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Sam's Song

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Alternate cover edition for ASIN B00OHZ151W Love Hurts. For Derwena de Caro, songstress, female icon, teenage dream, success brought drugs, alcohol and a philandering boyfriend. It also brought wealth, fame and a stalker, or so she claimed. And that’s where I came in, to investigate the identity of the stalker, little realising that the trail would lead to murder and a scan Alternate cover edition for ASIN B00OHZ151W Love Hurts. For Derwena de Caro, songstress, female icon, teenage dream, success brought drugs, alcohol and a philandering boyfriend. It also brought wealth, fame and a stalker, or so she claimed. And that’s where I came in, to investigate the identity of the stalker, little realising that the trail would lead to murder and a scandal that would make the newspaper headlines for months on end. Love Hurts. For me, Samantha Smith, Enquiry Agent, love arrived at the end of a fist. First, I had to contend with an alcoholic mother, who took her frustrations out on me throughout my childhood, then my husband, Dan, who regarded domestic violence as an integral part of marriage. But I survived. I obtained a divorce, kept my sense of humour and retained an air of optimism. I established my business and gained the respect of my peers. However, I was not prepared for Dan when he re-entered my life, or for the affection showered on me by Dr Alan Storey, a compassionate and rather handsome psychologist. Sam’s Song. This is the story of a week that changed my life forever. Extract He was running towards me now, shotgun in his hands. I gathered my things, turned on my heel and scarpered into the woods. It would take me twenty minutes, at least, to get out of there. In my favour, I had mobility and agility. In his favour, he had power, strength and speed. With all things being equal, he would catch me before I made it back to my car. Five minutes into my run I was starting to pant, more from anxiety than from a lack of stamina. I glanced over my shoulder. I could hear him, but I couldn’t see him. I pinned my ears back and ran as fast as I could. After ten minutes, I sensed that he was close behind me. I was about to turn around to look when I heard the blast of the shotgun and, just above my head, saw the splintering of wood. Stumbling and gasping, I ploughed on. As I ran, two thoughts occurred to me: one – he was faster than me and at this rate, he would catch up with me before I left the wood. Two – the fact that he was willing to use the shotgun revealed that he was taking no prisoners; he was shooting to kill. I increased my pace and prayed that I’d catch sight of the country lane soon. Then I tripped over a branch. I went sprawling into the mulch of the forest floor. I tried to stand, but my ankle gave way. I would need five minutes recovery time but at this rate, I had less than five minutes to live. Frantically, I looked around and saw a large stone, heavy, but not quite a boulder. I limped over to the stone and tried to lift it. It was heavy, but fear gives you amazing strength and somehow I raised the stone to shoulder level and on to a knot of branches. Then I started to climb the tree. It was slow, painful going but, as a tomboy, climbing trees was my speciality and I still had the elasticity and suppleness of youth. Occasionally I’d pause to reposition the stone, then I’d move up to a higher branch. From ground level, I was out of sight, but I had a clear view through the tree to its base and roots. With my ankle aching and sweat dripping off my brow, I raised the stone and steadied myself. It seemed to take an age and my arms were hurting now, but Baldy appeared at the base of the tree, shotgun poised, his beady eyes scanning the woods...


