A late-night call is all it takes for rookie lawyer Corrie Locke to kiss her day job at the movie studio goodbye, and do what she does best: flex her sweet P.I. skills and go undercover to find a senior who’s missing from a posh retirement community. One small stumbling block: skirting past security to gain inside access to the exclusive Villa Sunset. Time to call in the heavy artillery. Besides former security guard turned legal assistant—now wannabe P.I.—Veera, Corrie relies on a secret weapon: her mother, a surprisingly eager addition to Corrie’s team. Armed with enough pepper spray to take down a band of Navy Seals, Mom impersonates a senior to infiltrate the Villa, Corrie and Veera in tow. Turns out the job’s not as easy as they’d thought. These seniors have tricks tucked up their sleeves and aren’t afraid of using them.
The action gets dicey when the missing senior case turns into attempted murder by a criminal mind who’s always one step ahead. Corrie’s hot on the trail, but finds more than she bargained for…when her mother becomes a target.
Oops! The fifth in the series and my first. I think I may have missed something. Wannabe PI Corrie Locke (also a newly minted lawyer) is trying her chops at finding a missing person. Villa Sunset is an exclusive retirement home in Santa Barbara and, yes, that is a gorgeous, very expensive area of southern California. The author sets the reader up for beautiful views, ocean-scented air, and palms swaying in the gentle breeze.
The novel is a cozy mystery and moves at a laid-back pace. Corrie is joined by her best bud, Veera, a former security guard, and apparently this entry to the series, Corrie’s mother, who proves to be the interesting character (for me). Because it’s a senior community, they need her mother to be their “in.” It appears to work as she is readily accepted and they “temporarily” tag along.
It is supposed to be a senior community, but these seniors are apparently not only “active” but bored and tend to come off more as “geriatric delinquents” than seniors. But nothing is simple, even in a cozy mystery, and things begin, slowly, to become more complex adding characters to the plot, threads, and twists.
The author writes with wit, coining some interesting and funny phrases:
“…he regarded me with the disdain reserved for a virgin eggnog.”
“I can spot a liar like a hawk can spot a grasshopper.”
“I’m not doing it. I’d stick out like a raisin in a jar of mayonnaise.”
At about seventy percent, the narrative begins to heat up and the pacing finds the gas pedal. At this point, there are a lot of issues to clarify which do get ironed out in conclusion following a fairly low-key climax.
I’m not sure whether it was because I started well into the series or there was just too much minutia that didn’t help keep the plot on track, but I found it too slow for me. The dialogue could be humorous at times, however, there were occasions when action got a bit over the top and the residents too juvenile. I am a senior but these characters didn’t ring true for me.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.
Rosepoint Rating: Three-point Five Stars
Genre: Women Sleuths
Publisher: Level Best Books
Print Length: 318 pages
Publication Date: March 29, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
The Author: Lida Sideris’ first stint after law school was a newbie lawyer’s dream: working as an entertainment attorney for a movie studio…kind of like her heroine, Corrie Locke, except without the homicides. Lida was one of two national winners of the Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America Scholarship Award for her first book and a Killer Nashville, Silver Falchion Award Finalist for her fourth book – Slightly Murderous Intent. Lida lives in the northern tip of Southern California with her family, rescue dogs and a flock of uppity chickens.
“A smart caper with a heroine to match.” – Kirkus Recommended Review
“…An excellent read. It has everything needed for a cozy afternoon curled up on the sofa – murder, mystery, humor, and plenty of action. The plot is extremely detailed and so well written that I found myself hooked on page one.” – Readers’ Favorite
Bio for The Cookie Eating Fire Dog:
Lida Sideris loves baking and eating all kinds of cookies. Never, ever leave her alone with a batch of fresh baked cookies…if you want any left for yourself. She is the author of a Southern California Mystery series. This is her first book for children. When she’s not writing, she’s running a legal non-profit in Southern California. Lida is a lawyer and mother of two human and two canine kids. She is an avid supporter of the three R’s: reading, writing and rescue dogs.
“The story is charming and readers will love Dan.” – Readers’ Favorite
“If you have any little aspiring firefighters at home, Lida Sideris has penned an adorable and motivating tale that is just perfect for them…the lesson is solid, and as Dan learns the value of selfless acts, so will many young readers” – IndiesToday
©2022 – V Williams