Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Picked Off (A Brie Hooker Mystery Book 2)

Author:  Linda Lovely
Genre:  Mystery

Digital Book
Henery Press Publishing
$2.99 Amazon
June 5, 2018

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It's been seven months since Brie Hooker, a vegan, moved to Udderly Kidding Dairy to live with her feisty Aunt Eva, a confirmed carnivore.

But tonight there'll be no family feud over dinner entrees.

Udderly's hosting a campaign fundraiser for Eva's best friend, who hopes to be South Carolina's next governor.  The candidate's son, a pro quarterback, is flying home for the wingding.  And Brie's eager to get a close-up view of the cute tush she's admired on TV, even though she's reluctantly sworn off even more tempting local beefcake.

The campaign fundraiser promises to be a huge success until a pitchfork attack turns the goat farm into a crime scene - again.

To protect her friends, Brie puts her sleuthing skills to work.  Will she live long enough to find out who's behind a vicious assault, a kidnapping, blackmail, and murder?

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When Brie and her friends Paint and Andy are getting Udderly Kidding Dairy ready for a Halloween fundraiser for her Aunt Eva's best friend Carol Strong, who is running for governor, all talk is about Carol's son Zack, who grew up with the two men and has now made it big in football.  But no sooner are they talking about him when he shows up to visit with his old friends.

Once the costumed affair is underway, everyone seems to be having a good time...until Zack is found unconscious in the barn, having been hit on the head and then stabbed with a pitchfork.  The attack has left him in a coma, and since almost everyone wore a mask, no one can tell who the attacker might have been.

But it doesn't stop there.  Soon Carol disappears, and both Brie and Eva thinks she might have been kidnapped.  It doesn't help that suddenly the town is filled with people from Zack's football team, including a pair of hired thugs who are more menacing than protective.  And if Brie doesn't figure out what's going on pretty soon, she might be the next one in the line of fire...

First off, I should get the things that bothered me out of the way:  Having read the first one, I was looking forward to this book.  However, this time out, Brie is really concerned with sex (as she reminds us how long she's been celibate).  Also, as I've said before, if this were a man and he were making remarks about two women who were interested in him, the demographics would be a whole lot different on peoples' opinion of the book.   

Her friend Mollye, who is supposed to be witty and funny, comes off like a twisted teenager in this book.  She's constantly making sexual innuendos which seem out of place considering there's a man in the hospital and his mother is missing.  I just felt that she never took the situation seriously; it gave me the impression that this book was centered more on the romantic angle, and because of that, the mystery angle suffered.  It wasn't until the second half of the book when there's a murder to be solved.  (Let's face it, folks, you read a mystery because of the murder, and you expect it fairly early on).  Unfortunately, since I'm not the least interested in love triangles, it made the first part of the book slow going for me.

But once the mystery started to get going, so did the action.  The pace picked up, and suspects began to come out of the woodwork, making the last half of the book quite interesting.  There were some harrowing situations that Brie managed to get into (and out of) and I enjoyed this immensely.  The words began to flow off the page, bringing us into the story and keeping us involved right up until the end.  It was this half that saved the book for me, and the best part of it, in my humble opinion.

Brie manages to think on her feet in tight situations, and that's always a good thing.  I found the writing to be very good, the plot line engaging.  I enjoyed how everything came together nicely at the end, and look forward to the next in the series.  Recommended.

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