Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Book Review: Father Knows Death by Jeffrey Allen (Stay at Home Dad Mysteries #3)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and humor
Cons: Weaker mystery than others in series, environmental aspect of plot
The Bottom Line:
County fair murder
Puts Deuce back in action which
Makes readers happy

Death Stalks the Fair

When I find a series I enjoy starring a male main character, I stick with it.  They are rare in the cozy sub-genre I normally read.  So it is that I bought Father Knows Death, the third book to feature Deuce Winters, a stay at home father.  I enjoyed my return visit to his small town.

It’s county fair time, and that means the town of Rose Petal, Texas, has pretty much shut down.  Everyone is either working at or attending the fair every possible minute.  For the winters family, that means spending time at the 4-H events since daughter Carly has joined this year.  Julianne is there despite being a week overdue with their new baby.  And Deuce is working the 4-H booth cooking hamburgers and hot dogs.  It’s the major fund raiser for 4-H for the year.

On his first trip to the freezer to get more meat, he discovers the body of George Spellman in the freezer.  George was the groundskeeper for the fair.  Everyone knew who he was, but very few people seem to know him super well.  So why was he killed?  When Mama, the woman who runs the fair each year, hires Deuce to find the killer, he starts digging around.  But can he dig up the killer?

These books have always been a fun mix of humor and mystery, and that continued here.  Deuce and his friends tease each other, and I found myself laughing at them quite a bit.

The mystery seemed a bit on the light side here.  Don’t get me wrong, there were strong suspects and some good twists.  But I felt like the others in the series had stronger plots overall.  Still, I enjoy the pages, and found them flying by all too quickly.

I really enjoy the main characters in this series, and that continued here.  If the scenes with Deuce and his daughter don’t melt your heart, you’ve got a serious problem.  I also enjoy the relationship he has with his wife and parents.  There are a strong group of new characters in this book, and each felt real to me as well.

My biggest problem with this book is the environmental aspect it took.  Yes, it ties into the plot, and it is a subject that is much in the news.  However, it didn’t feel that balanced a look at it to me, just the author taking the opportunity to lecture us.  Maybe I am wrong in his intent, but that’s how it felt.

The book contains lots of short chapters, so the pages certainly fly by.  Maybe it isn’t quite as fast a read as it seems, but I always made it further through the book than I thought I would when I sat down to read.

Despite the flaws I found, I still enjoyed visiting Deuce.  While Father Knows Death seems to wrap up the series, I hope I get to visit him again. 

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