“It’s detective writing at its best,” says D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer for Midwest Book Reviews about Community Affairs, Book 3 in the Jersey Shore Mystery Series.
I was thrilled today when I opened my inbox and found this review of my newest mystery novel. Here is the whole review:
by Michele Lynn Seigfried
Murder and amateur sleuthing is a mainstay of the mystery genre; but less common is the inclusion of humor, a device that sets Community Affairs apart from the majority of ‘look-alike’ titles and which provides a satisfying diversion from the usually-too-serious job of sleuthing.
The story opens with a first-person reflection on the protagonist’s kidnapping, then segues quickly to two weeks earlier, when events began to build. So far, nothing extraordinary. But this isn’t just a story of a murder and kidnapping: ultimately it’s about feuding neighbors, differing viewpoints, and a motivation that leads to not just murder, but mayhem.
Bonnie is taking an oath of office, and it’s time to celebrate her big promotion: an event almost stymied by new neighbors who are moving in and arguing with each other. As Bonnie comes to believe her new neighbor is unstable, she also makes some connections between Lemon Face (as she’s impulsively named the woman) and a missing local – and it’s then that push really comes to shove in a battle of neighbors turned deadly.
As Bonnie discovers more connections between Lemon Face (a.k.a. neighbor Lyla) and Polly, the wars escalate as each woman sees in the other an enemy able to destroy her happiness.
Now, the humor that permeates the plot isn’t your slapstick affair: it surrounds the give-and-take of protagonists and is deftly portrayed in conversations, more often than not: “He answered on the second ring. “Speak to me.” “That’s a rude way to answer your phone.” “Well, well, well, if it isn’t the whore who lives next door.” “And I’m talking to the prick who was hit with the Entenmann’s stick.” “What’s that supposed to mean?” “It means you’re cruel and overweight. It also means you’re not too bright, being that I had to explain it to you.” “Hey. That wasn’t nice.”
There are also little comments that provide whimsical and fun moments in an otherwise-serious sequence of events: “Not long afterwards, I heard the fine dining arrive—bread and water through a doggie door.”
The well-rounded blend of tongue-in-cheek humor, observation, and amateur sleuthing involves neighbors, murderers, and hospital personnel alike in a journey that is anything but ordinary.
Unlike many a murder mystery protagonist, Bonnie doesn’t aspire to gumshoe crime-solving: she’s already a busy mother with a career, a loving husband, and a lot going on in her world. She simply falls into the role of investigator – but, what a role it is!
Community Affairs is aptly named because many members of the community engage and interact in the course of ordinary and illicit affairs and their potential impact.
Nobody knows who the killer is. And Bonnie is about to break the case wide open – if she survives.
It’s detective writing at its best: adding a dash of humor to the mix to create not just comic relief, but the personality and whimsy lacking in most stories of amateur sleuths. And that’s what makes Community Affairs not just a standout, but a top recommendation.
~D. Donovan, eBook Reviewer for Midwest Book Reviews