#Review A Twist of Oleander by Raven McKray

Raven McKray
* Cozy Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Detective Fiction *

Author: Raven McKray
Publisher: Keystone, Imprint of Brownridge Publishing
Pages: 204
Genre: Cozy Mystery / Romantic Suspense / Detective Fiction

An escape from madness leads to murder …

After suffering a manic episode, twenty-six-year old Maddie Malone retreats to small-town Kenowa and her aunt and uncle’s cattle ranch for peace and restoration. But things are never quiet for long in Maddie’s world: She finds her heart torn between her childhood sweetheart and a suave older man. Then tragedy strikes: Maddie’s uncle is found dead; poisoned by a cup of oleander tea. The police think its suicide. Maddie knows its murder. Now it’s up to her to prove it.

This is a well-plotted cozy mystery, and you do a great job
casting plausible suspicion on all of the main characters so that the
big reveal during the climax is satisfyingly unexpected and exciting.
”–Kindle Scout Editorial Review 2018




This was an interesting little cozy mystery, though I must be honest and admit it took me a while to get into as the writing seemed very disjointed and all over the place. I struggled mostly with the insta love between Maddie and Clayton, I have read my fair share of insta-romances and this one just didn’t fit, it felt off somehow. Another niggle was right at the start when she arrives at the cottage to find it on fire – she just puts it out then goes to sleep……….. I mean come on really!? Surely the first thing would be go to tell her Aunt and Uncle. In fact she never really actually tells anyone after it happened so the significance was lost as the story went on.

Those things aside, we follow Maddie as she is determined to prove her Uncle John was murdered and did not commit suicide as the police reveille happened. There were a lot of suspects all with very good motives to kill him, and at one point I thought I had it figured out but the author did a good job at twisting it so when the moment arrived when the culprit was revealed it was an “a ha” one for me.

If you like a cozy mystery that you can read in a few hours then give this one a chance.

Just made a 4 stars


Chapter One
Enter: Death

The buzzing had stopped, but my
thoughts were thick like oil, and my legs and arms had turned to lead. I opened
my eyes to the too-bright world and took a breath.
“Do you know who you are?” asked a female voice next to me. It took all my
energy to turn my head to look at her. In the chair beside the bed sat an Asian
woman with kind eyes and shoulder-length black hair. Her voice soothed and
strengthened me. She had a clipboard and was writing things on it.
I nodded. “I’m Maddie Malone.”
“That’s right. I’m Dr. Ng. Do you know where you are now, Ms. Malone?” She
stopped writing, her pen poised in the air.
I cringed. “Yes, Carville General Hospital. I… I work here. I’m a nurse.”
Dr. Ng nodded. “Great. Can you tell me what happened back in Emergency? You had to triage the patients, is that correct?”
“Yes. I had a lot of things to do, so many people needing help… I snapped. I couldn’t think anymore. Nothing made sense.”
My mind went back to that terrible moment, back in triage, when I had drifted
down the hallway like a sleepwalker, shrouded in dreams. Around me, other
people yelled and made gestures. They moved back and forth, carrying trays full
of instruments and bits of paper. I walked past them, keeping my head down. The buzzing inside my brain began: izz-izz-izzz.  Fear bit at me like an
animal; moving under my skin and burrowing into my stomach.
I remembered all the people in the bright, white room staring at me; their eyes
like coals. I was trembling inside. A woman, holding a clipboard, approached
me. She spoke, and this time I heard a word I knew—Maddie.  I breathed in
relief: I had a name. Then the woman thrust a paper into my face. I could read
words like, “clopidogrel bisulfate” and “thrombolytic.” I knew the shape of the
words, their sound, but not their meaning. I tried to eat the words, to make
them talk, but the bees in my brain were becoming louder than my thoughts:
Dr. Ng’s soft voice pulled me back to the present: “That’s good, Maddie. Go
on.” I knew what type of doctor she was, even though I had never set foot in
this part of the hospital. Dr. Ng. was a psychiatrist. We were in the psych
“I thought I would lose consciousness,” I said, my voice a bare whisper.
“I was sure I was dying… I was dying inside.” I remembered how
the fear-animal thrust its quills into me. The lights above me were too bright;
they were daggers to my eyes. I covered my face with my shaking hands. What did these people want from me?
Then, I knew. I
was the only one who could help. I had to save these people from Death. I had
seen Death that morning. Its claws had been around the face of an old woman;
her skin lined and thin as paper. I had tried to help her, but Death was too
strong. I had heard Death, too, creeping around the children with bald heads. I
had tried to help them, but Death had taken them away.
the bees asked me. I shook my head, but it was pointless. The bees wouldn’t
leave my ears.
Death was coming
for me. My breath came harder, faster. My hands and feet tingled. My body
vibrated in time with my frenetic heartbeat. I could see Death now, his
enormous body draped in shadows. His eyes glowed red from too many tears and
from the hell-fires of the damned. He smelled of antiseptic and rotting wounds.
His claws were already closing around my heart. I would lose consciousness, and
then he would kill me…
“What happened
after that?” Dr. Ng prodded.
“I thought I was dying…” I whispered again, trembling, trying in vain to shut
out the memory, the moment before the world went black. I remembered how men
with white robes came to hold me down, how they stole a quill from Fear and
stuck it in my arm.
“They stuck me
with needles…” I said in a bare whisper. “Then I woke up here.”
Dr. Ng regarded me thoughtfully, then wrote something in her notes. She asked
me a few more questions, and I answered them the best I could. Then she gave me
medication and left me to sleep.
I drifted in and
out of sleep over the next few days. During times of wakefulness, there were no
flowers, no cheerful faces saying, “Get well soon.” For a while I hoped, and
feared, that a few of my coworkers might come to visit: Maybe Rita or Susan,
who had commiserated with me about management and day-to-day stresses.
I needn’t have
worried. No one came. No one wanted to see the woman who had gone crazy. I was
alone, and I was in pain. I didn’t quite want to die, but I wanted the pain to
stop. It was like someone had implanted magnets in my body, and the magnets
were pulling me down, down, down to the core of the earth.
Only my mother
stood by me. When I was lucid, she was there, sitting beside me. Her eyes were
red and puffy, but she still looked beautiful. She even managed a smile.
“It’ll be okay, Maddie,” she said, patting my hand. I nodded, biting my lower
lip. I turned my head away, into the pillow, so she wouldn’t have to see me



Raven McKray lives in Ontario, Canada. She received her master’s degree in English Literature from Carleton University and has a degree in Education from the University of Ottawa.
Her first novel, “Under A Fairy Moon,” written under the pseudonym “T.
M. Wallace” won the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award (Fantasy) and
the Canadian Christian Writer’s Award (Young Adult Fiction) in 2012. “A
Twist of Oleander” is her first mystery novel for adults, and the first
book in the Maddie Malone Mystery series.


Website —->www.ravenmckray.com
Twitter —-> https://twitter.com/RavenMckray
Facebook —-> https://www.facebook.com/raven.mckray.9



I am Fee, a 30 -something SAHM bookworm! I love to read, and will read almost anything and everything. I am not afraid to try new genres of books and my main genre is horror, thriller.

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