Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Book Club Murders

Author:  Leslie Nagel
Series:  The Oakwood Mysteries #1
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Alibi
Publication Date:  September 27, 2016

Description:  Charley Carpenter has poured heart and soul into her clothing store, Old Hat Vintage Fashions. She’ll do anything to make it a success—even join the stuffy Agathas Book Club in order to cultivate customers among the wealthy elite of Oakwood, Ohio.
Although mixing with the most influential women in town has its advantages, Charley finds the endless gossip a high price to pay. But after two women with close ties to the Agathas are brutally murdered, everyone falls under threat—and suspicion. When key evidence indicates that both murders are the work of the same hand, Charley realizes that the killer has arranged each corpse in perfect imitation of crime scenes from the Club’s murder mystery reading list. She uses her membership in the Club to convince Detective Marcus Trenault to use her as an inside informant. Not that he could stop her anyway.
Intelligent, fearless, and every bit as stubborn as Marc is, Charley soon learns the Agathas aren’t the only ones with secrets to protect. Passions explode as she and Marc must race against time to prevent another murder. And if Charley’s not careful, she may find herself becoming the killer’s next plot twist.

My Review

This is the debut cozy mystery for Leslie Nagel and I thought it was a terrific debut.  It might be a little edgier than some might consider a cozy in that there is plenty of cursing peppered throughout the dialogue.  If this is a turn off for you as a reader this might not be the book for you.  That said, I thought this was a well written, fast paced page turner and I will definitely be back for more.

Charley is a great protagonist.  I thought she was intelligent, stubborn and dedicated to trying to find out who is behind the recent murders in Oakwood.  Frankie, her best friend since high school is her companion for most of the sleuthing, and in some cases influences Charley to start investigating in the first place.  These two have a great friendship and it comes across on the pages of this story.  At first I wasn't too fond of Marc as I thought he was harsh and judgmental.  However, as his history unfolds and his past with Charley plays out he began to grow on me and by the end I was rooting for the budding romance between the two.  The Agatha's round out the rest of the cast nicely and provide plenty of suspects.

I like the mystery in this story.  It was a bit different from other's that I have read.  But I especially enjoyed how the book club reads were incorporated into this mystery.  There were a lot of twists to this story and plenty of suspects.  The author has, in my opinion, done a superb job in crafting this mystery in such a way that I never really had a firm suspect.  In the end I was surprised by the identity of the culprit and the reason.

All in all, I thought this was a well written story that had me engaged from the beginning.  It has a fast pace, well plotted mystery and great characters.  This series definitely started with a bang and I will be back to see what this author has in store for future books.

I received an ARC from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This did no influence my opinion and the thoughts expressed are my own.

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