Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Review: Death Waxed Over by Tim Myers (Candlemaking Mysteries #3)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great characters, interesting plot
Cons: Plot a little too obvious; climax rushed
The Bottom Line:
Stronger than last one
I still find characters great
Plot could use small boost

Who Extinguished the Competition?

Death Waxed Over is the third book in the Candlemaking Mysteries starring Harrison Black, proprietor of the shop At Wick's End.

There's competition moving into Micah's Ridge, North Carolina. Gretel Barnett has moved into town and is opening Flickering Lights not even two miles from Harrison's store. In an effort to increase traffic, he decides to set up a booth at the annual Founder's Day festival in nearby New Conover.

On the day of the festival, he is surprised to see Gretel setting up a table not too far from his own. The two get into a loud argument, but Harrison tries to think nothing of it. Until Gretel is shot, however. Naturally, he finds himself the chief suspect, especially when an eyewitness says she saw him throw away the gun. Too make matters worse, the witness is the wife of the editor of the local paper, so naturally the paper proceeds to paint Harrison in the worst light possible.

With the customers fleeing At Wick's End because of the notoriety, Harrison reluctantly begins to investigate. One of the first suspects he turns up is Mrs. Jorgenson. Even worse, when he tries to talk to his best customer about the case, she gets mad and storms off. Has he just made a bad situation worse?

As if all this weren't enough, Harrison's ex-girlfriend Becka is back in his life, turning to him when someone starts stalking her. Is there really someone after her? Who? Is this one case too many for Harrison to solve?

After the disappointing second book in the series, I'm happy to report the series is back on track. The plot in this novel is strong and once again has the forefront. The killer is a little obvious with several major clues pointing to the villain, but the story is strong enough to keep the reader engaged even once they've figure it out.

Harrison continues to be a wonderful main character. His quick temper and bluntness are easy to identify with and create some nice complications as he tries to get information out of suspects who have no desire to cooperate. Unfortunately, several series characters only make brief appearances in this volume, especially potential love interest Erin. Those who do appear continue to be likable, and the suspects are interesting if not quite as well defined as they might have been.

As always, Tim Myers provides a quick, easy read. My biggest complaint is that the book felt like it needed one more edit. A few things fell through the cracks in the race to resolve things for the climax. The season also seemed to change from fall to winter over a couple days, but that could just be me. One more pass through the book would have smoothed out these minor but annoying problems.

Death Waxed Over is a light, quick reads. Nothing too deep, but perfect if you want a couple hour's escape.

And if you enjoy this book, here are the rest of the Candlemaking Mysteries in order.

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