Thursday, February 27, 2020

Book Review - The Body in the Apartment

The Body in the Apartment (A Jazzi Zanders Mystery #4)
Author:  Judi Lynn
Publisher:  Kensington Books
Publication Date:  March 17, 2020
4 Stars

Jazzi and Ansel are happily married now, and still in the house flipping business with Jerod, Jazzi’s cousin.  Ansel’s brother, Radley, has been living with them since they got married, but now he is moving into his own apartment.  He is excited to be moving into the same apartment complex as his boss, Donovan.  When Ansel and Radley’s oldest brother, Bain, finds out that Radley is staying in River Bluffs, he is furious and drives over to Radley’s apartment with the goal of dragging him back home to the farm.  Donovan tried to step in to help defend Radley and his decision to stay, but he backs off when Bain becomes defensive.  Donovan leaves, but not long after that, the foursome hear a gunshot.  When they look out, they see Donovan covered in blood and stumbling to the ground outside his apartment.  Although they all rush to help Donovan and call 911, Donovan doesn’t make it.  Because of her close relationship with him, Jazzi calls Gaff in the hopes that he will help with the case.

In the confusion of everything, Bain disappears.  When Jazzi and Ansel go in search of him, they find him looking in his truck’s glove compartment in bewilderment.  It seems Bain had brought a gun with him, but now it is gone.  Gaff would come to learn that it was Bain’s gun that had been used to shoot Donovan.  Although not a likely suspect, he is the only suspect for the moment, and Gaff tells him not to leave town.  Once again, Gaff enlists Jazzi’s help to talk with the people involved in the case.  Jazzi has her hands full with the fixer-upper, the case, and the fact that Bain is living with her and Ansel until he is cleared as a suspect.  Jazzi is anxious to see this case solved to find justice for Donovan, provide closure for her friends, and to see Bain head back home.

This is the fourth Jazzi Zanders mystery and I’ve loved every single one.  Each book is filled to the brim with mystery, suspense, construction, good food, and great family.  All of which come together to create a winning combination.  This installment focuses on Ansel’s family and Jazzi and Ansel’s growing extended “family.”  Ansel is joined by both his brothers in this book.  Radley has been living with them until he can get on his own two feet, and Jazzi loves him.  When Bain is forced to stay with them, Jazzi is miserable.  She hates Bain’s bad attitude, and how he treats Ansel, Radley, and their mother.  We learn in this story though that an unlikable character can have redeeming qualities.  During his involuntary stay in River Bluffs, Bain decides to help with work on the fixer-upper, and in the process he learns a lot more than just about construction.

The murder in this story is more elaborate and has a lot more players than in the other books.  The reader must carefully follow the clues and twists and turns to successfully find their way to the solution.  The mystery is clever, suspenseful, and never loses a step.  The characters are great, and you can’t help but wish you were one of the crew.  You won’t want to put this book down until you reach the end.

I’m excited there will be a fifth book in the series, The Body from the Past.

Thanks to Net Galley and Kensington Books for an ARC of this book. #NetGalley   #TheBodyInTheApartment

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Book Review - Murder Makes Scents

Murder Makes Scents
Author:  Christin Brecher
Publisher:  Kensington Books
Publication Date:  February 25, 2020
4 stars

Stella Wright, owner of the Wick & Flame, and her mom, Millie, go on a trip together to Paris.  They are going to a perfume conference, but even more special to Stella is the time with her mom.  Things go horribly wrong though when a man is stabbed to death right in front of them.  With the conference ruined, Stella and her mother head back to Nantucket.  Stella is glad to be back, but she just can’t shake the murder from her mind.  Stella becomes alarmed after she believes someone was in her store, and she sees a mysterious figure outside her shop at night.  She becomes terrified when she receives a note demanding that she hand over a formula her mother has supposedly smuggled out of Paris, or Millie would end up dead.  Stella is unsure what the note is referring to, but she isn’t going to take it laying down.  Before Stella even realizes what is happening, she finds herself involved in an international mystery.  Stella comes up with many suspects, but which of them makes the most scents.

Murder Makes Sense is a great follow up to Murder’s No Votive of Confidence, and I think I enjoyed this one even more.  The action in this book is amazing and fast paced (even if a few places seem a little unbelievable).  I was solidly hooked from beginning to end, and the tension grew steadily as the novel progressed.  It’s a race against time for Stella, and the stakes are high.

The characters in this story are very eclectic.  We have our heroine and her fun loving mother, Millie.  They are joined by:  former classmates of Millie’s; a couple from Canada; Olive, the check out lady from the conference who follows Stella and Millie to Nantucket; a secretive American spy; and a mysterious man with evil eyes, and from this group Stella believes is the proverbial bad guy.  You grow to like almost all of them, making it hard to guess whodunit.

This is a roller coaster of a tale that I believe cozy mystery readers will love.

Thanks to Net Galley and Kensington Books for an ARC of this book.     #NetGalley   #MurderMakesScents

Friday, February 7, 2020

Book Review - The Corpse Played Dead

The Corpse Played Dead (Lizzie Hardwicke #2)
Author: Georgina Clarke
Publisher:  Canelo 
Publication Date:  August 19, 2019
4 Stars

Lizzie Hardwicke is a prostitute at a high end brothel.  In exchange for some extra money, she has agreed to work on occasion for Mr. Fielding, the chief of the Bow Street Runners.  He had found her useful on a recent case, and thought she might also be helpful in the future.  Her main contact is inspector Davenport.  Davenport is impressed with Lizzie’s attention to detail and her logical thinking.  He calls her in to help with a case at the theater on Drury Lane.  Many unexplained accidents have happened there, and he inserts Lizzie as a seamstress so she can find out the truth.  Lizzie is in for much more than she bargained for though when the next “accident” involved the brutal death of Lord Hawbridge.  

Lizzie is an engaging heroine.  Her duel backgrounds provide some unique characteristics.  Her upper class upbringing brings book smarts and logic to the table.  Her second life, after her father banished her, brings her street smarts and most likely the attention to detail she processes.  As much as Lizzie is a likable character, Lord Hawbridge is as equally a repulsive character.  It was hard to feel sorry that he was killed.  He was a truly disdainful character.  The man had a terrible temper that flared anytime he did not get his way.  Lizzie, however, is still determined to figure out who killed him.  It speaks a lot about her admirable qualities.  The author did a great job on further developing both Lizzie and Davenport’s characters and creating some new and interesting players.

Georgina Clarke has written a great follow up to Death and the Harlot.  I thought I would have trouble with Lucy’s career, but it brings a unique multifaceted platform to the plot.  The mystery is great and Lizzie does a great job of digging to get to the truth.  Her actions seem believable and help the reader navigate to the truth.  The story kept me guessing all the way until the end when Lizzie puts all the clues together.  

The setting is fascinating, and the author does a tremendous job bringing the reader back in time.

I’m looking forward to the third book in the series which, I believe, the author mentioned will feature the other girls of the house more prominently again.

Thanks to Net Galley And Canelo for an ARC of this book.   #NetGalley    #TheCorpsePlayedDead