Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Deadly Cliche

'As good as it gets' is the appropriate cliche for 'A Deadly Cliche' by Ellery Adams. This the second book in the Bay Mystery series, but the first read by this author for me. When I met the main character, Olivia Limoges, I was less than impressed. Too rich, too pretty, too spoiled, too perfect - until the chinks began to show. Olivia is more than she seems to be on the surface. There is a reason for her tough exterior.

A Deadly Cliche is more of a book about character than crime although there is enough mystery and untimely death to make the plot spin. The author's rich portrayal of people in Oyster Bay from the roller skating dwarf at Bagels 'n' Beans, to the sassy 'goth' barmaid who writes fantasy fiction, the reader is sure to identify with, or admire, at least one of the quirky, endearing creations by Adams.

Deciphering the cryptic meaning behind hints at cliches left behind at crime scenes occupies Olivia and her Bayside Book Writers group as they come to the aid of Chief Sawyer Rawlings; detective, artist, writer and maybe someone special.

Deadly Cliche is a book within a book.The reader is privileged with brief samples of the Bayside writer's creative endeavors. They are offered an emotional view of Olivia's past and present. Family secrets, friendships, love interests, this book has it all. And did I mention one of the most beloved characters? Captain Haviland is a standard size black poodle who is Olivia's constant companion. He plays his part in the capture of the criminals and not without peril. An effective scene for anyone who has cared deeply for a pet. 

Plus a wonderful 'feel good' ending that makes you want to revisit Oyster Bay again and again.

Friday, March 11, 2011

It's Murder. My Son

Who is Mac Faraday? Is he a topnotch homicide detective from Washington D.C., or is he Mickey Forsythe, a character from his famous birth mother's mystery novels? The people of Deep Creek Lake can't seem to make up their mind in It's Murder, My Son the premiere Mac Faraday novel by Lauren Carr. 
 Mac is recently divorced, and retired, when he learns he has inherited a multi-million dollar estate from the woman who gave him life. Along with a mansion and all the amenities that entails he is also the owner of a five-star lodge. Plus, he gets to keep Gnarly, an ex-GI canine with a dishonorable discharge. Couple this with the attractive woman editor, Archie, that lives in the guest cottage and you have the makings of a first rate mystery with a humorous bent. 
There are plenty of dead bodies, lots of suspects, hidden rooms, gangsters with big city gangs and a rampant 'thief' who is finally nabbed in the act. Carr has peppered this mystery with something for everyone - even a little romance. 
My only comment (and this is personal pet peeve) is I don't like epilogues. They always seem to take away from the magic of the book. Carr also seemed to mix up some of her facts in the last chapters but overall it's a great read. Light, humorous, with enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged and looking forward to the next Mac Faraday Mystery.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dogs Don't Lie

Dogs Don't Lie by Clea Simon is the first in a new 'pet noir' series featuring Pru Marlowe an animal psychic. Everyone who loves animals, or even likes them, knows they communicate with their human counterparts. But, can they actually talk? Wallis, Pru's amazing feline not only speaks but has a real attitude! Wallis contends that all dogs lie but is Lily, the beautiful white pit bull dog lying?  Lily's person, Charles, is dead. Lily is covered in his blood and conveys to Pru terror and confusion. Is the pit bull a victim, or a killer?
When Pru Marlowe lets herself open to a unique psychic ability, being able to not only 'hear' an animal's thoughts, but to feel their fear and pain she didn't realize how much this was going to change her life.No longer able to live in the city because of her 'gift' she made the choice to go home. Quiet little towns are not always what you remember then to be and Beauville was no exception. The opening of this series proves to be an interesting new concept in solving mysteries.With the help of Wallis, Lily, a ferret named Frank, a stressed out Persian cat, and a Bichon, Pru learns more about the people involved in this grisly affair than the police detective who is trying to solve it. It is through her special powers that she finally understands what happened - a real shocker. 
If you have always wondered what your cat, or dog, was thinking you will want to read this book, meet Pru Marlowe, and find out that usually, Dogs Don't Lie.