Showing posts with label Carol Costa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carol Costa. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lost In The Shadows - Carol Costa, Author

Candied Sweet Potatoes
(A Carol Specialty)

4 or 5 raw sweet potatoes
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
1 cup orange juivce
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a sauce pan mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, juice and butter/margarine.  Cook on med. heat until it makes a thick syrup.  Place potatoes in a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray.  Pour sugar mix over potatoes.  Bake 1 hr.

Lost In The Shadows – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish

“Laura.  Laura, I need you.”  It was Jimmy’s voice, deep and full of mischief.  He stood in the midst of the little vegetable garden in the back of the yard beyond the flowers and expanse of green lawn.  The plants in the garden were enclosed by a short white picket fence and Jimmy’s stocky frame loomed above it.  He was dressed in the coveralls he always wore when he tended his beloved garden.  Even from this distance, Laura could see the handsome face that blended the best features of Jimmy’s golden haired Anglo mother and dark-skinned Hispanic father.  Jimmy waved and beckoned to Laura to join him in the garden.  Her heart pounded in her chest as the old longing took hold of her.  She remembered his touch, his strength and ached to be in his arms once more.  Laura grabbed hold of the latch that held the door and struggled to release it, but it remained stubbornly set.  She banged her fist against the glass and called out to Jimmy.  “The door won’t open.  Help me, Jimmy.”  She watched as Jimmy effortlessly stepped over the short fence and walked across the lawn towards the house.  Laura cried now with joy and anticipation.  Then, as Jimmy continued to move towards her, she saw his hand reach up to tug at the metal fastener of his overalls.  The snap yielded to his touch and triggered an explosion.  The coveralls burst into flames.

Laura Martinez is the widow.  Her husband Jimmy was killed when his car went off the road and burst into flames killing and burning him beyond recognition.  After spending a few weeks morning his death, it’s now time for Laura to pull herself back together.  She would start by putting their home in an exclusive neighborhood on the market and while she made her move to return to work.  Work for her was Myers Aircraft Company where she worked in bookkeeping.  Jimmy had worked there too which made it even harder for her to face the surroundings which had been a big part of her memories of him. 

First day back and Laura is summoned to the head of security’s office.  There she meets FBI Agent Keith Spencer.  Some of the 1st words out of Keith’s mouth are to ask her where she has hidden the plans to the new Air Force HT-14.  Laura is dumbfounded.  She is one of the most honest, trusting people you would find and she is being accused of not only theft but also of deceiving her own country.  Then Keith hits her with another bombshell.  Jimmy’s death wasn’t an accident, he was murdered.

Following Laura as she tries to prove her innocence, as she too is targeted and almost killed and as she does her best to convince Keith that she had nothing to do with the theft, takes you on a ride from Arizona to Mexico and then into the courtroom.  But if Laura had nothing to do with the theft, how were the plans removed from the premises?  Who is trying to kill her and why?  And who is really behind the attempts on not only her life but Keith’s as well? 

I’ve yet to read a Carol Costa that didn’t keep me on the edge of my seat and this one is no exception.  Well written and exciting!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

When Nothing Else Was Right - Carol Costa, Author

Hershey Cake
(Carol Costa's Favorite)

1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium can of Hershey Syrup

Melt butter and blend with sugar.  Stir in eggs one at a time. Add flour, baking powder, and vanilla and mix well.

Pour into a greased 13 X 9 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

When Nothing Else Was Right – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds

The door to the back office was suddenly flung open and all three hundred pounds of Vinnie, the accountant, filled the doorway. “Marko, Jake, come in here.”  Jake rose from his chair.  He didn’t like the sound of Vinnie’s voice and his fat face was all flushed like he was upset over something.  “What’s wrong?” Jake asked, trying to sound casual.  “Just get in here,” Vinnie said.  Marko stood at the door and motioned for Jake to enter Vinnie’s office in front of him.  Jake shrugged and walked through the door ignoring the prickles of fear that were racing down his spine.  Marko closed the door quietly behind them and looked at Vinnie who had moved back behind his massive metal desk.  “Is this some kind of a joke?” Vinnie asked, directing his question to Jake.  “What?  I don’t know what you’re talking about.”  “You don’t, huh?  Well, The Silver Moon took in a hundred grand and change Saturday.  Barney’s had some high rollers that stayed all night Friday and half the day Saturday, so their take was twice that much and Maury booked ten g’s on Saturday night.  “Yeah,” Jake said, feeling the sweat beginning to drip down into his shoes.  “How much is missing?” Marko asked before Jake could say anything else.  “All of it.”  “That’s impossible. It was all there when I put it in the safe yesterday.”  Vinnie took the duffle bag and turned it upside down on the desk.  Scraps of newspaper fell out.  “Beth.”  Jake spat out her name like it was a morsel of spoiled food.  “Beth took it.”

