Review: Rhythm & Clues by Sue Ann Jaffarian 

These Odelia Grey mysteries satisfy me so. Jaffarian includes much more than just the crime and sleuth aspect; some of the books focus on Odelia and her attorney boss Mike Steele. Others give us strong subplots involving Odelia’s friends on the police force. This latest in the series includes rock stars, bodyguards, and the delicate relationship between a strong daughter and her strong mother. 

While rock legends don’t do it for me (and so I was a little bored with that part of the plot), Odelia unraveled murders with her signature stubbornness and throwing caution to the wind. I loved the middle-of-the-night meddling, the saving grace of Odelia’s formerly criminal friends, and the comic relief that reminds me of Stephanie Plum. Much to my delight, Jaffarian also surprised me in Rhythm & Clues with my most favorite part of any book ever: the hint of a romantic happily ever after.

 *Vroom vroom*

Can’t wait for the next one. 

-calliope

Buy RHYTHM & CLUES

Review: The Ghost of Mistletoe Mary by Sue Ann Jaffarian

  
Jaffarian’s Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery series is ostensibly cute, but actually delves into some pretty heavy social issues. It’s always nice to have some substance, even when you’re expecting a cozy mystery. 

Jeremiah Jones is a former cop, current private investigator, who uses his extra sensory perception to communicate with spirits of dead people. One of those people is Granny Apples, who acts as a fly on the wall to help him catch bad guys. 

In this episode, Jeremiah tries to find a missing woman while helping the homeless, the down and out, and those trying to turn away from the criminal edge of society. 

You’ll read about a caring agency who helps people get back in their feet, a shootout led by drug dealers, a double-cross that almost seems legit, and the first step in healing for a few key characters. 

I enjoyed this gritty look at Southern California. I appreciate the blessings that people bestow upon those in need. Granny’s ghost provides some much needed comic relief, and lightens up an otherwise dark look at life on the streets. 

-calliope

Buy THE GHOST OF MISTLETOE MARY

Review: A Body to Spare by Sue Ann Jaffarian

  
Here we have Book 10 in the Odelia Grey Mystery series… And it’s TERRIFIC. Jaffarian makes Odelia’s crazy world of hit men, private eyes, cops and ex-cons seem almost run of the mill. But it’s still a surprise to find a dead guy in the trunk of her car. 

The dead guy has a bizarre past. Odelia and the gang manage to dig into it and find more than one bad apple who could be responsible. As usual, the more they know, the deeper trouble they get themselves into. 

Jaffarian rocks at creating believable relationships. Whether it’s Odelia’s marriage, immediate family, or professional contacts, I like eavesdropping on their conversations and coming along for the ride while they solve the mystery. 

You can read the books in this series as standalones, but if you choose to read several, go in somewhat chronological order. 🙂 

-calliope

Buy A BODY TO SPARE

Review: Three mysteries by selected authors

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I primarily read contemporary romance, but I do love a good mystery. This past week I read three cozy mysteries – all winners! I guess I hit the trifecta … now you can, too. 🙂

HELL ON WHEELS by Sue Ann Jaffarian
Paralegal and accidental sleuth Odelia Grey and her husband Greg witness a murder, and it appears to be committed by one of their friends! With Odelia’s boss home recovering from injury, Odelia has plenty of time to play detective and find out whodunit.

As with all the books in this series, I love Odelia’s candor and blunt approach. This particular mystery included quadriplegic rugby, traffic on the 405, help from the baddest criminal in town, and a very unexpected romance (oh, that part made me HAPPY).

Sue Ann Jaffarian writes a fun, witty, heartwarming story about good versus evil, family relationships, and that dance we call marriage. Jaffarian happens to move the plot along by having the characters go after a murderer… The thrill of the chase, you know?!

buy HELL ON WHEELS

I WILL FEAR NO EVIL by Debbie Viguie
Rabbi Jeremiah is in transition. He’s falling in love, being asked to help with the church next door, dragged into a crazy serial murder mystery, and trying to be true to himself – even though he’s still figuring out who he is.

Luckily, his longtime friend and confidante Cindy is right by his side. Trouble is, can Jeremiah keep her safe – and his heart safe – while they figure out who is behind the witchy crimes?!

Oh, and Trina? Quite possibly my new favorite character. A “mental” federal agent. 😉

Viguie did a fantastic job integrating Halloween, church, synagogue, murder, witches, a costume party, and a youth group haunted house. Oh and romance with an alpha. Yup. You heard me. ROMANCE. Just a bit.

Debbie Viguie writes the Psalm 23 Mysteries so fast my head spins. The plot moves quickly, the dialogue is spot-on, and she doesn’t rush relationships. I am chomping at the bit everytime there’s an impending release.

buy I WILL FEAR NO EVIL

MURDER ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS by Billie Thomas
Chloe and her mom are interior decorators. They have special access into people’s homes, and are sometimes privy to dangerous secrets.

When the mother-daughter team does up some fancy mansions for Christmas, they are surprised by the “gifts” they find: a dead man’s hand, a rat, a dead Santa, and a very confusing (and enlightening) version of The Twelve Days of Christmas.

The women keep sticking their noses where they don’t belong, until they are confronted by the killer. Not to worry, the Carstairs pair use Southern charm – and their newfound friendship with the Law – to keep themselves alive.

It’s super fun to read about over-the-top Christmas parties, evening gowns up to here and down to there, quirky characters, and a mother-daughter relationship that goes from rolling eyes to warm embraces. Billie Thomas successfully weaves together family banter, a murder mystery, and a little bit of Christmas romance.

buy MURDER ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS

-Calliope

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