Monday, September 11, 2017

The Bell Tolls

The Bell Tolls by R. Franklin James is a Hollis Morgan Mystery.  Hollis Morgan is a probate attorney who finds herself involved in criminal law.  What’s interesting and what shadows her, is that she is also an ex-con.  Flashes of her past are haunting.  Breath catching fears pop up unbidden.  But this adds interest to her research and current detective work.  The reader will find himself rooting for her and fearful of anything that would knock her down.

Hollis currently has the task of delivering packages that a client has requested to be delivered after his death.  Unfortunately, his demise was caused by murder.  Also, unfortunately, Hollis gradually realizes that these packages were proof that her client was engaging in blackmail.  Hollis’ deceased client has her returning the incriminating evidence to his victims, to let them off the hook.  Why?  Good question—keep it in mind, because being kind is out of character, for Hollis’ client.
The bell really tolled because Hollis’ client was murdered.  All his victims are suspect.  If this weren’t enough, Hollis has other clients: a stripper who wants her will drawn up, plus satisfying her boss’ demand for billable hours.

Did I mention Hollis’ personal life?  The love of her life dies.  Her estranged mother will die if she doesn’t get a new kidney.  Guess who is a perfect match.  Talk about multitasking!

Somehow, Hollis deftly dispatches one demanding task after another.  Plus she figures out “who done it.” Despite the twists and turns, James’ new mystery is really about the characters.  Hollis is hard working and honest.  The reader wants her to succeed.  She overcomes her past, personal tragedies, and maintains her objective judgment and detective skills.  All the suspects are believable.  Each one of them is drawn to be a murderer. 

Another aspect of James’ writing that appealed to me was that the mystery unfolded chronologically.  With so many suspects, I appreciated that I didn’t have to take notes to keep up with who’s who.  Gradually, the story unfolded and so does Hollis’ personal trials with her mother and her boyfriend.  The struggles are real and heart wrenching.

The Bell Tolls has a good plot, is beautifully told and filled with interesting characters. Even though I was given this book for free to review, I am not obliged to give a positive review.  The Bell Tolls deserves a good review.

R. Franklin James's Web Site:

R. Franklin James's Facebook:

R. Franklin James's Twitter:

R. Franklin James's Goodreads:

The Bell Tolls Goodreads:

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:

The Bell Tolls
 blog tour site:

R. Franklin James's Bio:

R. Franklin James grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. From there she cultivated a different type of writing—legislation and public policy.  After serving as Deputy Mayor for the City of Los Angeles, under millionaire Richard Riordan, she went back to her first love—writing, and in 2013 her debut novel, The Fallen Angels Book Club was published by Camel Press.  Her second book in The Hollis Morgan Mystery Series, Sticks & Stones, was followed by The Return of the Fallen Angels Book Club, and The Trade ListThe Bell Tolls, book five was released in June 2017.

R. Franklin James lives in Northern California with her husband.

Prices/Formats: $4.95 ebook, $15.95 paperback
Women's Sleuth, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
June 1, 2017
Camel Press

Amazon buy link:

Barnes and Noble buy link:

iBooks buy link:

Kobo buy link:

Overdrive link: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway   ($10 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash):


Tribute Books said...

Faith, thanks for the great review! :)

R. Franklin James said...

Faith, thank you for the kind words and great review!

The Killer Collective

The Killer Collective by Barry Eisler is a thriller.  Livia is the principal character.  She's a detective for the Seattle police f...