REVIEWS

 

AL.com Book Review by Jim Frasier

‘”Maze in Blue,’ ‘The Long Road Home’ kicks off fall book season with style” – Mobile Press-Register
Published: Monday, November 14, 2011

As Birmingham author Debra H. Goldstein has it in her new mystery, “Maze in Blue,” Denney Silber knew true friends could always be counted on. They were there “when you had the proverbial bad hair day and when you broke up with your boyfriend. Most importantly, friends didn’t kill friends.” Or would they?

Goldstein is an award-winning author, a federal administrative law judge and Michigan alumna. She sets “Maze in Blue” on the Michigan campus, and in it she offers two things you don’t always find in modern whodunits. First, she weaves a dark tale set in dorm rooms, classrooms, sorority houses and college hangouts, replete with all the horrors of college politics and tenure-track derailings, sending readers back to their groovy college days of the 1970s. Second, she crafts a mystery that not even the keenest minds will fathom before the surprising dénouement.

With a female protagonist and a decidedly feminine perspective, Goldstein offers a story the likes of which you would never expect from Raymond Chandler or Thomas Harris. Nor is her work populated with quirky Southern women a la Fannie Flagg or Jill Connor Browne. Goldstein’s tome is pure, page-turning whodunit from the first page to the last. “Maze in Blue” sets the standard from Michigan to Alabama for mystery books this fall.

Brandon, Miss., author Joe Lee strikes again with a new thriller entitled “The Long Road Home.” His previous thrillers set in Mississippi, “The Magnolia Triangle,” “Judgment Day,” “Dead Air” and “On the Record,” have all garnered universal praise from Magnolia State critics. This time, Lee has former prom queen Nancy Rutledge hiding out in the Colorado mountains, a fugitive from Mississippi justice. There she remakes herself as best-selling author Chesapeake Rhea Edwards. But selling books is not her primary goal; she’s planning to return to Mississippi during her national book tour and snatch her true love, Keller Bryan, from the clutches of his fiancee, who happens to be Nancy’s half-sister, Catilyn. Whew, I’m hooked already! There’s nothing like an original plot, a fast pace, a strong Southern voice and quirky, local-color characters all melded together to get the reader’s blood boiling before the fireplace this fall.

And the writin’ ain’t half bad, neither. With Lee, you always get a mix of down-home dialogue wed to the ever-thickening plot. The following excerpt is typical; in this scene Caitlyn wonders why a Colorado author is wielding a gun in her direction:

“The gun looked real, and she’d apparently done something to set off Chesapeake Rhea Edwards. As if reading her thoughts, Edwards cocked it and aimed it between her eyes. “It’s pointless to scream,” Edwards said, her Colorado dialect on the verge of shattering. “It’s just you and me.”

“What do you want from me?” Caitlyn said quietly.

“What do I want from you?” Edwards said with an eerie little chuckle. “Your height. Wanted to be tall growing up so I wouldn’t look so damn dumpy. Indulge this lunatic”

Good thought, Caitlyn. Another good idea is to check out Lee’s latest. “The Long Road Home” is a true Southern-fried page-turner. Like “Maze in Blue,” it’s a good reason to visit your local bookstore this fall.

Jim Fraiser is the author of three novels, including “Shadow Seed,” a short-story collection, “Your Love is Wicked,” and nine nonfiction books, including the forthcoming “Majesty of Mobile” and “The Garden District of New Orleans.”

DON NOBLE: Area judge writes murder mystery – Tuscaloosa News (January 1, 2012); Alabama Public Radio (2011)[reprints not permitted]

Sunday, February 26, 2012 – bkkp.blogspot.com

Maze in Blue by Debra H. GoldsteinAnn Holt – Book Keeping

MAZE IN BLUE (2011)

Maze in BlueMaze in Blue by Debra H. Goldstein
If you have spent time on the University of Michigan campus or lived in Ann Arbor, you will especially be interested in this cozy mystery with a 70s vibe. Professors, students, tenure, fraternities, concerts and murder. What more could one ask for?

What made this title even more interesting to me was spending a morning eating beignets and drinking cafe au lait with author Debra Goldstein. She was on the Gulf Coast for a writing weekend and my husband and I were here escaping a Michigan winter.

Ann Holt
I really appreciate a story where I learn about something new and Maze in Blue caused me to scurry off to the Internet to reseacrch the Collegiate Sorosis sorority and to verify the extraordinary concert described. I suspect our heroine Denney Silber may encounter murder again in the future!

Amazon Reviews…
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved Maze In Blue, November 8, 2011
By
Libby
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. I grew up in Ann Arbor and my father was a member of the English Department (although his office was in Haven Hall vs Mason Hall) so it sort of felt like I was reading about family. I wasn’t in Ann Arbor during this time period, although I did move back in 1972 for a year, so a lot of the events written about were new to me. But I did look up John Sinclair on the Internet and found that a lot of what the author wrote about that rally was correct. Couldn’t find any corroboration that John Lennon actually performed Imagine, but fiction authors are allowed some license. All-in-all, I found this a cozy, enjoyable read and hope she writes more books set in Ann Arbor.

