Book Review: Lowcountry Bombshell
Author: Susan Boyer
Publisher: Henery Press, September 3, 2013
Genre:; Cozy Mystery
Source: The publisher via TLC Book Tours
My rating: A
I was pleased to be included in the book tour for this new mystery series. I’ve read lots of praise for the author and her first novel, Lowcountry Boil. A mystery can’t get much better than to be awarded the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Lowcountry Bombshell is book number two. Here’s the summary from the publisher:
Private Investigator Liz Talbot thinks she’s seen another ghost when she meets Calista McQueen. She’s the spitting image of Marilyn Monroe. Born precisely fifty years after the ill-fated star, Calista’s life has eerily mirrored the late starlet’s—and she fears the looming anniversary of Marilyn’s death will also be hers.
Before Liz can open a case file, Calista’s life coach is executed. Suspicious characters swarm around Calista like mosquitoes on a sultry lowcountry evening: her certifiable mother, a fake aunt, her control-freak psychoanalyst, a private yoga instructor, her peculiar housekeeper, and an obsessed ex-husband. Liz digs in to find a motive for murder, but she’s besieged with distractions. Her ex has marriage and babies on his mind. Her too-sexy partner engages in a campaign of repeat seduction. Mamma needs help with Daddy’s devotion to bad habits. And a gang of wild hogs is running loose on Stella Maris.
With the heat index approaching triple digits, Liz races to uncover a diabolical murder plot in time to save not only Calista’s life, but also her own.
I really liked this novel. From the very first page I was right in the midst of the story. [Read that first paragraph here.] No long lead-in or fooling around with an elaborate introduction. Immediately I liked detective Liz Talbot and Colleen, her sidekick. [Actually, it took me a few pages before I liked Colleen, who happens to be a ghost. She grew on me.]
Liz’s client, Calista, was so quirky, interesting, yet so vulnerable, that I felt a real kinship with her. From the very moment of her birth, people and conditions lined up to doom it for her. But she had one of those determined spirits I sometimes see in people. They seem to say, “I’m going to make it no matter what.” I was on Calista’s side all the way. She’s a resident of the fictional island of Stella Maris so I’m hoping she shows up in future novels in this series.
As you know, well-developed characters are number one for me. But in a mystery, I also like a well-developed plot that builds a puzzle in my head. The author succeeded here. I could not figure it out before the end – and that’s a good thing. My pride may have been slightly injured but my mind stayed engaged and my fingers kept turning the pages.
A cozy mystery, and especially one that wins an Agatha Award, will not be filled with the things you’ll find in a crime novel. In other words, you won’t find lots of blood, core, extreme violence. and crude language and behavior. Lowcountry Bombshell fulfills the standards of an Agatha Christie novel. [Another clue that tells you I really like this book.]
One more bonus in the book: a nice little romance for Liz. It seems to be on-going in the series. So, good characters, intriguing mystery, no bloody stuff, and a little romance. This series is shaping up to be a hit. This book was good as a stand-alone, but I liked it so much that I downloaded the first book to my kindle. I enjoyed my time with Liz Talbot. Check it out for yourself.
Thanks to the publisher and TLC Books for my copy of this book. For other stops on the book tour, see the schedule here: TLC Book Tours