Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Confusing mystery and good characters
Cons: A little slow to get going
The Bottom Line:
Lauren finds danger
Mysteries in a safe town
Strictly Speaking, This was an Enjoyable Debut
After reading one of Edith Maxwell’s books earlier this year, I really did intend to get back and read another one sooner than this. But here it is October, and I’m finally getting to Speaking of Murder, the first in her series about Lauren Rousseau written under the pen name Tace Baker (no relation to me). I’m sorry it took so long because I enjoyed the book.
Lauren Rousseau is a linguistics professor at a college in Massachusetts. While many of her students don’t seem to care, the exception is Jamal Carter. He’s older than the traditional students that fill most of Lauren’s classes, and he’s very enthusiastic for the subject.
One night while going to her car after a night class, Lauren finds Jamal’s body at the edge of the parking lot. From there her life start spiraling out of control as her best friend disappears and other strange things start happening around town. How are they connected? Can Lauren find the truth?
The first book in a series has to set up the characters and other things in a series as well as tell a good story. I do get that. But this one seemed to have more set up near the beginning of the book than I like. Despite the fact that Jamal dies early on, I felt the book was moving a little slowly.
But by a quarter of the way through the book, I was completely hooked, however. The story contained so many strange elements and plot threads I was quite intrigued to see how they would all tie together. They did, and I was satisfied at how everything resolved at the end. There were even a couple of tense scenes as Lauren put the final pieces into place. Those definitely kept me turning the pages as quickly as I possibly could to find out what would happen next.
The characters were intriguing as well. Lauren is far from a perfect character, but her flaws make her more appealing. That’s true of all the characters in the book. A few could have been better developed, but on the whole I felt like they were strong. They definitely were interesting enough to keep me caring about the outcome of the story.
I’m definitely looking forward to spending more time with Lauren very soon. Speaking of Murder is an intriguing debut that traditional mystery fans will enjoy.