Monday, December 21, 2020

Book Review: THE WORST NOEL : Juniper Junction Holiday Mysteries #1 by Amy M Reade


Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace, love, and joy, but for Lilly Carlsen, this Christmas is murder. As a single mom, small business owner, and president of the local Chamber of Commerce, the last thing she needs is to find a dead body on the floor of her jewelry shop on the busiest shopping day of the year. And as if that isn't enough, Lilly has to deal with a deadbeat ex-husband, a mother with declining mental health, and two teenagers. But when a second body turns up, Lilly finds herself squarely in the crosshairs of suspicion. Can she figure out who killed the victims before she becomes one herself? And will her family's Christmas be merry...or scary?


Jewelry designer and creator, Lilly Carlsen, is all set to open for Black Friday sales when she discovers her back door open, the jewelry vault open, and a dead body in her showroom, strangled with Lilly's strand of pearls. And the victim, Eden, and Lilly had recently argued. It's a good thing her brother, David, is on the police force, though she doesn't always listen to him. Or her best friend, Noley. Then the another retailer she disagreed with is killed as well. She's the obvious suspect for both. Thankfully, there is a lack of hard evidence as well as other suspects. 

Along with the two murders, there's the budding romance of her daughter, Lauren, the unwelcome return of her ex, Beau, who deserted fifteen years before, the increasing dementia of her mother, and the sudden attention of the Asian gem digger and his family, visiting the Colorado Rockies for their extended vacation. There's a touch of humor, family conflict, and twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. 

I liked Lilly, even if she sometimes needed to not be so honest, as well as Noley and the rest of the family, and Hassan. The pace is steady and it comes together naturally at the end, with a surprise or two. An enjoyable read for the holiday season.

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