Jake Carlson is a money runner for Marko Senese.  The day before Jake was to turn in the weekend collections, his wife Beth disappeared.  He had watched as she went into the convenience store but never saw her come out.  How could a woman 6 months into her pregnancy walk out of a store and not be seen.  Even his search of the store turned up nothing.  All he could assume was that she either slipped past him and had gone home or she had left him again and was with her mother.  He didn’t feel that she had any reason to leave him.  He hadn’t abused her since she became pregnant.  But again, the search of their home and a call to her mother had turned up nothing.  Now Jake finds himself in real trouble.  Marko’s money is missing and the only thing that could have happened to it was that Beth had taken it.

Dana Sloan is an investigative reporter.  She and her boyfriend Al Bruno, a detective with the Crescent Hills PD, had stopped by the convenience store while Jake was searching for Beth.  They both assumed she would make it home when she was ready.  But when Beth’s mother asked that Dana look into her daughter’s disappearance, concern for Beth’s well being prompted Dana to do a little research on her own.  And when Jake admitted to the police officers that came to interview him that he had killed Beth, Bruno decided he too needed to do a bit of researching. 

Two murders and an attempt on Dana’s life seem to be connected to this case and send Dana all the way to Los Angeles as she follows her theories that Beth is alive and well, at least for now.  She even voices her opinion to Marko himself after he pays her a visit and asks that she find Beth.  It wasn’t until Dana heard a song being sung by an actress in one of her mother’s soap operas that she knew she was right.  And the real clincher was when the credits rolled after the show and Dana recognized the name of an attorney’s daughter who had been missing for 19 years.  Now Dana must get to Beth before anyone else does and bring her back to Crescent Hills. 

Dana and Bruno actually work on this case together.  In the past, Bruno has tried his best to keep Dana from becoming involved in cases that caused him to fear for her safety.  Dana, on the other hand. stayed irritated with Bruno for withholding information in cases that she felt could be solved with a little help from him.  He still wants to get married and settle her down.  She wants to continue her career and hold off a bit.  Who will win this battle?

When Nothing Else Was Right is, as usual, another Costa book that kept me guessing.  I did come up with the right murderer about ¾ through the book but the situation with the missing daughter was a surprise to me.  This was a real page turner.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Master Plan - Carol Costa, Author

(a Carol Costa specialty)

2 small packages or 1 large package of Lime Jello
1 10 ounce can of crushed pineapple
1 pint Sour Cream

Prepare Jello according to package directions and chill until partially set
Drain pineapple and stir into jello with the sour cream

Pour mixture into a 13 x 9 inch pan and chill several hours before serving.

The Master Plan – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

Carmen and Cathy both stared at Casey.  Finally Carmen spoke.  “What is going on in that devious mind of yours Casey?”  Casey laughed.  “Forget it.  It probably won’t work.”  “Let us be the judge of that,” Cathy told her.  “Okay.  We pool our money and one of us joins the country club.  Once she’s a member she starts socializing with the rich guys and snags herself a wealthy mate.  She can also bring her two friends to the club for some of the activities and introduce them to her husband’s rich friends.”  “That’s absolutely brilliant” Carmen exclaimed.  “Let’s do it.”  “Wait a minute,” Cathy said.  “Where are we going to
get twenty-five thousand dollars?”  “From your bank,”  Carmen answered.  “We’ll take out a loan and after we marry the rich guys they can pay it off for us.  Only I’m not the one who is going to join the club.  Casey has to do it.”  And that is exactly what the ‘three Cs’ (Carmen, Cathy and Casey) did.  They took out a loan to pay the application fee and Casey became the country club’s newest member.  