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Alternate cover edition for ASIN B00OHZ151W Love Hurts. For Derwena de Caro, songstress, female icon, teenage dream, success brought drugs, alcohol and a philandering boyfriend. It also brought wealth, fame and a stalker, or so she claimed. And that’s where I came in, to investigate the identity of the stalker, little realising that the trail would lead to murder and a scan Alternate cover edition for ASIN B00OHZ151W Love Hurts. For Derwena de Caro, songstress, female icon, teenage dream, success brought drugs, alcohol and a philandering boyfriend. It also brought wealth, fame and a stalker, or so she claimed. And that’s where I came in, to investigate the identity of the stalker, little realising that the trail would lead to murder and a scandal that would make the newspaper headlines for months on end. Love Hurts. For me, Samantha Smith, Enquiry Agent, love arrived at the end of a fist. First, I had to contend with an alcoholic mother, who took her frustrations out on me throughout my childhood, then my husband, Dan, who regarded domestic violence as an integral part of marriage. But I survived. I obtained a divorce, kept my sense of humour and retained an air of optimism. I established my business and gained the respect of my peers. However, I was not prepared for Dan when he re-entered my life, or for the affection showered on me by Dr Alan Storey, a compassionate and rather handsome psychologist. Sam’s Song. This is the story of a week that changed my life forever. Extract He was running towards me now, shotgun in his hands. I gathered my things, turned on my heel and scarpered into the woods. It would take me twenty minutes, at least, to get out of there. In my favour, I had mobility and agility. In his favour, he had power, strength and speed. With all things being equal, he would catch me before I made it back to my car. Five minutes into my run I was starting to pant, more from anxiety than from a lack of stamina. I glanced over my shoulder. I could hear him, but I couldn’t see him. I pinned my ears back and ran as fast as I could. After ten minutes, I sensed that he was close behind me. I was about to turn around to look when I heard the blast of the shotgun and, just above my head, saw the splintering of wood. Stumbling and gasping, I ploughed on. As I ran, two thoughts occurred to me: one – he was faster than me and at this rate, he would catch up with me before I left the wood. Two – the fact that he was willing to use the shotgun revealed that he was taking no prisoners; he was shooting to kill. I increased my pace and prayed that I’d catch sight of the country lane soon. Then I tripped over a branch. I went sprawling into the mulch of the forest floor. I tried to stand, but my ankle gave way. I would need five minutes recovery time but at this rate, I had less than five minutes to live. Frantically, I looked around and saw a large stone, heavy, but not quite a boulder. I limped over to the stone and tried to lift it. It was heavy, but fear gives you amazing strength and somehow I raised the stone to shoulder level and on to a knot of branches. Then I started to climb the tree. It was slow, painful going but, as a tomboy, climbing trees was my speciality and I still had the elasticity and suppleness of youth. Occasionally I’d pause to reposition the stone, then I’d move up to a higher branch. From ground level, I was out of sight, but I had a clear view through the tree to its base and roots. With my ankle aching and sweat dripping off my brow, I raised the stone and steadied myself. It seemed to take an age and my arms were hurting now, but Baldy appeared at the base of the tree, shotgun poised, his beady eyes scanning the woods...

30 review for Sam's Song

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kat Dietrich

    Sam’s Song by Hannah Howe is the 1st in the Sam Smith mystery series. 3.5 stars Series Background (Warning – May contain spoilers from previous books): Samantha (Sam) is an Enquiry Agent (Private Investigator) with a rather seedy office by the wharfs, and has a cat named Marlowe, who lovingly brings her dead mice. Between an alcoholic for a mother, an unknown father and an abusive journalist for an ex-husband, Sam is learning to look after herself, but she’s a bit of a mess. My Synopsis: Sam is hir Sam’s Song by Hannah Howe is the 1st in the Sam Smith mystery series. 3.5 stars Series Background (Warning – May contain spoilers from previous books): Samantha (Sam) is an Enquiry Agent (Private Investigator) with a rather seedy office by the wharfs, and has a cat named Marlowe, who lovingly brings her dead mice. Between an alcoholic for a mother, an unknown father and an abusive journalist for an ex-husband, Sam is learning to look after herself, but she’s a bit of a mess. My Synopsis: Sam is hired by Derwena de Caro, a singer who says she has a stalker. Derwena’s credibility is somewhat questionable. Set to release a new album, the first in a few years, she is still surrounded by the same distractions that caused problems when she first hit the limelight. Booze, drugs, and a philandering boyfriend are central to her life. So Sam questions the stalker report, but soon has bigger fish to fry. Woody, Derweena’s rather sleazy boyfriend, is suspected of murdering T.P McGill, her old boyfriend. So now Sam has been hired to prove Woody is innocent. That means finding the real killer. Meanwhile, Sam’s ex is trying to get back in her life, and although he keeps claiming to be a changed man, his behaviour says differently. She also has a new love interest. My Opinions: This sort of felt like reading a book by Raymond Chandler, only this time it was the cat that was called Marlowe, and the topics were up-to-date. I was always a fan of old-time detective/PI novels, so this was good. The plot was good, the characters entertaining, and the pace fast. I did, however, find myself skimming the non-stop descriptions of everyone’s appearance. Really, every article of clothing, paragraph upon paragraph…. On the other hand, you could really picture the characters. Love Hurts seems to be the overall theme, and there was definitely pain involved. I think the author handled Sam’s insecurities and the abuse scenes well, although it didn’t leave me with much respect for Sam. Most of the book was spent waiting for Sam to stand up for herself. Overall, I ended up enjoying the book, and will definitely check out the next one in the series.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bill Ward

