Friday, March 29, 2013

DIE BUYING by Laura Disilverio

Publisher:   Berkley
Date published:   August 2, 2011
ISBN:  978-0425242735
Genre:   cozy mystery
Book format: Paperback
Obtained via:  Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina


Forced into a disability retirement from the job she loved as a military police officer EJ Ferris finally found a job in security—as a mall cop at the Fernglen Galleria. It’s not exactly where she planned to spend her work life but a job is a job. Cruising around the mall on her Segway she helps parents reunite with their missing children, helps people find lost cars and detains the occasional shop lifted. Well that and then…she is on the trail of some missing reptiles. Not exciting enough?  When EJ finds a dead body in one of the mall stores—make that a naked dead body—her career moves in an entirely different direction.

When the police, in particular Detective A. Helland, decide they have their killer EJ isn’t quite ready to go along with the program. Some things just don’t add up. As she digs deeper into just who killed the naked guy more and more suspects appear. Was it an environmentalist who killed the erstwhile developer? Or was it a romance gone bad? Or did someone else have a beef with the deceased? And just who is the man behind the cookie counter?

Laura Disilverio’s debut cozy mystery DIE BUYING has some fun twists and turns to the story. Admittedly when I first began to read about our heroine, EJ Ferris, cruising around on her Segway in the mall I couldn’t help but remember the movie, Mall Cop. While EJ doesn’t bumble, the idea of a security guard cruising around on a Segway struck me as funny in a perverse kind of way.

What I found unique about the story is that EJ is a disabled veteran. While that aspect in and of itself doesn’t sound all that different it actually is. It seems most disabled vets these days are men whose emotional wounds are healed only by the love of a good woman. True, that happens in romance and romance is about the happily ever after. EJ does have her emotional wounds, but she is also a strong, independent and intelligent woman who is pretty much at home in her own skin. She is a likeable character and becomes more so as the story moves along.

Her backstory didn’t resonate with me—especially when her parents come on the scene.  Her grandfather was a bit over the top—but this is a debut novel and given how well the story is told I believe a lot of the choppiness I saw in EJ’s relationships with the other characters will smooth out. It has the makings of a fun series with a good number of possible stories.

I’m not sure if Jay and Detective Helland are possible romantic interests or just vehicles to move the story along. I didn’t feel particularly warm about either of them and I’m not sure if it was because of how the story was told through EJ’s eyes or the author’s telling of it. We’ll have to see how future stories are told.

There are other aspects of the series that make it unique in the cozy community. It’s definitely one to check out.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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