Friday, March 16, 2012

A Killer Read by Erika Chase

book cover

A Killer Read
by Erika Chase

ISBN-13: 9780425247037
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: April 3, 2012

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover (slightly modified):
Reading specialist and mystery book lover Lizzie Turner was excited for the first meeting of the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society hosted in Molly Mathew's old Southern mansion. But she didn't expect the gathering to become the scene of an actual murder. A stranger has been shot--and nobody knows who the victim is, or how Molly's antique gun came to be used as the murder weapon.

As the plot becomes all too real, the police chief--Lizzie's former high school crush--steps in to investigate. Then Lizzie begins finding mysterious manuscript chapters in her mailbox and receives phone calls in the middle of the night urging her to find out what her journalist father was investigating when he died in an accident years ago.

My Review:
A Killer Read is a cozy mystery that also has a good bit of romance in it. This novel is the first in a series, but it can be read as a stand-alone. The characters were interesting, engaging, and reacted in realistic ways to the various issues they faced (which was more than just "whodunit").

While there were clues, it was difficult for Lizzie (and the reader) to know how they all connected--though once you knew how, it all made sense. I didn't guess whodunit, though there was enough clues it was technically possible. The author did a very good job with this.

The descriptions of the people and setting were vivid, but there weren't many details about Lizzie's job (though I didn't mind that). On the other hand, the author was a little heavy with some unnecessary details. We got a complete description of what everyone was wearing every time we came across them and a list of every item of food eaten whenever a mealtime or snack time went by. It did slow the pacing, but never for very long.

I thought it was interesting that Lizzie has a low level eating disorder. She finds comfort in eating food. She can't turn down a sweat or high calorie food, but she justifies this by adding more time to her already long exercise routine. I'd be interested in seeing this issue subtly addressed in a future book in the series, but I doubt it will be.

There was no sex. There was a minor amount of explicit cussing and swearing. Overall, I'd recommend this engaging and interesting mystery.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One:
"I've got an idea, Lizzie...why don't you just do, like, brain surgery or something on me. Slice me open, pull out my brain, squish all this Shakespeare stuff into it, put it back and sew me up like new. Maybe that way I'll finally get it!" Andrea Mason punctuated her proclamation with a long groan.

Lizzie Turner internalized her own groan. She knew that Andie felt like she was being tortured, but Lizzie felt little remorse about the pain she'd inflicted. It was for her student's own good.

"Okay, Andie. I guess that's enough for today. I'll see you next Thursday, same time, same place, same English lit."

Andie groaned again, stroking her silver nose ring. She shifted from her terminal slouch to a more upright position and stuffed her book, notepad and pen into her black skull-and-crossbones backpack.

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