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Hallmark Channel - "Miss Fortune" Alongside Aurora Teagarden & Garage Sale Mysteries?
on October 9, 2018
I can see there already have been a number of positive reviews for "Swamp Spook." I trust my review, from a male perspective, might be helpful in the discussion.
If you’re looking for a character-driven story that’ll keep you reading late into the evening, with the drapes pulled and your guard dog close by ‘just in case,’ especially a book in which villains and their pursuers speak using the street language you would expect, well, “Swamp Spook” is probably going to disappoint. This latest tale by Jana Deleon is the first in the series that I have read.
Fortunately, the author made allowances for newcomers to her style of fiction, by telling us what we need to know to enjoy this as a stand-alone. I praise her for doing so.
If you’re still here, welcome to my reading room…
POV: First person. A friendly, nice, chatty CIA agent tells us about her experiences, hopes and dreams while solving a complicated murder case. It’s more of Aurora Teagarden Mysteries than Jessica Fletcher’s Murder She Wrote. As such, it is simplistic crime fiction. Not a complaint, just the way I see it.
BLUSH FACTOR: No worries with this. Read aloud to anyone you know and have no fear of blushing.
ADVENTURE: Yes, you’ll find fictional Sinful to be a town just right for you. You can find a web site for the town, initiated by the author. I do wish the town were real and was as portrayed in “Swamp Spook.” If you’re interested in the site, just type in sinful, Louisiana Jana Deleon.
THE WRITING: This story almost feels like a Hallmark Mysteries movie. Aurora Teagarden came to mind as I was reading this. In fact, a cozy series set in the bayou area could be a huge hit, so why doesn’t Hallmark give this writer a contract?
I think where this writer shines is in imparting information to us by drawing a picture or through the use of smooth dialogue. Certainly, few cozy authors do so as smoothly as Ms DeLeon.
GRAMMAR, EDITING & SUCH: Although probably not flawless, it certainly is well-edited.
CHARACTER: This is more a plot-driven story. Although our heroine does grow, don’t expect too much. After all, this IS intended as a quick read.
‘…Gertie and Ida Belle stared at the body, then at me.
“What are you doing?” Gertie asked.
“Calling Carter,” I said as I dialed. “That person—man, I’m guessing, based on body structure—is dead. Don’t touch anything.”
Carter didn’t answer his phone, so I left a message for him to come to my location in the maze as quickly as possible and told him it was a huge emergency. Then I sent a text saying the same. Ida Belle called the person working the front of the maze and told him there was a problem inside and to keep people out until further notice. Gertie, apparently not wanting to be left out of all the phoning, pulled out her cell as well. Then she started taking pictures.
“What the heck are you doing?” Ida Belle asked.
“Documenting the scene,” Gertie said. “We’ll need this for our investigation and you know Carter won’t share.”
“What investigation?” Ida Belle asked. “That man is dead, probably murdered, unless someone thinks it’s funny to go around leaving corpses in random places. We’re not law enforcement officers. We don’t investigate murders.”
“We investigate them when one of our friends is involved,” Gertie said as she zoomed in for a close-up of the hatchet.
“None of our friends would be involved in something like this,” Ida Belle said, looking and sounding exasperated.
“Not voluntarily,” Gertie said. “But this is Fortune’s scene and she’s been swinging that hatchet around all night. That might be congealed blood on the blade.”
I leaned over and took a closer look. Sure enough, the bottom of the hatchet was damp with dark red goo that could be blood. It definitely wasn’t the gel I’d used earlier, because it was dried by the time I went on break. “Crap,” I said. “I think she’s right.” Ida Belle blew out a breath. “This could be a problem.” I held in a string of curse words. Of course, I hadn’t hauled…’
DeLeon, Jana. Swamp Spook (A Miss Fortune Mystery Book 13) (Kindle Locations 365-381). J&R Publishing LLC. Kindle Edition.
Among the Cozy Mystery genre, “Swamp Spook” by Jana DeLeon is among the best in its class. If I were rating it as such, I’d rate it five stars. It is SUPERB among Cozies. However, I am rating it among all classes of fiction. So, I have to be frank here…
Four stars out of five. Still, four stars is certainly a strong recommendation to read.
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