Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Book Review: Death in Dark Blue by Julia Buckley (Writer's Apprentice Mysteries #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters and a fast paced plot
Cons: All cons are very minor overall
The Bottom Line:
Body below cliff
Puts Sam back in the spotlight
Lena works to clear

Danger Returns to Blue Lake

Not having been a fan of gothic novels, I was actually a little surprised by how much I enjoyed the first book in the Writer’s Apprentice series when I read it a couple of months ago.  I was eagerly waiting for Death in Dark Blue, the second in the series, and it didn’t disappoint at all.

But before we get to this book, a word of warning.  DON’T READ THIS BOOK UNTIL YOU HAVE READ BOOK ONE!!  I’m very serious about this.  This book contains some pretty big spoilers (but not the killer) from the first book in the series.  Additionally, much of this book is focused on solving a mystery set up in the first book.  This book is so much more enjoyable if you read them in order, and the first book is worth reading, so don’t hesitate to backtrack.

This book opens a couple of months after the previous book ends.  The holidays are behind us, and the citizens of Blue Lake, Indiana, are settling in for a cold winter.  Lena London is thrilled that Sam West has returned from New York City, where he and his investigator have been working hard on tracking down Victoria.  Sam’s still trying to keep his new relationship with Lena a secret since the press is continuing to hound him, and he wants to protect her from that.

However, the press swarms the town full force when Lena finds a dead body on Sam’s property.  The body is that of a woman who had come to town to apologize to Sam face to face for the nasty things she’d said about him in the previous year.  While the press is quick to assume Sam is involved, Lena knows better.  But can she keep Sam from being convicted in the court of public opinion yet again?

Once again, this book combines elements of the Gothic sub-genre with the cozy sub-genre I know and love.  I think my expectations on a couple of things might be related to not being super familiar with Gothics.  My biggest complaint is that I felt Lena wasn’t finding as many of the clues as the main characters in the series I like usually do.  Don’t misunderstand, she is an active part of much of what happens in this book, and when she isn’t uncovering something, one of the supporting characters is and then filling the rest of the group in.  Yes, there is more of a group dynamic than an individual feel to this book, which I ultimately did enjoy.

And the plot was always moving forward.  As I mentioned earlier, the murder in this book often takes a back seat to other storylines, but that wasn’t a disappointment at all since I was intrigued by everything happening here.  I was hooked and turning pages as fast as I could to learn what would happen next.  We get some great suspense and wonderful twists before we reach the end of the book.

Lena is surrounded by that strong set of characters I mentioned earlier, all of whom are working toward the same goal.  And I love them all.  They each bring something unique to the book, which adds another layer to things.

And I see threads laid out here that easily lead us into the next book.  Heck, there might be enough for two future books introduced in this one.

If you enjoyed the first in the series, you won’t be disappointed by Death in Dark Blue.  And if you haven’t yet met Lena and the rest, back up and read the first book in the series.  You’ll be anxious to plunge into this book as soon as you finish that first one.

You'll definitely want to pick up the rest of the Writer's Apprentice Mysteries.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book.


Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner next Tuesday, May 9th, so please leave your comment before 12:01AM Pacific Time on 5/9.  You will have until midnight on 5/14 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 5/15.


  1. Sounds so good thank you for the chance to win the book! ptclayton2@aol.com

  2. Thanks for your review of what looks to be an interesting book! mbradeen@yahoo.com

  3. sounds great. thanks for chance. janngrogan@yahoo.com

  4. Loved the first book and cannot wait to read the second. Great review!! ljbonkoski@yahoo.com

  5. Thank you! hobbit68@aol.com

  6. I have added this series to my list and am even more eager to read it after reading your review. Thanks for the chance to win! aut1063@gmail.com

  7. The first one was one of my favorite books last year! Glad to hear these great characters are back in good form! Thanks!

  8. I've been waiting for this book to come out! Loved the first one. Njcar22@aol.com

  9. Thanks for this! Mommatoodle at msn dot com

  10. Would love to read! parkeremma2003 at yahoo dotcom

  11. I would love to read the book! Great series! thefairygirl@live.com

  12. This is a new series to me. I really enjoyed your review and description of the book and would love to read. Thanks for noting that the first book in the series should be read first.

  13. I really enjoyed the first book in this series. Thanks for the chance to win. patwalkerp(at)gmail(dot)com

  14. I liked the review and description of the book. I'll have to get the first book to read so I can read them in order like you suggested, gheruska44@gmail.com

  15. Sounds like a great read! Thanks for the review. maceoindo(at)yahoo(dot)com