Review: Secondhand Stiff by Sue Ann Jaffarian

20131204-095936.jpg Just released December 1!

This cozy mystery is the most recent in Sue Ann Jaffarian’s Odelia Grey Mysteries series, and I’ve read them all. Yes, I love a good cozy mystery with a female protagonist who pals around with cops, but there’s something about the characters that makes this series stand out. Odelia isn’t too perfect or too quirky… She seems real. She and her husband Greg clearly love each other but have regular arguments, too. Their extended family annoys them – hey, just like real life! Odelia’s nosiness gets her mixed up with the wrong crowd more than occasionally, but she manages to solve mysteries and save herself – from death, but not always from harm – with the help of Greg and their friends.

This particular book explores the world of storage unit auctions, secondhand stores, and illusions of grandeur. Odelia and Greg’s commitment to their family means this mystery is personal – and they’ll stop at nothing to prove their relative’s innocence.

When I read this book, I felt like I was watching it happen in real life. Jaffarian describes places and events so well that reading it became a movie in my mind. She controls her writing so tightly: a grilled cheese sandwich is written in with precision – just enough mention to picture yourself at the table with the characters, hearing the crunch and licking buttery fingers (she doesn’t say that, but I imagined it!), but not so much that it interrupts the flow of the story. That’s good writing.

Secondhand Stiff is a solid, funny, caper-ridden novel with well-developed characters and awesome writing. Sue Ann Jaffarian is one of the few writers I regularly seek out for new releases, which I’ll pay top dollar for. I recommend the whole series, but they can be read as standalone books or out of order.

-Calliope

Buy it now Secondhand Stiff

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