Wednesday, March 4, 2015

With Vics You Get Eggroll (A Mad for Mod Mystery #3)

Author:  Diane Vallere
Genre:  Mystery

Five Stars

Business as usual for mid-century modern interior decorator Madison Night involves a rundown ranch restoration and endorsing a set of retro paint colors. But when an investigation into a string of recent abductions turns up a murder vic, and evidence at the scene links the flirtatious Lt. Tex Allen to the crime, Madison’s priorities shift faster than she can say “Doris Day.”

Voluntary suspension keeps Tex off the case, and pesky reporters force him to live in his car. Madison’s own life is complicated by the return of her hunky handyman and her new demanding client. She immerses herself in routine, but suspects come out of the freshly-painted woodwork. When seemingly unrelated events lead back to the abductions, she exposes a secondary agenda, a copycat crime, and a vengeful plot to destroy someone she loves.

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Madison Night is a 48-year-old interior decorator/contractor who not only shares a birthday with Doris Day, she dresses like her too.  Her business specializes in retro style, and right now she is redoing a home for Cleo and Dan Tyler, California transplants to Dallas.

One night when Madison is driving home, she is pulled over by a police officer, but waits until she reaches a well-lit area before stopping.  The reason?  A man masquerading as a police officer, known as the Lakewood Abductor, is kidnapping women - and killing some of them.  Discovering her traffic stop was merely that, when she arrives home, she turns on the news to hear that another body has been found and the police badge found near her is that of Lt. Tex Allen - the same Tex Allen that Madison finds so attractive, and has become a close friend to her.  Knowing he is innocent of these crimes, Madison uses her moral compass to try and help find the real killer, even when she is cautioned against it by Lt. Allen.

When more women are kidnapped, and the police are no closer to finding the real killer, Lt. Allen tells Madison to stay out of the case,but she is already involved, and thinks she might be targeted as well.  It doesn't sit well with her when the case hits close to home, and someone she knows is kidnapped, and there is a rush against time to save the woman.

This is a very good book.  Madison considers herself, like the Doris Day screen persona, an independent woman who can achieve success in the world.  But being independent doesn't necessarily mean being alone, and this is something Madison needs to learn.  Because the book isn't all about the kidnapping/murders; it is also about the fact that Madison needs to realize that sometimes you just can't do it all.  During the course of the investigation, her relationships with both Lt. Tex Allen and Hudson James are tested, as well as her tenacity and faith in her beliefs.  

When we discover the true identity of the killer, there weren't really many overt clues; which isn't to say they weren't there, it is just that they were done in a manner as to be as natural as dew on grass, so you will have to use your own "powers of deduction" along with following the storyline.  While there were plenty of viable suspects, when the final scenes arrived, the ending was as scary as it was believable in the fact that knowing how people think in the real world, it could have been factual.  Highly recommended, and I look forward to the next installment in this mystery series.





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