Coal-miner’s daughter, Bobby Hutchinson, is normally a writer of romances, but it’s probably inevitable she’d write a book called Stand By Your Man. Only, this is not a romance by any stretch of the imagination. Oh, it has a lot of romance, but this is a rip-roaring, gas-passing mystery novel that will have you checking your underwear for railroad tracks for sure.
Maddie Bertusso is a private investigator in Seattle. She and her partner Hannah do all kinds of cases, from checking on straying spouses to purse snatching. When Maddie’s sister Francine gets hooked up with a convicted felon, Sebastian Fisher, though, the detecting schtick becomes intensely personal for Maddie. It becomes moreso, and quite complicated, when Maddie meets Sebastian’s brother Finn and his adorable daughter Zoe.
I haven’t read any of Hutchinson’s romance novels, but if they have the snappy dialogue, spot-on characterizations, and no-frills narrative of Stand By Your Man, she just might convert me to the genre. In the meantime, this is a mystery novel that stands in a class of its own. I got a free review copy of SBYM, but I’m putting the sequels on my to-buy list. It was a bit choppy in places, but then again, that fit the story which was about the ups and downs of romance, family relations, and a whole boatload of other stuff that our heroine had to contend with. You’ll like the ending – because it’s not the normal mystery novel ending, and I’ll say no more so as not to spoil it for you.
Kudos to Hutchinson for this five-star story!
Leine Basso has left her old life as a government assassin behind, and moved from L.A. to Seattle to start anew. When the contestants on the reality TV show “Serial Date” begin to become victims of a cannibalistic serial killer, Leine is hired to provide on-set security. Returning to L.A., she finds herself in the middle of gritty, bloody action, which soars to new heights when her estranged daughter returns and is kidnapped by the killer, who begins making demands on Leine that plunge her right back into the life she’s tried to leave behind.
In Serial Date, author D. V. Berkom exposes the dark underbelly of society, from the unreal make believe world of reality TV to sordid politics, and paints a picture in such vivid colors and bold strokes you feel you’re there. Crisp, crackling dialogue and characters you have no problem believing in, are the hallmarks of Berkom’s story, and the action, which is non-stop from start to finish, will have you on the edge of your chair, panting for more.
This is mystery as mystery should be – intricate, non-linear plot with more twists than a bag of pretzels, a lead character you can identify with, warts and all, and a satisfying conclusion that, if you’ve read carefully, will surprise you as you slap your forehead and say, “why didn’t I see that coming?”