Sunday, May 6, 2018

Fiction Can Be Murder: A Mystery Writer's Mystery

Good Day!  Isn't the cover of Fiction Can be Murder cozy?  I just want to climb into the chair and relax with a book.  I just finished Cake and Punishment by Maymee Bell (aka Tonya Kappes).  The first book in A Southern Cake Baker Mystery series which will be out on Tuesday, May 8. Migraines have put me behind on my reading.  

Fiction Can Be Murder by Becky Clark is the first tale in A Mystery Writer’s Mystery series.  Charlemagne “Charlee” Russo is at her writer’s critique group when she hears the news that Melinda Walter, Charlee’s agent, was found dead.  She was murdered using the method in Charlee’s unpublished manuscript—Mercury Rising.  Since only a handful of people have read the manuscript, Charlee is propelled to the top of the police’s suspect list.  Charlee is left with no choice.  She must investigate Melinda’s death to clear her name.  With the suspect list narrowed down to her critique group, Charlee must discern who killed her agent and is trying to frame her for murder.  Charlee’s imagination goes into overdrive especially after she notices a SUV following her. Is she the killer’s next target? 

Fiction Can Be Murder had an interesting premise.  A mystery writer whose own work was used to murder her agent.  I wanted to get a peek into the life of a mystery writer.  Unfortunately, Fiction Can Be Murder has a terrible main character in Charlemagne “Charlee” Russo.  Charlee comes across as paranoid, annoying, judgmental and unstable.  She thinks that anyone on the street can be a killer and they might attack her at any moment (she wonders if the lady with the double stroller is carrying an Uzi).  I forgot to mention she is also clumsy.  She is known for having coffee spills on her clothing (she needs a sippy cup).  Of course, Charlee is also scattered brained.  She forgets to charge her phone and is frequently late (let’s face it—she is never on time).  I could have done without her using an alley for a restroom. There is a lack of character development, so the characters come across as flat.  Now and then the author sticks in a detail or two. The mystery consists of Charlee “questioning” her friends (verifying their alibis) in an accusatory manner (when she is not hiding in her apartment) and endless speculation.  Charlee was not subtle in her questioning.  I am amazed that any of these people are willing to be her friends after the case is solved.  The term “bull in a china shop” is apropos for Charlee.  The solution was laughable, and the ending was rushed (considering the 90% of the book was devoted to Charlee questioning people).  I did find the method of murder unique and imaginative (I liked it).  Fiction Can Be Murder is told in the first person and the story rambles (there is also repetition—Charlee’s Kia is mentioned 20 times).  The writing lacked an ease and flow.  I found the story to be disjointed.  Please be aware that this book does contain a small amount of foul language.  Fiction Can Be Murder was not a good fit for me (It felt more like a rough draft than a finished novel).  Please get a sample and see if Fiction Can Be Murder is the right book for you.  We are all individuals with different reading tastes. 

Thank you for visiting.  Tomorrow I will feature Flowers and Foul Play by Amanda Flower.  The first novel in A Magic Garden Mystery series.  I hope you have a very special day.   I am off to finish Better Off Read by Nora Page. Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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