    I really enjoyed this mystery starring Sam as an emotionally damaged, female private detective. Early on I had to remind myself more than once that this story was set in the UK and not the USA because it felt like I was reading an atmospheric Raymond Chandler story! Sam wouldn't have been out of place as a friend to Sam Spade or Phillip Marlowe. But enough of comparisons because this is an excellent read, which stands on its own merits. We have a great mix of characters. Sam is an interesting an I really enjoyed this mystery starring Sam as an emotionally damaged, female private detective. Early on I had to remind myself more than once that this story was set in the UK and not the USA because it felt like I was reading an atmospheric Raymond Chandler story! Sam wouldn't have been out of place as a friend to Sam Spade or Phillip Marlowe. But enough of comparisons because this is an excellent read, which stands on its own merits. We have a great mix of characters. Sam is an interesting and very believable character. There is an abusive ex husband and the scenes with him were very well written. There is the friend in the police service every private eye needs and again Sweets was well described. The clients are in the music industry and I thought the author did a great job of giving each character their own identity. The various shades of bad guys are an interesting mix and finally, there is Alan who offers the possibility of romance. There is a proper murder mystery to be solved but it is the characters which raise the book above the average and had me turning the pages. I look forward to reading further adventures with Sam.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sandee

    Well-written story with characters that have been broken by their past experiences. I enjoyed most of the book and while I didn't relate to Samantha Smith I understood how her past made her the way she is. I assume that the series will see her grow and heal as her life moves forward. A little bit of a love interest but most of the story is about Sam. I was disappointed in the mystery. Through most of the book the mystery centers on the main characters and their possible motives. Then there is an Well-written story with characters that have been broken by their past experiences. I enjoyed most of the book and while I didn't relate to Samantha Smith I understood how her past made her the way she is. I assume that the series will see her grow and heal as her life moves forward. A little bit of a love interest but most of the story is about Sam. I was disappointed in the mystery. Through most of the book the mystery centers on the main characters and their possible motives. Then there is an evil twist. The author keeps the descriptions mild but I didn't like the resolution. It didn't fit with the clues, the characters or the rest of the story.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Iva Kenaz

    I enjoyed reading Sam’s Song very much. It was exactly what I needed now, a novel that is fun and chill, yet also sophisticated and action-driven. From the very beginning I knew I’d fall in love with the author’s work, as I adored the character and the mischievous game of words that she truly mastered. And of course the plot itself is enticing and refreshing in the genre of mystery and crime. The story is as appealing as the writing style. Sam sets on a journey of discovering a stalker of a famou I enjoyed reading Sam’s Song very much. It was exactly what I needed now, a novel that is fun and chill, yet also sophisticated and action-driven. From the very beginning I knew I’d fall in love with the author’s work, as I adored the character and the mischievous game of words that she truly mastered. And of course the plot itself is enticing and refreshing in the genre of mystery and crime. The story is as appealing as the writing style. Sam sets on a journey of discovering a stalker of a famous diva, Derwena de Caro, and with her wits and sense of humor, she charms everybody around her, but most importantly also us, the readers. What I liked most about the main plot was that at first it seemed like Sam’s gotten herself involved with a silly case when in fact it actually turns into something more serious later on. Also, her back-story is quite sad, tragic really, but overall the mood of the book is positive and frisky. I loved Sam and even more so when I learned more about her past. She’s just such a strong female character who, despite everything that happened to her and besides her fear of romance, keeps an optimistic view on life. I think the author did a brilliant job with this novel. I find her style and humour simply adorable. I really can’t say enough good things about the book and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I’m very impressed. And by the way – I also loved the cat character!

  5. 5 out of 5

    D.R.

    Samantha (Sam) Smith, a 30-something female private investigator, is hired to locate the stalker of an attention-seeking, drugged-out diva, Derwena de Caro. The characters surrounding Derwena are equally flawed, but entertaining. It doesn’t take long for the story to build to a murder mystery. One of Derwena’s former lovers becomes the victim of a killing, and Sam shifts her attention to the more exciting case after Derwena confesses to fabricating her stalker. The story is written in first pers Samantha (Sam) Smith, a 30-something female private investigator, is hired to locate the stalker of an attention-seeking, drugged-out diva, Derwena de Caro. The characters surrounding Derwena are equally flawed, but entertaining. It doesn’t take long for the story to build to a murder mystery. One of Derwena’s former lovers becomes the victim of a killing, and Sam shifts her attention to the more exciting case after Derwena confesses to fabricating her stalker. The story is written in first person from Sam’s POV. The author does a good job of building Sam’s complex character through dialogue and Sam’s personal observations. On occasion, Sam even steps out of scene and communicates directly with the reader via italicized thoughts. Also worthy of note, the story is set in England, but the occasional local references only enhance the story for U.S. readers. A divorced, physically abused, yet strong-willed woman, Sam has a way of stepping boldly into ever larger problems, both personal and professional. There is little about her life that has been easy or, it appears, ever will be. I’ve read several of Sue Grafton’s novels, and I found Samantha Smith to be a younger, more attractive, less seasoned version of Kinsey Millhone. The book wavers between an intense murder mystery and a tempestuous romantic novel. I enjoyed Sam Smith the persistent private eye, Sam the romance-starved victim, not so much. The disparity of the two plots was a lot to balance in a relatively short novel. I never really became interested in Sam’s romantic involvement with Derwena’s shrink. Still, I enjoyed Howe’s fast paced, crisp, no-nonsense writing style. Several of the murder mystery scenes were attention-grabbing. I read the book in three sittings, each one moving more rapidly than the last. I’m sure to try another in the series.