5.0 out of 5 stars University of Michigan Mystery is a Winner!, October 1, 2011
By
Ray
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
Not only does Maze in Blue perfectly capture the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor I remember from when I was there in 1970, but the story is a winner, too!
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast Paced Mystery!, September 25, 2011
By
JGL
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
If you travel a lot, are going to the beach anytime soon, or commute on public transportation to work, Maze in Blue is for you. A fast-paced and enjoyable read, it will keep you guessing until the end. Plus, its short chapters let you come to an easy stopping point if you need a break, but you probably won’t want to put the book down!
5.0 out of 5 stars Intrigue and mystery begin…, September 2, 2011
By
RH
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
Don’t typically read lots of murder mysteries but I really wanted to read this one in particular from Debra. Great read and I bet you can’t figure out who dun it.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great read…, September 2, 2011
By
Richard T. Healy
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
I travel alot so reading Maze in Blue in the airport and on the plane was a no brainer. I especially liked the read because a Birmingham author wrote it and that’s where I live with my family as well.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great, August 27, 2011
By
Mouse
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
Great book, couldn’t put it down. It was easy to read and to follow the plot. Loved it. The plot was not overwhelming. It would be a great book to read on a Sunday afternoon. Not too long or too short. Young or older it keeps you guessing.
5.0 out of 5 stars A great college mystery, July 21, 2011
By
Joan Perry
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
This author doesn’t waste any time getting the reader into this cozy mystery. On page 2, the newspaper headline jumps out at you: University of Michigan Coed Murdered. From here until the end the reader has no clue who the culprit is.

Set on a bustling college campus, Judge Debra H. Goldstein weaves a tale that takes you through the local hangouts, to the classrooms, dorm life and well, to say more would not be fair to mystery readers. Maze in Blue is a fast read with a surprise waiting for you at the end. Enjoy.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, July 8, 2011
By
LG
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
I loved this book. It’s a very easy read (2 days), an interesting location, interesting characters, and an intriguing story. The issues of college tenure & college politics are also addressed. All in all, it will keep you turning the pages ’til the end.
5.0 out of 5 stars Maze in Blue, July 5, 2011
By
JCF
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
A real winner. The characters leap off the page – I can’t wait for the sequel.
I read a lot of mysteries, but this one has a unique plot as well as a different setting. What a scramble for tenure.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Mystery, June 19, 2011
By
F J Acunis Graham
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
I do not necessarily read novels, but when I do, I tend to read mysteries. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Mysteries present a mental challenge to me. While reading I keep trying to grasp the clues and logically figure it out. That being said, with the mystery laid out before me on the pages of Maze In Blue, I was pretty much stumped The author creates a maze of characters and circumstances that ranks up there with Conan-Doyle and Christie. Kudos to Ms. Goldstein for a wonderful first book! I hope she authors more mysteries as she has a great way with the written word.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone, who enjoys a good mystery and a good read! You don’t need to be a Wolverine to enjoy this book. After all look at me! I’m a Buckeye!

5.0 out of 5 stars Maze in Blue, May 31, 2011
By
BB
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
Very good book. I judge a mystery by how regretful I am when life interrupts my reading of it. This one scored high on the regret register; I did not want to put it down. And I loved the descriptions of the characters. The interaction among them made me reminisce fondly about college days. This book is well worth reading and I hope to see more from this author.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great Summer Read, May 30, 2011
By
B Stern
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
Maze in Blue was a fun, quick summer read. I’ve never been a big murder mystery fan but this book kept me on the edge of my seat. The characters were likeable ad relatable and the end had a twist I never expected!

I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun book to read by the pool.

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Summer Read, May 29, 2011
By
R. Shapiro
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
I don’t read many mysteries, but I really enjoyed this one. Kept me up one night to see what was going to happen and guessing until the end to be certain “who’d done it.”
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced surprise ending, May 23, 2011
By
MG
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
Maze in blue is a wonderful, fast-paced mystery that will keep you engrossed until the very last page. This is a book that you won’t want to put down! The ending caught me by surprise as I had no idea who the killer was. I think I’ll read it again to see how I missed it!

5.0 out of 5 stars A great escape, May 23, 2011
By
rachel717
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
This novel takes you back to the 1970’s with great detail and rich content. The author describes the college campus and the student/faculty interactions in such amazing clarity that you feel you are there. The style is similar to James Patterson books. Throughout the chapters, you continue to become more and more wrapped up in each character, wondering if they might be the killer. In the end, you will see how the author wove the clues masterfully into the story. This is the kind of book that takes you away and provides escape from your daily routines.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Summer Beach Book, May 19, 2011
By
Illini Girl
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
If you are looking for a book to take to the beach this summer, Maze in Blue is the book for you!! It’s a great fun read, just the type of book I love to read at the beach. I love mysteries and can usually figure them out before the end of the book, but not with this book! That’s what really made it a great mystery! Even though I went to a different Big Ten school I still enjoyed reading a book which took place at The University of Michigan!!

