Saturday, March 26, 2011

Review: A Deadly Cliche

A Deadly Cliche (Books by the Bay Mystery - Book 2) by Ellery Adams

Publication Date: March 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 304pp
ISBN-13: 9780425240236

(Received for review from Berkley/Obsidian)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Ellery Adams on the WEB: Website, Facebook

Book Trailer: This is the trailer for the first book in the series,
A Killer Plot

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

While walking her poodle, Olivia Limoges discovers a dead body buried in the sand. Could it be connected to the bizarre burglaries plaguing Oyster Bay, North Carolina? The Bayside Book Writers prick up their ears and pick up their pens to get the story...

The thieves have a distinct MO. At every crime scene, they set up odd tableaus: a stick of butter with a knife through it, dolls with silver spoons in their mouths, a deck of cards with a missing queen. Olivia realizes each setup represents a cliche.

Who better to decode the cliche clues than the Bayside Book Writers group, especially since their newest member is Police Chief Rawlings? As the investigation proceeds, Olivia is surprised to find herself falling for the widowed policeman. But an even greater surprise is in store. Her father - lost at sea thirty years ago - may still be alive...


Ellery Adams once again thrills fans with her latest cozy mystery,
A Deadly Cliche, part of the Books by the Bay series. This is a great mystery for book lovers. The Bayside Book Writers are on the case! The author's ability to create several different mysteries within one book is one of the things that sets this novel apart from the rest. Readers will love Adams' attention to detail and setting in this one, as the clues are all based on cliches.

Olivia Limoges and her faithful dog and companion Haviland set out on their morning walk on the beach. They certainly don't expect to find a murdered man buried in the sand with a bucket on his head. Olivia is the owner of a local restaurant, The Boot Top and member of the Bayside Book Writers. A rash of burglaries have taken place lately in the town of Oyster Bay and Olivia wonders if the murder could be related. The bad guys have left a calling card at each crime scene, and all are based on cliches. Who better to figure out these literary clues than her friends at the Bayside Book Writers, including their newest member, Chief Rawlings, head of the Oyster Bay police force and a widower. As Olivia works closely with Rawlings to try to find the thieves and a murder, she realizes she may be starting to have feelings for him. Will she find the culprits and the answer a mystery of her own?

Ellery Adams does such a wonderful job with this book. I think one of the best parts is her ability to juggle several different stories at one time. Not only does she tackle the mystery in Oyster Bay itself, but several books that are under review by the Bayside Book Writers as well. This is definitely a book for book lovers, with a variety of genres and plot lines mentioned. I certainly could not have kept it all straight, if I had been the writer, but Ellery Adams pulls it off with style. The idea of using cliches as clues is not something that would occur to just anyone. I thought the plot was interesting and refreshing. The literary clues were fun to try to figure out and seemed very believable.

The characters themselves were very three dimensional. Chief Rawlings was not just a police officer, he came across as a real person with thoughts and feelings and situations all his own. As a widow he provides the love interest for Olivia. Their relationship may not be the forefront of the story, but it provides the book with another layer for readers to become interested in. Olivia's faithful companion Capt. Haviland is a great character. This dog will make readers want to go and get a poodle. He isn't all prime and proper like you would expect. He even tries to dislodge a pail from the head of a dead man despite the odor. He's always ready to accompany Olivia and pet lovers will certainly fall in love with him.

The main character and amateur sleuth Olivia has a lot of layers to her as well. Not only is she a restaurateur, but also an aspiring writer and member of the local Book Writing club, that critiques each others work. I thought this was such a great idea for a character. She is strong and intelligent and comes across as someone you'd find in a cafe lost in a book or a manuscript. Her ability to put together what the thieves are trying to say seems realistic and logical. Someone who writes, generally knows about the craft of writing and clues these bad guys left behind were literary in nature. All this gives an authentic feel to the story and to Olivia's character.

I thought Ellery Adams did a wonderful job of building on the first book in the series. Giving us the continuing stories of characters we met in
A Killer Plot and also introducing us to new people who play an intricate part in A Deadly Cliche. The story of Olivia's father who was lost at sea over thirty years ago also gives the reader another aspect of Olivia's life to be interested in. I think the author will probably expound further on this in later books. The sneak peek of the next novel in the series, The Last Word will leave readers biting their nails waiting for it to come out.

I recommend this one to cozy lovers and regular mystery lovers as well. It may not be as dark and intense as some mysteries, but I think that's the charm in a good cozy. It doesn't take so much out the reader emotionally. If you loved Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon as a child these kinds of mysteries will really appeal to you. I look forward to the next book in the series and I think you will really enjoy this one, especially if you are into books and literary mysteries.

A Deadly Cliche is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Ellery Adams grew up on the beach near the Long Island Sound. Having spent her adult life in a series of landlocked towns, she cherishes her memories of open water, violent storms, and the smell of the sea. Ms. Adams has held many jobs including caterer, retail clerk, car salesperson, teacher, tutor, and tech writer, all while penning poems, children's books and novels. She now writes full time from her home in Virginia.