Thursday, September 1, 2022

Book Review: Union Jacked by Diane Vallere (Samantha Kidd #9)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Characters and fast paced story
Cons: Timeline wonkiness
The Bottom Line:
Shooting at her store
She must figure out target
Fast paced and fun book

Retirement Parties, Strikes, and Murder

There are times that the elements of a cozy mystery don’t seem like they should work.  Take Union Jacked, the ninth Samantha Kidd mystery from Diane Vallere.  If I listed out some of the elements – retirement party for a cop, labor strike, business buy out by a British investment company – it doesn’t sound like something that should work.  But I’ve learned to trust Diane, so I picked up the book with anticipation.

Travada, the local department store where fashion buyer Samantha Kidd works, has been bought out by a British investment company.  Her job has become more difficult since her new supervisor doesn’t seem to like any of the things Samantha thinks they should be buying.  Meanwhile, the staff of the store is staging a strike, something that Samantha sympathizes with.

The one good thing is that Samantha has talked her bosses into combining their grand reopening party with a retirement party for her friend Detective Loncar, who is retiring from the Ribbon, Pennsylvania, police force.  Since it’s supposed to be a surprise party, his sudden appearance at the store one day when she is trying to settle on plans is a problem.  But things get worse when someone opens fire, hitting Loncar and the organizer of the strike.  Before Loncar passes out into a coma, he tells Samantha that he was the target but she isn’t to investigate.  While Samantha tries to honor his wishes, she can’t seem to help gathering clues.  Was Loncar the target?  Will Samantha figure out what is going on?

Okay, so maybe a couple things in the premise still make me scratch my head, like the combined parties, but it works for the book, and once I got into the story I didn’t really care.

It helps that we aren’t that far into the book before the shooting happens and we are off and running.  As is always the case, Samantha is busy tracking down clues and dealing with upheaval in her personal life, so the pace is fast.  The ending works, although it does take a little thought.

What doesn’t work is the timeline.  Yes, I know it’s a pet peeve of mine, but still, this book needed a good timeline edit.  Samantha keeps adding days between events that didn’t exist, then taking them away again later.  Additionally, this book also seems to mess up the timeline of the last few books in the series.  No, it’s not anything critical to the story, but it is very annoying.

On the other hand, the characters are wonderful.  I enjoy seeing how Samantha is still growing in each book in the series.  Detective Loncar gets some character growth as well, which was fun.  The new characters are well defined for their part in the story, too.

Then there’s the humor.  Yes, I laughed multiple times as I was reading the book, and grinned at other time.  The humor is mixed well with the more serious parts for a book that left me satisfied.

Overall, Union Jacked was another fun adventure with Samantha Kidd.  Her fans will be happy to see what happens to her here.

Enjoy the rest of the Samantha Kidd Mysteries.


  1. The timeline issues are something that I would think could be easily fixed by a good editor? But, it's probably something I would not notice, as I'm not very detail oriented when I read.

  2. I have this whole series in my TBR mountain. Glad to see your review to motivate me to quit putting new things ahead of them!

  3. Timeline issues drive me absolutely crazy! I do love Diane Vallere's book so I'm sure I'd still enjoy it. I need to pick up the first in this series.


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