  6. 4 out of 5

    SA Krishnan

    Sam is the main detective of the story and she has been through a lot. Her childhood and her ex were terrible and she has got through them. The story shows Sam as both strong and vulnerable as she solves her case. The crime which she is trying to solve is a good thriller and it makes it easy reading as Sam goes through it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Stuart

    Sam lives. She’s so human I could bump into her out shopping, and that interested me. Her being a private investigator – not an easy job, or not for Sam – was the icing on the cake that hooked me firmly into reading the rest of the series.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Clynes

    Samantha Smith is an enquiry agent (PI) in Cardiff and she is offered work looking into a stalker of a singer. Follow Samantha as she investigates and her task expands. I liked that Sam’s Song is told in the first person narrative - a favourite format of mine. I liked how the story is local as I have lived in Cardiff for the past 30 years. I liked how the dialogue between characters has that Cardiff feel to it and the author’s plus her characters’ voice sounds similar to local singer and televisi Samantha Smith is an enquiry agent (PI) in Cardiff and she is offered work looking into a stalker of a singer. Follow Samantha as she investigates and her task expands. I liked that Sam’s Song is told in the first person narrative - a favourite format of mine. I liked how the story is local as I have lived in Cardiff for the past 30 years. I liked how the dialogue between characters has that Cardiff feel to it and the author’s plus her characters’ voice sounds similar to local singer and television presenter Charlotte Church. There is lively banter between the characters, for example… “Four square-meals a day” he munched, “detectives march on their stomachs, remember that.” I eyed his considerable paunch, protruding through his open trench coat. “If your stomach drops any lower, you’ll be true to your words, you’ll be marching on it.” … However, I found the plot of Sam’s Song to be shallow, making this a pleasant yet unfulfilling throwaway story. There was no bite to this story, it was not gripping, just a jolly read with some romance thrown into the mix. Sam’s Song is unrealistic and this lack of realism spoils the reading experience making this book a POOR 2 star read. The best bit of this novel is when Samantha has a moment of reflection which she shares with the reader, much more memorable than some gun toting action… Though there were moments when I longed to be loved, to share stories with a companion, to share the pleasures of sex, to share the minutiae of everyday life. Suddenly, I felt depressed, as though a dark, thundery raincloud were hovering over my head.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Janice Richardson

    Initially, I had a bit of trouble getting into the book, probably because the premise was not something I was familiar with, i.e. a rock star with a problem. Not a fan of rock music, or the lifestyle, it was the protagonist, Sam, that drew me in. Don't you just love it when a book grows on you? Three-quarters of the way into the story I forgot that it wasn't a likely scenario, I was routing for Sam and hoping she would make sound decisions. It takes a good writer to draw one into a story that is Initially, I had a bit of trouble getting into the book, probably because the premise was not something I was familiar with, i.e. a rock star with a problem. Not a fan of rock music, or the lifestyle, it was the protagonist, Sam, that drew me in. Don't you just love it when a book grows on you? Three-quarters of the way into the story I forgot that it wasn't a likely scenario, I was routing for Sam and hoping she would make sound decisions. It takes a good writer to draw one into a story that is hard to put down, even if it isn't something you relate to.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Huxtable

    Really good read I really enjoyed this story. Sam is a great character who overcomes quite a bit in this book. Although about halfway through, I wasn't really sure what she was investigating. But nonetheless it was a good story Really good read I really enjoyed this story. Sam is a great character who overcomes quite a bit in this book. Although about halfway through, I wasn't really sure what she was investigating. But nonetheless it was a good story

  11. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Standafer

    I so enjoyed getting to know Sam Smith, a private investigator with an abundance of wit and compassion despite her past. Sam's Song is well-written and contains vivid descriptions of the characters and settings. While the story touches on some difficult topics (drug and alcohol use, violence against women and children) there are no overly graphic scenes. Mixed in are some laughs as well as a blossoming romance that keep the overall feel of the book fairly light. This is the beginning of a series I so enjoyed getting to know Sam Smith, a private investigator with an abundance of wit and compassion despite her past. Sam's Song is well-written and contains vivid descriptions of the characters and settings. While the story touches on some difficult topics (drug and alcohol use, violence against women and children) there are no overly graphic scenes. Mixed in are some laughs as well as a blossoming romance that keep the overall feel of the book fairly light. This is the beginning of a series and I look forward to seeing how Sam's character develops.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Connie Lacy

