A Grand Ol’ Murder – St. Paul’s Answer to Inspector Clouseau
Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Brian Landon
Format: Paperback, Kindle
Though he is the world’s most famous actor living in beautiful St. Paul Minnesota, Timothy Chapman still has issues – his daughter is dating a lowlife cretin who crashes Chapman’s party throwing up all over him; if that isn’t bad enough, Chapman’s maid is murdered that same night when she accidentally catches would-be thieves breaking into Chapman’s safe. Not to worry though, Celebrity detective Doyle Malloy is called into lead the case. But Malloy, whose work primarily involves television appearances and the occasional watching of Hollywood movies is quickly over his head in this conspiracy. Will he solve the case or go down with it?
Brian Landon’s A Grand Ol’ Murder is a hilarious murder mystery featuring a detective that is St. Paul Minnesota’s answer to Inspector Clouseau. Landon takes full advantage of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ famous landmarks, citizens, and celebrity visitors who have filmed in the state. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger makes an appearance! Landon isn’t too proud to leverage the “Fargo like” quirky style of some of the locals. While the characters, setting, and language provide the color for this novel, the mystery to be solved is quite engaging as well providing a very satisfying combination.
Readers will quickly become engaged in Landon’s fun, entertaining, and light hearted romp through St. Paul and Minneapolis. I look forward to detective Malloy’s return in The Case of the Unnecessary Sequel.
The Merry-Go-Round – Opposites Do Attract but do They Stay Together?
Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Donna Fasano
A year after being financially ruined by her husband Greg, Lauren Flynn goes to court to fight for a divorce he will not give her. The court not only grants her request, but to make up for her financial losses she is also awarded Greg’s only asset, a worthless plot of land complete with a rundown barn. Unfortunately, Lauren’s expectations of moving forward with her life are quickly dashed when she learns the barn houses not only a merry-go-round in disrepair, but her ex-husband who would be otherwise homeless. Soon Lauren’s life is much like the carnival ride, going backwards, going forwards, and most of the time just going in circles.
Donna Fasano’s Merry-Go-Round is an easy beach read about one woman’s search for happiness. Her main character, Lauren, has unfortunately built up in her mind what she thinks her life should be like – much like one would build a resume for a career – versus understanding and admitting to herself what truly makes her happy.
I will admit that I didn’t understand why Lauren wanted to divorce Greg. His hardware business does fail causing them financial difficulties and he doesn’t tell her until it is too late. But he seems like a great guy. He treats Lauren well, plans romantic surprises, can fix just about anything, is selfless, good looking, and is constantly helping others. On balance, he seems like a great catch.
Oddly enough, my favorite characters were not Lauren and Greg; rather, Lauren’s father Lew and her co-worker Norma Jean resonated with me. In many ways the evolution of their relationship was more endearing than the tumult between Lauren and Greg. They both have the wisdom and confidence that comes with age and their honesty with others and themselves was refreshing.
Fasano also does a good job building romantic tension throughout the book keeping the pages turning which made for a very enjoyable read. I look forward to her next offering!