#FlashbackFriday – Shots in the Dark (Mack’s Bar Mysteries) by Allyson K. Abbott #Review / #Giveaway

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.

Shots in the Dark (Mack’s Bar Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
4th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (July 26, 2016)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496701704
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496701701
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B017G7HDZE

For Mack and her barfly allies, solving homicides calls for equal parts instinct and wit. To strain out a crafty criminal, the mixture has got to be absolutely perfect . . .

It’s a week before Christmas, but Milwaukee bar owner Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton is hardly in good spirits. Chilled to the core by the murder of bouncer Gary Gunderson, Mack is determined to use her extra perceptive senses to identify the gunman responsible. Did Gary’s patchy past brew up some fatal trouble, or could his death be linked to a series of cryptic letters concocted by Mack’s anonymous adversary? With a second case to crack, innocent lives at stake, and a media frenzy in their midst, Mack and her barstool detectives have little time to mull over the grim details—especially when clues lead dangerously close to home . . .

Includes drink recipes!

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Mack’s holiday is not going to be happy until she ends the letter writer’s reign of terror and they are held responsible for the death of her employee Gary Gunderson. While she awaits the next letter and nurses her broken leg she and her fellow barstool detectives agree to look into another case where an innocent man may be serving time for a crime he didn’t commit. Can her unique gift of Synaesthesia help break the case wide open?

What I love about this series is the cast of characters the author has created. Everyone has Mack’s back. Her employees keep the bar running while she sleuths out killers. Her relationship with Detective Duncan Albright is in flux because of a case they worked together and the letter-writing criminal has forbidden her to be in contact with the police specifically Detective Albright but they still manage a few meetings. Undercover cop Mal is posing as her boyfriend to help her with both cases but they are clearly developing feelings for each other. The Capone Club, a group of patrons that love to solve mysteries work so well together even when this time a new person is added to the group. Every character is distinct and has a purpose in the story. Their unique talents are used in many ways. They are also very believable and you could find people like them in any Wisconsin bar. They may not all have a group like the one at Mack’s bar but gossip, crime, and current news can all be topics mused over with a shot and a beer.

The mysteries included in this story are gripping. I was really taken in by the Capone Club’s case because I could poke holes in the police investigation immediately. Investigating a crime that takes place during a Wisconsin blizzard is tough but anyone could see they jumped to several conclusions not supported by the evidence. Right alongside that case, Mack is working tirelessly to solve the case she is personally involved in so another one of her friends doesn’t end up dead. This case has unfolded over the course of the series so it is good to read the prior books in order to understand everything but the author does a great job of recapping the highlights in each new book.

Having the series set nearby is an absolute delight especially when my current place of residence is mentioned several times in the story due to the correctional facility just down the road. It is easy to imagine Mack there visiting one or more of the residents using her personal method of lie detection.

Shots in the Dark was a gripping story but only one mystery is solved by the final page. There are also some romantic issues up in the air and I am starting to support one cop over the other so I am very interested in what will happen next. I am thankful that the next book in this series is on my To-Be-Read shelf and I will be jumping into A Toast to Murder soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent


Allyson K. Abbott is a pseudonym used by suspense writer Beth Amos. Beth has enjoyed a varied writing career that included a stint as a book reviewer and several years of nonfiction freelancing. Now she writes only fiction, and in stark contrast to her “day job” as an ER nurse, where she gets to save lives, the one common factor in her fiction, no matter what name it’s written under, is that someone always dies. Allyson K. Abbott is my little insider joke at having to pick yet another pseudonym. It’s not a coincidence the initials are what they are.  Check out her webpage here and on Facebook here.

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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.”