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: Shades of Gray by Andy Holloman

Start with “Breaking Bad”, add dash of “Cops”, and stir in a darker version of the “Love Boat” and you get all the right flavors for “Shades of Gray”

 How far would you go to save your child’s life? Could you break the law?

What if your travel business was suddenly in danger of going under because of 9/11?

A single father decides to partner up with a woman from the opposite side of the tracks.

Can their partnership deliver the cash they BOTH desperately need?

Could they fall in love?

And will they survive to see the Summer of 2002?

Shades of Gray was an extraordinary story, filled with heart, soul and compassion. The characters were well developed and the story flowed smoothly until I hit one of the numerous editing/proofreading errors (missed or duplicated words and the occasional Kindle formatting glitches). I know, I sound like a broken record when I mention editing/proofreading errors, but they do effect the reader when reading a story. If I were to rate Shades of Gray on the story alone, it would easily be a 5-star. But the numerous errors and word repeats pulled me out of the story on way too many occasion. Over looking the errors, Holloman has a very good, gripping story. I look forward to reading more from Andy Holloman.

About the author

Shades of Gray grew out of Author Andy Holloman‘s experiences as a travel agency owner, and the murder of a client. Suspecting she was a drug smuggler, a story sprouted in Holloman‘s over-active imagination: How far would a desperate person go to save their child and their business? A graduate of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, lives in the Raleigh, N.C., area with his wife of twenty years and three children. When he’s not writing, Holloman is carpooling, keeping his wife happy, and attending school and sporting events. He loves the great outdoors, is an avid reader, and a social media goofball. Most evenings, he can be found tapping on his well-worn keyboard as he “births” his next novel. Visit AndyHolloman.com for updates on his latest writing ventures.

Shades of Gray is available at: Amazon


Tags: suspense, mystery thriller, relationships, thriller fiction, north carolina, family drama, contemporary fiction, drugs, drug dealers, men’s adventure, twists, action, drama, mystery, thriller, mystery

Print Length: 242 pages
Publisher: Triple J Press; 1st edition (November 28, 2011)
Language: English

July 2012 – KBR Semi-Finalist for Best Thriller/Mystery
July 2012 – Semi-Finalist for Reader’s Favorite, Suspense
April 2012 – #1 Best Seller, Amazon, Men’s Adventure

4 out of 5 stars