    If you like mysteries told from the point of view of a wise-cracking, but emotionally damaged, narrator, this might be right up your alley. The first book in a series featuring Sam (Samantha) Smith, a private eye in Wales, readers get an inside view into how she solves each case – often, by putting herself in danger. While there’s the mystery at hand, you also learn a lot about Sam, who survived an abusive marriage, an alcoholic mother and an absent father. I’m not much of a mystery reader, so f If you like mysteries told from the point of view of a wise-cracking, but emotionally damaged, narrator, this might be right up your alley. The first book in a series featuring Sam (Samantha) Smith, a private eye in Wales, readers get an inside view into how she solves each case – often, by putting herself in danger. While there’s the mystery at hand, you also learn a lot about Sam, who survived an abusive marriage, an alcoholic mother and an absent father. I’m not much of a mystery reader, so for me, Sam’s personal story was more interesting than figuring out whether a fading rock star is telling the truth about a stalker and then trying to absolve her guitarist/lover of murder charges. Lots of witty, self-deprecating asides. There’s also a developing love story that I assume will continue as the series progresses, with a man who is Mr. Perfect.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Harold Kasselman

    It's sort of a cozy mystery with a woman PI with a history of domestic violence issues. The plot is familiar and not especially intriguing. It's sort of a cozy mystery with a woman PI with a history of domestic violence issues. The plot is familiar and not especially intriguing.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Denise Zendel

    Sam Smith, an enquiry agent (aka PI) in Cardiff, Wales, catches a case involving a famous young rock diva who claims she has a stalker. While investigating the case, Sam stumbles onto something much bigger, dirtier, and involving even more famous people. I had a love/hate relationship with this book. I enjoy books with central female characters in non-traditional roles, especially when they persevere despite great odds. Sam has low self-esteem from growing up with an alcoholic mother, and a charm Sam Smith, an enquiry agent (aka PI) in Cardiff, Wales, catches a case involving a famous young rock diva who claims she has a stalker. While investigating the case, Sam stumbles onto something much bigger, dirtier, and involving even more famous people. I had a love/hate relationship with this book. I enjoy books with central female characters in non-traditional roles, especially when they persevere despite great odds. Sam has low self-esteem from growing up with an alcoholic mother, and a charming, psychotic, manipulative ex-husband she lets in her head way too much. She’s trying to improve her life, despite the odds. The ex finds out she’s working for the diva and wants the scoop for his newspaper. Sam says no, but he verbally and physically batters her down and she gives in, at least on the surface, to get him to go away. I spent the first 50% of the book thinking, for the love of whatever higher power you believe in woman, get some therapy and grow a spine. I almost gave up in frustration, but then as part of her investigation, Sam finds the loser ex tied to a chair and beaten to a pulp. Personally, I would have left his ass there and kept on moving, but she couldn’t do that. I gained some respect for her humanity at that point and decided she was probably a better person than I. The book picked up speed after that, and Sam did find a backbone, going well out of her comfort zone to bring the case to a close. The supporting characters were engaging - Sam’s romantic interest, a handsome psychiatrist with a connection to the stalking case, and her gruff, bad-joke-telling police contact, who underneath it all really cares about her. The settings were well-described, making me feel I was with her creeping through a mansion, or fighting the good fight. The plot held my interest, and the ending was a complete surprise. I ended up liking this book way more than I thought I would. Would I re-read it? No. But I am interested in picking up at least the next book in the series to see what happens to Sam, how she recovers from the tragedies in this book, and whether the attraction to the doctor turns into a full-blown romance.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michael Wilton

