I hope everyone has had a delightful Wednesday. I spent the day paying bills, cleaning, and doing laundry. I lead a very exciting life!
Fatal Fiction by Kym Roberts is the first book in A Book Barn Mystery series. Charli Rae Warren is returning home to Hazel Rock, Texas after having left over twelve years ago at age seventeen. Charlie Rae received a call from Marlene Duncan, a realtor. Marlene needs Charlie Rae’s signature in order to sell The Book Barn (families bookstore). Charlie Rae is surprised by the appearance of the bookstore. It is bright fuchsia (outside) and called The Book Barn Princess. The inside of the store is also pink (which happens to be Charlie Rae’s favorite color) and contains tacky princess items (which Charlie Rae liked when she was a teenager). This is her father’s attempt at making amends (the reason Charlie Rae left town at 17). Charlie Rae enters the store calling out for her father, Bobby Ray. Charlie Rae parts the curtain to the backroom and finds Marlene dead on the floor with a sparkly pink belt around her neck. Charlie Rae wants to leave town and head back to Denver, but she is broke (and Sheriff Espinosa insists she stay put). Bobby Ray ends up at the top of the suspect list (of course). It does not help that no one has been able to reach him or find him. Charlie Rae with help from her old high school beau, the football coach and his team, and the beauty shop owner revamps the shop to turn it back into a profitable enterprise. Charlie Rae also starts nosing around asking questions so she can clear her father’s name, and he can return home (and she can go home). But someone does not like Charlie Rae asking questions. Why was Marlene killed? Will Charlie Rae be able to find the culprit?
Fatal Fiction is easy to read, but the humor is not the type I enjoy. Charlie Rae is a hard character to like or relate to (at least for me). She is either overreacting, acting idiotic, or admiring some man’s physique (or thinking about his kisses, touching him, etc.). Charlie Rae acted like an escaped psychiatric patient off her meds (especially after she finds the body). Charlie Rae is a college graduate and in her early 30s. I just expect more intelligence and adult behavior from her. I felt that there was too much quirkiness in the book. There is the pink armadillo (shop mascot), Charlie Rae’s uncooperative hair (mentioned more than once), Scarlet Jenkins who is always perfectly turned out and lives in an airstream behind her shop, the bouquets for Marlene that block the entrance to the store (and she feels she cannot move them aside so she can open the doors), Charlie Rae’s lack of clothing to wear while in town, and let us not forget Mr. Perfect—Cade. I only provided a few examples (I could go on). I give Fatal Fiction 2.5 out of 5 stars (I did not like it). The mystery was the best part of the book (and the only reason I kept reading). Many readers will not be able to figure out who killed Marlene. The mystery plays out over the course of the book (there is no real investigation and few clues). I liked that the book setting is a bookstore, but I just felt that Ms. Roberts needed to dial back the eccentric and silliness (at least for me).
I am off to relax for the evening (my cold is getting worse). Tonight is the mid-season finale of Arrow. Younger is also on tonight (finale is next week). I really hope all of you have a nice, relaxing night. I will see you tomorrow when I review another novel! Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader