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.
The Worst Noel
(The Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series)
1st in Series
Setting – Colorado
Publisher: Pau Hana Publishing (August 31, 2018)
Paperback: 320 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07GZ67Q99
Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace, love, and joy, but for Lilly Carlsen, this Christmas is murder.
As a single mom, small business owner, and president of the local Chamber of Commerce, the last thing she needs is to find a dead body on the floor of her jewelry shop on the busiest shopping day of the year. And as if that isn’t enough, Lilly has to deal with a deadbeat ex-husband, a mother with declining mental health, and two teenagers.
But when a second body turns up, Lilly finds herself squarely in the crosshairs of suspicion. Can she figure out who killed the victims before she becomes one herself? And will her family’s Christmas be merry…or scary?
Lily Carlsen has made a good life for herself and her teenagers, Laurel and Tighe after her ex decided years ago that family life wasn’t for him. Her brother Bill is a police officer in town and they both watch over their mother who lives down the street from Lily. The kids are a big help too as the tentacles of dementia start to take control of their grandmother. The family also has a lovable pup named Barney.
Lilly owns the local jewelry store and is president of the Chamber of Commerce. She works long hours but has raised some really good kids. She has been getting ready for the holiday rush and is excited about the Black Friday shoppers But when she arrives at her store she finds the back door unlocked and as she ventures inside notices the vault is open and a dead body on the showroom floor. The body belongs to a woman Lilly has a history with through the chamber. So even with a brother on the force, she finds herself a suspect in the woman’s murder.
A few days later another body is found, again someone Lilly was seen arguing with. Add to that, her ex shows up and wants to meet his kids. Kids he hasn’t seen since they were babies. Lilly has her hands full but when the killer gets too close for comfort she knows she has to step things up before she becomes the next dead body found.
I was familiar with Amy M. Reade but only knew about her gothic novels which really aren’t my cup of tea, but then I found this series and grabbed The Worst Noel to read this holiday season and I am so happy that I did. I was drawn to Lilly and her family immediately. They felt real, true to life dealing with issues many families deal with. Of course, then you throw in a dead body or two, and Lilly’s story gets very interesting. For the first book in the series, the characters are very well developed. I truly enjoyed getting to know them.
The mystery was a little different because Lilly really tried to stay out of the investigation and get on with her life. Her brother told her what he could and gave her a little heads up with the police had more questions for her. When the police finally realize that Lily’s life may actually be in danger they finally start to look elsewhere. The story had an excellent flow and the pages were literally flying. Several people were introduced along the way and at one point in time, they were all on my suspect list.
I was totally entertained by The Worst Noel. With strong characters and plenty of twists, it was a joy to read. The author does add perfect amounts of humor and romance too. Don’t let the title scare you away. It is a great holiday read. I look forward to spending more holidays with Lily and her family.
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