Thursday, August 17, 2017

DEATH IN DARK BLUE by Julia Buckley

Publisher:      Berkley
Published:  May 2, 2017
ISBN:        978-0425282618
Genre:       Cozy Mystery, Romance
Format:     Print
Obtained via:  Publisher  
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina

THREE-1/2 Hearts


Life for Lena London in bucolic Blue Lake has been pretty nice these past few weeks.  Exonerated from being accused of murdering his ex-wife, Victoria, thanks to Lena’s efforts, she and Sam West are finally able to move along in their relationship.  On top of that, aside from working as the assistant to her all-time favorite author, Camilla Graham, Lena’s name is on the cover of Graham’s upcoming release as a co-author.  It turns out Victoria isn’t dead, but missing.  Given her love of reading and now writing mysteries, Lena can’t help but get involved in looking for Victoria.  Just when it looks like a clue is about to be revealed, there is another murder not only in Blue Lake but on Sam’s property.  Given the already existing notoriety surrounding Sam, it isn’t long before the press descends on Blue Lake with any number of reporters looking for a story.  With reporters dodging their every move, can Sam, Lena, Camilla and her new beau, Adam, find Victoria before she goes deeper underground?

I really like the premise of Julia Buckley’s Writer’s Apprentice series—an aspiring author gets to work with and for her most favorite author.  It sounds like a dream come true for any aspiring author.  The second book in the series, DEATH IN DARK BLUE is a mixed bag.  The title isn’t as catchy as most cozy mysteries are—but the cover is adorable.  The characters are interesting and Buckley doesn’t leave out her secondary characters as she develops their storylines as well.  At times Lena sounded more like a teen in the first throws of romance than a mid-20’s career woman. 

DEATH IN DARK BLUE is a good one is not your typical cozy.  Yes, there are a couple of quirky characters, a determined female sleuth and a cadre of devoted friends.  The story itself reads more like a romantic suspense than your general cozy mystery.  In fact, with just some slight changes in direction and making Lena a bit more mature, it would have been a fantastic romance suspense.  Cozy purists may be disappointed because most of the book was about Lena and Sam’s romance rather than the steps she was taking trying to solve the crime. 
The writing is tight and the mystery of where Victoria is well done.  The ending was, however, for me, a big turn off. Rather than the end story on an up note with a conclusion of the mystery surrounding Victoria’s disappearance, the author dangles the storyline of the next book.  I’m not a fan of “cliffhangers” because for the most part they come across like a ploy to get you to buy the next book rather than add spice to the story.  If a writer is going to do that they should consider a disclaimer in the beginning or on the back cover that the story is not concluded so if you want to know how it ends be ready to buy the next book. 

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



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