It didn’t take long for her to hook up with Anthony (Tony) Hunter while Carmen and Cathy both found catches for themselves.  It also wasn’t long before Tony asked Casey to run off to Vegas with him to be married, which she did.  But all good things must come to an end so after returning home, Casey decided to tell Tony about ‘The Master Plan,’ which is what the 3 Cs had named their plan.  While hoping for his understanding, Casey instead was asked to leave.  Casey gave Tony some time to calm down and then went back to the apartment in hopes of talking to him and making him understand.  What she found when she got to the apartment soon became her worse nightmare.  

Dana Sloan is an investigative reporter who seems to find herself mixed up in more than the usual ‘who’s ripping off the consumer’ investigations.  She seems to somehow stumble into a murder now and then.  In The Master Plan she ends up being involved in three murders with a friend, Judy, and a co-worker, Casey, being involved in two of them.  Her detective boyfriend Al Bruno is handling two of the cases and really doesn’t want Dana involved.  He has his own plans for Dana and they don’t include risking your life to complete an investigation.  His ideas for her are more on the line of her becoming a soccer/PTA mom.  

The biggest conflict in their relationship is when Dana steps into Bruno’s investigations or when Bruno withholds information Dana needs for her investigation and she is now involved in two.  From what Dana has learned, she has come to the conclusion that all three murders are related.  Bruno can’t see it.  He still feels that the wives of his 2 cases just might be guilty and since they don’t know each other, the cases have no connections.  

So… are they related?  Will Dana be able to solve one, two or all three without getting herself killed?  Will Casey and the 3Cs be able to pull off their little plan without being discovered?  These were questions I carried all the way to the end.  I usually have a list of my own suspects but with The Master Plan, I had none.  I was really surprised to find out who killed who and why.  I think you will too.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Deadly Hand - Carol Costa, Author

(a favorite dish from Carol Costa)

4  Boneless. skinless, chicken breasts
1 can artichoke hearts
1 package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Drain artichoke hearts and chop.  In bowl mix all ingredients expect chicken.
Place chicken in casserole dish.  Spread muxture on top of chicken.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for one hour or until chicken is done

A Deadly Hand – A Dana Sloan Mystery – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat and Think With Your Taste Buds – Desserts

“Slim pickins,” he said, letting his body slide into the reclining position against the sturdy dumpster.  He reached into another pocket of the filthy overcoat he wore and pulled out a pint-sized bottle of wine.  He held it up to the light.  It was almost empty.  Shrugging his thin shoulders, the man drank from the bottle, draining it in a few swallows.  Then, he struggled to his feet and pitched the bottle into the dumpster.  Turning around, the derelict suddenly realized that he was no longer alone in the alley.  A stocky figure dressed in a dark overcoat and a wide-brimmed hat had joined him.  “Hey, buddy,” the bum called out.  “Can you spare a dollar?”  The newcomer stopped and took a piece of currency out of his overcoat pocket and waived it at the derelict with a black-gloved hand.  Delighted by this gesture, the derelict stumbled forward to meet his benefactor.  With his eyes fixed on the currency, he didn’t notice that the stranger had taken out another object from another pocket.  The derelict was still concentrating on the currency, intent on making it his.  He made only the slightest sound of disbelief as the bullet entered his stomach…Satisfied that his prey was dead, the shooter stood back and looked down at the stranger who had just been murdered.  Then, the gloved hand reached into a pocket once more and withdrew the final item.  One by one they were dropped onto the lifeless man’s body.  Five playing cards from an ordinary deck were now a part of the murder scene.  The cards were the Ace, King, Queen, Jack and the Ten of Spades…a Royal Flush.’

Dana Sloan is an investigative reporter for The Globe.  Her boyfriend is Detective Al Bruno.  The combination of an investigative reporter and a police detective make for a very touchy relationship.  Dana’s boss Sam comes to her with his belief that his mentor and friend, retired reporter Leona had been murdered and not died of natural causes while living in the Peaceful Pines retirement home.  After talking to the director of the home, and   confirming that Leona was murdered, Dana decides to go undercover working as a receptionist for Peaceful Pines.  Bruno, who is busy trying to turn up clues as to who the “Royal Flush Killer” might be, doesn’t have time to listen to Dana’s suspicions.  Not even when the murder of a political figure’s wife seems connected to her investigation. 

