Thursday, July 11, 2013

All Natural Murder by Staci McLaughlin

In All Natural Murder, the downturned economy has forced Dana Lewis to take a marketing/general staff at O'Connell Organic Farm and Spa. She didn't realize that she'd also be investigating murder, but when her ditzy sister, Ashlee, becomes a prime suspect in the death of her Monster Truck driving boyfriend, Bobby Joe Jones, Dana jumps at the chance to clear her sister's name.

I really enjoyed this second book in the Blossom Valley mystery series. I haven't read the first, but now I'd really like to. This one was fun, intelligent and contained a well-thought out mystery and some interesting characters.

The whole investigation and wrap-up of the mystery was well done. There were plenty of suspects and motives that had me guessing until the final reveal.

I really liked Dana and her tenacity. She really was determined to make sure her sister wasn't charged with the crime by finding out who did have the means, motive, and opportunity. She had a lot on her plate: her job, which she (mostly) did, her personal life with her reporter boyfriend, Jason, and investigating the murder. Her investigation methods were orderly and easy to follow, which made reading this book most enjoyable. The only thing that bugged me was her continued complaining about the health food served at the spa. Even though the food didn't sound all that appealing to me either, it got a little old. She doesn't like health food...I get it.

Speaking of the food, I think the author could have made the food more appealing. Healthy food can be wonderful and interesting. It's not all tofu and natto beans.

I didn't find any new-to-me words in the book, but I did find an unusual use (or misuse) of one. The word "palate" was used instead of "pallet" on page 294: "...unloading a palate of toilet paper...". I only point this out because I had to look it up to be sure that the author used the wrong word.

I haven't had that much time to read this summer, so I mostly read this book in bits and pieces, in-between other books and when I had a few minutes to spare. Despite this each time I picked up the book, the whole story came right back to me. I didn't have any trouble following what was going on.

I appreciated the tips from the organic farm given at the end of the book. These include cleaning windows and mirrors (with eco-friendly ingredients, of course) to making basil oil.

Highly recommended. I'd definitely read another book by this author.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit the Kensington Books website.

Thanks to those nice people from Kensington Books for this review copy.

All Natural Murder by Staci McLaughlin, Kensington Books, ©2013. ISBN 9780758275011(Mass Market), 332p.

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