Sunday, July 7, 2013

Book Review: Some Like It Hawk by Donna Andrews (Meg Langslow #14)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: The characters, as always, are lots of fun
Cons: Plot could have used a couple more twists
The Bottom Line
Characters still great
But mystery feels lighter
Still great for the fans

When Dirty Politics Gets Hawk

With the many series I enjoy, I automatically get the next book when it comes out, so at times it surprises me just how many books into a series we are.  For example, Some Like It Hawk is the fourteenth entry in Donna Andrews' Meg Langslow series.  Kinda hard to believe that this blacksmith has now solved fourteen murders and is still going strong.

Normally, this series pretty much stands on its own.  Each book features a ton of returning characters, but you can pretty much pick up wherever and enjoy the current adventure.  That's not really the case here.  The book picks up the storyline started in the previous book, so if you haven't read it, stop now and enjoy that one before finding out what happens to Meg this time around.

It's been over a year since the town of Caerphilly lost their public buildings to First Progressive Financial, aka the Evil Lender.  With the old mayor on the run, the town is trying to figure out just how they can reclaim their property from the loans that turned out to be a multi-person swindle.  Meanwhile, the town clerk, Phineas Throckmorton, has barricaded himself in the courthouse basement.

Which brings us to the Caerphilly Days festival, a giant tourist attraction that is actually a cover to smuggle food and supplies to Phineas via a tunnel.  While much of the town knows the truth, they have managed to keep it from the Evil Lender and their minions.

All that might change when someone is shot in the basement and it looks like Phineas could have done it.  Now Meg and her family must find the real killer before they have to reveal that Phineas had an alibi - Meg's brother Rob.  Can they do it?

Before I go on, I do want to make sure it is clear I enjoyed the book.  I don't think this is the strongest in the series, and I'll be explaining why in the paragraphs to follow.  But I am not remotely sorry I read it and I am already looking forward to Meg's next adventure.

This has always been a humorous mystery series, and many of the books have left me laughing out loud.  In this case, I found a couple scenes and ideas funny, but for the most part felt the humor wasn't there.

Likewise, I felt the plot was a little thin most of the time and the pacing uneven.  Then there is a rush to wrap things up in the last couple of chapters.  However, I will freely admit the climax was suspenseful enough that I had to postpone hanging out with friends until I finished those last 20 pages.  And part of my feeling with the plot might be a result of unusually slow reading.  (I was watching way too much Olympics.)

The characters are still charming as always.  While many of the usual supporting players were relegated to walk on status, they shone in their appearances.  Meg is a capable sleuth, and I always love spending time around her.  And her twin boys are absolutely adorable and steal every scene they are in.  It was nice to see a couple characters we haven't seen in a while and see another element come back into the story.

So no, Some Like It Hawk isn't the best book in the series.  But after fourteen books it is still entertaining, and that's saying something.  Long time fans will be very happy to visit old friends.

While these books do work well on their own, you can go back and read the Meg Langslow Mysteries in order.

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