While running on a shaky relationship to begin with, Dana is hit extra hard when Bruno ends up arresting her when he finds she has given refuge to his number one suspect in for the Royal Flush killings.  So, who is right?  Dana believes he is totally wrong in his suspicions and Bruno feels the same about hers.  Will this become a no win situation for both of them?  I’ll give you one clue…they are both wrong.

As I read A Deadly Hand, I was tossed from one suspect to another and like Dana and Bruno, I too was wrong.  This was an ending I simply didn’t see coming.  This is my kind of mystery!

251 pages
Avalon Books (Hardback)
Worldwide Mystery (Mass-Market Paperback)
ISBN# T978-0803497993

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Seventh Messenger - Carol Costa, Author

 Bean Cheese and Egg Casserole
(a Carol Costa favorite)

1 16 oz. can cut green beans
1 can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp. chopped pimento
6 hard boiled eggs, sliced
1/4 cup buttered bead crumbs

Drain green beans, reserving 1/2 cup of liquid.  In a bowl blend the liquid into the soup.  Stir in onion and pimento.  Spoon half of the sauce into a 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish.  Alternate layers of beans and eggs on top of sauce, reserving a few egg slices to garnish.  Cover with remaining sauce and sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Bake uncovered in a 400 degree oven for 10-20 minutes.  Garnish with egg slices and serve.

The Seventh Messenger – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat

‘Like obedient children the people formed a circle around Benjamin.  He closed his eyes and raised his hands to pray, but instead of the comforting words that the group expected, an agonized cry forced itself from Ben’s mouth and he fell to the floor.  Suddenly Benjamin seemed to go into a convulsion.  As the people gasped in fear, Mary ran forward to help her husband.  Her efforts to grab hold of him failed as he was rolling around thrashing his arms and legs and moaning and yelling words that could not be understood.  Mary was frightened and began to cry.  Then, as suddenly as the convulsion started it ended.  Ben lay quietly for a few seconds and then with the help of Jacob and Silas rose to his feet.  His face was streaked with tears and fresh tears were spilling from his dark eyes… Finally, he spoke.  “I was seized by the Spirit of the Lord, so that His truth could be spoken through me.  For the Lord revealed to me that Michael Mills is indeed a false profit, a heretic, and I, Benjamin Franklin Purnell, am the true Seventh Messenger.  It is I who will lead God’s people to the Millennium.  It is I who will lead you out of the strife of these awful times and into the light of peace and prosperity.  Michael has blasphemed and we have followed him, and God’s displeasure has silenced our voices and made us afraid to venture into the sunlight.”

Benjamin Franklin Purnell, along with his wife Mary, had joined the religious group that called themselves “Flying Rollers.”  But after the conviction of their leader Michael Mills for raping several of the group’s young girls, another leader was needed.  With his gift for talking, preaching and steering people to his way of thinking, Benjamin became that leader.

Benjamin moved his people to Benton Harbor, Michigan in 1903 and created what he would call “The House of David.”  The facilities grew with the addition of an amusement park, zoo, hotel, restaurant and even its own baseball team.  And as The House of David grew, so did the treasury which allowed Benjamin and Mary to live true to the names the people gave them which were King Benjamin and Queen Mary.

To become a member of the colony, applicants turned over all earthly items of value to The House of David.  They were to eat no meats and married couples were to live as brother and sister.  In other words, no sex was allowed.  But Benjamin was the king so his own laws didn’t necessarily apply to him.  He created what he called the Inner Circle which was made up of girls no older than 16.  These girls were to live under the roof of his home and he in turn would “purify them.”  After the age of 16 they would be sent to work in other areas of the compound.  Most of the girls kept their “purification” to themselves but one who found herself pregnant decided to bide her time while committing herself to the destruction of King Benjamin. 

The Seventh Messenger has been one of the most intriguing books I’ve read in a long time.  When I read that the story was inspired by the true story of Benjamin Franklin Purnell I had to check it out for myself so I Googled the name and found events and places just as they are depicted in the book.  I don’t remember the downfall of The House of David being publicized here in the south but I do remember another colony that did make the papers here for doing a lot of the same things.  It’s wonderful that a person can bring men, women and children to God but when they do it with selfish desires, it hurts those who are doing it just for the good of God.  This is a great book and I highly recommend it for interesting reading.  I totally enjoyed reading this book!

227 Pages
Anaphora Literary Press
ISBN# 9781463561024

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