Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Fireworks in Paradise (A Tj Jensen Mystery #8)

Author:  Kathi Daley
Genre:  Mystery

Hardcover; Trade Paperback; Digital Book; Audiobook
ISBN #:  9781635112580; 9781635112559
Henery Press Publishing
242 Pages
$31.75. $15.95; $6.99 Amazon
October 10, 2017


While on vacation in South Carolina, Tj Jensen receives a call that her father has been left in a coma after a devastating car crash.  Back home in Paradise Lake, Tj learns the accident that killed family friend Judge Harper and left her father clinging to life wasn't an accident at all -- someone cut their brake lines.  To make matters worse, her friend and police contact, Deputy Roy Fisher, is working with a new partner who has no intention of letting Tj anywhere near the case.  Facing an investigation more explosive than the annual fireworks show, Tj enlists the help of her best friends to unravel the mystery, all the while navigating a new romance and the thought her father may never wake up.


Tj's on vacation in South Carolina when she receives a call telling her that her father's been in a car accident and might not make it.  Hurrying home, she discovers he's in a coma, and Judge Harper, who was driving, was killed.  She also discovers it wasn't an accident - the brake lines were cut; meaning someone wanted the judge to die...

Roy Fisher, deputy assigned to the case, has no problem with Tj's help in solving it, since she's helped him many times before.  But this time is different - he has a new partner who wants nothing to do with 'civilians' and threatens to report Roy if he allows Tj and her friends near the case.

But Tj isn't giving up.  After all, he father was nearly killed, so this hits close to home.  When Tj and Kyle, her new boyfriend, start investigating on the sly, they discover that the judge was looking at several old cases that weren't resolved the way he thought they should be, and wanted to reopen them again.

Could any of these people have caused the accident?  If so, she's got her work cut out for her, since she also has to help run her family's resort for the Fourth of July weekend and worry about her father until he's out of danger.  But will she discover the truth before the new deputy - Kate - discovers what's going on and arrest her for obstruction?

While I enjoyed the book for the most part, I don't understand why anyone would tell the new detective that Tj investigated crimes.  She's not a PI, not a police officer, so really she has no business doing so at all.  Yet her friends - and Roy - seem proud of that fact and naturally, it rankles the new detective.

Secondly, I didn't like Kate at all.  She's too hard-nosed to be a police officer.  She has no compassion, understanding or humor in her, and she seems like the type of person that would arrest someone for sneezing in her direction.  She's ungrateful to boot.  Not a nice person and I couldn't see any redeeming qualities for keeping her in future storylines.

Aside from that, there were several subplots going on at the same time - the Fourth of July festivities, Tj's new relationship with Kyle, and family drama, along with trying to find out who the murderer is.  There's no lack of suspects, and Tj has plenty of help from townspeople to get any information she might need.

When we finally discover who the murderer is, there is no sympathy for the killer.  In fact, one feels he pretty much deserved everything that happened to him.  While this book was more family centered than mystery centered, it was still an interesting way to spend an evening.  Recommended.


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