Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection by Barbara Venkataraman - Book Review

Book Description:

Books 1-3 of the Jamie Quinn Mystery Series! Including:

"Death by Didgeridoo"-Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, still reeling from the death of her mother, is pulled into a game of deception, jealousy, and vengeance when her cousin, Adam, is wrongfully accused of murder. It's up to Jamie to find the real murderer before it's too late. It doesn't help that the victim is a former rock star with more enemies than friends, or that Adam confessed to a murder he didn't commit.

"The Case of the Killer Divorce"-Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, has returned to her family law practice after a hiatus due to the death of her mother. It's business as usual until a bitter divorce case turns into a murder investigation, and Jamie's client becomes the prime suspect. When she can't untangle truth from lies, Jamie enlists the help of Duke Broussard, her favorite private investigator, to try to clear her client's name. And she’s hoping that, in his spare time, he can help her find her long-lost father.

"Peril in the Park"-There's big trouble in the park system. Someone is making life difficult for Jamie Quinn's boyfriend, Kip Simons, the new director of Broward County parks. Was it the angry supervisor passed over for promotion? The disgruntled employee Kip recently fired? Or someone with a bigger ax to grind? If Jamie can't figure it out soon, she may be looking for a new boyfriend because there’s a dead guy in the park and Kip has gone missing! With the help of her favorite P.I., Duke Broussard, Jamie must race the clock to find Kip before it’s too late.

Purchase on Amazon.

About the Author:

Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law. She is the author of "The Fight for Magicallus," a children's fantasy, "If you'd Just Listened to Me in the First Place," a humorous short story and two books of humorous essays: "I'm Not Talking about You, Of Course," and "A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities," which are part of an ongoing series entitled "Quirky Essays for Quirky People."

Her Jamie Quinn cozy mystery series includes: "Death by Didgeridoo," "The Case of the Killer Divorce," "Peril in the Park," and "Engaged in Danger". Coming out in 2016, "Jeopardy in July". All of her books are available on Amazon Kindle.

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*** 3 out of 5 stars

Before I give my review, I'd like to start by saying I am a huge fan of mysteries novels. Besides fantasy, it's the genre of novel I read the most. So, when I picked up a collection with the word "mystery" in the title, I definitely had certain expectations. 

As far as mysteries go, this missed the mark for me. The first book, Death by Digeridoo, started out very focused on the mystery of who murdered Spike, the washed up, cranky rockstar. Poor Jamie Quinn is just a family law attorney, and somehow she has to save her autistic cousin from being the primary murder suspect. That's a plot I can get behind! 

Where things started to devolve was in the excessive personal commentary; these novels read more like a personal diary than a mystery. At one point in the first book, she spent almost a page discussing peanut butter and honey sandwiches (there may have been some bananas involved, too). In fact, these books probably had the most asides involving food I've ever encountered.

These personal excursions from the mystery plot line were amplified in the second installment, The Case of the Killer Divorce, where the sudden death of Jamie's client's soon-to-be-ex-husband stirs up suspicion. There are all the makings of a good mystery plot line: star crossed lovers, drugs, high stakes, and lies. But, this book was way more focused on Jamie's search for her long lost father and a love interest she rekindles from high school than actually solving the mystery. In fact, the murderer inexplicably confesses to Jamie, then turns themselves in. Womp, womp.

The last book in the collection, Perils in the Park, pretty much follows the same pattern: good elements of a mystery, lackluster follow-through. There were points where I felt potentially climactic moments fell flat and details were thrown in haphazardly to close the plot lines. There were also some continuity issues for me; for example, Jamie makes a comment on one page that she isn't sure if she and Kip are boyfriend and girlfriend just yet, then a few pages later she refers to him as her boyfriend. Little things like that throughout all three were a bit distracting, but certainly not a deal breaker.

Now, all of that said, I thought Jamie was funny! Her internal dialogue was so sporadic and goofy, I couldn't help but smile at her tangents. There were definitely some witty jokes and a lot of levity I was able to latch onto. Midway through the second novel, I let go of the idea that I was going to get my mystery fix and just let Jamie take me through her day. Once I did that, I was able to enjoy the read and giggle to myself. 

It made me wish the series wasn't trying to be something it's not. If you're a big mystery/thriller fan like me, it's a bit misleading. However, if you're looking for something light, easy to read, funny and cozy (as the author describes it), then this is a great read. 

~ I received a free copy of this collection in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are honest and my own.~


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