Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Review: "Caught Dead Handed" by Carol J. Perry

Title: Caught Dead Handed
Author: Carol J. Perry
Genre: Mystery
Publication: September 2, 2014
Pages: 416


Most folks associate the city of Salem, Massachusetts, with witches but Lee Barrett calls it home. This October she's returned to her hometown - where her beloved Aunt Ibby still lives - to interview for a job as a reporter at WICH-TV. But the only opening is for a call-in psychic to host the late-night horror movies. It seems the previous host, Ariel Constellation, never saw her own murder coming. Lee reluctantly takes the job, but when she starts seeing real events in the obsidian ball she's using as a prop, she wonders if she might really have psychic abilities.

Okay. So I happen to be a huge fan of mysteries. Especially mysteries that boast paranormal involvement. Who doesn't love witches who solve crimes? I mean seriously. Ok, so Lee isn't exactly a witch, but she is psychic (something she is loath to admit), and she does hail from Salem Massachusetts home to some infamous witchery. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely legit spell casters messing with Lee's life, including the poor Ariel Constellation who Lee finds floating in the ocean outside of the TV station.

For the most part this was a pretty fun and cozy little read! It was rather longer than your standard mystery book (over 400 pages), and ended up being a bit predictable towards the end but it was still well worth the time.

Lee is your run-of-the-mill girl with ambition, trying to make her way in the world of journalism without having to take on too many humiliating starter jobs. As far as humiliating jobs go, I guess being a pretend TV psychic for a late-night program isn't too bad, especially if you're popular!

It feels a bit uncouth to mention scrummy love interests when we're talking about a murder mystery, but there are at least two. Personally, I'm rooting for the detective who, I have a sneaking suspicion, resembles Jensen Ackles. (Ok, so most of the detective types I read in novels resemble Jensen Ackles. Why is this a surprise?)

I did find the paranormal bits to be a bit underwhelming. Lee spends so much of the book fighting her gift, and the witches of Salem are portrayed as mostly-kooky and only slightly legitimate. A lot of what we see of Lee is pretty superficial and even by the end of this 400 page wonder, I still feel like I don't know her very well.

Huge upside? Lee's aunt, who raised her, is a REFERENCE LIBRARIAN. Basically she knows everything and has a book on almost every topic. Super librarian to the rescue! Basically auntie is the sidekick that our heroine Lee couldn't function without!

This is definitely not an "Embrace who you are" story, though I expect that will probably change as the next books in the series are released. Lots of characters are introduced that I hope we get a chance to find out more about, and the romance was just floppy-abouty enough that we're STILL not sure by the end who's the most likely candidate, perfectly fine as long as there are more books!

A warm, laid back read that I definitely recommend for witchy mystery lovers.

Auggie is the 28 year old whirlwind owner of Auggie-Talk, a part-time Reference Librarian with a degree in Anthropology and a nearly completed Masters in Library Science. A bibliobibuli by nature and a (potentially obsessive) lover of Diana Wynne Jones and Neil Gaiman. One can normally find Auggie neck deep in reading, writing, or daydreaming (sometimes all three at once).  She's also been known to drink too much caffeine and eat too many lemon flavored sweets.

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