Copyright: Dec 2010 (Signet) 316 pgs
Series: 2nd in the Mac Faraday Mysteries
Sensuality: romance and some innuendo
Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy
Main Character: Mac Faraday, former homicide detective who inherited a fortune
Setting: Modern day, Deep Creek Lake, Maryland
Obtained Through: Author for an honest review
Mac is starting to adjust to his new life when his ex-wife, Christine, shows up at his door drunk. I had wondered when the ex would come around now that he had a mansion and the money to keep it. Mac quickly takes her to the Spencer Inn so she is out of his hair. He barely walks in the lobby when the man his former wife left him for, Stephan Maguire of those Maguires, is walking past with a young woman on his arm. Christine promptly makes a scene and attacks the man. Mac and the hotel manager practically drag her into Mac's reserved suite to stay.
Mac finds out the next morning that his private suite at the Spencer Inn is now a murder scene with the bodies of both Christine and a viciously stabbed Stephan Maguire, putting a serious black eye on Mac's 5 star hotel. Interestingly Maguire, a lawyer wanting to climb to success, had files of many of Mac's old homicide cases and a note to talk to Mac about one of them. At first Christine is thought to have killed Maguire and then during her cleaning up she slips in the shower, hits her head and accidentally dies. But evidence shows there was a third person in the room. Then Mac is suspect.
Mac is an enjoyable main character as a man who didn't know his birth mother until she died and now is adjusting to wealth...and not being a homicide cop anymore. He is tested in this book by his ex-wife's relatives, a former defense attorney, and a former judge show up for a collision of his former life with his new. Archie, the love interest, has been a favorite of mine since the first book and we get to know her a bit better. The other characters are finely drawn as being not all bad, but definitely not all good either creating a multi-layered cast. And then there is Gnarly, the German Shepherd that once had been military trained. He gets into trouble because he isn't challenged any longer. Gnarly even knows sign language as part of his former training, which saves Mac's life at one point. This character is worth his weight in gold.
The plot itself was complex and gave a touch of crime drama to this cozy without loosing the cozy charm. I liked that we see a little of the police detective side without it being dark or gruesome. There is suspense and twists that keep the pages turning. The killer is a surprise although I had a good idea of the motive, and the final confrontation with the killer felt natural and even realistic.
This is a cozy mystery that is character and plot driven. I think Ms. Carr is just hitting her stride and I suspect that we shall see each new book surpass the last. I particularly recommend to not only cozy fans but those who like a good police detective story without the guts, gore, or darkness usually associated with them.