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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

With Vics You Get Eggroll (Mad for Mod, #3)

With Vics You Get Eggroll - Diane Vallere

Of all the series from Henery Press I've read so far, this one is probably my least favourite.  This is a relative measurement, because I'd still recommend it to cozy mystery readers as one of the better written and plotted series.  

 

Some of this is just a matter of personal taste:  I'm not a fan of mid-century anything; I hated the styles of the 70's when I lived through them and the 60's...not my thing.  So, the clothing and furniture, the movie and architectural references that are part of the setting either go over my head or leave me ambivalent.  

 

Additionally, I'm not a fan of wounded-bird MC's.  The character is strong, intelligent and independent, but in her own head, she's a victim.  She's had her heart brutally broken by a man and that means all men are to be avoided because really, how can she possibly ever trust her heart to someone else ever again?!?  While obviously useful to create character conflict and allow for growth, this kind of thing drives me nuts

 

In spite of these personal preference divergences, the first two had been really well written and had some pretty good plotting, so the characters were excellent, the details interesting and the mysteries compelling enough to keep reading.

 

With Vics You Get Eggroll was a bit of a disappointment though. There's a love triangle that's been brewing from the beginning and it seems to be resolved in this one, but - and this is why I hate triangles - I'm not sure I like the resolution.  This is what happens when an author creates two equally attractive men.  

 

There's also a lot of angst and an attempt to make Tex look like damaged goods but it never really works: Maddie is warned of a "dark side" but all we get is a moment where he throws a beer bottle in the sink, then immediately cleans up his own mess.

 

There are timing moments that don't work:  Maddie and Tex leave a parking lot in his vehicle, leaving her car there with the promise that Tex will take care of it.  She returns to the parking lot 10-15 minutes later (her words) and her car has already been towed to the police impound lot.  Really?  Because that would be the fastest damn tow truck EVER!

 

Most of all, I guessed the killer in the first scene he appears and that's wicked early in the book.  Every other suspect (and it takes a leap of imagination to actually make them suspects, because the logic wasn't there to support it) just failed to be realistically suspicious.  Maddie is never told what the murder weapon was, but she calls the police on every person she sees that has the rather unique weapon with nothing else to back up her reasoning.  She accused at least three different men of being the Lakewood Abductor - 2 of them to the police and one to his face.

 

In conclusion, although it sounds like I slagged the book pretty badly, I'd recommend it to people who've read the first two - it's still well written, if not as strong as the first two, and there's a heap of character development going on.  If you've never read the series, don't start with this one - it's not the one that shows this series to it's best advantage.  I'll look forward to the fourth one and hope that the story telling gets back on track.