Saturday, July 13, 2013

Book Review: Popped Off by Jeffrey Allen (Stay at Home Dad Mysteries #2)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Interesting story and great main characters
Cons: One sub-plot and the shifting timeline
The Bottom Line
Stealing from soccer
Adding a man on the run
In this fun story

Deuce Tracks the Soccer King

Earlier this year, I met the new character of Deuce Winters.  He represents a rare thing - a male main character in a cozy mystery series.  He’s a stay-at-home dad in a small town just outside of Dallas, Texas.  I enjoyed the first book, so I had to visit him again in Popped Off.

Stay-at-home dad Deuce Winters is busy coaching his daughter’s soccer game (if you can call it that) when he is approached by Belinda.  It seems the president of the youth soccer league, Moises Huber, is missing and has been for a few days.  To complicate matters, he’s stolen all the league’s money, meaning that if they don’t find him and the funds soon, they’ll have to shut down.

Deuce reluctantly takes on the case.  His investigation soon turns up more missing money, another missing person, and even stolen property.  Just what was Moises into?  And can Deuce save his small town’s youth soccer league?

This is a humorous cozy series, and Deuce’s sarcasm is certainly right up my ally.  Heck, I was laughing on page one as he was describing the five-year-olds playing soccer.  The laughs continued throughout the book.  Unlike the first book, I didn’t think it was too much from characters insulting each other, although Deuce and Vincent, a PI he works with rather reluctantly, certainly have that kind of relationship.

The characters are strong.  I loved watching Deuce interacting with both his daughter and his wife.  His parents are only in a few scenes, but they are great as well.  And the rest of the cast are certainly strong enough to make me care about the outcome.

And the story?  It includes quite a few great twists and kept me guessing just how exactly Deuce was going to solve things until the end.

Couple all this with lots of dialogue and some short chapters, and you’ve got yourself a very fast read.

So far, it’s sounding great, right?  I do have a couple of issues.  There’s a sub-plot of Deuce and his wife trying to have another baby that seriously wanders into the too much information category.  I could have lived without all the discussions they had about it.

And, like in the first book, the timeline seems a bit wonky to me.  Sunday one week gets skipped, and Deuce’s wife has to take a Saturday off work on another weekend.  Things like that bother me, but they don’t truly affect the story here, so it’s not an important issue.

All told, this is a fun read.  If you want a more humorous cozy with a male lead, be sure to check out Popped Off.

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