Thursday, October 4, 2018

Cold Revenge

COLD REVENGE by Jo Hiestand

My Review
This is a good mystery, a little touch of the British, easy to read. I didn't get one other thing done while I was reading it because I didn't want to put it down. There’s a little bit of everything in this McLaren mystery…he’s a former cop, now a laborer, a repairer of stonewalls and one who likes his solitude. Yet he is still a friend to some of the Constabulary and very much needed for his intellect and instincts. There are good friendships and a touch of love or passion in the book. This character, Michael McLaren, that I am so crazy about while moody, is also a very caring person.
I am a mystery nut and one thing that makes all of the difference to me about a good mystery is the ability of the author to create a character, maybe a rascal, maybe a little bit of a rebel, maybe someone that thinks those little sarcastic things in their mind that I'm thinking, just someone I'd like to meet. And Jo Hiestand does that with Michael McLaren in this series, appropriately called the McLaren Series. Hiestand puts plenty of twists and turns in this book and she describes her settings (which I think of as scenes), as well as she does her characters. She has you sitting right in the midst of the story with her characters. She has a way with words that can make you see as if you are right next to her character. Not always beautiful descriptions, most mysteries aren’t always beautiful but always distinct, clear cut visions. Writing like that causes you to become a part of the story.  When that happens, you don’t want to put it down. This is Book 1 of the series. I won't miss another book.

about my review...
This is an author whose every book I have loved; one who I have begged for every McLaren book I could get after I discovered them. A writer whose character development and whose descriptive writing is above many. Also a very truly nice person. Is my review biased? I don't think so. You see, books and reading are so very important to me that I don't think an actual person could overcome them. Wow, I have an extremely skewed personality don't I, but I wanted you to get an idea of what was in my mind when I wrote my review.  

about Jo...
Books, Girl Scouts and music filled Jo's childhood.  She discovered the magic of words and the worlds they create: mysteries, English medieval history, the natural world.  She explored the joys of the outdoors through Girl Scout camping trips and summers as a canoeing and swimming instructor and camp counselor.  She had the usual childhood pets: cats, hamsters, turtles, a chicken...and a skunk.  She's vacationed in many countries but not Bermuda, as yet, which is something she'd like to try.  Her travels have introduced her to a variety of food, and as fond as she is of Scotland, she's not tried haggis or Drambuie (in or
out of coffee).  Brought up on classical, big band and baroque music, she was groomed as a concert pianist until forsaking the piano for the harpsichord.  She also plays a Martin guitar and has sung in a semi-professional folkgroup in the US and as a soloist in England.

     This mixture formed the foundation for her writing.  A true Anglophile, Jo wanted to create a mystery series that featured a British police detective who left the Force over an injustice and now investigates cold cases on his own.  The result is the McLaren Mysteries, featuring ex-police detective Michael McLaren.  Her insistence for accuracy -- from police methods and location layout to the general “feel” of the area -- has driven her innumerable times to Derbyshire.  These explorations and conferences with police friends provide the detail filling the books.

     In 1999 she returned to Webster University to major in English.  She graduated in 2001 with a BA degree and departmental honors.  Her love of writing, board games and music came together when she and a friend invented a mystery-solving game, P.I.R.A.T.E.S., which uses maps, graphics, song lyrics, and other clues to lead the players to the lost treasure.

     Along with fellow mystery author Pam DeVoe, Jo teachs a mystery writing course at St. Louis Community College.

     Jo founded the Greater St. Louis Chapter of Sisters in Crime, serving as its first president.  In addition, she's also a member of Mystery Writers of America.  Besides her love of mysteries and early music, Jo  enjoys photography, reading, crewel embroidery, and her backyard wildlife.  Her cat, Tennyson, shares her St. Louis home.

Find Jo here:


  1. Goodness, Kathy, is this my book and me you're talking about? ;-) I do like McLaren. His newest adventure should be out end of August. Hope you like it! And thanks for the kindness.

  2. It's just me and my "skewed" personality talking about you and Michael McLaren:)

  3. I agree with your review, Kathy. The McLaren series is among my very favorite British mysteries. Exciting stories with a true sense of place.


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