Thursday, July 30, 2020

Book Review: A Chorus Lineup by Joelle Charbonneau (Glee Club Mysteries #3)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, compelling mystery
Cons: Weird pacing in the last quarter
The Bottom Line:
Sabotage, murder
At show choir competition
Good series wrap up

Competitions Are Murder

I really did intend to return to the Glee Club Mysteries sooner.  After all, I enjoyed the first two and it was obvious the series ended with A Chorus Lineup.  But somehow, I let years go by before picking up this book.

If you missed this series or it’s been a while since you visited the characters, Paige Marshall is our main character.  While she dreams of being an opera singer, she also needs to pay the bills, so she took a job teaching her local Chicago high school’s show choir.  It’s been rocky with two murders along the way, but as this book opens, things are looking good for Paige and the choir.  They’ve been winning regional competitions, and now the choir is heading to the national competition in Nashville.  The biggest complication that Paige can foresee is the audition of a lifetime she’s been offered back in Chicago that’s in the middle of the competition week.

The choir arrives a few days before the competition itself, taking advantage of some master classes and time to rehearse on the stage where the competition will take place.  The first morning, however, one of the mothers from one of the other teams makes a horrible discovery – someone has destroyed the costumes of most of the teams and even sabotaged band instruments.  The woman immediately starts to publicly and repeatedly blame Paige for the sabotage.  When a murder happens, the stakes are raised.  Is the event safe?  Can Paige figure out what is happening?

Since it had been so long between books, I was fuzzy on all the details of the characters, however, it wasn’t long before I was remembered who people were and their relationships.  It helped that there are plenty of references to events from the previous books.  Some of them are spoilery, so if you are interested in the series, I recommend starting from the beginning.

Thanks to those references triggering my memory of the earlier books, I was able to appreciate the character growth we’ve seen in Paige and some of the supporting characters in early books and again here.  The care and support they show each other is wonderful.  Naturally, the book is filled with new characters, all of whom come across as well.

The plot was strong for most of the book.  I was kept guessing who could be involved in the events unfolding, and couldn’t wait to see how that would end.  Then, in the final quarter of the book, we take a pause in the action for a sub-plot to take over.  It completely killed the momentum.  However, when the we got back to the mystery, it was kicked into high gear for the rest of the book, and the climax answered all my questions.

Even with the weird pacing, I still enjoyed A Chorus Lineup.  This book does a great job of wrapping up the characters and their lives, so fans of the series will close the book with a huge sense of satisfaction.

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