Monday, November 17, 2014

Book Review: SWEET MYSTERY (Under the Moonlight Book #3) by MaryAnn Kempher

Synopsis from AMAZON

Who Killed Candy Dashwood!? Candy Dashwood was young, beautiful, and accustomed to getting exactly what she wanted, by any means necessary, including sex and blackmail. Does that make her murder less important? Or her killer less guilty? Her mother doesn’t think so. She asks private detective Jack Harney to help find Candy’s killer. When all signs point to her police officer lover, the case seems cut and dry. So why does the evidence seem so flimsy? And why are the police so unwilling to dig any deeper? Jack uncovers a web of sex and deception in which nothing is as it seems, and the list of potential killers grows every day. Can he put the pieces together and discover who really killed Candy, or will her killer get away with murder? Sweet Mystery is a suspenseful murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Jack left the Reno PD, went to Florida and worked security on a cruise ship Forever as a favor for his friend Curt, ex-military. Jack moves back to Reno to open a detective agency with Curt instead of returning to the force after breaking up with his girlfriend, Amy. The office they rent is next to Nene and Gaga's bakery/candy store. Nene and Gaga are grandmotherly, humorous, touching, and have a mystery of their own - who is eating candy and even Gaga's gingerbread house in the middle of the night and leaving a mess? The agency opens but doesn't have but one real client, Destiny, whose mystery revolves around missing birds from her pet store. Across various friends, the last mystery has to do with a positive pregnancy test left in a bathroom and which of Jack's friends is going to be a father. 

The real mystery, though, is who killed Candy and what was the real motive. Problem is, although the cop accused has asked Jack for help, and Candy's mother, Yvonne, has asked for help, it's well-established that cops do not like PIs nosing in their cases. When one of their own is arrested, they want the situation to go away as fast as possible.  Is that all there is to it though? Will the harassment go beyond giving Jack a parking ticket? 

The characters have depth and personality. The subplots are well integrated into the major plot rather than simply a distraction. I read this in one sitting (airport and airplane) and it was a good read. I couldn't wait to get to the end (though I guessed wrong on the positive pregnancy test). This is the third book in the series. With the focus on Jack, you can read this as a stand alone, but I would strongly recommend you read the first two, or at least FOREVER DOOMED.  I don't see a fourth on MaryAnn Kempher's author page, but I will be looking for it!

Previous books in the series:
MOCHA, MOONLIGHT AND MURDER (Under the Moonlight Book #1)
FOREVER DOOMED (Under the Moonlight Book #2) -reviewed on this blog on 3/3/2014 

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