chez_jae: (Books)
Sunday was a lazy, relaxing day, and I read A Fright to the Death from cover to cover. It's part of author Dawn Eastman's "Family Fortune" mystery series, featuring cop-on-sabbatical and reluctant psychic Clyde Fortune.

Clyde and her boyfriend Mac are on their way to the airport to catch a flight to Mexico. It's a great chance for some fun, sun, and time to relax away from their families. Unfortunately, a blizzard cancels their flight and strands them at the same small hotel where most of their families are gathered for a knitting conference. Now they're stranded in the last place they'd rather be. As if that isn't bad enough, one of the owners of the hotel is killed. The local police have no way of reaching the scene of the crime, which means it's up to Mac and Clyde to take charge and try to solve a murder.

The story was good (obviously, since I read it in one day!), but it was probably my least favorite of this series. I don't think I care much for "closed scene" mysteries, wherein the characters are forced into close proximity and no one can leave. Clyde's Aunt Violet came across as a completely annoying, interfering busy body. I'm sure it was meant to be funny, but I found it irritating. Other than that, things moved along at a good pace, and the characters were well-rounded. It was difficult to figure out who killed Clarissa, because so many people seemed to have a good motive.

Favorite lines:
♦ "Lots of terrible bosses live through their employee's anger."
♦ "Oh, like those sweaters Mrs Weasley made in the Harry Potter books?"
♦ "Everyone likes to blame the cat, but they aren't always as mischievous as they seem."


Very good, overall. Four stars:

****
chez_jae: (Books)
Yesterday, I rocked all through Be Careful What You Witch For, by Dawn Eastman. It's the second book in her "Family Fortune" mystery series.

Clyde and her former flame, Mac, are on-again, but they're trying to keep it their secret for now. Fortunately for Clyde, her mother Rose and her Aunt Violet are busy with the fall festival in Crystal Haven. The highlight of the festival is a Samhain ritual, presided over by Clyde's friend Diana. However, in the midst of the ritual, one of the participants dies of anaphylactic shock. Everyone knew that Rafe was deathly allergic to peanuts, and when it is learned that one of the foods at the ritual had been doused with peanut oil, the police treat the incident as a homicide. Clyde is content to let Mac and the rest of his police force handle it, until Diana's brother Dylan is arrested in conjunction with the murder. In an effort to help her friends, Clyde begins to investigate the incident, aided by her wacky family. As if that's not enough on her plate, her nephew Seth shows up on her doorstep, having told his parents he was going to a camping retreat.

I didn't find this second book as funny as the first, but it was no less enjoyable. Clyde is still trying to pretend she has no psychic abilities, while her mother and her aunt continue trying to finagle her into using her Gift. The plot zipped along at a rapid pace and introduced new characters I hope to see more of. I figured out who dunnit it about midway through the book, but there were still surprises along the way to keep things exciting.

Favorite line exchange:
"Velma and Shaggy had it all figured out," Mac said.
"How did you get into my phone?" Seth asked. "I have a password!"
Mac smiled. "0731?"
Seth's mouth dropped open. "Yeah."
"How did you know that?" I asked. I never would have guessed a random set of numbers.
"It's Harry Potter's birthday," Mac said.


:D

Very good, five stars:

*****
chez_jae: (Books)
Last night, I finished reading Pall in the Family, which is the first book in author Dawn Eastman's "Family Fortune" mystery series. I had some others, but I wanted to read them in order; thus, I had to buy/read this one. Hee!

After a shooting incident, police officer Clytemnestra "Clyde" Fortune has returned home to her kooky family in the psychic hot spot of Crystal Haven. Clyde takes up dog-walking to earn some money and get her out of the house, because both her mother Rose and her Aunt Violet want her to spend her time honing her own psychic abilities. Clyde, however, would rather not have the gift. When she goes to a neighbor's home to walk the woman's dog, Clyde discovers Sara dead from a gunshot. She tries to ignore her own investigative instincts and let the locals, including her ex-flame, Mac, handle the case. But, a young, bumbling officer asks her to help, and Clyde finds herself embroiled in the murder investigation.

After another psychic in town is murdered, Clyde is convinced the crimes are related, and that they both may have something to do with the disappearance of a teenage girl from Crystal Haven several years ago--a case that was never solved.

This story was a lot of fun. Clyde's efforts to hang onto her sanity among her crazy family was laugh-worthy, as were her dry observations of the happenings around her. Characters were well-developed, including the dogs that Clyde seems to have inherited after their owners are killed. She and Mac still seem to be attracted to one another, yet somewhat uncomfortable with each other. It was interesting to see them dance around their attraction. I was pleased to figure out who dunnit early, thanks to an innocent clue the author dropped. Heh. I loved Aunt Vi, the pet psychic, who was always volunteering to get information from her network of neighborhood cats.

Favorite lines:
♦ Some people ran away from home to join the circus; I had left home to escape one.
♦ We'd decided that being locked in a car with a vomit-covered dog was worse than a run-in with a murderer.
♦ She peered around the table to be sure no one was expecting much from the cats.
♦ "Does she know how to text? Or is she still sending messages through the cats in town?"
♦ A hush fell over the table as we considered this possibility. Even though most of it was based on cat reports and hearsay, it was a possibility.
♦ I felt a bit like a SWAT team member, except that what we were doing was against the law, and my backup team consisted of tarot readers, Wiccans, pet psychics, and a dentist.
♦ I choked on my coffee. "Are you going to start interrogating squirrels?" / Vi leveled her gaze at me. "Squirrels are notoriously unreliable. They can never make up their minds."


Ah, gotta love Violet!

Great story, can't wait to read more of them. Five stars!

*****

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