Publication Date: June 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 352pp
(Received for an honest review from Berkley/Obsidian)
Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Lorna Barrett on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter
Excerpt from Sentenced to Death
Synopsis (Book Blurb):
As the owner of Stoneham, New Hampshire's mystery bookstore Haven't Got a Clue, Tricia Miles can figure out whodunit in the latest bestseller way before she gets to the last page. But these days, Tricia is using her sleuthing skills for much more than the books on her shelves...
It's Founder's Day in Stoneham, and the whole village has turned out to celebrate in the square, including Tricia's friend sand festivities organizer Deborah Black. As everyone watches Deborah give the opening speech, a small aircraft crashes into the village gazebo, killing both Deborah and the pilot.
While the Sheriff's Department is convinced that it was an accident. Tricia has a feeling that there's more to the story. And when she reads between the lines of the case, what she finds is worse than the most sinister whodunit...
Author Lorna Barrett adds another cozy mystery to her resume with the latest in the Booktown Mystery series, Sentenced to Death. Fans of the series will enjoy returning to the small town of Stoneham, New Hampshire and it's many book stores. New readers to the series will find Barrett's character driven cozies, full of excitement and plenty of clues to unraveling the latest whodunit.
Tricia Miles owner of Stoneham's mystery bookstore, Haven't Got a Clue is spending more time sleuthing than selling books of late. Her skills are put to the test during the Stoneham Founder's Day celebration. Tricia's friend, Deborah Black owner of Happy Domestic is spearheading the festivities. Suddenly a small plane dives toward the ground just as Deborah is giving the opening speech for the celebration. The plane lands on the gazebo where Deborah was speaking and ends up killing both Deborah and the pilot. Everyone including the Sheriff's office is convinced it was a freak accident but Tricia isn't buying it. There is something strange going on and she has to figure out what it is. Deborah's husband isn't himself, he has his wife's remains cremated, and quickly sells her shop. Are these the actions of a grieving husband is something more sinister at hand?
Lorna Barrett once again thrills cozy mystery readers with the latest addition to the Booktown Mystery series. Sentenced to Death revolves around the murder of one of Tricia Miles' friends, Deborah Black. Readers who are familiar with the series will remember that Deborah and Tricia became friends when Tricia first came to Stoneham to open her bookstore, Haven't Got a Clue. Avid readers will enjoy the fact that Barrett sets her series in a town that is filled with every kind of book store you can imagine. I certainly would love to live in a town with so many reading and sleuthing options. It seems that people tend to drop like flies in Stoneham and readers never know who's going to best next.
Tricia Miles' is a character that fans of the series have grown to love. She's spunky and full of determination and has read so many mysteries that it's easy for her to put two and two together to find a killer. This one hits a little closer to home, as one of the victims was a friend. Tricia is portrayed as the kind of person who sees a mystery in everything and most usually she's right. Even when the police decide this was a freak accident, her sixth sense tells her something isn't quite what it seems. I liked the way that the author lets Tricia come across as analytical and thoughtful, she isn't just grasping at straws there are real reasons to think something funny is going on. She appears authentic and believable which is so important in any mystery.
Barrett uses some unlikely weapons in her mysteries, this one is no different, using a small aircraft to bring about the dirty deed. One of the things that I appreciate about Barrett's writing is her ability to take the impossible and make it seem plausible. How many times have we seen something like this happen in every day life? Probably never, but it comes across as realistic, if a bit harrowing. It doesn't seem over the top or contrived the way Barrett writes it. I think this comes from Barrett's attention to detail and the little things, like the festive atmosphere where a reader can imagine a small plane carrying a banner letting citizens know about the celebration. It seems natural and full of potential. Barrett's mysteries are always well thought out and character driven.
Barrett's characters have been developing throughout the series. Some are old favorites from the town, others are new, some have been victims, but the landscape of Stoneham is ever-changing like any small town. Everyone knows everyone else and everything seems to be everybody's business. Readers get to know a little more about main characters with each book. In this one, Tricia Miles is trying to get rid of an old boyfriend, and isn't too sure of the new one. Barrett has a knack for giving her characters personality and a story apart from the whodunit aspect of the book. Readers will love finding out more about the history of the town and the people.
This book can easily be read as a stand alone but once you've read one you'll want to read the rest. I recommend this one to cozy mystery fans and readers who like a mystery that isn't bogged down with a lot of gore and heavy emotions. If you like Trixie Belden or Nancy Drew as a child, you're sure to love cozy mysteries. Barrett has a unique style and a sharp sense of what readers will find believable and what they won't. I definitely look forward to reading more of the Booktown series.
Sentenced to Death is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Lorna Barrett is the Agatha-nominated, New York Times bestselling author of the Booktown Mystery Series. She also writes under the name of Lorraine Bartlett with the Victoria Square Mysteries, and L.L. Bartlett, for the Jeff Resnick suspense series.
Lorna lives in Rochester, NY with her husband and four felines, and is a proud member of Sisters in Crime.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Sentenced to Death for one winner from Debbie's Book Bag.
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