A Convenient Death by Laurel Heidtman

Summary

When Tracy Andrews, night clerk at the Eden Quick-Mart, is murdered along with an elderly customer, there’s no shortage of suspects. Tracy liked men more than a married woman should, and her estranged husband, a Raven University police officer, knew it. Did he “lose it” and kill Tracy and her customer, did Tracy put too many demands on a boyfriend, or did a spouse of a married lover decide she’d had enough? Or was it a simple robbery gone wrong?

No one looks at the elderly man killed with her, but when someone breaks into his home, Eden police detective Jo Valentine takes a closer look. What she doesn’t find surprises her.

Characters

I liked Jo Valentine. She was tough and working through some stuff. All made for an interesting character. By contrast I found Ann’s chapters to be a little boring. At first they weren’t but as the story went on, they started to drag. There were a few other characters that came to the forefront including a chief of university police named Lou (woman). I liked the strong women in the book but it would have been nice to have at least one stronger male character—Dan came into the picture too late. Although Sticks (Jo’s partner) was close. Also the names: Ann and Nan, Edna and Eden. It was unnecessarily distracting and the story could have used more original names.

Plot

This is a very plot driven story. Steady storytelling punctuated by action scenes including an assault and a shootout! This book starts with a simple homicide…so you think. It balloons out quickly and just when you think everything has been uncovered…there is another twist!  It brings lots of different elements into a single setting. I thought it did a good job of showing what Detective Valentine had to contend with on an enforcement front without losing the personal piece. The police procedure seemed on point.

Overall

I guessed the ending but the author did a good job of misdirection. I was certain and then I hesitated, thought I’d gotten it wrong. Then I was positive, but it wasn’t until nearly the end. That was a job well done by the author. Lulled you into a state of calm and then starts to build the suspense to a crescendo.

Rating

4 Stars

A solid mystery that will keep you on your toes with each new twist. You might just get this one wrong!

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