A thoroughly entertaining, lighthearted murder mystery.

THE CHA-CHA BABES OF PELICAN WAY

Metzman (The Hungry Heart, 2012) offers a mystery novel about a trio of women attempting to solve a string of murders in a Florida retirement community for people 55 and older.

When 65-year-old Celia, a resident of Boca Pelicano Palms in Florida, gets a call in the middle of the night from her friend and neighbor Marcy, also 65, about a vaguely described “big problem,” she wakes their 69-year-old mutual friend Deb, and heads over to help. Celia would do anything for Marcy or Deb—they recently talked her out of a suicide attempt, after all—but she doesn’t yet realize how her loyalty will be tested. When Celia and Deb arrive at the office of Melvin Onstader, the retirement community’s board president, they discover a nude, struggling Marcy “prone on the desktop buried up to her neck under….Melvin’s overweight, blubbery frame.” In order to protect Marcy—who’s only one strike away from eviction—they smuggle Melvin’s body back to his apartment. There, Celia discovers mysterious pills that point to foul play. Later, Melvin’s ex-wife, Edith, who succeeds him as board president, realizes something is amiss about his demise, and she blames Marcy. Then other community residents start dying under mysterious circumstances. Celia, widowed three years ago and only just coming into her own after a bad marriage and a lifetime of meekness, is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. However, she’ll have to keep it all a secret from her 33-year-old daughter, Allison, who’s just moved in with her after leaving her husband. Celia finds out that all the women around her need something, whether it’s a new man or a 50-year-old list of cha-cha dance rules. Metzman writes with humor and a sharp eye for characterization, as when she describes how Deb’s “rheumatoid arthritis…affected every joint and muscle in her body, except for her acerbic tongue.” The book is a pleasing blend of camp and procedural mystery, playing up the geriatric nature of the setting while also taking the concerns and passions of Celia and her peers seriously. Overall, Metzman has crafted a compelling and surprising whodunit whose plot likely won’t end up where readers expect. In the end, however, it’s largely a character-driven affair, and readers will enjoy the main trio’s moments of levity—as when they smoke marijuana in Marcy’s apartment or pick up men at Fritzy’s Rendezvous—as much as the twists of the investigation. The author artfully constructs each of these characters, giving them backstories full of regret and frustration that lend literary weight to their sometimes-comical present. Celia moved to Florida to spend her golden years in paradise, but the author shows how it now provides her an opportunity to look back upon her entire life: to correct mistakes, recognize injustices, and forgive her younger self for not always having enough strength. It turns out that retirement provides plenty of opportunities to turn things around—and to solve a few murders as well.

A thoroughly entertaining, lighthearted murder mystery.

Pub Date: June 21, 2018

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 451

Publisher: Wild River Consulting & Publishing, LLC

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 146

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

IT ENDS WITH US

Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 75

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more