Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Book Review: Killer Cocktail by Tracy Kiely (Nic and Nigel Mysteries #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Laughs and a good mystery
Cons: Flashbacks slow things down a little at first
The Bottom Line:
Behind the scenes tapes
Lead to a modern day crime
Book filled with laughs, clues

Sip and Savor this Killer Cocktail

When I finally read the first Nic and Nigel Mystery earlier this year, I immediately fell in love.  It’s hard not to when you are laughing at the banter between the characters.  As a result, I was looking forward to revisiting the characters in Killer Cocktail, and I wasn’t disappointed at all.

If you’ve missed this series, Nic, short for Nichole, is a former NYPD detective who left her job when she fell in love and married Nigel Martini, an obscenely rich man who runs a video restoration business in Hollywood.  They have a large dog, a Bullmastiff named Skippy.  And if you are seeing connections to the classic The Thin Man, that is completely intentional.  While you don’t need to have read the book or seen the movies to completely enjoy this modern day set homage book, catching those in jokes and nods are tons of fun.  (And the original movies themselves are worth watching.)

As this book opens, Nic and Nigel have just found some home movies made during the filming of A Winter’s Night.  This movie from 20 years ago made the career of Christina Franklin, who stepped into the lead after the tragic death from an overdose of America’s Sweetheart, and the film’s original star, Melanie Summers.

Naturally, these tapes are the talk to the town during the Oscars, and Nigel is very willing to talk them up.  He and his company are working on editing them into a new behind the scenes documentary.  However, a break in during the Oscar after party makes Nic and Nigel wonder just what might be on those tapes that someone wants to keep hidden.  Can they figure it out?

This book cuts between the mystery today and excerpts from the tapes of 20 years ago.  Because the people involved in those tapes are the suspects of today, these flashbacks really do help us get to know the characters.  They do feel like they are slowing down the story in the beginning when there are more excerpts, but that’s a minor issue.

Once the modern day portion of the mystery kicks into high gear, things really take off.  I thought I knew where the book was going early on, but I turned out to be wrong.  However, when the villain was revealed, everything made perfect sense.

The only characters from the first book are Nic, Nigel, and Skippy.  They are still great characters, especially Skippy.  I’m not a dog person, but I find his antics funny.  The new characters we meet here are quite fun as well and fit perfectly into this book.  There are a couple we love to hate, but I found there scenes funny as a result.

If you enjoy comedy, you definitely should pick up this book.  Nic and Nigel banter their way through this book, and some of their exchanges are absolutely delightful.  Some of their lines push the boundaries of a PG rated book, but we are talking about a married couple here.  I don’t mind at all.

There are a few four letter words scattered through the book as well.  Yes, I could have done without them, but they are easy enough to ignore.

Killer Cocktail is a fast read, and I was done all too soon.  Fortunately, the third book is already out, so I will be able to revisit Nic, Nigel, and Skippy in the near future.

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