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Friday, May 1, 2015

Review - Caught Dead Handed

I was offered to review this book by the author and publisher.  I have to say, the blurb (She's not a psychic - she just plays one on TV) really grabbed me and I had to read this book.  See what you think.

Author: Carol J. Perry

Copyright: September 2014 (Kensington) 414 pgs

Series: 1st in Witch City Mystery series

Sensuality: Occasional swear word, Adult themes

Mystery Sub-genre: Paranormal Cozy

Main Characters: Lee Barrett, widow of racecar driver and out-of-work actress 

Setting: Modern day, famous Salem, Massachusetts

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

Lee returns to her hometown of Salem Massachusetts, where her beloved Aunt Ibby raised her and still lives, to interview for a job as a reporter at WICH-TV.  But the reporter position is suddenly given to a guy who can also cover local sports, since most everyone work two jobs minimum at the station. As Lee is leaving, she is in it parking garage and looks over the retaining wall to find a body floating in the water.  It is the woman, Ariel Constellation, who hosted the late night movie and psychic show.  Ironically, Lee gets hired to replace the woman...and seems to inherit her cat Orion (they rename O'Ryan).

Lee reluctantly takes the job, but when she starts seeing real events in the obsidian ball she's using as a prop, she wonders if she might really have psychic abilities. The more she gets to know the others at the station, she realizes how dysfunctional they are.  

Lee Barrett, takes the name Crystal Moon for her Nightshades show identity. She is a refreshing cozy sleuth: adult rather than bubbly, reasonable, level-headed, intelligent, raised by her aunt after her parents died, and is still recovering from grieving the death of her popular NASCAR husband.  Detective Mondello is the standard potential romantic interest, Aunt Ibby seems great but doesn't like anything remotely psychic which is unfair to Lee, Rhonda is the News Station receptionist who has more to her than initial impression may suggest.  For the most part the characters are all well done.

Salem with Halloween approaching is well done.  I have read a few books using Salem, but this gives Salem a delicious mix of historic and dark undercurrents.  The killer seemed obvious after awhile, but Lee was still oblivious. The story seemed to continue a little longer than necessary which made the pacing in the last third stilted a bit.

There was a heart-racing killer show-down.  The wrap-up didn't go the way I anticipated, or even hoped it would, if I am honest.  Still, I am looking forward to the next in the series already.  I want to know if Lee develops her "sight".

I loved the call-in psychic idea, I quickly became a fan of Lee, and the plot could have gone either way but was pulled off successfully.  Congratulations on a great debut for this paranormal cozy mystery series.

Rating:  Excellent - Loved it, it had a good grip on me! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list

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