Maria Alau's Reviews > Holly Blues

Holly Blues by Susan Wittig Albert
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Aug 10, 2011

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Read from August 05 to 09, 2011 — I own a copy , read count: 1

I love China Bayles; I really do, but I must admit that Iam getting tired of Ms. Albert's habit of re-hashing of who everyone is and how they're connected. I appreciate that she's not assuming that everyone has read all of the series, but sometimes I wish she would. I would rather see a "who's who" index in the front or back of the book, rather than taking up valuable story space.

However, once beyond that the story continues on with McQuaid's ex, Sally, showing up at Christmas time, and seemingly needs help. But everyone is leery; Sally (who lives with dissociative identity disorder), or her alter "Juanita", could be up to her old tricks. However, it being the holidays, the Pecan Springs crew do their best to give her the benefit of the doubt. But shortly after arriving, Sally disappears when two dead women and a creepy former beau make the scene. McQuaid gets involved, mostly out of sympathy, and China and Ruby get involved...well, because that's what they do.

Like the other China Bayles stories the plot is formulaic, but Ms. Albert usually does well at delivering enough twists in the plot lines to keep it suspenseful without giving away the least most of the time. However, this story line pretty much nailed down the possible deed-doers early on, then spent the remaining pages gathering evidence to incriminate those person(s) of interest. There were still plot twists...but few to none gasp out loud surprises. Perhaps after 18 books, with several regular characters, it's difficult to avoid the soap operaesque trap and be a straight forward mystery.

As I said earlier, I love China Bayles. I will keep reading the Bayles cozies as long as Ms. Albert keeps writing them. However, I don't think I would recommend such a late in the series book to a new comer; I'd recommend they start earlier in the series for fear that the soap opera bubble will burst all over any enthusiasm they may have for this series.
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Dav'ne  Stahley Since this was my first China Bayles, I understand your being tired of the repetition. Now that I know the characters, I think your idea of a cast of characters at the front of the book is a good one. Looking forward to more of this author's books.

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