February was a much lighter reading month in comparison to January 2019. This was partly due to being busier at work, and partly due to just wanting to spend more time watching mystery TV shows. Below is a recap of the books I read and a bit about what I thought of them.
Manuscript for Murder by Jon Land (& Jessica Fletcher)
This book is a continuation of the Murder, She Wrote spin-off novel series. It is the first book to be authored entirely by Jon Land following the death of the original series author, Donald Bain.
I had only read one of these books previously, Gin & Daggers, which was the first book in the series. I hadn’t been too hooked by it, but I received a free digital copy of this book from the author so I thought I’d give it another try.
It was an OK continuation of the story of Jessica Fletcher, and featured other characters from the series such as Mort Metzger, Seth Hazlitt, private investigator Harry McGraw, and NYPD’s Artie Gelber. But I’ve heard from a lot of readers who are fans of the series that they weren’t very happy with this one, and I must say I agree with them.
The story centers around an unpublished manuscript that supposedly holds the secret reason for multiple people in Jessica’s life getting murdered. The book includes long excerpts/passages from this manuscript, which unfortunately just makes it seem like the author didn’t have enough material for one book so he decided to combine two books in one.
Perhaps the author is just experiencing some growing pains in taking over a new series. I received a copy of the next book in the series which I plan on reading this month, so we’ll see if there is improvement.
Check out Manuscript for Murder on Amazon.
Still Life by Louise Penny
Still Life is the first book in Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache/Three Pines mystery series. It’s one that I’ve attempted to read three times now, and this time I decided to stick with it because of the Toronto Public Library reading challenge I’m doing this year. The book fulfills multiple categories for the challenge since it’s written by an award winning author and has been adapted into a movie.
It took me three tries to get into the novel because I just couldn’t get past the first chapter. The cast of characters/suspects, as they were presented there, were too annoying for me, so I really had no interest in reading more about them. However, I’m glad I stuck with it this time because aside from that first chapter I think the book is fantastic. I enjoyed it once the perspective changed to focus more on the detective.
The book profiles a group of artist friends who live in a village in the Eastern Townships in Quebec. One of them is found dead in the woods, having been shot through with an arrow. And what initially looks like a hunting accident, turns out to be murder.
Check out Still Life on Amazon.
Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich
Finally, as I’ve been doing every month for the past while, I’ve also reread another one of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels. I’ve written a separate post about it, so I won’t say much here except to say I particularly enjoyed this one.