Suzilla reviewed Crossing Sydney

A great little suspense novel July 11, 2015

Dont PISS OFF Sydney!..A great little suspense novel..Sydney only followed through on what most people would like to do but only think it. Didn't really put it down because I wanted to see what happened next..Would buy any other books this author wrote.. Happy reading..

Nick Beal reviewed Crossing Syndet

Could be a series! July 11, 2015

Indeed, a riveting read that I have already recommended to friends and family. Some of the "incidents" that occur throughout the novel and the moral dilemmas keep the reader engaged and excited for more. Crossing Sydney has the ability to turn into a whole series of novels that examines further exploits. I only wished the tale did not end so quickly.


Barbara Salveson reviewed Crossing Sydney

 Five Stars July 11, 2015

A good summer read written by a former high school classmate.

Lori Caswell/Dollycas reviewed The Mayor's Son

 Like him, most residents of this small Columbia County ... November 18, 2017

Dollycas’s Thoughts    A mystery set in your small home town can be unnerving. This story takes place almost exactly 4 years before I was born. With all the real places, businesses, streets, homes and character names similar to their real ones or descriptions clear enough to recognize who they were based on had me thinking parts of the story could come from actual events, I mean I wasn’t around . . . but the real mayor’s son at the time has assured everyone it is purely fiction.
When a young woman is found dead near the town’s only set of stop and go lights “the four corners” and a second woman is pulled from the river Police Chief Augie Austin fears Columbus may have a serial killer. Trying to find a link between the women is tough because no one will answer his questions. Like him, most residents of this small Columbia County town can’t believe this happened in their close knit community. The investigation starts to move forward when the results on evidence from the crime lab start to come in and they are pointing to one of his own officers. The guy is lazy as they come and doesn’t respect Austin’s authority, but a murderer. . .
This is my first book by this author and clearly it will not be the last. She knows how to set a scene and has created unique characters. I love that in 1957 she has a capable and well trained woman on the police force. All the characters are realistic and their dialogues are believable. Her descriptions make it so easy to picture everything clearly even if you have never set foot in the city.
Murder, prostitution, and small town politics, all come together in a suspenseful mystery with amazing twists and an ending you will never see coming. There is also a fair amount of humor woven throughout the story.
I love my home town. Taking a step back in time was a pleasure. From the city hall, to Earl’s Cafe (where both my mother and sister worked), to the Fireman’s Tavern, the Stokely canning factory, the popcorn wagon, the Crawfish River and more brought back so many memories. I grew up there and still don’t live too far away. My dad was a milkman, a school bus driver and later the Fire Chief. My mom worked not only at Earl’s Cafe but at the garment factory and later owned a tavern with my dad. Heck, I was runner up to Miss Columbus in 1979. Life there wasn’t perfect but I wouldn’t change a thing.
I admire the author’s imagination and the drama she brought to life in her book. The characters are well crafted and the story really flowed well. I look forward to reading another of her books that hopefully don’t hit quite so close to home 🙂


Mathew Paust reviewed The Mayor's Son

 The real mayor's son October 6, 2017

Once I'd learned the title of Susan Pare's latest novel I knew I had no choice. Even were there a choice I knew nothing could keep me—wild horses, world war, the Zombie Apocalypse—absolutely nothing could keep me from reading The Mayor's Son. You see, not only was the book's title something I'd heard aimed derisively at me throughout my adolescence, the book's author and I attended the same high school. Susan was three years ahead of me. I did not know her, but I recall her younger sister dated my cousin, and younger brother knew my sister. I remember Susan's older brother as the local newspaper's photographer, capturing dynamic images on his huge Graflex camera at our school's athletic events. He appears in the same role in the novel as “Kirk Peary.”
Columbus, Wisconsin, was (and remains) a small town. What I had to worry about, knowing Susan writes crime novels (one of which I'd reviewed a year or so ago), was how much did she know about me and might she be getting even for my Amazon review of A Bad Week in Hollister (I recalled liking the book, but was afraid to check back in case my words weren’t as flattering as some authors—all, in fact—prefer to see for their efforts.) I had to worry if Susan made me the villain or the victim in The Mayor’s Son.
I’m relieved to report I don’t think she had me in mind while creating any of the many characters in this nail-biting tale of prostitution and murder in our little hometown, albeit set in a year my father was in fact Columbus’s mayor. True, Pete Drollstrom, son of the novel’s mayor, is a grade-A jackass, and true, your reviewer surely had his jackass moments back then and later (even now!), yet...but I intend not to give anything away here. No spoilers, if I can help it. But here’s one of my favorite scenes, one of several fantasies Police Chief August Austin (our real chief back then was Ariel Austin) shares with us as he regards his least favorite officer:
Chief Austin stared back at Pete, stepped back a few feet, slowly pulled his gun out of his holster, and aimed it at Pete.
Pete’s face turned white, fear written in his eyes. “What do you think you’re doing?” he asked Austin. “You know better than to aim a loaded gun at someone.”
“I do know that,” Austin said softly. “Unless, of course, you intend to use it.”
“You’re bluffing. There’s no way you’re gonna shoot me. Now, put that gun away or I’ll have my dad fire your ass,” Pete stared up at Austin. “This isn’t funny, Augie.”
“That’s Chief Austin to you. And, you’re right. It isn’t funny,” Austin said, as he pulled the trigger
.Even when it became apparent the eponymous mayor’s son’s jackassery was most likely not a reflection on me, I was unable to completely relax my vigil as familiar name after familiar name appeared on the myriad other characters—good, bad, and neutral. Mine—whew—was not among them, but a couple had been good friends. These were just the last names, and yet even seeing those in print opened windows on the past, letting in nostalgic breezes that carried scents, faces, and voices from long ago. On a whim I dug through unpacked boxes of my books until I found our 1957 high school yearbook. They were in there, the seniors, most of the names in The Mayor’s Son. They were Susan’s classmates.

Mixed with the profound relief at not finding anyone in the novel who I thought resembled me in the slightest (even the good guys), and being transported in my mind back to the misty, tender days growing up in my birthplace, was the pleasure of reading a good story. The Mayor’s Son is a well-paced, suspenseful drama, but, at least to me, believable only as fiction. I spent many hours fishing and clamming with Glenn Lange along River Road in the Crawfish River, where one of Susan’s corpses is found. I spent a summer home from college packing cartons at Stokely Van-Camp’s canning factory, behind which police conduct the search for clues to one of the novel’s killers. Bought many a bag of popcorn at Hasey’s Wagon, under which another fictional corpse turns up.

I’m sighing now. Time carries us continually farther from such days with each passing second. Columbus seems idyllic in my memories, and it was, despite the horror you imagined, Susan. But thanks. – the real mayor’s son.