Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Review: Slip Cue by Joyce Krieg (Talk Radio Mysteries #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and twisty plot
Cons: Plot bogs down a little around the middle, but gains steam again quickly.
The Bottom Line:
Talk radio kills
At least in this great series
And don't touch that dial

A Second Hit

Slip Cue is the second book in the Talk Radio Mystery series. It stars Shauna J. Bogart, host of the afternoon show on an independent station in Sacramento, California.

When one hit singing wonder turned TV star Jasmine escapes from police custody, Shauna J. Bogart can't wait to break the story on her afternoon radio talk show. After all, this is huge news, and the star's local Sacramento roots will make it a huge ratings boost. And when the star, still claiming she's innocent, asks Shauna to meet with her, how can she say no? This is the opportunity of a lifetime for a journalist. The more Shauna learns about the story, the more she realizes that Jasmine's claims of innocence may be real after all. Meanwhile, Shauna's new boyfriend Pete disappears while researching the history of some old records he got from a local doo-whap group. What's he up to? And can Shauna figure out who framed Jasmine and why?

I was impressed with Joyce Krieg's debut mystery, and I was hoping this book could live up to its predecessor's huge shoes. I'm glad to say it did. Once again we have an intricately plotted mystery with several nice twists to keep everyone confused. The book felt like it was getting off track for a little while in the middle, but it all winds up being important in the end and all the elements tie together very nicely. The climax has a radio personality's flair for the dramatic, which serves the story well.

The radio background is used to provide a nice setting without slowing down the story. Personally, I find the setting fascinating; then again, I'm fascinated by anything entertainment related. Still, the radio scenes and jargon advance the story instead of slow it down.

We also have some interesting characters that we get to know a little better as they continue to grow. I could actually "hear" their distinctive voices, something I don't normally hear when reading period. Not only was this true of series regulars like news reporter Glory Lou and producer/intern Josh, but Jasmine was distinctive as well. I fell in love with Josh's character the first time around, but this book allowed us to get to know Glory Lou better, and she may become my favorite sidekick. Boyfriend Pete is more than just the love interest but provides another great way to build the story. And I like watching Pete and Shauna together.

I highly recommend Slip Cue and this excellent series in general to anyone who enjoys a mystery with an interesting setting, real characters, and plenty of twists. Is the next one out yet?

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