Dustin Reviews: ‘Sharks, Jellyfish, and Other Deadly Things’ by Nancy Tesler

Sharks Jellyfish and Other Deadly ThingsHaving survived a philandering mate and ‘murders most foul’ in the nothing-bad-is-supposed-to-happen-here burbs, newly divorced, biofeedback stress-reduction therapist Carrie Carlin heads for the tropics in response to a desperate phone plea from best friend, Meg Reilly. Meg is in Key West to root for her ex-con husband, Kevin, and his brother, Pete, who are participants in the World Cup Championship Powerboat Race.

Meg’s voice, hoarse, cracking. “Carrie, there’s been an–accident.” A long pause, then a whisper. “Pete’s dead, and Kev–they can’t find Kev.”

Assuring worried guy-friend, homicide cop Ted Brodsky, that her plan is only to do lots of hand-holding, some biofeedback relaxation therapy and maybe soak up a little sun in the bargain, Carrie flies to the rescue. According to the news reports, a freak boating accident has killed Pete. Kevin is listed as missing and presumed dead. But not everyone believes Kevin is dead, including Meg, the local homicide cops, and even Ted, but each with a different rationale.

From Ted–“People disappear for all kinds of reasons, Carrie. How much do you really know about Kevin Reilly?” From Detective Hanover— “This isn’t being treated as death due to natural causes anymore. More likely what we got here is a homicide.” From Meg–“Three calls, Carrie. Those calls tell me Kevin is alive!”

So ignoring the warnings from the professionals, Carrie and Meg begin to make inquiries and find themselves caught up in the mob-plagued, glory-seeking world of power-boat racing. As the word spreads among Pete and Kevin’s competitors, some of whose tentacles reach deep into the shark infested waters of the boat racing industry, the women are harassed and targeted by both killer and cops. Suddenly there are ominous phone calls, a menacing homeless man, a wild chase through Key West’s famous old cemetery, a ransacked hotel room…Carrie and Meg elude all pursuers–at least until the shark shows his teeth..

Sharks, Jellyfish, and Other Deadly Things (Carrie Carlin Mystery) was one of those books that you just don’t want to put down. I tried to stay a step or two ahead of the story, by guessing the next plot twist, but I was always wrong. The characters are set up very well. I had my hunch as to who the “bad guy” was, but I was surprisingly mistaken there too. Overall Sharks, Jellyfish, and Other Deadly Things made for some enjoyable reading.

About the author

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Nancy received a BFA from the renowned theater department at Carnegie Mellon University. A career that included off-Broadway, summer stock, TV, films, and a road company tour of some military bases in France, sadly failed to put her name in lights, but did turn out to be excellent training for the writing career that was to come.

After taking a hiatus to raise three children, she began writing for the stage, television and the financial community. Still another career as a biofeedback practitioner helped pay the bills when suddenly single again, and inspired by an overwhelming urge to knock someone off, she created the “Other Deadly Things” mystery series, originally published by Dell, which deals with the murderously wacky world of divorce where biofeedback stress-reduction is the order of the day.

Advises NY Times best-selling author, JANET EVANOVICH, “Don’t miss this stand-out-from-the-crowd cliffhanger with its slightly frazzled, commitment-phobic, in-your-face heroine, who’ll tickle your funnybone as she steals your heart,” and THE CHARLOTTE AUSTIN REVIEW extols, “This is amateur sleuthing at its charming, endearing, laughable and surprising best.” PUBLISHERS WEEKLY called amateur sleuth Carrie Carlin, “a clever, slightly neurotic heroine whose personal life is in disarray, the kind of heroine Susan Isaacs might put in a mystery.”

Like her protagonist, Nancy admits to being a slightly neurotic divorcee who has occasional homicidal thoughts and whose personal life has, from time to time, been in disarray. But there the similarity ends. When she was five she ran screaming from the theater when the witch in Snow White poisoned the apple, and she would never, as does her protagonist, walk into situations where even a cop would fear to tread without backup. Like Thurber’s Walter Mitty, however, she enjoys a rich fantasy life.

Although three of the five books in the series are set in suburban New Jersey where Nancy raised her family, she now lives in sunny California with her very level-headed significant other and her three rescue cats. Coincidentally (or not) her latest book is a stand-alone romantic suspense.

Nancy is a long time member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America.

Visit Nancy on her website at www.nancytesler.com.

Sharks, Jellyfish, and Other Deadly Things is available at: Amazon


Print Length: 210 pages
Publication Date:
Dell Publishing (Print version), Nancy Tesler (eBook); 2 edition (November 16, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN: 9780440224099
Carrie Carlin #2

4 out of 5 stars


Dustin Reviews: Big Jack Is Dead by Harvey Smith

Big Jack Is Dead

Jack Hickman is an antisocial software exec who designs team-building applications in the late 1990’s. Controlled and calculating, his world begins to splinter when he learns – in the middle of a corporate meeting – that his father has committed suicide. Returning home to the Gulf Coast, Jack struggles with a host of unresolved feelings as he buries the man he hated most. Interwoven throughout the novel, chapters set in the 1970s depict Jack as a boy, chronicling his relationships with a storm-tossed mother and a menacing father, living in the shadows of the petrochemical plants scattered along the Gulf Coast. The novel highlights the differences between life in California at the end of the Dot-Com era and life in blue collar Texas during the 1970’s, contrasting Jack as a man and as a child, and showing how the people who bring us into the world shape us forever.

Big Jack is Dead took me back to my own childhood, growing up in a small town in a dysfunctional family. The characters jumped off the pages or I was sucked into the story as I sympathized with the younger Jack. This is not a feel-good read, it’s not a HEA, it’s a story of internal struggle, emotions and questions that may never be resolved in a manner that will suit Jack Jr.

Big Jack is Dead is just one heck-of-a-darn-good-read !!!

Harvey Smith
About the author

BIG JACK IS DEAD is Harvey Smith’s first novel.

Born on the Texas Gulf Coast, Smith spent his early years moving between a handful of Texas cities…Freeport, Angleton, Palestine, and Moulton. After leaving home, he served for six years in the USAF before settling in Austin, TX.

As a videogame designer, Smith has contributed to games such as Deus Ex and Dishonored.

Currently, he resides in Lyon, France.

Big Jack is Dead is available at: Amazon


Print Length: 286 pages
Publication Date: March 31, 2013

Language: English
ISBN: 1482563657

5 out of 5 stars