Book Reviews by Mae Clair: Diablo Mesa by Preston & Child, The Club by Ellery Lloyd

Warm and cozy window seat with cushions and a opened book, light through vintage shutters, rustic style home decor. Small cat on window seat, along with coffee cup by pillow, Words Book Review Tuesday superimposed over image

Welcome to my book reviews for the week. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may have noticed I cut book reviews back from two days a week to one day with the launch of 2022. As a result, most times I’ll be featuring more than one book with each post. For that reason, I’ll be skipping blurbs, but you can always find them by following the Amazon links.

Today, I have two books to share—both mysteries, but with very different slants. Let’s get started!


Book cover for Diablo Mesa features watermark of skull over desert background, silhouette of woman in the "O" in "Diablo"

DIABLO MESA
BY PRESTON AND CHILD

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This book started a little slow, but kicked in around the 30% mark and just kept getting better and better. Combining the Roswell Incident, the H-bomb, Cold War spies, UAPs, and a secret military organization, it’s a riveting adventure full of pulse-pounding moments and far-flung conspiracies.

Although this is the third Nora Kelly/Corrie Swanson adventure, you don’t need to be familiar with the previous books. Archaeologist Nora is recruited by an eccentric billionaire to excavate a dig at Roswell. When two bodies are unearthed, Corrie is called in from the FBI. This is when the train really starts rolling.

I loved the introduction of new character, adventurer/billionaire Lucas Tappan, and it was great to see the return of fast-draw sheriff, Homer Watts. Nora’s brother, Skip, gets several moments to shine, and who can resist having Mitty, the dog, tag along?

There’s plenty of danger, dollops of sci-fi, intrigue, duplicity, bad guys to “boo,” and two clever heroines to cheer for. I love the fact that neither Nora nor Corrie are written as “kick-butt” characters, but rather as smart, professional women willing to take risks.

Break out the popcorn and enjoy the ride. I can’t wait to see where this series heads next!

AMAZON LINK


Book cover for The Club shows part of pool underlit from below at night, silhouette of trees in background against dusky sky, book title in neon pink letters

THE CLUB
BY ELLERY LLOYD

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harper for an ARC of this book.

This is an unusual story with a bizarre assortment of characters which is what makes it so entertaining. Island Home is an exclusive resort for celebrities and A-Listers. Ultra-posh where every whim is catered to and overseen by head honcho Ned, his brother Adam, Ned’s PA, Nikki, and Annie, who handles memberships. The guests are ridiculously self-centered, pampered, egotistical, all with baggage and hidden secrets and issues. The same goes for those who run the show.

When Ned sets up a blackmail scheme, centered around several of his guests’ worst secrets, the situation implodes in ugly ways. Till all is said and done, there isn’t just one body that turns up, but several.

Told from multiple third person POVs, the book also uses clips from an article about what took place on the island. There is plenty of glitz, and the twists and turns in the plot are nicely executed. It’s a little slow to get off the ground, but worth sticking with, especially when everything starts to slot into place.

If I have one quibble the book is on the wordy side. I’m a reader who loves description, but I often felt like I was wading through passages of lengthy prose, many that seemed repetitious of what came before. That aside, I would recommend The Club to those who like locked room mysteries with an eclectic assortment of characters.

AMAZON LINK


In closing, I know readers are often hesitant to purchase a high-end Kindle book, especially if they’ve never tried the author before. I have certain auto-buy authors (like Preston & Child) I don’t mind shelling out $$$ for, but others will give me pause. In that case, I check LIBBY and will borrow the title from my local library using Amazon to read on my Kindle.

If you’re unfamiliar with Libby (a free service), see my post on Story Empire regarding how it works. You can find it HERE. Happy reading!

61 thoughts on “Book Reviews by Mae Clair: Diablo Mesa by Preston & Child, The Club by Ellery Lloyd

  1. Good reviews, Mae. I’m with you on lengthy prose. I do like descriptions, but sometimes an author just needs to get on with the story.

