Monday, May 6, 2013

Book Review: The Curse of the Holy Pail by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Odelia Grey #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Complex, twisty plot and fun characters
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Book comes nowhere close
To being a curse.  Instead
Fun the whole way through

Collectible Murder Motive

The last thing I need are more mystery series to follow.  And yet, here I am finishing book two of the Odelia Grey series.  I enjoyed the first, and I liked The Curse of the Holy Pail even more.

Odelia is not your normal mystery series heroine.  Instead of being young and attractive, she is plus sized and middle aged.  She tolerates her job as a paralegal thanks to a boss she can't stand.  But a hook like that only goes so far.  The rest of the book has to be good, too.  That's certainly the case here.

When Odelia goes to a morning meeting with client Sterling Price, she enjoys spending a few minutes looking at his lunch box collection.  Sterling proudly shows off the Holy Pail, a lunch box prototype based on an old TV show.  The box was never was released because the star of the series died before it could be mass produced.  Other owners of the box have died under mysterious circumstances, creating the rumor that it is cursed.

Odelia doesn't take the curse seriously until Sterling dies that afternoon and the lunch box disappears.  She even tries (somewhat) to stay out of the investigation.  But when people start accusing her of having the pail, she jumps in with both feet to determine just what is going on.  Where is the box now?  And what does it have to do with Sterling's murder?

The plot of the first book turned and twisted quite a bit.  I was a little worried that this wouldn't hold true with book two.  I needn't have feared.  At first, this looked like a fairly standard mystery with a certain number of suspects and motives.  But then the added twists began to come into play and once again, I couldn't put the book down because of all the new revelations I was getting.  And yet, the ending was still a complete surprise.  I was also surprised at the emotional wallop it and the aftermath provided.  It was very realistically handled and showed a very human side of Odelia.

Frankly, that's another thing I loved about this book, the human characters.  Odelia is more confident than she was in the first book, but she's still flawed.  Her friends' reactions to her investigation are also quite realistic.  Speaking of whom, Zee, Greg, and Detective Frye are just as real.  Frankly, I wish they had been in the book more than they were.  We aren't supposed to like Odelia's boss, Mike, but even he has his sympathetic moments.  The book is filled with suspect characters that are just as real to me as the returning characters, making it easy to care about the outcome.

My only real complaint with the first book was how much of a role sex played in the book.  Yes, there were still a couple scenes here I didn't care for, but it didn't seem as big an issue this time around.

The writing is strong and sure.  I was able to breeze through it, which made it easy to get to the next revelation that much quicker.

I am so glad I found Odelia.  I may have just finished The Curse of the Holy Pail, but I can already hear book three calling my name.

Trust me, once you start, you'll race through the rest of the Odelia Grey Mysteries in order.

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