754 Followers
272 Following
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.

SPOILER ALERT!

Buried in Bargains (Good Buy Girls #3)

Buried in Bargains - Josie Belle

The first two books in this series were bad.  I thought they actually really sucked.  So why, oh why, did I buy the third one you may be asking?  Because Josie Belle is a pseudonym for Jenn McKinlay, she of the very entertaining Cupcake Shop series, the even better Library Lovers series, and the spectacular debut this year of the Hat Shop Series.  Before Josie Belle I'd have said this woman couldn't write a bad book if she tried.  Really really tried.

 

The MC in the first two books was completely immature and unlikeable on a level that left the whole concept completely unbelievable.  Far more tolerant reader-friends found this series' MC to be more than a little unreadable with her silly temper tantrums and inability to think rationally.  They gave up after book 2.  But, it's Jenn McKinlay!  I can't just write the whole thing off!  I had to give it one more chance - a three strikes kind of deal.

 

So, Buried in Bargains, the make-it or break-it book.  It's a good news/bad news kind of deal.  The good news?  Maggie grew up!  No stupid, ridiculous, immature, irrational temper tantrums.  If this was the first book in the series you'd read, you'd find the MC to be friendly, responsible, well-adjusted and rational.  Quite pleasant, really.  Her friends have always been likeable and they still are here.  Maggie's daughter is lovely.  Maggie also stops acting like an idiot around Sam.  These characters are MUCH more what one would expect from Jenn McKinlay.

 

The bad news?  Plot holes galore.  Most of which I can't actually point out without spoilers, so into the spoiler tags they go.  First:

 

I knew the killer before the murder took place.  On page 33 to be exact.  To use a quaint Aussie phrase, the killer stood out in the scene like a dog's balls - only more so.  The scene did not blend into the story at all.  And I can't actually say why except the I've read enough of these books that the introduction of a single new character to a book is usually a big, giant, red flag.  The character might as well be jumping up and down with a neon sign saying "me! me! ME!"

(show spoiler)

 

Second:

 

 

One of the Good Buy Girls' husband, Michael, is the main suspect in the murder.  But he's found at the scene with a head wound so sever he required surgery and spent a fair few chapters in a coma.  So please can someone explain to me how a man strangles a woman to death, then hits himself on the head so severely as to cause intra-cranial bleeding?  How's that work?  

 

I suppose someone reading this could argue she hit him first, then he strangled her and then he passed out from the head wound.  But I think, and call me crazy, that if you get hit in the head so hard you're found in a pool of your own blood, you're probably going to pass out from pain long before you can strangle someone to death.  And if you did manage to stay upright for the amount of time required to strangle someone, there's be blood everywhere, because, you know, you're bleeding from a head wound!

(show spoiler)

 

So, the bad news, if you didn't read the spoilers, is that there's at least one plot hole and I thought the killer was screamingly obvious.  BUT, not everyone might see the same things I do the same way, and if you like the characters, this book is worth reading.

 

The bad news for me is that I now have no clear idea if I should read the fourth one or not.  I really expected to be donating these three to the library and washing my hands of the series after this book.  The improvement in this book has left me wondering... do I stay or do I go?