Wanda Barefoot reviews Random Acts of Murder: A Holly Anna Paladin Mystery, Book 1 by Christy Barritt.
Holly Anna Paladin, a twenty-eight-year-old ex-CPS investigator, has just found out she only has a year to live. How does she cope with the devastating news? By spending what's left of her time secretly doing good deeds for deserving people.
Holly decides to surprise one of her former clients by cleaning her home, but her "Random Acts of Kindness" soon reveal "Random Acts of Murder." Holly finds herself smack dab in the middle of a crime scene with the evidence pointing straight at her and nowhere to turn.
When mop buckets full of cleaning supplies exactly like the one she used start popping up at other murders, the odds seem stacked against her. It doesn't take Holly long to realize someone is out to frame her and the police aren't getting anywhere. With a tough-as-nails cop breathing down her neck and someone trying to shut her up permanently what's a girl to do?
Find the real "Good Feeds Killer" and clear her own name before it's too late!
The only problem? The lead cop on the case is none other than Chase Dexter, Holly's high school crush and the one man that gets under her skin like no other. But, what Holly doesn't know is that Chase is a changed man. After the death of his brother, Chase went on a downhill spiral and hit rock bottom but now he's back on his feet and soon to make detective.
All of Holly's old feelings come rushing back and are sure to complicate matters if she's not careful. But solving the case is her top priority. She'll deal with her feelings later. With so many suspects and so little time, Holly is running out of options. Can she identify the one responsible before she's sent up the river herself? Can she find love in the midst of all the horror going on around her?
There's so much I love about this book. Absolutely. Love. Most of all, Christy Barritt's writing style. Like the last book I reviewed by Christy, Random Acts of Murder is a suspense / mystery but it also has a bit of lightheartedness to the writing structure that keeps it from being too intense. Don't get me wrong, I love intense stories, but sometimes I need a lighter read, and this book fits my criteria perfectly. It has a great storyline and, honestly, I wasn't quite sure who the killer was until I was almost at the end. That's always a plus when reading a good mystery.
I have to admit that I am a character hound. I sniff out the characters in a story until I find the one I like best. If a writer could win an award for the best characterization in a novel Christy Barritt would have one on display.
I love Holly's character! She definitely lives in the wrong era. She's a modern girl with age-old tastes. She wears vintage dresses, loves old music, and drives a 1964 powder-blue Mustang she affectionately calls "Sally".
She has age-old values and resolves to only kiss the man she has married, AND she often speaks of herself in the third person saying things like, "I just happened to run into the man. People, of course, had their cameras ready... she said with a touch of disdain to her voice." Love. Love. Love this aspect of her character! She brought to mind a modern day June Cleaver--housewife turned sleuth--and she was the perfect character for the story. Add to that a hunky cop and a once-overweight-now-a-health-nut best friend who drives an old van referred to as the "Ghetto Mobile" and you have a great recipe for a cozy night of reading.
I'm so glad I started with the first book in this series. So often I come in somewhere in the middle and, while that's usually okay, you don't always get a full grasp on what's going on. Random Acts of Murder can most definitely be read as a stand alone book but I loved Holly's opening story too much to pass it by and I'm anxiously awaiting the next one!
About Wanda Barefoot: Reviewer
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