Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Unlucky Charms (A Superstition Mystery Book 3)

Author:  Linda O. Johnston
Genre:  Mystery

Paperback; Ebook
ISBN #:  9780738745558
Midnight Ink Publishing
288 Pages
$14.99; $7.99 Amazon
October 8, 2016

Four Stars

Rory Chasen, manager of the Lucky Dog Boutique in Destiny, California, hopes her new line of good-luck doggy toys will be a hit, especially the stuffed rabbits with extra-large feet.  The timing of the line's debut proves ill-fated, though, as several local shops - including Rory's - are ransacked and vandalized with spilled salt and other unlucky charms.

The most likely culprit is disgruntled real estate agent Flora Curtival, whose issues with the town give her a motive.  But after Flora is murdered and one of Rory's toy rabbits is found with the body, Rory needs all the luck she can get while trying to determine just who killed the superstitious vandal.


Rory Chasen moved to Destiny, California after her fiance Warren stepped under a ladder and was killed.  In her grief, she wanted to find some reason why; if there was any truth to the superstition that to do so was bad luck.  Destiny, it seems, is a virtual haven of a town for superstitious people.  All the shops sell items that are rumored to be lucky, and the inhabitants never miss an opportunity to cross their fingers or knock on wood to protect themselves from bad luck.  It's even become a tourist destination due to its reputation.  Now Rory's so taken with the town that she's decided to stay.

But she isn't happy at the moment because a pushy real estate agent, Flora Curtival, seems to be stalking her, trying to get Rory and her friend Gemma into a new home and out of the B&B in which they currently reside.  Although Rory intends to move eventually, she isn't in the market for a new home at present, but Flora won't take no for an answer.

Also, while the people in Destiny think it's bad luck to discuss it, Rory learns that several of the local businesses have been vandalized - some of their merchandise has disappeared and unlucky symbols left in place.  She discovers this first hand when she arrives one morning at the shop she manages, The Lucky Dog, to find that all the new 'lucky dog' merchandise she's designed and just stocked has been stolen, with unlucky symbols such as spilled salt, all over the shop.

When Flora is found murdered, and Rory's stolen dog toys strewn about, she becomes the chief suspect in the murder, especially since Flora had especially singled her out for revenge; and it doesn't help that she's having a hard time figuring out the murderer because everyone believes it is bad luck to talk about it.  Plus, with her relationship with police chief Justin Halbertson heating up, Rory is determined to find the killer and get her life back on track.  But since it appears - at least to her - that she's the only suspect, she enlists the help of the owners of the local newspaper to assist her in a covert operation to find the real killer and get him - or her - to confess to the crime before Rory's luck runs out...

The premise of this series is interesting, and is why I began reading it.  While it makes for an interesting idea - the town of Destiny is full of residents that are truly superstitious - I don't believe it's realistic, at least not to the point that these residents are; they go out of their way to avoid anything that might bring them bad luck, and everything Rory thought came back to a superstition, even as she was proclaiming that she wasn't sure she believed in them or not.

However, this was a quick, enjoyable read that had a steady flow and I was able to finish it in one sitting.    Everything came together nicely at the end, and it was completely satisfactory, making for a decent mystery.  Recommended.

More on Linda O. Johnston's books:  https://www.fantasticfiction.com/j/linda-o-johnston/

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