As always with any Book Review, these are one person’s opinions. That includes the great, the good, and the bad. This book was provided by the author for an honest review.
A Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist stuck in a vacation lake town without her man? Combine that with a deadline to leave town for an assignment and murder threats against her family and what do you get?
Close Up on Murder by Linda Townsdin is the second in her Spirit Lake Mystery Series with her main character Britt Johansson, a magnet for trouble. She doesn’t go looking for it, it finds her, then she finds it back. Townsdin takes the cozy mystery genre feel of Lilian Jackson Braun and kicks it up to the next level with a touch of realism and a bit of 21st Century whacked out criminal elements. I do think I noticed a homage to Lilian Jackson Braun and her mythical Moose County in a restaurant of importance. I won’t tell you what it is so you can look for it.
For those of you who are fans of Jackson Braun, you will get the same development and connection with Townsdin’s characters but with a higher energy and more sense of urgency. There are dozens of writers out there trying to achieve this and Townsdin has done it.
Don’t get me wrong, the town of Spirit Lake is NOT Pickaxe City. Townsdin has created an edgier world reflecting the reality of today, influenced, I imagine, from her time spent as a writer and editor for a criminal justice consortium. Not only do you get a mystery of who murdered a gentle and kindly old neighbor, much beloved in the town, but you get the continued challenge of cat and mouse being played by the brutal murderer.
Britt Johansson is only the main character of the cast. But much like any series the supporting cast adds a lot. Her brother Little, yes he is little, and his restaurant business and life partner Lars, are the reality check and family Britt needs to keep her grounded and always coming back from her assignments in war and famine.
Sheriff Wilcox is the local law who spends all of his time and resources to protect Britt, her family, and the town while trying to keep the photojournalist from getting herself in hot water or worse.
The rest of the supporting cast is varied and needed to flesh out a close knit community. But Britt’s many supporting cast member is Ben Winter, a Forest Ranger along the US and Canadian border who spends most of his time hunting down and stopping anything from people attempting to make their way into the country to human trafficking. His work and Britt’s don’t combine for a traditional or easy relationship.
You will fly through this book. Not because of an ease of read so much as a need to read. You will want to know the who, what, and why. Will you be surprised? I don’t know. Linda Townsdin does a great job of giving you what you need to get the answers. Are they the obvious or is she being sneaky? You would think sneaky or I wouldn’t ask, right?
I would recommend this book to those who like that cozy mystery hometown community feel but want a dose of reality in the mystery itself taken from the headlines at times. How much do I recommend this book? I have to get the first one now.
Character Believability: 4.5
Flow and Pace: 4.5
Reader Engagement: 4.5
Reader Enrichment: 4
Reader Enjoyment: 4.5
Overall Rate: 4.4
Author: Linda Townsdin
Title: Close Up on Murder
Print Length: 262 pages
Publication Date: June 1, 2015
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Linda Townsdin writes mysteries, short stories and poetic fiction. Published in 2014, Focused on Murder is the first book in her Spirit Lake Mystery series, inspired by her wonderful childhood in Northern Minnesota. Close Up on Murder is the second in the series. She lives in California with her husband. For much more information visit lindatownsdin.com. and follow her on Twitter
Ronovan Hester is an author, with his debut historical adventure novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling due out in December of 2015. He shares his life as an amnesiac and Chronic Pain sufferer through his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to a growing Weekly Haiku Challenge, a Weekly Fiction Prompt Challenge, and the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.com.
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