Month: January 2022

Book Review: Fatal Fantasy by Jane Tesh

First off, after reading book 7 last year, I was a huge fan of this series when I started this book. Now, I’m even more crazy about it. (I have Book 1 waiting for me to find time to pick it up and start the earlier adventures of Randall, Camden, and crew.)

One thing that makes this series stand out for me is that there are multiple mysteries to solve. Main character David Randall is a private investigator, so it makes sense that he has more than one case going on at a time, and that things he learns while investigating one thing can lead to new mysteries. I love the way he goes about his sleuthing, taking a professional, methodical approach. He considers all the angles, talks to all the witnesses/suspects, and follows all the leads. He sometimes has help from his psychic best friend Camden, but this paranormal element is never used as a “cheap” way to solve a case. (By this, I mean that Camden doesn’t have a vision at just the right time that clearly and easily reveals the guilty party.) Instead, Camden’s gift sometimes guides David towards or away from a theory, but never spells out the answer directly.

Both David and Camden are interesting characters, and their genuine friendship and care for each other is heartwarming. Additional major characters are also intriguing, and this time around we learned more about Kary’s tragic backstory. This book also featured the Enforcettes, a group of costumed warriors who both help David and add to the mysteries he needs to solve. They added some delightful humor to the otherwise-serious murder investigation.

The book is mainly set at a local convention similar to ComiCon. I enjoyed reading about the various activities and events that were part of the convention, and was impressed by the number of fictional fandoms the author created, as well as the attention to detail given to each of them.

Of course, most of the mysteries are solved by the story’s end, with one interesting line of inquiry still open for further development.

I highly recommend this book (and series) to anyone who enjoys a good mystery, PI story, or quality fiction in general.

Five out of five chunks of perfect cheddar!

Book Review: Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers by Heather Weidner

“Vintage Trailers and Blackmailers” is the first book in a new series, but doesn’t read like one. I mean that in the best possible way. Often, first books tend to spend a lot of time setting the scene and introducing the characters, with the murder almost taking a backseat to the series background. This book launches right in with the mystery element, and does an excellent job of introducing characters, relationships, and the location as part of the narrative.

I liked main character Jules. She is a sensible businesswoman who approaches the murder at her glampground in a logical, methodical way. I appreciated that she kept some of her focus on her business instead of devoting every waking minute to solving the mystery, as some cozy heroines tend to do. I also liked the way she worked with her tech-support friend and law enforcement instead of trying to do everything herself. Other characters, especially Roxanne, Jake, and Bijou (her terrier) were well-written, detailed, and added a lot to the story.

The mystery itself was also well-written. There were plenty of clues to follow, and I enjoyed watching Jules try to track down answers, both online and in person. I liked the way more was gradually revealed, both about the crime and the motive behind it. One thing that made this mystery stand out was that the main suspect was obvious early on. The real questions to be resolved were WHO exactly this person was, what motivated him, and how to actually apprehend him. I always enjoy it when a cozy offers me something a little different, and this one definitely hit the mark!

While the romance aspect was on the back-burner in this book, there is plenty of potential for an interesting love triangle to develop for Jules. I need to learn more to decide which man I’m rooting for. Roxanne’s budding romance is also intriguing, and could have some entertaining developments in future books.

I very much enjoyed the setting at a glamping-style campground near real-life Charlottesville, Virginia. I liked reading about the different themes of some of the refurbished campers, and the tiny houses. I look forward to seeing more featured in the next book in this series.

Five out of five slices of perfect Provolone!