Happy Publication Day!
A closed room in her newest fixer-upper leads Indiana house-flipper Jazzi Zanders to reopen a chilling cold case involving a high school girl . . .
Jazzi, her cousin Jerod, and her husband Ansel are preparing to renovate a charming house that reminds her of an English manor. Before purchasing it, they had inspected the house for structural issues, but now when they do a more thorough walk-through, they discover a teenage girl’s bedroom that clearly hasn’t been touched in years. Dust covers the pink canopy bed, clothes still hang in the closet, and a hope chest remains full of journals and memorabilia. They’ve stumbled on a shrine to a dead girl.
They learn Jessica was killed in the middle of her high school graduation party. The murderer was never identified, but the brother-in-law of Jazzi’s friend, who went to school with Jessica, was suspected and never lived it down. He implores Jazzi to review the cold case and finally prove him innocent. Now it’s up to the house-flipper to nail a killer who will do anything to close the door on the past . ..
Can’t believe we are already at Book 5 of this series from this prolific writer. This entry to the series veers off just a tad from previous plot lines in that they don’t discover a body in their newest fixer—they discover a locked room that had been the bedroom of the deceased. It’s still the open case of a murder.
Jazzi, her hubby Ansel, and cousin Jerod are working on another flipper, this time in the little town of Merlot. The room they discover locked was actually that way when the last owner bought and not needing the room simply left it as is. The house has been sold with furnishings and the room in particular left just as the teenager had prior to her untimely death.
They don’t get too deeply into the project before Jazzi is asked to dig into the cold case as the girl’s boyfriend was the prime suspect but never arrested or charged. Still, he is left with the stigma and would like to be cleared, once and for all.
Ah, youthful energy!! Jazzi balances her full on rehab work with the boys as she also prepares their lunches and snacks, meets the girls for their weekly gab fest, and provides a big family dinner every Sunday, as has been her routine now for some time. They have a pug, George, and two kitties that they tend. In between, she begins to read the journal left by the young graduating high schooler. It’s enlightening, but not wholly revealing.
Then a body is found obviously connected to the case which involves Gaff, their local police connection who manages to show up for a lot of lunches (just to exchange information, of course). Now she’ll ramp up her efforts and begin systematic interviews with all involved.
The narrative is well-plotted, the mystery just under the surface, as the three work through their plan for renovation, choosing colors, textures, materials, appliances, and equipment. Having also worked on rehabbing old houses for years, I’m always fascinated with the description of what and how they go about it. Of course, styles and colors have changed a LOT since we worked nights and weekends on our projects while working full-time.
I enjoy the characters and having read several of the books now (including The Body in the Attic and The Body in the Apartment), see a subtle change in dynamics of the main characters. The pacing is just right, working on the mystery, working on the house, working on the family relationships, and working on some pretty interesting food dishes (several included at the back). An easy-in conclusion and the promise of Book 6 and I’m a happy reader.
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.
Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Lyrical Underground
Print Length: 204 pages
Publication Date: September 22, 2020
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars
The Author: [Judi Lynn] USA Today Best-selling author for The Body in the Attic.
When I started self-publishing, I wrote urban fantasy as Judith Post. Then my wonderful agent, Lauren Abramo, suggested I try to find a publisher by writing romance, and she was right. I sold my Mill Pond romances to Kensington’s Lyrical Press. After six romances, my equally wonderful editor, John Scognamiglio, asked if I’d like to try to write a mystery. Ironic, because I started writing–forever ago–by writing mystery short stories and selling them. I decided to write about a fixer-upper because my husband and I bought a 1920s small bungalow when we got married, and it needed lots of work. We’re still working on it. And cooking crept into the stories because I LOVE to cook and have friends over to eat supper with us. A lot of my passions have ended up in my books:)
Connect with Judi on Facebook and her blog at Judi Lynn Writes
©2020 V Williams