Franki and Veronica are back and business is booming at the Private Chicks Detective Agency. So much so that when a Cruella DeVille look-alike, DeltaFranki and Veronica are back and business is booming at the Private Chicks Detective Agency. So much so that when a Cruella DeVille look-alike, Delta Dupre, hires the agency to look into a death at the Oleander Place, and antebellum plantation, Veronica gives Franki lead.
Ivanna Jones, cosmetics CEO, was found dead in the bed inside the plantation. A spitting image of one of the descendants, Delta, wants the murder solved immediately so as not to ruin her business. It's up to Franki to figure out what the police haven't. Then the bodies start piling up at Oleander Place and Franki starts getting death threats.
Add into the mix Chandra, the medium that Franki encounters, and Prosecco Pink is one wild ride through the south. The best part about Chandra? She's a medium that's scared of ghosts. Her character is great. She's able to assist Franki in ways that freak them both out but they work very well together. I hope we see more of Chandra in future books.
Let's also not forget former stripper, Glenda. She is a hoot in book 2 - of course, I would expect nothing less since she was a hoot in book 1, too. Out of her mouth flies some of the best one-liners in the entire book. Glenda's outlook on everything just cracks me up. And when Franki wakes up in a giant champagne glass - OMG, I couldn't stop laughing.
Woven between the deaths and threats, we are still apprised of Franki's romance. She caught the eye of hunky bank CEO Bradley Hartmann in book 1 and they are dating in book 2. Only, Bradley has a new executive assistant that has Franki's jealousy meter maxed out. Pauline is doing everything and anything that she can to cause tension between Franki and Bradley - and unfortunately, it's working.
Franki's meddling Nonna also has some tricks up her sleeve in Prosecco Pink. The antics cause undo stress on Franki and her parents are completely unwilling to stop the intrusions. I realize Nonna is just trying to help in the traditional Sicilian ways but I feel so bad for Franki.
Prosecco Pink is a fantastic cozy mystery that is also full of humor. I enjoyed every part of the book from beginning to end. I could totally relate with the main characters and sympathize with Franki's love life. It was really easy to become emotionally invested in both the romance department and the problems between Franki and Bradley, as well as in the emotions surrounding the main mystery of the novel.
Prosecco Pink is a quick and entertaining read that will keep you on the edge of your seat wanting to know where each clue or plot thread was going to lead. The entire book is engaging without a dull moment. The murderer is cleverly kept under wraps, ramping up the suspense in a great way.
I enjoyed the author's writing style and amount of humor included. The entire book is descriptive without going totally overboard and boring the reader to death. The romantic mishaps don't overpower the main intentions of the novel but are balanced nicely. I highly recommend this to readers who love the cozy, humorous, quick, and easy reads.
Review copy courtesy of the author, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review....more
Feta Attraction is the first book in the brand new Greek To Me Mystery series by Susannah Hardy.
Georgie Nikolopatos is a very busy woman. She managesFeta Attraction is the first book in the brand new Greek To Me Mystery series by Susannah Hardy.
Georgie Nikolopatos is a very busy woman. She manages the day-to-day operations of the Greek restaurant, the Bonaparte House, owned by her husband, Spiro, and mother-in-law, Sophie. While Georgie is wholly invested in her work as manager, Spiro isn't so much, and neither are as committed to their marriage as maybe they were many years ago. In fact, the rumor mill is quite active in chattering about Spiro's trysts, including the current person in his life. Plus, there is a story that there is a very valuable treasure hidden in Bonaparte House and another insisting the place is haunted.
When Spiro disappears, as is Spiro's way, he leaves the local ghost hunters he called in to investigate the Bonaparte House, in Georgie's lap, so-to-speak - as if she wasn't busy enough running the restaurant and running interference with Sophie, who is worried about Spiro's absence. Even Georgie is uncomfortable with this disappearing act. Spiro has been gone longer than usual, there has been no contact by him, he's not answering his phone, and his love interest is also worried.
When it's time for the ghost hunters to do their thing, she gets a boat ride from Keith, to her friend, Liza's, where she'll be staying the night. On their way to the spa that Liza owns and lives at, they come across the body of Big Dom DiTomasso -- and so our true cozy mystery begins and Georgie's To-Do list gets a bit longer:
1. Run the restaurant 2. Find her missing husband. 3. Find the rumored treasure. 4. Figure out who killed Big Dom. 5. Placate Sophie and intentionally keep her out of the know.
Of course, this list is not all encompassing and it is not necessarily accomplished in the above order.
Someone is very intent on locating the supposed treasure and will stop at nothing until it's found. Unfortunately, this leads to some pretty dangerous episodes and some very unwise decisions. Here is where I will include what I didn't like about the novel. I feel it's best to get that aired out and then finish up the review on a more positive note.
While Georgia is a likable enough main character, I think she puts up with an awful lot that any self-respecting woman wouldn't. She continuously makes excuses for her husband's absences and infidelities. I also was annoyed with her lack of police involvement. Her husband is missing, she's receiving sinister communications, and someone ransacked the Bonaparte House's living quarters - and she doesn't tell anyone. Items are stolen from the premises and she doesn't inform the authorities. I realize part of it is because she doesn't want to implicate Spiro's involvement in some of the less than legal things going on but her actions just weren't smart, even by cozy mystery standards.
