Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Book Review: Designed for Haunting by Sybil Johnson (Aurora Anderson Mysteries #4)

Stars: 5 out of 5
: Strong mystery, fun characters
Cons: Nothing that can't be painted over
The Bottom Line:
Rory's missing friend
A Halloween mystery
Fun for all readers

Designed for Your Halloween Reading Pleasure

While I'm not the biggest Halloween fan, every year a book or two in a series I read comes out set around this holiday.  I get it, Halloween lends itself perfectly to a mystery.  I'm not complaining since I often find myself enjoying these offerings, and Designed for Haunting is no exception.

Aurora “Rory” Anderson is shocked when she goes to open her e-mail and finds one from her friend Zelena Alvarez.  The e-mail claims that Zelena is missing and begs Rory to find her before something worse happens.  Rory begins to investigate and sure enough, no one has seen Zelena since the last meeting of their decorative painting club several days ago.

Rory begins trying to find her friend, but this isn't the only thing on her plate.  Her decorative painting club is putting on their annual boutique house, and that is taking a lot of Rory's time.  Then there are the rumors of the town ghost putting in appearances down on the beach.  At least, they sounded like rumors.  When a dead body turns up, Rory kicks her investigation into high gear.  What will she find?

As you can see, this book has multiple things going on for Rory to investigate, and that keeps the pages flying.  Some turn out to be red herrings, but some actually do play a part in the main mystery.  Either way, they kept me engaged the entire way through.  The climax is very suspenseful and perfectly wraps everything up.

The characters were strong in this book, strong enough that I had no issue keeping everyone straight.  Considering how the various plot elements weave in and out of Rory's life, that's important.  Of course, Rory and the other series regulars are fun to spend time with.  She has a great relationship with her best friend Liz, with Liz sometimes pushing her to do something she's hesitating to do.  A couple of the regular supporting cast were kept more in the background of this book, and I missed them, but that's a minor complaint.

Since Rory spent more time selling things she and others in her club had already painted, I didn't find this book giving me the desire to paint that previous books in the series have.  However, I would have gladly bought several of the items that were talked about in this book.  My wallet is thankful they weren't real.

This book makes great use of the Halloween time period.  As a Southern California resident, I especially loved seeing what October can be like for us reflected here.  It helped put me in the mood for fall.

If you are looking for a fun book to read this October, Designed for Haunting is perfect for you.  It will have you turning pages as you settle into the season.

Missing one of Rory's cases?  Here are the Aurora Anderson Mysteries in order.

I'm reviewing this book as part of a blog tour.  Check out the rest of the stops.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.


  1. Nice review. It did it's job by making me want to read the book. The awesome cover didn't hurt either!

  2. Thank you for your great review which has me placing "Designed for Haunting" by Sybil Johnson on my TBR list. It sounds like a book that I would definitely enjoy and I can't wait for the opportunity to read it.

    Appreciate your being part of the book tour.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  3. This sounds wonderful--I'd love to read it.


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