What an unsettling year….but who wants to hash over personal problems and/or elections that could very likely turn out to be a mistake for our staggering country? I won’t venture down that path. But don’t get me wrong…..it doesn’t mean I’ll cave in or pull the cover over my eyes. Not my style… No mixed signals on that.
But what about the book Mixed Signals?
Poison Pen Press released this cozy mystery in October. Written by Jane Tesh, the story features P.I. David Randall.
David is a laid back kind of P.I., kinda waiting around for something to happen and when it does, a slew of detecting takes place in little Parkland, North Carolina. Christmas festivities are about to start when David’s roommate’s friend is murdered. David’s mother shows up for the holidays and he’s afraid she’ll push him to revisit the past about the loss of his child and wife.
David’s friend is a psychic and traumatized by the brutal death of Jared, the friend. Flashbacks, nightmares, visions prompt him to push David into crime solving again. On the cusp of tension, a series of other petty crimes occur and a young, good-looking gal decides to move in with David and the psychic. Spicy living arrangement? Soon another figure enters the scene–Boyd Taylor, a suspect. Then Brook Verner, lively gal, on the edge of a hunt for the Avenger. Bert, the son and friend of dead Jared, and Ralph Galvin, publisher of the local paper have some nasty secrets to keep out of the news. It’s all quite convoluted, with a lot of characters. Most will grab your interest for a page or two, all are well-developed, but soon they are on top of each other…who’s doing what and why. Not literally, of course, as this is a cozy as Poison Pen Press likes them.
However, David, his sexy mother and girlfriend Kary, do mesh together quite well and press forward to find a happy ending. Will they get the answers to the numerous deviant acts of the Avenger or discover who murdered Jared or resolve David’s grief? It seems doubtful as the plot thickens. Then another angel is tossed out: The answers might be found in the underground tunnels of this fair North Carolina town. Tunnels?
My advice: Mixed Signals has its interesting moments. If you can follow who’s who, when and what, then you deserve sugar candy in your Christmas stocking. I couldn’t.
Finish this book if you can–it does have a lot of small town charm. And for the sake of acknowledging talent, Jane Tesh has a knack for creating homespun characters and a mystery to boot. I’d venture a guess that cozy readers will like this book. However, if you want suspense, the thriller kind that has you biting your nails, don’t ask for this as a Christmas present. No mixed signals from me.