Negative Exposure

Killer Shot Mysteries #1

Lisa B. Thomas

Cozy Stuff and Such, LLC, October 2017

194 pages, ebook and paperback

Cozy Mystery

I purchased this book at the current price and this is an honest review for which I am not being compensated in any way.

⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wendy Fairmont is moving into her grandmother’s house that she’s just inherited in her hometown. She’s leaving behind heartbreak, another business she sold to her assistant, and former friends who didn’t stand by her. She’s looking to start over by finally opening the photography studio she’s always wanted. She’s moving in on the day of Harold Attwood’s funeral. And there’s a car parked in her driveway that needs to be moved. When she knocks on Beverly Attwood’s door, she’s getting into more than just a house. She’s getting into secrets that people don’t want exposed and are willing to be quite nasty to keep covered up. She’s meeting some people for the first time and some people from her own past.

Dale opens the door. He’s Beverly Attwood’s son-in-law. He doesn’t want Wendy giving Beverly decor ideas because the house is for sale. She meets Curtis, her next-door-neighbor on the other side. He’s a banker. He blows hot and cold and Wendy isn’t sure what’s going on with him. His wife seems nice, though. Then there’s Jake Faro. He was a nerd in high school, but he doesn’t look like a nerd now. He’s super good looking and has great body. But he’s very secretive about what he does for a living. His sister, Nancy, is a real estate agent. She’s helping Wendy find a property for her photography studio. The two of them are going to be great friends. She’ll never be friends with Bert Crosby. He’s the president of the golf club. He’s rather arrogant and doesn’t let anyone else get a word in. He’s got secrets, too. And, of course, there’s Sheriff Grady. He’s married to Sherry. In high school, Sherry was Wendy’s nemesis and time hasn’t changed anything between them. So the sheriff isn’t looking kindly on Wendy. Beverly Attwood, the lovely widow, really likes Wendy, but every time the two of them spend any time together someone starts another story and Wendy gets in more trouble or something happens and someone else gets hurt.

And there’s Cricket. A gray cat that is a neighborhood stray until she moves in with Wendy. She does things with Wendy she hasn’t done with anyone else. Including seem to communicate with her in a way almost like her grandmother used to. Could Cricket be channeling her dead grandmother?

Wendy was a fun character who seemed to be reactive rather than proactive. She sort of seemed to go with the flow rather than mapping out her own moves. I understand that she was licking her wounds from the recent break up and betrayal of friends. But this is a young woman who is going to be starting her new business in her hometown. Get moved in and get that business going should be her first piece of business. She’s messing around with all sorts of things like the gym and funeral parties and the neighbors. And dinner with old school friends. That would be Jake of course. And taking photos in other people’s homes. There’s just something about cozies that strike me as removed from the real world. They are written loosely, for lack of a better word. They don’t quite relate to real life or reality. You just don’t go into someone’s home and snap photos without getting their permission!

Jake was another interesting character. One that I’m not sure I completely understand. I’m sure we’ll be seeing him in future books as well. Jake had a total crush on Wendy in high school. Nancy, his sister, told us all about that. He was a nerd back then. But now he’s former FBI. Former because of an injury that required a hip replacement that got him a desk job. Now he’s not working for the FBI anymore. He’s working some sort of computer monitored security, but I didn’t understand it totally. Not sure it was explained totally. But he’s got the town wired it seems. And he’s still sweet on Wendy and willing to give the relationship another shot, but not rush into anything.

I really liked Nancy, too. That’s Jake’s sister, the real estate agent in town. She and Wendy hit it off really well. They seem willing to tell each other everything, no matter what secrets are involved. They seem headed towards being BFFs. Looks like there’s a good basis for a series here. A photog, real estate agent and a security guy in the mountains of northern New Mexico. Might be worth a second look. Book #2, Freeze Frame, was just released last week. It’s available in ebook and paperback.

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