5.0 out of 5 stars Murder at Michigan – Maze in Blue is fun!, May 14, 2011
By
AG
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
I didn’t expect to enjoy Maze in Blue because I’m not much of a mystery fan, but I picked it up because I needed something to read on a cross country flight- and I loved it. Fast paced, a good story, and the writer obviously knows the University of Michigan. For someone who doesn’t usually like mysteries, my thinking Maze in Blue is a five star read says a lot about it.

5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read if you went to University of Michigan!, May 14, 2011
By
Erica
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
If you went to the University of Michigan or lived in Ann Arbor in the 1970’s, Maze in Blue is a must read for you! I lived there then and I can tell you that reading Goldstein’s book brought back great memories because she catches campus places like the Diag, Mary Markley dormitory, and Collegiate Sorosis perfectly.

5.0 out of 5 stars A fast, fun read!, April 28, 2011
By
T.K.
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
If you think you know “who done it,” think again. A bright, shy student who just wants to have a “normal” college campus experience, Denny is plunged into the role of sleuth when her good friend is found dead in the office of her least favorite teacher and suddenly everyone around her is a suspect.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great whodunit!, April 27, 2011
By
Holly
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
Really enjoyable whodunit. I usually can figure out a mystery and I wasn’t sure who did it until the very end…and then I hit myself because the clues were there. A great read.
Full Disclosure: The Amazon Bad Review
Author response to this review which couldn’t be posted on Amazon but readers should know: 2 months off for the $5 law is poetic license but immaterial to the story. At the time the story is set, the directions/hospital entrance were as described (see other reviewers above who responded to this review), but within months of the time the story is set, the hospital entrance and streets described were rerouted to accomodate the building of two new buildings.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
2.0 out of 5 stars barely readable, October 31, 2011
By VS
This review is from: Maze in Blue (Paperback)
Although the main reason I bought this book was because of the UM setting, the University of Michigan tie-ins seem forced and do not advance the plot. Character development is almost non-existent. Also, the author clearly has a poor memory for directions/locations–one would not have gone anywhere near the hospital when driving from Washtenaw to the diag, for instance. While the timing of the Sinclair rally is accurate, the $5 marijuana law was actually enacted months after this rally, not before. There were also a lot of anachronisms–the terms “politically correct” and “24/7” were not used in the 70s, answering machines were not in common use until the ’80s, and video screens in venues such as Crisler Arena were not used until many, many years later. An OK read for those UM alumni wanting a trip down memory lane, but spoiled by the inaccuracies and poor plot. Help other customers find the most helpful reviews

Media and emails…

I have to confess something: I started reading the book, took it home with me, couldn’t stop until I finished reading it, and loved it….I think the best compliment you can give a writer is that you kept me turning the page. I had a real “need to know” and you kept me guessing to the end. When I wasn’t reading it, I was looking forward to getting back to it to find out more. Congrats! Very well-done fun mystery. –Amanda Bonner, Hoover Public Library Assistant Director
… good writing and good reading (I couldn’t rest until I found out whodunit and why) –Robin DeMonia, The Birmingham News

I am in Paris and just finished your novel. What a great read! Started it on the flight over but just could not wait for the return flight to find out “who done it.” Can’t wait for you to give us another treat. Rae T.
Loving your book Maze! – April Deal
I read your book while on vacation last week and really enjoyed it. Great characters and story – congrats! – Barbara Zaslofsky, Executive Assistant – Rabbi Grafman Endowment Fund, Temple Emanu-el
Just finished your book – a real winner. Your characters leap off the page. I can’t wait for the sequel. I read a lot of mysteries, but this one has a unique plot as well as different setting. –Jean Felts, Jean C. Felts & Co.

Mazel Tov! I really enjoyed the book. I can’t wait for the next one in the series! – Rhonda Schultz Weinberg

… I LOVED that the chapters were short…my favorite style. I LOVED that there were not so many characters that I confused them. I LOVED that you painted a picture for me without being so descriptive that I got bored by the details. – Janice Weinstein

I finished reading the book and it kept my attention till the very end. It really was a great read. -Della Fancher, Samford University Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education and Professional Studies Advancement Officer

I enjoyed it-just the ticket. I think a series would be something to consider- but knowing you-you already have that underway. Congratulations!! Another career well launched!! – Wendy Filler, Accounting Manager, Ronald McDonald House

Family Comments

You know it isn’t a masterpiece mom, but it really is a fun and fast read. Perfect for the metro, the only place I let myself read it, or for the beach or an airplane. Good job! –daughter who shall not be named

Are the cliffnotes ready yet? -–son who shall not be named

My eye hasn’t healed yet so I can’t read, but I think the picture on the cover is the best one ever taken of you. Would you send me one please? If not, I’ll just prop up the book and stare at the cover. –Mother

© Copyright 2015 Debra H. Goldstein

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