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Death by Intermission–cozy mystery with a mastiff mix

Death by Intermission

by Alexis Morgan

I had been looking forward to reading another book in the Abby McCree Mystery Series and was not disappointed in Alexis Morgan’s Death by Intermission. Abby, a relative newcomer to Snowberry Creek, already has a reputation as a “murder magnet.” She doesn’t go looking for trouble when she and her tenant/boyfriend Tripp attend the local movie-in-the-park event, but she discovers more than trash during the clean up session after the movie.

There are new interesting characters involved in the excitement in this plot. Abby’s mother, Phoebe, is staying with her for an extended visit, and the two clash in ways they never had before as they find a need to establish boundaries with each other. After all, when is flashing the porch light on a couple saying goodnight appropriate when everyone involved is an adult over age thirty?

Owen is another newcomer to town. He has opened a barbecue restaurant. Owen is dating Phoebe, and she explodes in his defense when Gage, the local police chief, holds him for suspicion of murder. A knife from his restaurant was the murder weapon.

We are also introduced to Jada, a college student working for Owen. Jada finds herself in the middle of the murder investigation. Has she lied to the police? Why is her godfather taking a sudden interest in her? Why was she fired from her former job at the insurance agency that had been managed by her father, and why did the new agent refuse to give her father’s personal possessions to her?

I must mention Abby’s mastiff mix Zeke. Weighing in at almost one hundred pounds, he is her companion and protector, and he is a good judge of character. He adds much fun and interest to the book.

There are so many tangled threads in this plot. Abby, Phoebe, and Jada find themselves in physical danger, and Tripp, Owen, and Gage, who share a common military background, are called upon to defend them. The complications don’t unravel themselves; it takes action from the group to discover and overwhelm the criminal.

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #4 in the Abby McCree Mystery Series, but excellent as a standalone.

Publication: January 26, 2021—Kensington

Memorable Lines:

“So bottom line, you’re willing to put up with two testy women and a slobbery dog because you’re hungry and haven’t made it to the store recently.” “Pretty much.”

“Come on, everyone, let’s head inside.” With his uncanny sense of who needed him the most, Zeke remained right by Jada’s side all the way into the kitchen and then parked himself right at her feet with his big head taking up most of her lap.

On the surface, it seemed simple. Nothing could go wrong. Right?

In Case You Get Hit by a Bus: How to Organize Your Life Now for When You’re Not Around Later

In Case You Get Hit by a Bus: How to Organize Your Life Now for When You’re Not Around Later

by Abby Schneiderman and Adam Seifer

As a senior citizen, I realize I am each day closer to death than the day before and that no one, regardless of their age, knows when their time on earth will be over. With those things in mind, I agreed to review an advance copy of <i>In Case You Get Hit by a Bus: How to Organize Your Life Now for When You’re Not Around Later</i>. The first thing I noticed is that the digital copy provided was rather jumbled and therefore difficult to read. I am sure the final published copy will not have those issues. I plowed ahead, reading the Introduction, skimming the body of the text, and particularly noting the organization of the book.

This book provides timely advice and draws the reader’s attention to the multitude of decisions that should be made to help those responsible for end of life care and for the distribution of the estate. There are many decisions that, due to “advances” in technology, our ancestors would not have had to deal with (passwords, life support, etc.). This book both advertises and dovetails into their online planning system. In all fairness, though, they do refer readers to other companies besides their own, and by itself the book would be a good guide.

The authors differentiate between the critical issues that need to be done immediately (Plan of Attack), those items of lower priority, and other things that you might want to consider (Side Mission). They really do cover all the bases, for me anyway, and they recognize that even considering this project is difficult for many people in so many ways. Even as I write this review, my anxiety level has risen, but the idea is that if you make a plan you will not just feel, but actually be in control of, some aspects of your future and help those you care about during their time of grief.

I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Workman Publishing Co. for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Self Help, Relationships, Grief

Publication: December 22, 2020—Workman Publishing Co.

Memorable Lines:

In order to really make a difference for people at their time of greatest need, you had to help people get a plan in place ahead of time.

We all love instant gratification, but this type of planning forces you to look beyond your own personal gain and know your family has a well-lit path forward if you’re not around.

Dead Calm–murder-suicide?

Dead Calm

by Annelise Ryan

Dead CalmDead Calm centers around Mattie Winston, a medicolegal death investigator who works in Sorenson, Wisconsin’s medical examiner’s office. She is newly married to Steve Hurley, a local homicide detective. Receiving twin middle of the night phone calls from their bosses, they are summoned to the scene of an apparent murder-suicide at a motel on the outskirts of town where rooms can be rented by the hour for liaisons.

Annelise Ryan has written a mystery that moves quickly from one situation to another with lots of threads and clues along the way. How could a pharmaceutical coverup tie in? Are the victims’ spouses culpable? Has a construction crew uncovered the skeleton of an alien on Mattie and Hurley’s proposed home site? Ryan keeps the reader guessing all the way to a surprise resolution.

I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: #9 in the Mattie Winston Mystery Series, but it reads well as a standalone. There is a lot of backstory, but the author does a good job of relating it quickly.

Publication:  February 27, 2018—Kensington Books

Memorable Lines:

The land is out in the country; the mosquitos were apparently having some sort of convention out there all weekend, and I was on the menu for every meal.

For starters, my relationship with Emily was iffy at the time, iffy being a euphemism for a barrel of TNT connected to a short, lit fuse.

So far, our road to marital bliss has been as smooth and painless as petting a porcupine.

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