Rachel's Reviews > A Pointed Death

A Pointed Death by Kath Russell
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's review
Jan 12, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: general-fiction
Read from January 12 to 19, 2011

I am not usually a fan of mysteries. They often seem like pre-scripted storylines with fill-in-the-blank characters and place names. Not so with this book. The mystery that Nola Billingsley finds herself in the midst of is set against a background of dot-com start-up corporations and the biotechnology industry. I was intrigued right away by the biotechnology aspects thanks to some education in biology myself. Russell often goes into the technical details of this thriving industry, which I think can slow a reader down who does not already understand much of this terminology.

Many of the characters are unique, if a bit cliche - such as Nola's southern belle mother, Janie Belle. I also found it odd that Nola mostly referred to her mother by her first name instead of simply calling her Mother or Mom. Nola's pointer dog, Skootch, often stole the show with his antics, but the plot seems to depend on Skootch's behavior for its progression.

Other parts of the book that I enjoyed for their own sake was the details that Russell used to bring the setting of San Francisco to life, such as the California cuisine. The polarization of Nola's choice of foods in comparison to her mother's southern cooking made for some interesting situations, and one scene at a crab festival had me salivating in jealousy. Russell is very good with details and descriptions across the board.

As for the plot, there was very little to disappoint. There was not much I could predict, no matter how many times I thought I knew what would happen next. The action was intense at times, but it was interspersed with bits of humor and romance to lighten the tension. Most of the subplots wrapped up nicely, with only a bit left over for a second book in the series to pick up. The only real question that I had that was never answered was what Nola's dot-com company actually did before it crashed. This likely was not relevant enough to the plot to be worth including.

On the whole, I was delighted that this book was a much better read than I expected it to be.


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