    Purchase Verified Format: Kindle Version Determined to put the past behind her I started off by reading ‘Love and Bullets’ first, like putting the cart before the horse. To repair the omission, I went back to the first of Sam Smith’s mystery series and found it fascinating reading. In Sam’s song, we find her crouched over her desk in the seedy parts of town after setting herself up as a private detective to help pay off her mounting bills. To her surprise, she is singled out by a rock star’s manag Purchase Verified Format: Kindle Version Determined to put the past behind her I started off by reading ‘Love and Bullets’ first, like putting the cart before the horse. To repair the omission, I went back to the first of Sam Smith’s mystery series and found it fascinating reading. In Sam’s song, we find her crouched over her desk in the seedy parts of town after setting herself up as a private detective to help pay off her mounting bills. To her surprise, she is singled out by a rock star’s manager and hired to discover who is stalking his client, Derweena De Caro. On visiting Castle Gywn where Derweena and her guitarist boyfriend, Woody, are recording their latest album, she finds a rather hostile diva who appears to be vague about the sightings and her manager is hard put to keep her off the booze and drugs. Despite her own daunting childhood when she was faced with a similar situation supporting her mother and still recovering from an abusing relationship with her ex-husband, Sam is determined to put the past behind her and make a success of her life. Before long, Sam discovers there is a lot more to the case than searching for an elusive stalker and is faced with mounting difficulties and dangerous situations where her personal life is constantly at risk. While fending off the unwanted advances of her ex-husband, Sam falls under the spell of the solicitous attentions of the star’s psychologist, Dr Alan Storey and feels increasingly vulnerable and unsure of her own feelings. Throughout the drama, the reader is aware of the subtle skill of the author in bringing out Sam’s strength of character and stubbornness in overcoming the odds against her. Without doubt, highly recommended. I look forward to the next instalment to come.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brigitta Moon

    This novel is wonderfully written. Even if I didn't like the story, which I did, this book would have received 5 stars from me because of the superb writing. Sam is a private investigator with a lot of emotional baggage and little cash. She accepts a case she really doesn't want, but cash is tight and there are things she'd like to purchase. She goes from hunting a stalker to hunting a murderer. She's good at what she does. She says she is, but doesn't entirely believe in herself. I guess that This novel is wonderfully written. Even if I didn't like the story, which I did, this book would have received 5 stars from me because of the superb writing. Sam is a private investigator with a lot of emotional baggage and little cash. She accepts a case she really doesn't want, but cash is tight and there are things she'd like to purchase. She goes from hunting a stalker to hunting a murderer. She's good at what she does. She says she is, but doesn't entirely believe in herself. I guess that's how Dan happened, the ex-husband who I think I would have shot between the eyes long ago. I love books that evoke emotions and reactions. So, Sam accepts the case of the stalker. Derwena is a singer fighting her way back to the top of the charts. She has a stalker and want's Sam to flush him out. It doesn't help that Derwena has a few mental issues in her past, but it does help Sam's love life. She often finds herself between a rock and a hard place professionally and romantically. I enjoyed Sam Smith and the other characters. And just stop and think... there are more books in this series to enjoy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Zain

    Moments Although the book has a little bit of romance added to the suspense, there is still enough mystery to enable you to enjoy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys character led contemporary fiction. Howe has high readability. The lively dialogue, internal and eternal and the action flowed naturally making the book a pleasure to read. Cardiff and its surroundings were well described and Sam's first case introduced colourful characters and was resolved in a satisfying way. For me, the strength of the book was the central character. Feisty yet insecure, until a little more is revealed about her past Sam is not automat I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys character led contemporary fiction. Howe has high readability. The lively dialogue, internal and eternal and the action flowed naturally making the book a pleasure to read. Cardiff and its surroundings were well described and Sam's first case introduced colourful characters and was resolved in a satisfying way. For me, the strength of the book was the central character. Feisty yet insecure, until a little more is revealed about her past Sam is not automatically likeable. Through the story she is developed into a complex rounded character. The scene between her and her ex-husband Dan for me was the most powerful part of the book. The insight into her troubled childhood and abusive marriage and how that influenced her thinking and decisions almost eclipsed the sleuthing element of the book. Having met Samantha I am intending to read the other books in the series.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Wilde Sky

    A female detective, who has survived a difficult childhood and a bad relationship, is asked to protect a singer from a stalker, but soon finds herself involved in a sinister plot. I thought the main character was believably damaged, the plot moved on at a reasonable pace and there was a suitable array of unusual / engaging characters. The setting of modern day Cardiff was well described as was the relationship with her cat (which added some humour to the story). My few quibbles were I couldn’t hel A female detective, who has survived a difficult childhood and a bad relationship, is asked to protect a singer from a stalker, but soon finds herself involved in a sinister plot. I thought the main character was believably damaged, the plot moved on at a reasonable pace and there was a suitable array of unusual / engaging characters. The setting of modern day Cardiff was well described as was the relationship with her cat (which added some humour to the story). My few quibbles were I couldn’t help feeling that the plot arc was forced (as if two stories had been mixed together), in some places the writing wasn’t tight enough / a bit clichéd and the main character’s demons seemed to take centre stage all the time (which I found a bit repetitive). Overall an entertaining read and lovers of damaged female detective mysteries will probably enjoy this book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Erin Riley

