Book Review: The Fallen Angels Book Club by R. Franklin James

The Fallen Angels Book Club
by R Franklin James
on Tour June 1st – July 31st 2013

Book Details

Genre: Mystery / Amateur Dective
Published by: Camel Press
Publication Date: May 1, 2013
Number of Pages: 264
ISBN: 1603819177 / 978-1603819176
Purchase Links: 


The Fallen Angels Book Club has only two requirements: the members must love books and have a white-collar criminal record. Hollis Morgan fits the bill. Left holding the bag in an insurance fraud scheme concocted by her now ex-husband, she served her time and is trying to rebuild her life. All she wants is for the court to pardon her conviction so she can return to law school.

After one of her fellow members is murdered in a scenario straight out of a club selection, Hollis is once again the subject of police scrutiny. Refusing to get stuck with another bad rap, she sets out to investigate her fellow club members. Is one of them really blackmailing the others? As a second member dies in yet another book-inspired murder, Hollis realizes that time is running out. Everything rides on her finding the killer–not just her career aspirations. She must identify the killer before she herself becomes the next victim. Everyone is convinced she knows more than she lets on. But what is it, exactly, that is she supposed to know?

Read an excerpt:

Tonight it was my turn to come early and set up the space for our book club meeting. Our monthly gatherings were held in a small windowless conference room adjacent to the San Isidro Library’s main reading area. The Fallen Angels Book Club was an exclusive group, not only a love of books was required. You also had to be a white collar ex-felon.I rubbed my hands together and peeled off gloves. My fingers felt like icicles. Thank goodness someone remembered to turn on the heat. The door opened and a gush of wind blew a cluster of leaves into the room along with Gene Donovan who tossed his hoodie and a small brown leather “man purse” onto one of the folding chairs.

“Hollis, let me help you with that.” His tousled blond hair was more askew than usual. Placing his book on the floor, he came over to where I struggled to roll out the meeting table.

“Appreciate it.” I straightened my back and allowed him to carry the bulk of the table’s weight. Fortunately, when I was with Gene, we didn’t have to speak. I caught a glance at his manicured nails and tucked mine into my palms. I liked Gene. He wasn’t afraid to show his feminine side.

We took special care not to drag the metal chair legs across the glowing veneer of the hardwood floor. Its beauty came from the handiwork of the night cleaning crew who waited for us to leave so they could begin their labor.

We settled into our chairs when Rory Norris strode in, let the door slam and dumped his books on the table. His hazel eyes did a sweep across the room as if expecting an ambush. A few more pounds had crept onto his already thickening frame.

Rory patted his black leather jacket as he laid it over the chair. “Hey, people, did you notice if they lock the gates to the parking lot? My Beemer just got detailed and I don’t want some neighborhood juvenile mistaking it for a marker board.”

“Nice touch, Norris, letting us know you got a new BMW.” Richard Kleh came in pulled off his knitted skull cap, revealing an emerging bald crown. He nodded toward the door. “Go check for yourself. Hey, Hollis, did you finish the read?”

“Of course. You’re the one who never finishes a book.”

“Well, I finished this one. It had me going until the end. The characters were realistic and…and…”

“Memorable?” I could tell from his frown he wasn’t kidding.

Author Bio:

R. Franklin James was born and raised in the San Francisco East Bay Area. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and completed the masters program in Public Policy at California State University East Bay. She has also received her paralegal certification.

She and her husband live in northern California with their English Springer Spaniel, Bailey.

Catch Up With Ms. James:

Tour Participants

Reader review . . .

Hollis Morgan is a member of a book club, but she would rather not meet their qualifications.  The Fallen Angels Book Club is made up solely of readers who have committed white-collar crimes.  Hollis has petitioned for an overturn of her conviction in order to return to law school and is doing everything in her power to lead a blameless life.  So when members of the club fall victim to a murderer and the police question Hollis, she realizes that the only hope for her new life is to find the killer and clear her newly-good name.

This debut novel is an exciting beginning to a new mystery series.  The use of a book club and the books they read is a wonderful premise.  Hollis’ remorse and embarrassment regarding her conviction gives the reader a reason to care about her future.  I especially enjoyed the secondary storyline involving her pro bono work at the San Lucian Senior Residence & Community Center.  The interaction between Hollis, Marla, and Lily added to the novel.  Hopefully, the Center and its residents will return in a future installment of the series.

This mystery kept my attention from beginning to end.  Although I had my suspicions of one character, the solution to the mystery surprised me.  And that, my friends, is the mark of a good mystery.

5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Partners In Crime blogger review program.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Fallen Angels Book Club by R. Franklin James

  1. R. Franklin James

    Thank you for the great review. I’m a mystery reader and I write because I want to connect with other mystery readers. You can read more about Hollis in book two: Sticks & Stones coming out in early 2014.


  2. Pingback: The Fallen Angels Book Club, by R. Franklin James | Camel Press