Genre: Cozy Mystery, Supernatural, Psychics, Animals, Amateur Sleuth
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp.
- ASIN: B07DBQQRHF
Print Length: 368 pages
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title and Cover: Final Exam – Neat cozy cover
A cold case update in Salem, Massachusetts . . .
Life at the house on Winter Street is abuzz with preparations for Aunt Ibby’s 45th high school reunion, and Lee Barrett is happy to pitch in, tracking down addresses and licking envelopes. But as a field reporter for Salem’s WICH-TV, her priority is to be on top of the town’s latest news before anyone else.
When the local police dredge up a vintage sports car containing human remains, Lee is thrilled to be the first reporter on the scene. Once she learns the car is connected to the cold case her boyfriend Pete happens to be working on, her powers of investigation are quickly alerted. But it’s her Aunt Ibby’s emotional reaction to Lee’s TV report that puts her on the case. With the help of O’Ryan, her psychic feline sidekick, she’ll have to unravel a tangled past of secrets and promises to stop a killer from making history again . . .
As if to drive home my (previous) point about coming in on a series at book 8–here is my review with a new series, new author for me–Final Exam. Definitely intrigued by any mystery out of Salem (hear that spooky background music?) and to add supernatural or psychic to the storyline, oh yeah, count me in. (For those outside the US who aren’t familiar with Salem, let me just mention that even the word conjures visions of witch hunts, trials, and executions, which famously occurred in 1692.)
Anyway, protagonist Lee (Maralee) Barrett is a field reporter for Salem’s WICH-TV news station. She lives with her Aunt Ibby (Isobel Russell) in a three-floor Victorian walk-up, her little apartment being on the third floor. She has a boyfriend who is a local police investigator currently working a cold case. (That’s handy!) Lee and her main camera person, Francine, get a tip regarding a sunken Mustang and manage to scoop the story being first on scene. The scoop is perfect for Pete, not so for Aunt Ibby currently in the throes of working with her high school reunion committee for their 45th.
This is a fun little romp into a cozy that garners fascination quickly and keeps engagement throughout with one development after another in a well-plotted cold case mystery that begins to turn topical fairly quick. The supernatural belongs to Lee who possesses a special “gift,” which she apparently revealed to boyfriend Pete. However, the psychic belongs to the resident kitty, O’Ryan. Mysterious cat, O’Ryan. My first pet love is a dog–but this cat definitely had my attention. Must say, the characters in this novel are all appealing, including Pete–what a sweetie. And I enjoyed the author’s writing style.
While there is a reference to the Wiccan supplication, there is also one of my favorite quotes from the Bible, “The Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from another.” While the mystery of the who is early and easy to solve, the narrative is still curiously compelling, including Lee’s “on the scene” or studio spots. Book 8 functions quite well as a standalone and kept my attention engaged throughout. (That’s a mature relationship she and Pete exhibit, although early thirties? Hmm) Lee is not the interrogation of the suspect type sleuth, albeit investigative journalist, she is pretty subtle. Touristy tidbits of Salem provided location information and dialogue felt natural.
Overall, an enjoyable and fast-paced read with a logical and satisfying conclusion. I had a problem with the three-story walk-up as I guess I’d have required a set of house plans to understand the layout of the building. Descriptions had me confused more than once. Otherwise, I’m looking forward to book 9. I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Recommended for cozy mystery fans, fans of the supernatural (and, no, I’m not going to divulge what kind), kitty characters, and light reads.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars
The Author: Carol J. Perry was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on Halloween eve, and that magical city serves as the backdrop for her Witch City Mystery series. She is also the author of several young adult novels. Her nonfiction articles on travel, antiques, and ecology often appear in regional and national publications.
(Photo attribute: Wikimedia)
©2019 V Williams