    I’m one of those tightwads when it comes to spending a lot on books. I love Libby and being able to check out books from my library. I recently began purchasing a series of books by an author I discovered last year and I’m spending more than usual. But doing that is a rarity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love description too, Joan. It wasn’t even so much description so much as just wallowing in the same thoughts or sharing insights to the various characters that went on too long. The Club was still a good read if you can stick with it.

      I don’t mind spending money on Kindle books for authors I love but I have been burnt on those I’m not sure of. I just finished a library loan and have three others on hold. I love Libby!

      And I think I know who that author is you discovered. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing these reviews, Mae. I’m with you when it comes to lengthy prose. Inevitably, I’ll start turning the pages to get to the story — if I don’t put the book down for good. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did some skimming with The Club, Gwen. I got used to the style after a while (and I generally like description) but the beginning was a bit much to wade through, until everything started slotting into place.

      Like

  3. Just finished Diablo Mesa, MC. I enjoyed it, but not so much as the previous Nora/Corrie books. I’m not sure why, but I agree that the beginning was slow. At that point, I was giving it a ‘meh.’ I do prefer the Agent Pendergast outings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely prefer Pendergast, Noelle but I do enjoy the Nora and Corrie books. After this one got going I fell in love with it. I didn’t really care for the last one, but this and the first I really enjoyed. This might actually be my favorite, LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

    • P&C are excellent storytellers, Jacqui. Highly entertaining stuff. The Nora/Corrie books are spin-offs from their Pendergast series which I can’t recommend highly enough. I love Nora and Corrie too, and this one was really a fantastic mix of plot threads. And hey, there’s always Libby if you’re on the fence! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Staci, I’ve been using Libby a lot for books that I’m unsure about investing in. I just finished one and have another three on hold. It’s also a great way to check out an existing series. I know P&C books are always pricey which is why I mentioned it here. I can’t say enough about how easy Libby is to use. Sometimes you have to wait weeks to get the book you want, but in the meantime I just read other titles. P&C, though, are auto-buys for me. You know what a fan I am! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Odd. The last few books I’ve read have all had slow starts. Maybe because the year felt like it lasted longer than usual? Glad the starts built to good stories, though. One of mine didn’t, but you can’t win them all:) Hope the next book you read took off and kept you in the story’s grip.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good comparison with how this year started off slow, Judi. I’ve been sticking with books more than I used to, I think. I knew P&C would kick in, so that was a no-brainer. The Club I got from NetGalley, so I pretty much had to stick with it, although I’m glad I did. I’ve also stuck with a few others lately. Sorry you had one that didn’t work out. That’s another reason I like Libby–for those books I’m not sure about!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Two interesting reviews, Mae! I have heard of Libby, but I’ve never used it. I have a free subscription to Hoopla through our library, and I’ve been able to read high-end ebooks that way. Still, I don’t mind buying pricey ebooks for authors I already love.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m the same way, Priscilla. I like to have those books in my library, whether Kindle or print, so I will purchase them. But it’s nice for those books that I’m not sure about to have the option of Libby. It sounds like Hoopla does much the same thing!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Still haven’t checked out Libby, so thanks for the reminder on that. I have Diablo Mesa awaiting me, though without Pendergast, I know it won’t be quite as much fun. Still. EVERY book can’t have him, so I’m gonna give it a try. Got a few things ahead of it, though. (\

    And speaking of our favorite agent, I must say–just as you imagined–I was LESS than happy about the ending of Bloodless. First Jim Butcher infuriated me so much I’m not sure I’ll ever read another Dresden Files book, and then … well, I won’t say any more. You know exactly why I didn’t like my last image of Pendergast. If worse comes to worst, I’ll just reread the entire series and enjoy what they did BEFORE Bloodless.

    Thanks for the reviews, and though The Club doesn’t sound like my usual genre, I’m ready to give Diablo Mesa a chance, as soon as I can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marcia, Libby is awesome, so def give it a try. I’ve really been making use of it, and currently have a number of books on hold waiting for my “turn” to read them.

