Thursday, April 18, 2019

Book Review: With a Kiss I Die by J. A. Hennrikus (Theater Cop Mysteries #2)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery; great characters
Cons: Some might find the beginning a little slow (but it is worth it)
The Bottom Line:
A play disaster
Plus murder after party
Equals page turner

This Book, By Any Other Name, Would be as Addicting

Given the number of books I read, sometimes I forget just how much I love a series or set of characters until I encounter them again.  That was definitely the case with Sully and the gang in the Theater Cop Mysteries.  I remembered enjoying the first book, but I’d forgotten just how much until I picked up their second adventure, With a Kiss I Die.

February is a slower season for Edwina “Sully” Sullivan in her job working as the administrator for the Cliffside Theater since they are a summer theater company.  Sully is using the time to work on grant applications so the company can build their own theater.  The biggest and best chance is with the Century Foundation, and Sully feels that application is just about ready.

Meanwhile, Dimitri, the theater’s resident director, has gone down to Boston to direct a production of Romeo and Juliet.  It’s a last-minute job since the previous director’s vision wasn’t going well.  Unfortunately, Dimitri is stuck with some of the previous director’s choices.  When Sully gets a chance to go down to Boston to try to help, she jumps at the chance since it would also allow her to do a little schmoozing with the heads of the Century Foundation.

However, when she arrives in Boston, she finds that rumors of the play’s issues weren’t exaggerated.  Even worse, a celebratory dinner ends in a murder.  While Sully may not be a cop any more, she still finds herself drawn into the events, especially when people start disappearing.  Can she figure out what happened?

Early in the book, we get plenty of goings on related to the play and what a disaster it could turn out to be.  Layers to the bigger mystery are being introduced as well, so when the murder does happen, we are off and running.  Still, those looking for the murder to happen early might be a bit disappointed.  Personally, I was enjoying the book before the murder took place, and I was hooked even more when that happened.  I raced through this book in two days instead of my normal three because I had to know what was going on.  In fact, I spent time I should have spent on other things reading that second day to finish.  Yes, I found the solution completely satisfying when I reached the end.

It didn’t take me long to get back into the characters in this series and remember just how much I loved them.  Even though the book mostly takes place in Boston, we still get to see quite a few of the characters we met in the first book, and it is obvious how much they all care for each other.  These are real people with real relationships.  They also have multiple ties to the events of this book and the suspects, which help make us care about the outcome and help make those characters feel real as well.

Since Sully was a cop in Boston several years ago, she is a different main character for a traditional mystery series.  She knows proper procedure, and she cares about making the case.  However, this still reads as a traditional mystery and not a police procedural.  In fact, author J. A. Hennrikus finds ways for Sully to investigate and get clues without stepping on police toes, which I really appreciated.  Her relationships with the cops in town also cause some added friction.

Notice I said traditional instead of cozy in that last paragraph?  The author herself describes this as a traditional series.  There is a smattering of mild foul language here, beyond that, there is nothing here that would keep this from being a cozy in my opinion.  The fact that Sully is a former cop and works more closely with the cops doesn’t really change the tone of the series.

How that I’m done with Sully’s second adventure, I’m left wanting more.  Pick up With a Kiss I Die today.  Then you can be like me hoping that the author will continue the series soon.

NOTE: I received a copy of the book

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