Monday, March 21, 2011

Review: A Touch of Gold

A Touch of Gold (Missing Pieces Mystery - Book 2) by Joyce and Jim Lavene

Publication Date: March 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 304pp
ISBN-13: 9780425240243

(Received for review from Berkley/Obsidian)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Joyce and Jim Lavene on the WEB: Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter

Book Trailer:

(Book Blurb):

The mayor of Duck, North Carolina, Dae O'Donell is a woman with a gift for finding lost things. Sometimes it leads her to lost keys or earrings - and sometimes it leads her to murder...


Long before he became curator of the Duck Historical Museum, Max Caudle contributed its greatest treasure - a wooden chest full of gold he discovered washed up on shore. Tales of pirates and their booty have long been part of local folklore, but history is really made when someone fires a cannonball into the museum, destroying the building and killing Max, before looting the gold.

Injured in the explosion, Dae finds her abilities have been amplified, overwhelming her with intense visions every time she touches an object. Now, if ex-FBI agent - and burgeoning beau - Kevin Brickman can help Dae decipher her visions, she just might be able to stop the modern-day buccaneer from killing again...


The cozy mystery writing team of Joyce and Jim Lavene, give readers a second look at Duck, North Carolina. In
A Touch of Gold, the second book in the Missing Pieces mystery series, readers will once again find mayor, Dae O'Donnell on the case. The authors' vivid descriptions and engaging characters will have cozy mystery readers' heads filled with visions of pirate gold, hidden treasure and murder. A great second offering from a gifted writing team!

Max Caudle gave the Duck Historical Museum it's most famous piece, a treasure chest which he believes can be traced to Theo Burr the daughter of Aaron Burr whose ship supposedly sank off the coast of North Carolina. Now, the curator of the museum, Max is able to dig deeper into the history of the chest. When a cannonball destroys the museum, killing Max, it's up to mayor Dae O'Donnell to figure out what really happened and why someone would want Max dead. The missing loot from the museum could be the key. Dae, who was injured in the museum blast has a unique psychic ability that allows her find lost items, but now that heightened ability threatens to overwhelm her before she can sort through her visions to find the killer.

Once again the writing team of Joyce and Jim Lavene seem to know just what cozy mystery readers are looking for. In
A Touch of Gold, the authors' explore the folklore and legends of North Carolina during the age of pirates and buccaneers. Readers who love a good treasure hunt will enjoy the pirate theme and find themselves digging up clues. I thought the writer's did an excellent job of taking stories and legends and bringing them to life for the reader. It enhanced the plot line and gave an adventurous feel to the book.

I think this series will appeal to many different kinds of readers, from the cozy mystery reader, to the paranormal reader and to those love a good adventure tale. The characters are full of life and seem to jump off the pages. Duck is s place that people will become interested in reading more about. Readers will find it idyllic and full of personality. It's the kind of coastal town that people might want to live in. The characters become like people they know and the overall feel of the book becomes more than just a mystery. The descriptions of the town, it's people and the legends of the area are what really sets this book apart in the cozy genre. These characters seem like real people. The psychic element of the story only adds to the mystique and makes Duck seem even more inviting.

Main character Dae O'Donnell is full of spirit and fun to read about. She uses her latent ability to find things to help the community of Duck in many ways from finding a stray set of keys to perhaps finding a killer. I was curious to see if Dae's abilities had changed any from the first book in the series and was pleasantly surprised that the authors chose to "enhance" her visions in this book. Dae comes across as a genuinely believable character. Even though she has this quirky ability to find things, she still doesn't come across as remote or set apart from the community. I liked how the author's made her seem very accessible and how the community responded to her abilities. The paranormal aspect gives an edge to this book and the series and opens it up a new audience of mystery readers.

I love the fact that Joyce and Jim are a married couple who have chosen to write together. I think having both a female and a male perspective is what makes them so successful. With several cozy mystery series' under their belt, readers will feel comfortable with them and look forward to anything they put out. I believe this is a great series to introduce readers to the cozy sub-genre and it will give tried and true cozy readers a twist they may not be expecting.

This is a fast paced book and can be read in sitting or two. If you are a fan of the amateur sleuth and love pirates, this one is right up your alley. I recommend it to new and old cozy fans and I think readers will really enjoy learning more about Duck and mayor Dae O'Donnell.

A Touch of Gold is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

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

Joyce and Jim Lavene are a married writing couple who live in North Carolina with their family. They get help from their cat, Quincy, and their big puppy, Rudi, who they rescued in 2010. They have been writing together since 1994 and published since 1999. Last year marked their 52nd book in print. They enjoy writing mysteries but are at home with fantasy, romance, and non-fiction. The couple both work for their small, hometown newspaper,
The Weekly Post. They are active in Sister-in-Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

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