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25 April 2016

Rambling About.. Death by Didgeridoo by Barbara Venkataraman

About a week and a half ago I received an email from an author I had never heard of asking if I would be interested in reviewing her cozy mystery box set, Jamie Quinn Mystery Collection. To be honest, I typically don't because they typically don't look like anything that would interest me at all. I did some poking around at Goodreads and Amazon, though, and thought that they actually sounded quite good .... and so far I'm pleased to say that I'm right! Of course, if you've been around here for a while you know that I have a hard time reading a series back-to-back so I'll be reviewing the three books included individually, starting with the first:
Amazon Description
Reluctant lawyer, Jamie Quinn, still reeling from the death of her mother, is pulled into a game of deception, jealousy, and vengeance when her cousin, Adam, is wrongfully accused of murder. It's up to Jamie to find the real murderer before it's too late. It doesn't help that the victim is a former rock star with more enemies than friends, or that Adam confessed to a murder he didn't commit. 
At first I was worried. Jamie's cousin, Adam, is 22 and has Asperger's. I have a lot of first-hand experience with the autism spectrum and quite often find myself cringing at how those on it are portrayed. I know that with it being a spectrum and all that all of the various portrayals may still be completely accurate for some, but seeing Adam and his support team (his family and therapist, mainly) react and respond to what's going on was the first time that I can recall nodding along going "Yeah ... I totally see that." Best of all? It didn't totally overshadow the rest of the story just like being on the spectrum doesn't always totally overshadow life.

SO, speaking of the rest of the story, I really adore Jamie. When the story opens she's taking a break from life in order to grieve after the death of her mother. Yep. I've been there and done that. My re-entry back into the normal world wasn't nearly exciting as hers, though. She's thrust back in to help her cousin since she's a lawyer. Unfortunately, she practices family law.
"Ten years as a lawyer and what did I know about criminal law? Only what I'd learned from watching a Law and Order marathon one Sunday -- and I'd slept through most of it. In other words, nothing."
Luckily, she her best friend from law school, Grace, used to be a public defender and helps her through until she gets her cousin set up with his own public defender. Jamie still helps, though, investigating what really happened with help from Grace and a very flirtatious (and hilarious ... and oftentimes inebriated) PI named Duke. [I have to add here that thanks to the awesomeness that was the TV show Haven I constantly picture this Duke being played by Eric Balfour, too. Yum!] Even after she thinks that it's okay for her to step out of it, she keeps investigating to see it through to the end.
"I couldn't go back to my old life because I had no life. I'd been living in the shadows, doing nothing, seeing no one, just existing. All I did was rattle around an empty house all day, keeping company with a cat that hissed at me. And, if you didn't count the stress, panic, fear and aggravation I'd been through in the past few weeks, this was the most fun I'd had in years."
This was a short read (clocked in at 107 pages on my phone), but definitely an enjoyable one. Watching the pieces fall into place with the investigation and Jamie's life never felt rushed in spite of the length.

I may not be reading the next story immediately but I definitely won't be waiting long.

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