Monday, July 4, 2016

Nun But the Brave (A Giulia Driscoll Mystery Book 3)

Author:  Alice Loweecey
Genre:  Mystery, Suspense, Cozy

Hardcover; Paperback; Ebook
ISBN #:  9781635110524; 9781635110494
Henery Press
292 Pages
$28.83; $14.39; $4.99 Amazon
July 12, 2016

Five Stars

Giulia Driscoll's sister-in-law barges into Driscoll Investigations and promptly passes out from OD'ing on an unknown drug.  Two OD'd teenagers are found dead in the park and behind a convenience store.  DI's new client insists her missing twin sister is not dead and enlists Giulia as the "Missing Person Whisperer."  Hooray for steady work?  The missing sister's trail leads to married, pregnant, ex-nun Giulia's first experience with online dating sites, to the delight of her husband and employees.  Those dates lead her to local Doomsday Preppers.  They grow their own everything, and that everything may be connected to the drugs, her sister-in-law, and the missing twin.  These Preppers are about to learn the true meaning of doom.

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Giulia Driscoll is an ex-nun who runs her own private investigation business.  After a recent encounter with a particularly nasty husband, she has decided to stay away from cheating spouses cases, and concentrate on easier things - like missing persons.  So when a woman arrives at DI insisting that her twin sister who has been missing for over two months is not dead (as the police seem to believe) but somewhere out there, and likely not of her own free will, Giulia thinks this will be an easy case to solve.  Sure, Joanne Philby could have dropped off the face of the earth because she wanted to, but what if she didn't?  And therein begins Giulia's strange foray into the world of online dating sites and even stranger foray into the life of Doomsday Preppers...

While it appears at first that Joanne wanted to disappear and create a new identity, small things that Giulia discovers leads her down an entirely different path.  Soon she finds herself creating an alter-ego for online dating, one that she hopes will bring her into contact with the person or persons who may have knowledge about Joanne and her whereabouts.  But the more she becomes involved in the survivalist cult and its strange leaders, she begins to realize that Joanne is more than likely a victim in all this, and what started out as a missing person becomes something twisted and ugly; and she will need not only the help of her police detective husband Frank and his coworkers, but also that of the one person she hoped never to have to call for help at all...

While Giulia expects this case to be merely routine - after all, how hard can it be to follow up on leads the police already have regarding a missing person? - she soon finds out that it's not going to be that easy.  Aside from the fact that she needs to join dating sites posing as a prepper in order to find links to Joanne's disappearance, her brother seems to have gone over the deep end, her sister-in-law is in the hospital under the influence of an unknown drug, two young girls are found dead possibly OD'd from the same drug; and Giulia herself, in her disguise of Maria Martin, may have ingested some of that drug.

But it is what she finds when she temporarily "joins" the prepper community that shakes her very core, and she discovers that secrets have a way of rising to the surface even when you try to keep them hidden from the world...

This book, like all of Ms. Loweecey's, was an absolute delight to read.  Giulia is no shrinking violet; she has guts, strength, integrity, and intelligence.  She doesn't venture forth into situations unprepared; she keeps her gun and cell phone nearby, and is quick-witted enough to extricate herself from what could be sticky situations.  She's a person that is full of life, and it shows through in her character, both in words and actions.

When the book finally ends, and we find out the fate of Joanne and what happened to the girls, it is with a feeling of justice served when all is said and done.  The ending is just as it should be, giving us a sense of satisfaction.  The writing is brisk, the characters well-drawn, the plot interesting and riveting.  Highly recommended.

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