On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Clearing a book by Janice Peacock from my Kindle shelf today!
After inheriting a house in Seattle, Jax O’Connell is living the life of her dreams as a glass beadmaker and jewelry designer. When she gets an offer to display her work during a bead shop’s opening festivities, it’s an opportunity Jax can’t resist—even though the store’s owner is the surliest person Jax has ever met.
The weekend’s events become a tangled mess when a young beadmaker is found dead nearby and several oddball bead enthusiasts are suspects. Jax must string together the clues to clear her friend Tessa’s name—and do it before the killer strikes again.
Jax O’Connell gets the chance to follow her dreams when she inherits a house and a bit of money from her aunt. She packs as much as much as her new VW Bug can hold including her cat and leaves Florida behind and heads for Seattle. The house has been converted into a duplex but needs a little TLC. Jax fixes up a few things so she can work on her beads and jewelry from home and makes some friends in the bead-making world. She is excited when she is invited teach a class and show her work at a bead-making event. The store’s owner is not the nicest person on the planet but Jax knows she can work with her. When the owner is injured during the event and another young beadmaker is found dead in a dumpster the next day things get a little heated. Especially when the police are convinced one of Jax’s friends is the killer. Jax knows she must work fast stringing together the clues to not only clear her friend but catch the killer before anyone else is strung up.
This was a fun read. You know right away that Janice Peacock is a beading enthusiast. She describes that processes of bead making and making jewelry with those beads so well that it is very easy to picture. The beads sound just beautiful and making them sounds so unique. I have heard about glass blowing, but glass bead making is brand new to me. I have seen them everywhere but never thought much about how they were actually made. Her enthusiasm is also apparent in most of the book’s characters.
High Strung is populated with eclectic group of characters you expect to find in a cozy mystery. Jax is a strong woman, on her own after leaving her less than stellar boyfriend in Florida. Her tenant and friend Val is a hairdresser, aspiring baker and quite the spitfire. Her best friend since kindergarten, Tessa, has her own studio, where she gives classes. Rosie, the owner of Aztec Beads, where the event is taking place, is pretty cantankerous and a little odd. Marta is a fellow beader that Jax met at a beadmakers’ conference. She is staying with Jax so she can take part in the weekend event. She also brought her “animal companion”, Stanley, along without even asking Jax if that was o.k. Gumdrop is Jax’s kitty, addicted to catnip, maybe a little physic, and definitely not a Stanley fan. The are also a couple of young bead makers that sell their wares on the street. We also meet Jax’s other friends and of course the local police, Detective Grant.
As is the case with most books that are the first of a series the mystery starts to happen several chapters in to give readers time to get to know the players. But when it starts the pace picks right up and continues on to the end. There are really 2 mysteries to solve because we don’t know if the cases are connected. In fact, the police believe one was either self inflicted or just an accident. Jax has other ideas.
At just 222 pages this cozy is a bit shorter than normal but they are jam packed with detail, deception and more than a few twists and surprises. The characters are very believable and their dialogue is very well written. I also enjoyed a few laugh out loud moments.
A fast read for a cozy afternoon. I have moved the next book in this series to the top of my To-Be-Read list on my Kindle.
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About The Author
Janice Peacock decided to write her first mystery novel after working in a glass studio full of colorful artists who didn’t always get along. They reminded her of the odd, and often humorous, characters in the murder mystery books she loved to read. Inspired by that experience, she combined her two passions and wrote High Strung: A Glass Bead Mystery, launching a new cozy mystery series featuring glass beadmaker Jax O’Connell.
When Janice isn’t writing about glass artists-turned-amateur-detectives, she makes glass beads using a torch, designs one-of-a-kind jewelry, and makes sculptures using hot glass. An award-winning artist, her work has been exhibited internationally and is in the permanent collections of the Corning Museum of Glass, the Glass Museum of Tacoma, WA, and in private collections worldwide.
Janice lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two cats, and twelve chickens. She has a studio full of beads…lots and lots of beads.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”