So....even with those small rants, I want to make sure that readers understand that Feta Attraction really is a great book. The book begins with multiple storylines that seamlessly weave themselves together. There are several suggested reasons for the disappearance of Spiro, and not all of them involve something heinous. The reader is introduced to many people that could be involved in Spiro going missing. Eventually, you'll see how all of the events fit together.
The character and world building is well done. Despite my somewhat negative opinions already stated about Georgia, I really find that she has a good heart. That good heart is what causes her to do the things she does in Feta Attraction; it also is what prevents her from actually going to the proper authorities. She's spunky, motivated, and does the best she can to placate, as well as protect, her mother-in-law as events heat up and become more dangerous. Georgia also does her best not to involve her friends in her sleuthing in order to help keep everyone safe from whomever is responsible for the events taking place.
Sophie is a hoot. She's worried about Spiro but really, I think she's more about the money than anything else. She seems to have a mostly smooth relationship with Georgie and trusts her with the restaurant and its management aspects. She is written in a voice that I could totally "hear" in my head as I read each of her speaking lines.
Feta Attraction is a cozy mystery that I was able to put down and walk away from but only temporarily. I had to know what the heck was going on and why so many people and storylines were created. I can't wait to see what Susannah Hardy has in store for Georgie next.
Paperback review copy courtesy of the publisher, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review....more
From one of my favorite cozy mystery authors, Duffy Brown, comes another excellent cozy mystery set in my home state of Michigan. Geared for the GraveFrom one of my favorite cozy mystery authors, Duffy Brown, comes another excellent cozy mystery set in my home state of Michigan. Geared for the Grave takes place on Mackinac Island (you can read all about the island here: http://www.mackinacisland.org/). You'll notice that many of the business names used in the book really do exist on the island.
Evie Bloomfield is trying to earn a promotion by coming to Mackinac Island from Chicago to help her boss's father with his bicycle rental shop. Rudy had recently broken his leg, making the day-to-day operations of Rudy's Rides difficult. Plus, the island council is threatening to close him up because of the shop's state of disrepair. Several of the other island residents have expressed interest in owning his little slice of heaven, even resorting to threats. On top of that, his number one enemy, Bunny Harrington is found dead - the victim of maliciousness.
When Rudy is accused by the hottie sheriff fill-in, Nate, Evie makes it her business to get to the bottom of things. After all, she's the only one in her family that isn't extremely successful, and she's hoping to make a valuable and lasting impression on her boss. If Rudy ends up in jail accused of murder, Evie can kiss her job goodbye.
Geared for the Grave had me engaged from the second Evie arrived at the island and requested a taxi. Mackinac Island is motor vehicle free; the only modes of travel besides walking are bicycles and horses. I knew from that point on that Evie's corporate world was about to get rocked. Another great aspect is that while Mackinac Island is a tourist destination, there are people who live there, and those people are just like everyone else, everywhere else - sneaky, underhanded, and gossips.
When Bunny is found by Evie and an islander, dead as a doornail, the true natures of all the inhabitants quickly bubble forth. It appears no one enjoyed the company of Bunny, including her own son. The list of suspects grows to a substantial number and includes not only Rudy but members of the mob, hitmen, store owners, relatives, friends, and prominent members of the community. The actual murderer will shock you, as it did me, because there are so many people that had reason to rid the historic island of one Bunny.
I instantly fell in love with all of the characters, even the suspects - they were written so well. Evie is wonderful protagonist. She puts herself in potentially dangerous situations, leading some of the townsfolk to aid and abet, others to consider her nothing but trouble, and the frustration she causes the interim-Chief-of-Police, Nate Sutter - case-wise and personally - is fantastic. Evie is a very likable character. Even though she comes from a stuffy family of lawyers, Evie is pretty down-to-earth. She's friendly, helpful (with things other than the Bunny Festival), and, even though she's there on a selfish motive for a job promotion, you can tell that she truly loves the people around her and the crazy lifestyle on the island. Her talent in painting the bicycles and the shop, both to draw in business, isn't just a selfish endeavor. She really cares about Rudy.
Rudy is a gruff but friendly gent that plays the part of Mark Twain. He doesn't want Evie's help and would just prefer her to go back to working for his daughter in Chicago. Eventually he warms up to her and begins to enjoy her company.
Nate Sutter - oh, hot cop - is a Detroit cop that has come to play Chief-of-Police while the real Chief is out on sick leave. Hoping to have a nice and relaxing few weeks, he doesn't plan on murder, mayhem, and least of all, Evie. She's a thorn in his side from day one - and there may just be romance budding between them in upcoming books.
I thoroughly enjoyed the craziness of the townies and the way the plot twists all over the place. There are so many people that are brought in, developed, suspected, and then discarded that you will have no problem staying engaged in Geared for the Grave. I couldn't put it down and the only reason it took me 2 days to read it (if you check my Goodreads review timestamp) is because I read it one evening into the following morning.
I've read all three of Duffy's released Consignment Shop Mysteries, as well. She always provides great reads!!
I received an ARC version of Geared for the Grave from the Publisher, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review....more