book review: Maggie Dove by Susan Breen

I keep hoping that I’ll get a good mystery book to read as part of the Monthly Mystery package through Chatterbox.  So far, I got one that was okay because the author imitated Stephanie Plum.

This is yet another mystery through Chatterbox that I can’t bring myself to recommend to anyone.  The plot itself was okay, but it wasn’t enough to save this book.  A 60-something-year-old woman has a disagreement with her neighbor about her oak tree and the neighbor ends up dead.  Then, one of her closest friends also ends up dead and the autopsy reports show that both of them died of the same cause.

The biggest problem I had with this book is that the main character, Maggie Dove, was judgmental, hypocritical, and just all around annoying.  She was a Sunday school teacher and tried to convince herself that she was a good person, but she didn’t seem to get along with anyone, even the people to whom she was supposedly closest.  For example, she constantly argued with one of her closest friends, Winifred.  The way the arguments unfolded in the book revealed how Maggie was both prissy and judgmental.  She claimed to love “Peter” but basically described him as a troublemaker. She was constantly above everyone else.  She describes another “friend,” Agnes, whom she was cruel to when she was younger.  When another character compared her to Agnes, she became offended and the reader was subjected to a paragraph about how she was so much better looking than Agnes. The author made was very clear that Maggie was part of the popular crowd when she was younger and she is much more beautiful than her friends.  Of course, she’s rich, too. This is the character that has it all – looks, money, “friends,” – she’s better than all of us!  Quite frankly, the more I read, the less I liked Maggie, not because of the author’s generous endowments, but because of the little that she did with those endowments and her petty mindedness, which the reader was subjected to for over 200 pages .  Agnes and Winifred seemed like much more interesting (and likeable) characters.

There were a few interesting characters in this book so it wasn’t a total loss.  It’s just too bad that the focus was on the annoying one rather than the interesting ones.

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book review: Mug Shot

Mug Shot is a mystery that is part of the Java Jive mystery series by Caroline Fardig.  If you are a fan of the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich, you’ll probably like this book.  The book’s main character is a redhead named Juliet (Jules) Langley who runs a coffee shop with her best friend, Pete.  Like Stephanie Plum, Jules is caught between two men – Pete and cop named Ryder.  Pete and Jules have a mostly platonic relationship, but the sexual tension is always there, with Pete often eyeing Jules when she wears revealing clothing.  Jules even has a feisty grandmother, like Stephanie.  There are other personality similarities between Stephanie and Jules.  They both have a knack for getting into dangerous situations and sort of are bumbling detectives, yet somehow manage to solve the case in the end.  Like the Stephanie Plum books, you don’t have to read the entire series to understand what is going on in this book because there is just the right amount of back story explained without it becoming tedious for people who have read the other books.

In this book, Jules has to play detective to rescue Pete, who is arrested for the murder of his snobby socialite girlfriend, Cecilia.  Pete’s DNA is all over Cecilia and in the tent where her body was found.  To complicate matters, Jules is casually dating Cecilia’s brother, the black sheep of the family.  Break-ins, jail time, and love interests keep this mystery going at a decent pace.

This mystery is an easy, light read that would be perfect for lazy summer days by the pool or beach.

Disclaimer:  I received this complimentary e-book as part of #RHMysteryPack from Chatterbox.

Book review: Catch Me by Lisa Gardner

I read Catch Me by Lisa Gardner this weekend.  It’s a part of a series by Gardner about D.D. Warren, a detective in the Boston area.  This was the first book I’ve read by Lisa Gardner, and it wasn’t the first book in the series, but it doesn’t really matter a whole lot.  Some of the characters appeared in earlier books, but you don’t have to read the other books to know what is going on in this book.

In this book, D.D. Warren has to solve two crimes – one involves a girl whose two best friends were murdered on the same day exactly one year apart and the other a vigilante who has been killing pedophiles.  The girl, Charlie, believes that she will die on January 21st because her friends’ murders had the same MO.  In both cases, the women were murdered in their homes, with clean crime scenes and no signs of struggle.  This leads Charlie to believe that the murderer is someone that she knows.  She flees from her home and goes to Boston in the hopes of being able to flee from the murderer.  In Boston, she locates D.D. and explains why she thinks she is going to die, giving D.D. details about her preparations in case she is murdered so that D.D. will have a better chance of finding the murderer.  In the case of the pedophile-shootings, there was also no sign of a struggle and the victims were shot at close range.

This book caught my interest quickly because it reminded me of John Sandford’s books and because it deals with mental illness (I seem to be on a mental illness kick lately).  It was interesting to hear about how pedophiles lure their victims and how easy it is, despite kids being taught by their parents about staying away from strangers.  Even though the book is fiction, the author did her research.  If you look up information about internet safety for children, you’ll find that the book is accurate, even if the situation in the book is a dramatization.  Check out the FBI’s Parent Guide to Internet Safety for more information on protecting your children.

The plot was interesting and I learned information about pedophiles on the Internet.

I also read another book by the same author called The Seventh Month, which was really more like a novella or a short story, also starring D.D.  It was cute so after reading two books that I liked by the same author, I looked up the her website.  She has a sweepstakes on her site where you can submit a potential victim to be killed off in her next book.  Fun!  If you like crime novels or mysteries, I would recommend checking out some of Lisa Gardner’s books.