A Trail of Lies: A Mystery (A Jazz Ramsey Mystery)
3rd in Series
Setting – Ohio
Publisher: Minotaur Books (May 11, 2021)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Kindle ASIN: B08FZ8143D
A Trail of Lies is the third in the Jazz Ramsey mystery series from national bestselling author Kylie Logan.
Jazz Ramsey is just getting used to the idea that her on-again-off-again beau, Nick, might actually be a permanent fixture, when she gets an alarming call in the middle of the night from his mother, Kim: there’s a dead man in her backyard. Kim has a long history of drinking and a vivid imagination, so when Jazz’s human remains detection dog, Wally, finds no evidence of a body, Jazz thinks she can breathe easy.
But when the body of a middle-aged man, Dan Mansfield, is discovered in a nearby park, and a photo of Nick and his mom is found in his pocket, Jazz has to admit that something isn’t adding up. Kim claims not to know who Dan is, but the cops find out soon enough: he’s a recently paroled convict who served thirty years for murder. And when Jazz traces his crime back to a bar fight with an antiques dealer, she ends up with more questions than answers.
Jazz Ramsey works at St. Catherine’s Preparatory Academy, an all-girls school as an administrative assistant. She handles the day-to-day details to keep the school running smoothly. Right now her focus is on the Fall Formal which she will be attending without her boyfriend Nick because he is on assignment with a gang task force. It’s a dangerous job that causes Jazz constant worry. So when she gets a call in the middle of the night from Nick’s mother, Kim, saying she needs Jazz right away because “it’s Nick . . . Nick, he’s . . . he’s dead in my backyard”, she rushes to Kim’s house while trying to reach Nick but her call goes to voice mail. She arrives at Kim’s house and hurries to the backyard but after a quick search, she doesn’t find a body. Nick or anyone else. Kim is a “raging alcoholic” so not the most reliable witness so Jazz is not totally surprised. Kim also changes her story, saying it wasn’t Nick but a different man and that she killed him. Jazz stays long enough to calm Kim down and then goes home thinking Kim’s story is a drunken illusion.
Then Dan Mansfield is found dead in a park near Kim’s house. He has a photo of a younger Kim and Nick in his pocket. Kim claims not to know the man but clues leads Jazz to believe Kim is lying. Now Jazz has more questions than answers and she fears there will be a whole trail of lies before this case is solved.
Jazz is an excellent protagonist. She is smart, strong but tenderhearted too. She has tried to stay away from Kim but with Nick out of town, she feels she needs to stay present in Kim’s life not only to solve a murder but because she starts to see Nick’s life growing up. She realizes he was more parent than child in the relationship with his mom. I appreciated the way the author dealt with Kim’s alcoholism. It was very realistically portrayed, and it does give the story a more serious tone than what we usually find in a cozy mystery. Ms. Logan does a great job though of balancing the darker tone with some fun things too. I love the relationship Jazz has with her co-workers. They are truly friends and support each other. Sister Eileen does something surprising in this story and it makes me like her even more. Of course, a certain Airedale named Wally lightens the story up too. Still, in training his antics bring the humor when needed. I thought all the core characters developed over the course of the story but I was really caught up in what we learned about Nick’s life.
The mystery was extremely well-plotted. It really focused on Kim’s life and the people in it over the years. With some nice twists and suspenseful moments the book really held my attention. Ms. Logan gave us plenty of suspects but several red herrings too that made it very hard to pin down the actual killer. Jazz truly was like a dog with a bone. Even when her own life was in peril she did not give up. That made for a very exciting story from beginning to end.
The title A Trail of A Lies fits this story so well. While it can be read as a stand-alone, I encourage reading the series from the start in order for maximum enjoyment.
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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.”