      I agree Kelly and Corrie aren’t Pendergast, but I still enjoy their stories. This one was particularly good.
      I’m super excited about the way Bloodless ended and can’t wait for the next book—though I expected you wouldn’t be pleased, LOL. And would you believe I forgot I still need to catch up with the final two (or was it three) Dresden books. Now I’m worried! 😧

      Like

  7. Great reviews, Mae. I have Preston & Child on my TBR list but like you said I’m hesitant to purchase new authors on the higher end proce range. Good suggestion to go to the library.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Denise, the P&C books are usually pricey—$14.99 for Kindle, so Libby is a great option to give them a try.
      I started the Pendergast series with Still Life for Crows (which I think is book 3 or 4), and liked it better than the first two. I’m sure you can find all the P&C books through Libby if you decide to give the series a try. I can’t recommend it highly enough!

      Like

  8. Mae, I like your reviews for an honest comment like “wading through passages of lengthy prose,” which reminds me of classics. All of Them had lengthy descriptions and I remember skipping a few! 😀 Thanks to modern authors who have done away with too much of landscape or appearance of a character. Thanks for sharing new books and your awesome reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Balroop. I generally like description but in the case of The Club it didn’t add anything to the scene and a lot of it seemed repetitive. The story was still good but it could have used with some trimming.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the reviews!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Peachy. I’m in complete agreement with you regarding leading female characters in action thrillers. The kickass thing has been so overdone, and personally, I don’t care for it. I’m more about intelligence, competence and inner strength. Nora and Corrie have those qualities in spades. Glad you enjoyed the reviews!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nora and Corrie are strong lead characters, Diana, with failings and although strong and tough not the “kick butt” kind of females that populate a lot of thriller fiction. I really enjoyed Diablo Mesa, but then P&C are auto-buy authors for me! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for sharing these with us, Mae! Both authors are new to me and sound intriguing.
    I use Libby all the time. I got hooked on audiobooks last summer while enjoying my morning coffee and evenings on the patio. Funny thing… I love listening to nonfiction books, but it’s just not the same with fiction. 🙂 Oh, I have to be outside. lol Weird tendencies! Thanks again for sharing. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for adding your thoughts on Libby, Natalie. I haven’t used it for audio books but I see that option is available. Listening to a book outside while having morning coffee or a quiet evening sounds wonderful!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve read a couple Preston and Child and loved them, so I know I’d enjoy these books. It’s just finding the time. And that’s one reason why Libby and Hoopla have been good friends the past several years. I check out audiobooks pretty frequently with them. Awesome reviews, Mae!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love the 007 feel of the first cover with the woman strolling through the title. I watch for the books to come on sale- if you follow the authors on Bookbub they’ll send out a notice- and grab them up then.
    You’ve hooked me on Preston and Child, lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • I use Bookbub like that too, Jacqui. I love getting those notices of new releases and on sale deals.
      And I am so glad to have hooked you on P&C. They are such an awesome writing team and their books are so highly entertaining. I get so excited when they have a new release, LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I think both of these books sound incredible, even with the lengthy prose in The Club. I will probably struggle with that but it sounds like it would keep my attention in other ways. Great review, Mae!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tessa, The Club was worth sticking with. I generally like description but it was odd the way this one was written. Not the type of description that intrigued, just too much repetition. I’m still glad I read it, and do recommend it, just be aware it’s wordy, LOL.

      And Diablo Mesa is excellent!

      Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! Libby is awesome. I’m so glad I found it. And it’s a great way to check out Preston & Child. I love the Nora Kelly series, but I’m gonzo over the Pendergast series. That one I can’t recommend highly enough.

      Liked by 1 person

    • We all have our styles, and sometimes it’s hard finding the right balance. You know I’m descriptive, and I often find I have to cut back. I think it depends on the genre, too. As for The Club, it could have used some trimming but it was worthy sticking with to the end.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I love reading about smart, professional women willing to take risks in Diablo Mesa. The entertaining characters in the Club in interesting also. Fabulous reviews, Mae. I have Libby and use it.

    Like

    • Glad you enjoyed the reviews Miriam. Both books were good, but Diablo Mesa couldn’t be beat. The two female leads are excellent characters and the story line was great if not a bit bizarre, LOL.
      So glad to hear that you love Libby too!

      Like

I love comments, so please scribble a thought or two!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.