Tag Archives: cozy mystery series

Book Review: Drop Dead Lola – Fifth in the Lola Cruz Mystery Series

10.17.19Drop Dead Lola

By Melissa Bourbon

PI Delores (Lola) Cruz is juggling her personal and professional life with aplomb and a bit of craziness. She has just landed a job investigating a suicide that is very questionable. The mother of the deceased is positive her son did not take his own life. Lola and the rest of the PI agency she works for agree that something is mighty fishy. When the victim’s mother is found barely alive in a garage filled with carbon monoxide Lola is sure there is a murderer in their midst and she is determined to find him or her before someone else winds up dead.

Meanwhile, her cousin Leti is getting married and Lola is one of the bridesmaids. In addition to the tacky dress she has to wear, Lola is supposed to be helping with the bridal shower. Luckily, she can count on her close-knit family to pick up the slack so that she can pursue the case. But that same family can be a bit overwhelming. Especially her mother. It doesn’t help living in the apartment above her parents.  Personal space and privacy is virtually non-existent. The overnight visits by her boyfriend do not go unnoticed.

Drop Dead Lola is a fun romp with Lola, her extended family, friends and co-workers. Lola’s co-workers are interesting and have secrets of their own. One of them is her best friend and partner in solving crime even though she is the administrative assistant. Lola’s Hispanic family is large and loving and her boyfriend, Jack, is adorable. Like all cozy mystery series, their relationship appears to have been on and off.

Mixing murder and zany fun is the essence of a cozy mystery. Ms. Bourbon expertly intertwines a solid “who done it” plot with the craziness of the wedding and family interactions. I love reading a book that seamlessly adds in pole dancing and a boudoir photo shoot seamlessly amid a murder investigation.

This is the fifth book in the Lola Cruz Mystery Series, but the first one I have read. It was easy to read as a one-off novel; I did not feel confused at all. I am going to go back and read the other books in the series. If you are a fan of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, you will love this series.

My only criticism is the many phrases in Spanish used in the dialog. I could figure some of them out but it really interrupted the reading flow for me. I was feeling “stuck” trying to figure out what exactly the characters had said. I would have loved to see the translation at the end of the page like a footnote or even a glossary at the end of the book. My mind kept going back trying to see what phrase/word it may have been, distracting me from the excellent plot.

 DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: The Fog Ladies – Getting Old Can be Murder

The Fog Ladies

By Susan McCormick

Sarah James is doing her medical residency at a San Francisco hospital. She is given an apartment in the same building as the group of women dubbed the Fog Ladies and grows fonder of them with every passing day. They are old and quirky, outspoken and most of them kind. But lately there have been accidents among the group. And a few deaths – are they just at the age where falls can be fatal or is someone methodically murdering these old ladies?

Getting old isn’t easy. The Fog Ladies expected sore joints, dimming vision and dicey digestion but none of them bargained for murder. Maybe it is just a coincidence that some of the gals are dying from accidents in their homes, but something just doesn’t add up. These San Francisco gals have lived in the same building for years, with the exception of Sarah the medical intern, and there have been more accidents than can be explained in the last few months.

As exhausted as Sarah is, she is determined to help her newfound friends. Will she be able to find out who is targeting them before another one dies? There are suspects in and around the building. Is she just imagining it or has someone been in her apartment also? What could they possibly have against her since she is new to the building?

The characters drive this cozy. Each of the building residents are unique, some are kind, others painfully honest no matter whose feelings are hurt. There is a biting little dog, a cat who likes cookies and ice cream and an infant mixed in with the cast of Fog Ladies. Each of them adds depth to the story as well as comedy at times. One of them becomes overly fond of Starbuck’s coffees – so much so she will do just about anything to get her daily fix.

The mystery of who is killing the Fog Ladies has many twists and turns. There are several likely suspects, and just when I thought I knew who the killer was there would be a new clue that blew my theory out of the water. To mix things up, there are a few men that live the building. Maybe Sarah has time for something other than work and hunting a murderer – unless one of them is trying to kill her. Overall, this is the perfect cozy mystery with characters that will travel well into the next book of the series as well as the beautiful setting of San Francisco.

This is the first book I have read by Susan McCormick. She has also written a children’s picture book entitled Granny Can’t Remember Me. It helps children cope with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. I am looking forward to the next adventures of the Fog Ladies.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Hitting the Books – Perfect for Cozy Mystery Fans

Hitting the Books

By Jenn McKinlay

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy for free from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Librarian Lindsey Norris is back for the ninth book in Jenn McKinlay’s Library Lover’s Mystery series. Lindsey is a full time librarian and a part-time amateur sleuth. Lucky for her, the small town she lives in has its full share of nosy-rosies that feed her obsession with solving crimes. The only person it town that does not support her sleuthing is her friend Emma Plewicki, the chief of police.

Emma does not encourage Lindsey’s need to poke her nose in police business, but seems to tolerate it. As the top cop, Emma appreciates the help Lindsey gives her when solving cases. Of course the librarian is instrumental in finding crucial information to help solve the mysteries in this tiny town.

To be honest she doesn’t seek out drama. As Hitting the Books begins, Lindsey is working at the library, minding her own business, when someone runs down a friend of hers right outside. The case takes a nastier turn when someone tries to suffocate the convalescing friend; Lindsey is determined to get to the bottom of the murder attempts.

Aside from the mysterious attacks on her friend, Lindsey has a full personal life. She has recently moved in with Captain Mike Sullivan. Sully as he is called is an ex-Navy man, who loves her, but does not especially like the danger she flirts with while poking around in attempted murders. Lucky for Lindsey, he is supportive of all her endeavors and seems to always be in the right place and the right time to keep her safe.

It may sound like Lindsey is so busy solving crimes that she doesn’t spend any time in the library. That is far from true. She is busy managing the quirky characters that work for her. I would love to visit their library. They have a group that meets for “Crafternoons”. Think a book club on steroids.

The Crafternooners discuss a book they’ve all read, enjoy a delicious lunch and create a craft. I love the bond that is created in these gatherings. The characters share their lives and loves, worries and concerns all the while supporting each other. It is a great way for the reader to learn about the personalities and quirks of the characters.

enn McKinlay has written several different books in addition to the Library Lover’s Mysteries. This is the first book I have read by this author. Even though it was the ninth in the series, I did not feel lost or confused. If you are a fan of cozy mysteries, I highly recommend Hitting the Books, as well as checking out McKinlay’s other books. There is nothing more fun than finding a new author with a long list of interesting books to enjoy.

Copyright © 2018 Laura Hartman

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