Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dead Line

Dead Ball
A Lainie Lovett Still Kicking Mystery
Judith Arnold
Bell Bridge Books
Memphis, TN
$ 14.95 Paperback
ISBN: 978-161194412
$ 4.99 Kindle
248 pages

Curiosity is what causes Lainie's problems.  Widowed elementary-school teachers who have a college graduated daughter living back at home and who play soccer with the local women's under-fifty soccer league are not the most likely murder suspects. 
When rain cancels soccer practice, Lainie and a few friends relax at a local pub, the Olde Towne.  What they didn't plan on was seeing a teammate's husband with a young well-endowed blond.  What do you do now?  Do you tell Patty, his wife?  The husband was so engaged with the blond that he did not notice the other women.  What do you do now?
In the past, Patty has stated that if her husband messed around, she would kill him.  Is this premeditated murder?
Arthur Cavanaugh had a dream to develop a new housing development for the wealthy.  The locals have mixed feelings about this new area.  Most realize that the new area should greatly increase the value of their property while also attracting environmentalists due to the destruction of the forested areas and wildlife.
Lainie seems to attract trouble.  When she hears rumors of the possible death, she decides to drive over to the construction site where Arthur was killed.  Unfortunately, the police have not even left the crime scene yet and see her observing from the distance.  Added to that, she meets the foreman of the construction project, Bill Slavik who seems interested in her.  Lainie is interested and agrees to go out with him.  This is her first date since her husband died of cancer.
Arthur was killed at the construction site.  Who would be the likely suspect?  Bill Slavik, the foreman who frequently yelled at the developer or the wife?  Considering the he was killed with a nail gun, who would be your most likely suspect?
When she finds Arthur's phone in her purse, she wisely calls her attorney.  He escorts Lainie to the police to turn in the phone.  How did it get in her purse?
Lainie quickly discovers that this first date and the phone have made her a suspect.  She is arrested as a possible accomplice.  
This creates another problem for Lainie.  Because she is a murder suspect, she is placed on temporary leave from her fourth-grade classroom and because Patty is on the soccer team, she is also temporarily suspended from the team.
What does she do with her extra time?
Why not investigate who really killed Arthur?
Dead Ball is a fast-paced romantic mystery.  Lainie is a delightful protagonist with real-world problems and issues, even if she is a little dense and blind to the obvious.  The supporting characters are varied with their roles in Lainie's life even when adding humor and realism with her Jewish mother-in-law.  The story concludes completely as most romances, almost so nicely that it seems a bit contrived.  Real life usually does not conclude quite so completely.
Judith Arnold has written more than ninety novels and has won numerous awards for her romance novels.  One of her books earned the distinction of being a finalist for the RITA, the Romance Writer's of America while also being the winner of the Reviewer's Choice Awards for R.T. Reviews.  Her novels have won the best Harlequin American Romance Award, as well as the Harlequin Super romance, Harlequin Series Romance, Harlequin Contemporary, and Single Title Romance.  Love in Bloom was considered to be one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly.
Dead Ball is a wonderful, fast-paced, cozy, page turner that will keep your interest to the last page.

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