Saturday, September 02, 2006

Murder on Mulberry Bend & Blind Dates Can Be Murder

Yes, insomnia has struck again. I have to be up in just a few hours for the quilt auction which will be a long day, but I can't seem to fall asleep. At least I'm doing something productive: here are the reviews for the day as promised.

Murder on Mulberry Bend by Victoria Thompson is the fifth book in the Gaslight Mystery series starring New York midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy. Unlike many long term series that lose their steam after the first book, the Gaslight series just seems to get better with each entry. After Sarah becomes involved in a mission for young girls, one of them is found murdered. Sarah is determined to bring the killer to justice, and Frank is just as determined to keep Sarah safe. Thompson does an amazing job of leaving clues and laying the groundwork for the reader to figure out who the murderer is without giving the whole show away. The real power in this series is the relationship between Sarah and Frank. Thompson has a way of capturing the emotion between the two of them that draws the reader right into the scene: Brian’s visit to the doctor, Frank’s insult to Sarah on the street, and Frank’s sudden appearance at Sarah’s after he thought she was dead are just a few of these scenes. Few writers have the power to convey the depth of emotion Thompson does with just a few simple words. The ending isn’t wrapped up too tightly, giving hope for many more to come in this series.

Blind Dates Can Be Murder by Mindy Starns Clark is the second book in the Smart Chick mystery series. Jo Tulip is getting her life back on track after the previous book. She’s writing a blog, her newspaper series is up in readers, and she’s sworn off men. But when her agent makes her go on a blind date to bring up readership, she stumbles into another murder mystery! Danny, her intrepid photographer best friend, tags along as she uses her quick wit and common sense to solve another unusual crime. While some characters were better fleshed out in this entry, I’m still finding it hard to buy Jo’s parents: they’re a bit too stereotypical. The crime in this book as well as the climax were WAY over the top this time. For such a small town, that hadn’t seen a murder in over thirty years, there suddenly seems to be a proliferation of major crimes. Stuff like that stretches Clark’s credibility. The book is still a fun read, and the messages about trusting in the Lord can’t be beat.

Next up on my list to read is A Fall Together by Jennifer O'Neil. I'm still working through Brian McLaren.