Saturday, March 2, 2013

Book Review: Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon by Donna Andrews (Meg Langslow #4)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery
Cons: Weaker humor
The Bottom Line:
Slight dip in humor
Made up for by stronger plot
Another must read

Murder at Mutant Wizards

Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon is the fourth outing for Meg and company. She seems to regularly get herself involved in mysteries while trying to survive the amusing antics of her family.

Meg's brother Rob has been trying to make money off "Lawyers from Hell," the role playing game he invented years ago. He's finally formed Mutant Wizards and turned it into a highly successful computer game. Now he's hard at work on the sequel in a new, larger office.

But something is going on just below the surface. Rob doesn't know what it is but he's worried, so he asks Meg to investigate. Since she's just hurt her hand and can't work as a blacksmith, she agrees. After two weeks, she's done nothing but fill in for the receptionist and help them move into the new office space they share with a group of therapists. But then Ted, the office practical joker, turns up dead on the mail cart. He was a pain, but he was harmless, right? When Rob is hauled off for the crime, Meg leaps into action to give the police other suspects, turning up quite a few secrets in the process.

First the bad, this book wasn't as funny as some of the others in the series. Meg's family usually provides the laughs, and they weren't around as much as normal. The office workers were still funny, and there were many amusing things along the way, however. For example, the "affirmation bear" the therapists next door used had me laughing every time it showed up.

The good news is the mystery plot is stronger here then others in the series, with quite a few unexpected revelations and a very nice twist at the end. A couple personal sub-plots keep things interesting as well. Everything comes together for a great climax that had me laughing and turning pages as fast as I could to find out what would happen next.

Meg continues to be an interesting lead character. The office workers who become the suspects were interesting and more fully developed then you often find in characters created for one book in a series.

The narration is the glue that holds the story together. Meg's first person observations are often as funny as the events themselves. The writing is light, making for a fast, easy read.

While those looking for the continued hijinks of Meg's eccentric family will be slightly disappointed with Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon, there is still much to recommend it. I enjoyed every page and found it over all too fast. Here's to many more entertaining adventures with Meg and her family and friends.

And if you are looking for more fun, here are the Meg Langslow Mysteries in order.

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