    This is the first book in the Sam Smith series. I read one of the other books last week, loved it, and couldn't wait to get my hands on this one so I could work my way through this stellar series. Hannah Howe is a very talented writer, with an ability to write complicated characters in such a way that the reader is fully immersed in the story. Sam Smith is a woman of contradictions: small yet strong, scrappy yet fretful, beautiful yet insecure. And her internal monologues are some of the funnies This is the first book in the Sam Smith series. I read one of the other books last week, loved it, and couldn't wait to get my hands on this one so I could work my way through this stellar series. Hannah Howe is a very talented writer, with an ability to write complicated characters in such a way that the reader is fully immersed in the story. Sam Smith is a woman of contradictions: small yet strong, scrappy yet fretful, beautiful yet insecure. And her internal monologues are some of the funniest I've read. This is a mystery, and a very good one, but also delves deep into issues of addiction and domestic abuse. A great read--highly recommended. I definitely plan to read the rest of the books in this wonderful series.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Robin Austin

    Fun, fast paced read with a loveable but flawed protagonist. Tough as nails (can dispose of dead mice brought to her by her cat Marlowe by picking them up by their stringy gray tails - oh my) and sharp, strong, and witty. Loved that the story came to a satisfying conclusion as many series leave you hanging. Still there was reason enough to want to read on to the next one. Overall, this is a well developed story, a borderline cozy, with backbone, mystery, and humor.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bette Stanek

    Sam’s Song is a mystery written in the style of a British, or in this case Welsh, mystery. The characters are rather bizarre with all their idiosyncrasies. It was a fun story and held my interest for the first two-thirds of the book. Something happened at that point and the author seemed to start jumping from one thing to another. The storyline is familiar and the ending abrupt. It’s OK, but I didn’t find it fascinating or even particularly hard to put down.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Denise McCabe

    Really enjoyed this book. The character Sam is someone who is very likeable and that a lot of people can relate to. The story itself was gripping with some great characters. It was filled with humour and suspense. This was a great book from a very talented author and a very good start for a first book in a series as it left me wanting to read more which I intend to do.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nance

    Unrealistic protagonist, her insecurities are overdone; it feels to me like she is always fishing for compliments or wanting everyone to feel sorry for her. She gets confidential information from the police and the same day shows it to her physically and mentally abusive ex husband? Short, easy read, a few laughs

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jesamine

    An intriguing mystery. A real page turner, beautifully written. The emotional scenes about Sam's traumatic past add a Wow! factor. Although she is unassuming and modest, Sam is also a strong woman who battles through against the odds. Can't wait to read the next book in the series. An intriguing mystery. A real page turner, beautifully written. The emotional scenes about Sam's traumatic past add a Wow! factor. Although she is unassuming and modest, Sam is also a strong woman who battles through against the odds. Can't wait to read the next book in the series.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Randall

    You know what’s like, an author new to you, meeting character’s for the first time, you don’t know them yet, they’re not under your skin, you’re unsure whether you are going to like this book, it’s not your regular genre, but it’s piqued your interest so you persevere hoping for a hook, give it a few pages, you never know, the grammar’s impeccable, the edit’s excellent, the build up plausible… And then the cat licked his balls... I was in, captured by M’s Howe’s sense of humour, her tongue in che You know what’s like, an author new to you, meeting character’s for the first time, you don’t know them yet, they’re not under your skin, you’re unsure whether you are going to like this book, it’s not your regular genre, but it’s piqued your interest so you persevere hoping for a hook, give it a few pages, you never know, the grammar’s impeccable, the edit’s excellent, the build up plausible… And then the cat licked his balls... I was in, captured by M’s Howe’s sense of humour, her tongue in cheek slant on a Private detective escapade with a substantial difference, this dick didn’t have one. The protagonist propagated with each turn of the page, blossoming into someone adorable. Sure there were some fantasy moments, it’s what we expect from a novel right, but Hannah writes with an authentic realism that brings it down to earth in a way that is both humbling and familiar. It wasn’t so much the murder investigation that embroiled me, but the parable of Sam Smith. Like most of us she’s a regular, bruised, battered, fragmented and confused individual, who has to enamel herself for the life she has chosen. She’s a lady on a mission, packing a Smith and Wesson and a bucket of wryly delivered Dad jokes, what’s not to love. I’d like to read more of Miss Smith’s capers; I enjoyed the pathos, the gritty quotidian irony and the geography and history from a small part of Wales. The only disappointment, we never get to hear Sam’s song.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Laurel Heidtman

