Friday, May 11, 2012

May Murder and Mayhem: Nail Biter by Sarah Graves

An apt title for me.  I am extremely claustrophobic, so reading or listening to stories where there are lots of caves, dark cramped basements, power outages resulting in total darkness, etc., often find ME biting my nails - or at least breaking out into a cold sweat.

Last month, I reviewed Graves' latest book in this series Dead Level.  I mentioned that it had been quite awhile since I'd read one of this series and I thought it had improved quite a bit.  That said, I decided to grab this one which is # 9 of 15 to see if it rose to the same level as #15.

I love the setting, I enjoy the characters, but this one is very uneven.  Jacobia Tiptree (our heroine) is asked by the local sheriff to search for a missing teenager because he doesn't think the State Police are putting enough emphasis on the search and because he has been told by the Staties to butt out.  YEAH RIGHT. The Sheriff assigns the town busy-body to search for a missing/possibly kidnapped child????  For some reason,  "Jake" keeps flashing back to some unspecified but awful situation in her past that has her convinced that the missing girl is in grave danger.  I found this whole part of the plot very contrived, and Jake's anxiety so repetitive that I wanted to abandon the book, or at least skip over her on-going angst, on several different occasions. However, Graves is skillful enough to arouse my curiosity to the point that I had to keep reading to find out the resolution to several different pieces of the story.

It's always difficult to review mysteries without giving away the plot.  I won't reveal the story, but I will tell you there are storms, ghosts, several suspects, natural and man-made disasters galore.  In fact, this one might not qualify as a cozy in many peoples' minds.  There are several sub-plots and enough amateur detecting to keep it interesting.  I just wish it had been tightened up a bit.  The extra helpings of words did insure that anyone who hadn't read one of the earlier books wasn't going to miss anything.  A bit wordy, but still a satisfying read.  As usual, Lindsay Ellison's narration is first class.

Author: Sarah Graves
Publisher-Format: Audio: BBC Audiobooks America, 8 hrs 53 min 
Narrator: Lindsay Ellison
Subject: Murder, home repair, dark secrets from the past
Setting: Eastport Maine
Series: Homicide is Murder Mysteries
Genre: Cozy mystery, amateur sleuth
Source: Public library audio download


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