Thursday, May 5, 2016

All Murders Final! (A Sarah W. Garage Sale Mystery)

Author:  Sherry Harris
Genre:  Mystery

Paperback, Ebook
ISBN #:  9781617730214
Kensington Publishing
288 Pages
$7.99, $5.99 Amazon
April 26, 2016
Five Stars

When Sarah Winston started the virtual garage sale, it seemed like a keystroke of genius and the next logical step in her business.  No more collapsing card tables and rainy-day washouts.  But what began as a fun way to run garage sales during the long New England winter has become a nightmare of managing people and putting out fires.  Online, she can avoid the crowds--but not the crazies.

She certainly never bargained for dealing with frightening threats.  And when a client is murdered, it's time for Sarah to swallow her pride and seek the help of her ex--C. J. Hooker, chief of police.  Forging a tense alliance, they search--online and off--for the killer.  but solving this crime before someone else gets tagged seems virtually impossible.


Sarah Winston runs a virtual garage sale website (when she's not actually out running garage sales for people), a place where someone can advertise their wares and negotiate price and places to pick up the items.  At the moment she is slightly unhappy with one of the clients, Margaret More, who had advertised an antique tablecloth that Sarah wanted, and agreed on a price.  But before Sarah could acquire the tablecloth, she saw that Margaret had backed out of the deal and decided to sell it to someone else who offered a higher price.  Naturally Sarah was upset, because it should have been hers, and she had a few heated words online with the woman.  Once she had a chance to calm down, she realized that Margaret could sell the tablecloth to anyone she wanted, and she resolved to let it go.

However, when she arrives at Margaret's the next day to retrieve other items for sale, she sees Margaret sitting in her car - with the tablecloth stuffed down her throat.  The woman is obviously dead, and Sarah immediately calls the police.  It soon becomes apparent that there is more to the death than meets the eye, and when there is another death - someone who recently had been in contact with Sarah - she begins to wonder if the police think she might be the killer, and resolves to find out what exactly is going on.

But when Sarah also starts receiving threatening emails and photos of herself on PopIt - an app (fictional) that allows photos to be received and deleted within five seconds - Sarah starts getting scared.  The photos are all taken right where she happens to be, and then just as quickly gone.  Even though the police are aware of the photos, Sarah has no idea who is sending them or why.  She only knows that she's being followed, and whoever is doing it isn't happy about where she's been or where she's going...

Her stalker leaves small evidence behind, barely enough to convince others that there actually is one.  She believes that it's a real possibility it could be one of her group members, but unfortunately, with the Internet a haven for anonymity, Sarah doesn't know who she's looking for, or even where to look.  It becomes a nightmare in the extreme, and is a frightening reality in that it could be anyone of a horde of people.

To add to the confusion, she's still in a dilemma of what to do about CJ and Seth.  CJ, her ex-husband and police chief of Ellington, still wants her back, but she doesn't yet feel she can truly trust him; and she has burgeoning feelings for Seth, the district attorney, who wants more from her than she feels she can give right now.  Sarah has told them both she needs time to figure things out, but she keeps finding herself in close proximity to them both.  It is her changing relationships with them both that helps keep things interesting.  (Although I do have to admit I'm liking Seth more than CJ as the books go on).

What's causing more problems is the fact that her landlady Stella has allowed a probable mob member to "temporarily" move in next door, and even though it's helping Sarah sleep at night, she's not sure she's all that comfortable with the situation.

While this book began as your typical cozy - protagonist finds a dead body and decides to find the killer - it was somewhere after the first third of the book where things began to really pick up.  We realize that Sarah does indeed have a stalker, and it could be any number of people, either male or female.  She turns the possibilities over in her mind, trying to decide if it's just someone who found her site on the Internet or someone she knows.

We are given more insight into Seth and his life, which I found highly intriguing indeed, and can't wait to know more of; and the recent events that are surrounding Sarah's life are explained one by one as she gets closer to the killer, while giving no clues until near the end.  I can say that I was surprised by the ending, a twist I didn't see happening.  (Although I also like Mike Titone and definitely want to see more of him in later books). 

Ms. Harris certainly weaves a tale well.  I found myself engaging with the characters early on, trying to sift through the people one by one along with Sarah in order to find a murderer.  But just when we think we know the answers and how it all will come together, there is another surprise, and one that proves what a good story this is.  The story flows easily, and as things become more desperate for Sarah, you find yourself caught up in the somewhat shocking conclusion.  But please  do not peek to the end!  The ending is worth the wait.  I found this to be the best of the series so far, giving a taste of what it can become in the future, which is a very good series indeed.  Highly recommended.

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