    I started reading this series with several later books, but I decided I wanted to go back to the beginning. I’m really glad I did because Sam’s Song, the first in the series, does a fantastic job of establishing the character of Sam. I knew from the later books that she’d been an abused child and an abused wife, and this book did an amazing job of portraying what that does to a person. When she cringed before her ex-husband, I wanted to yell at her to kick him in the family jewels, but I knew th I started reading this series with several later books, but I decided I wanted to go back to the beginning. I’m really glad I did because Sam’s Song, the first in the series, does a fantastic job of establishing the character of Sam. I knew from the later books that she’d been an abused child and an abused wife, and this book did an amazing job of portraying what that does to a person. When she cringed before her ex-husband, I wanted to yell at her to kick him in the family jewels, but I knew that would not be the reaction of someone who’d been beaten down most of her life. Her reaction was real and to be expected. Now that’s not to say that she’s a mouse either. She has been making her way out of victimhood and becoming stronger every day, and that’s even more clear by the end of the book. I also thought the other characters in the book were well drawn. Sweets is great, as are his mostly bad jokes, and Alan is a rare find. But the characters of Derwena, Woody, Milton, and the ever-present and silent Tim are also great. As is Marlowe—we can’t forget Marlowe! OK, you can probably tell that good characters are a must for me to like a book, but I also like a good story. Sam’s Song also has that with a murder, danger, and action. That’s all a must in a good private eye story, but it’s the characters that make the Sam Smith books really stand out.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Roy Murry

    SAM'S SONG A Sam Smith Mystery HANNAH HOWE Review by Roy Murry, Author Sam's Song is a character-driven mystery novel giving the reader a crime to solve, but more importantly a new crime investigator - Sam. The reader gets a character with whom they can empathize. She is a young woman in a male-dominated world out there putting her arse on the line (Story is in England.) Her psychological makeup keeps her from reaching its potential. However, Sam makes due with hard nose intuitive and cognitive abili SAM'S SONG A Sam Smith Mystery HANNAH HOWE Review by Roy Murry, Author Sam's Song is a character-driven mystery novel giving the reader a crime to solve, but more importantly a new crime investigator - Sam. The reader gets a character with whom they can empathize. She is a young woman in a male-dominated world out there putting her arse on the line (Story is in England.) Her psychological makeup keeps her from reaching its potential. However, Sam makes due with hard nose intuitive and cognitive abilities that head her in the right direction. She gets help from a police officer that leads to the possible killers' place. When reaching that place, what happens next is a cliffhanger. The event culminates with the loss of an ex-husband her current nightmare, the freedom of her client, and a future she believes is unattainable. Great writing, fast-paced, intriguing characters, and an enjoyable first book in a series made buy book two in the series. Moreover, I usually don't do that.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lucretia

    I really enjoyed reading this character driven mystery. Sam is a female detective, damaged, determined. Her character is extremely well developed, real, the flaws serve her. There were several secondary characters who were also fleshed out, making this a richer read. Sweets gave me a few giggles, he played well against Sam. Dan, oh my, I wanted to pop that man on more than one occasion. The balance to him was Alan, a good man. Is she too broken by Dan to give Alan the chance he deserves? That sh I really enjoyed reading this character driven mystery. Sam is a female detective, damaged, determined. Her character is extremely well developed, real, the flaws serve her. There were several secondary characters who were also fleshed out, making this a richer read. Sweets gave me a few giggles, he played well against Sam. Dan, oh my, I wanted to pop that man on more than one occasion. The balance to him was Alan, a good man. Is she too broken by Dan to give Alan the chance he deserves? That she deserves? In addition to rich characters, there is a lovely narrative that paints an easy to imagine settings, and brings the characters thoughts to life. The pace was deliberate with a nice balance of intensity and introspection. The mystery was interesting, with a satisfying conclusion. This is a great start to series and I look forward to reading more.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Sheehan

    I'm not usually one for private eye/ mystery stuff, but this caught my eye. I'm glad I read it. Sam Smith may sound like a man's name, but it most definitely belongs to a girl... a rather emotionally messed up girl. Even though she carries a lot of "baggage" she needs to eventually face and deal with, she's a whiz at helping others solve their problems. I know I'd want her on my side if someone was trying to do me dirty. Maybe because I'm terrified of mice, but I could have done without the stra I'm not usually one for private eye/ mystery stuff, but this caught my eye. I'm glad I read it. Sam Smith may sound like a man's name, but it most definitely belongs to a girl... a rather emotionally messed up girl. Even though she carries a lot of "baggage" she needs to eventually face and deal with, she's a whiz at helping others solve their problems. I know I'd want her on my side if someone was trying to do me dirty. Maybe because I'm terrified of mice, but I could have done without the stray cat, Marlowe, bringing her dead mice. I'm too visual for that. yuk! All in all, I found it captivating, entertaining, and very well written. If you're a fan of private eye stories, this is a must. If you've never read one, or think you don't care for them, give this a try... I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

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