Thursday, October 1, 2015

Diner Knock Out (A Rose Strickland Mystery Book 4)

Author:  Terri L. Austin
Genre:  Mystery

Paperback, E-Book
ISBN #:  9781943390090
Henery Press
302 Pages
$15.95; $4.99 Kindle
October 20, 2015
Five Stars

Rose Strickland's life is complicated...

Besides her waitressing gig, Rose works part-time for Andre Thomas, a PI with no faith in Rose's ability to investigate, her love life with Sullivan has stalled, and her BFF, Roxy, has found a new bestie, leaving Rose out in the cold.

Determined to prove herself, Rose takes a case on the sly.  As she searches for a missing MMA fighter, Rose discovers an illegal fight club, a group of ruthless businessmen, dead bodies, and a trail of drugs.  Hunting down clues that lead too close to home, Rose finds herself in the fight of her life.  Can she beat the killer to the punch before she gets knocked out for good?


Rose Strickland works in a diner in the morning and for a PI, Andre Thomas, in the afternoons.  She's learning the trade, per se, but is usually relegated to background checks and filing.  Occasionally, her boss will allow her to come along on a stakeout, but that's about the extent of it.

She also works as a waitress, but her best friend Roxy seems to be pulling away from her.  Roxy has been hanging out with Sugar, a burlesque artist, and Rose feels left out.  

Her boyfriend, Sullivan, he of the not-so-above-board enterprises, isn't always available and just shows up at her apartment sporadically, and it's beginning to bother her - especially since she gave him a key but he hasn't reciprocated, making her question his commitment to her.

So Rose has a full plate.  But one day, when Andre is out of the office, she receives a visit from Kai, a man who says his friend Rob Huggins has disappeared - he's been gone for several days, but the police won't look for him because he's a grown man and they have no reason to believe anything has happened, and think he just decided to leave.

Rose accepts the missing person case, but doesn't bother to tell Andre.  She figures if she can solve this simple case, then Andre will have to see her as a valuable employee and give her more exciting work to do.  What Rose doesn't know is that by accepting this case, she's getting much more than she bargained for.   

More, in the fact that it's not just a missing person she's looking for.  When Andre does find out what she's doing, Rose considers herself lucky that he doesn't fire her, but instead agrees to help her - with a time limit on the case.  Rob's being missing is only the tip of the iceberg.  The more Rose digs her heels in, she finds that the search for Rob brings her to an illegal fight club, one that involves Sullivan and his cohorts, and even though he asks her to back off, she's not going to, which angers him and frustrates her.

This book, I must say, was very well-thought out and complicated, as much as it was intriguing and compelled me to stay with it until I finished, not wanting to put it down.  The characters all seem real, and the plot so well written that I wish the next book in the series were available to read right now.

Rose's relationships with others might be complicated, but she does her best to make them all work, even finding out things about herself in the process.  As for her relationship with Sullivan, one can actually feel the chemistry between the two fairly electrify the pages.  (Which is a very good thing, I tell you).

When the pieces begin to mesh, and Rose starts to put it all together, you can almost feel the tension she feels, and the anxiety of the surrounding characters.  And at last when we are in the final chapters of the book, even though we know the identity of the killer and pretty much how the book will finish, we want nothing more than for it to go on.

Ms. Austin is a very talented author, and her books do not disappoint.  I greatly anticipate the next book in this series and will be watching for it.  Highly recommended.

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