I admit, at this stage it looks as though the chances of me having any chance of completing my 52 Books Challenge is approaching nil, but I will not give up! I did actually manage to get through two books over the last few weeks, so hopefully this will be the kick I need to keep going and pick up speed!
While in the US, we made a stop at the Barnes and Noble in the Washington DC. I have a truly geeky love of wandering around bookshops wherever I find it, and spent an hour trawling the shelves for something. My brief was something easy to read, in an American setting and not costing the earth (We were on a budget and a lot of American books are about $16 – far more than we could afford to spend). So I soon found myself in the Mystery aisle, staring at a dozen of hilariously titled books. Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery, anybody?
After much debate, I finally settled on this.
The first in a new series (A Book Club Mystery), The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco is set in the idyllic town of Heaven, in Colorado. Amy-Faye Johnson has a steady life as the manager of her own event planning company and the head of the Readaholics Book Club. The only blip on her horizon? Having to organise the wedding of her ex-boyfriend while still struggling with feelings for him. But when one her friends in the Readaholics dies suddenly in mysterious circumstances, Amy-Faye’s life is suddenly thrown into doubt. She doesn’t believe, as the police do, that Ivy could have killed herself, and begins her own, unofficial investigation to look for the truth. But as she digs deeper, secrets are uncovered and Amy-Faye soon finds that she is out of her depth…
This was an enjoyable read. Heaven, Colorado, is the ultimate American small town where everyone knows everybody else’s secrets, and this does create a good atmosphere for murder, as it forces everyone to question those around you. How well do you really know your friends, family and neighbours? And how many of them can you really trust?
Amy-Faye was a fun character to read about – kind-hearted, driven, slightly idealistic, and of course, nosy. What small town wannabe detective isn’t? At thirty-two years old, with her own house and successful business, Amy is still single. This isn’t a problem for her until the re-emergence of her newly engaged ex-boyfriend, her first love whom she was sure she was going to end up with one day. I quite liked Amy-Faye, but I think she probably needed to have travelled more – she was so settled in small-town life and had barely ever left Heaven – it’s no wonder she was still hung up on her ex!
The other characters were all a little bit stock to me – the hot detective from out of town, dark and brooding and highly convenient as a distraction to the engaged ex; the smart-mouthed assistant with a penchant for sweater vests; the town bigwigs in their ivory towers mocking her and setting themselves up as perfect pantomime villains/potential suspects – so far, so predictable. It’s a little bit like a grown up Nancy Drew. But the pace is good and the plot moves along pretty well. I admit that I didn’t know who the murderer was until the last minute, and I was drawn in from the start (although I think rattling along on the Amtrak between DC and Newark helped to set the right atmosphere for reading).
The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco was a very enjoyable read, and the only part that really grated on me was the ending. It was a little bit of an anti-climax, and deviated entirely away from the logical progression of the plotline. I may have done some eye-rolling when I read it. But I didn’t really expect anything less – I bought this book in full anticipation of it being a trashfest, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Overall this was a fun and easy read, and I would probably invest in the second one, which is due out in December, for a bit of light relief. If you’re looking for a cheap and relaxing story to transport you away from reality for a few hours, look no further.