Book Review: Left Turn at Paradise: A Rare Books Mystery by Thomas Shawver

Left Turn at ParadisePublisher: Alibi/Random House, August 26, 2014

All it took was for me to read the first sentence of the book’s description and I said, “I want to read this one!” Read it and see what you think:

Michael Bevan is barely scraping by with his used bookstore and rare book collection when he discovers a timeworn journal that may change everything. Dating back to 1768, the tattered diary appears to be a chronicle kept during the first of legendary seafarer Captain James Cook’s three epic voyages through the Pacific islands. If it’s as valuable as Mike thinks it is, its sale may just bring enough to keep his faltering used bookstore afloat for another year.
Then he meets a pair of London dealers with startling news: Adrian Hart and Penelope Wilkes claim to possess the journal of Cook’s second voyage. Is it possible a third diary exists? One which might detail Cook’s explosive final voyage—and his death at the hands of native Hawaiians? Together, all three would be the holy grail of Pacific exploration. But before Mike can act, the two journals are stolen.
Chasing them down will sweep Michael, Adrian, and Penelope across the globe—past a dead body or two—and into a very sinister slice of paradise. High in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, in a remote and secretive Maori compound, a secret rests in the hands of a man daring enough to rewrite history . . . and desperate enough to kill.

My Thoughts:

It’s an old cliche’ but I’m going to say it anyway: Left Turn at Paradise was a non-stop page-turner! There is so much happening to the main character that I had a hard time stopping to take a break. It’s a good thing it was only 208 pages or who knows what would have happened.

Seriously, there were so many twists and turns in the story that it was more like reading an adventure story than a mystery. We go from Kansas City to San Francisco and the backcountry of New Zealand. If adventure isn’t enough for the average story, there’s a lot of interesting information of Captain Cook and, yes, the mystery as well.

This is the second book in the author’s Rare Book Mystery series. Unfortunately, I didn’t read the first book. The first chapter of this book started immediately with a recap of The Dirty Book Murder. I was a little put-off by that. I like a series where each book stands alone with perhaps subtle references to the main character’s previous life.

If mystery and adventure with the talk of rare books thrown in is right up your alley, get Left Turn at Paradise. Take my advice, however, and read the first book, The Dirty Book Murder, first. These books are a part of Alibi Publishing’s program of producing top-notch e-books. Good news: both books are inexpensive – $2.99 each.

Thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book and to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to be a part of it all. To see other stops on the book tour, visit the schedule here: TLC Book Tours

tlc tour host

This entry was posted in B Books, Book Tour, Mysteries and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Book Review: Left Turn at Paradise: A Rare Books Mystery by Thomas Shawver

  1. I prefer it when the author incorporates the past in their series too. Still, this sounds like it’s worth reading.

  2. Beth F says:

    What an worldwide adventure! Mystery & books = winning combo.

  3. Pingback: Thomas Shawver, author of Left Turn at Paradise, on tour August/September 2014 | TLC Book Tours

  4. Oh yes, I’m glad this was a short book so you could enjoy getting lost in it and not worry about having to put it down!

    Thanks for being on the tour. I’m featuring your review on TLC’s Facebook page today.

  5. Tom Shawver says:


    Thank you for your kind words. Now read The Dirty Book Murder so I don’t have to go through the whole background thing with the next one in the series. (It’s titled The Widow’s Son and comes out next year). Seriously, I really appreciate the feedback that reviewers such as you provide. Keep on reading.


  6. kelley says:

    You’ve convinced me. I think I would really like this one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *