

1. Going for a run from one end of the island to the other, after midnight, with a murderer on the loose.

2. Getting on a boat, when motion sickness was an issue, with a person who was believed to be involved with the murder.

Even with those two issues the book was enjoyable to read. I would recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The characters were too predictable and wooden. The plot was very ordinary. This book did not keep my interest up as Henry Simpson's others. I did not become a fan of his main characters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I was pleased with this book.I enjoyed it very much. The story was interesting. The plot development was sound. I thought I had it figured out, waiting to see how Bell and Lane would prove my theory, only to be surprised with new twists. I found myself trying to get back to it as often as I could to find out how it ended. The author gave good enough descriptions so I could envision the island and the people on it, but didn't go overboard so that it became boring paragraph after paragraph I wanted to skip through to get to the good part. The only sections I found reading awkward were the scenes when the main characters were alone, Bell jogging, and Lane in the water. The style of writing in those sections was new to me, and I hadn't made up my mind if I liked it or not.
Over all, I would definitely recommend it.
I received this book for free in exchange for a review.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I received a free copy of this book along with a request to review. I enjoyed the story, and the suspense was heightened by confusion about who were the bad guys and good guys on an island full of suspects during a storm. There were a few surprises, although the story moved toward a predictable conclusion.

I believe the story would stand on its own merits without the parallels with Shakespeare's Tempest. For me, the allusions and the characters names were more of a distraction than an enhancement, especially when I tried to match Prospero and Ariel to characters in the story. Someone unfamiliar with the play would probably not have this problem, but for me it kept me from assigning five stars.

I would like to read more books with the Mira and Ed--the chemistry and dialogue between them was the best part of the story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I really like your characters and would like to see Ed find a companion, lonely guy! Maybe someone who can stay and work with him.
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