Shannon's Reviews > Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular Activities by Maggie Barbieri
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's review
Jan 12, 2010

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Read in January, 2010

If I could have, I'd have given this one 3.5 stars. This is the second of Barbieri's "Murder 101" mysteries, and it's a bit better than the first (which, by the way, I believe was her first book). This time, it's Allison's cheating ex-husband, Ray Stark, who is the murder victim; Allison discovers him sitting at her kitchen table, dead, and missing his hands and feet. The suspects are many: the mob boss, the jealous husband next door, the student with whom Ray was having an affair when he died. Allison's love interest, Bobby Crawford, is called to investigate when Ray's hands and feet are found in his district.

Barbieri is skilled at writing an entertaining novel, and more than once I laughed out loud. Allison and Crawford are believable as a couple and are well-fleshed out. Secondary characters are fairly one-dimensional, but again, this is Barbieri's second novel, so I'll cut her some slack.

There was a slight twist to the ending; I won't give it away, but I'll say that the story was less easily resolved than the first mystery. I've got Barbieri's next title in this series on my desk at home and am looking forward to it. If Barbieri improved this much from her first book to her second, the next should be very good, indeed.

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