#FlashbackFriday – Antiques Roadkill: A Trash ‘n’ Treasures Mystery by Barbara Allan #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.

Antiques Roadkill: A Trash ‘n’ Treasures Mystery
Cozy Mystery (some explicit language)
1st in Series
Setting – Iowa
Kensington Books (August 1, 2006)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 232 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0758211910
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0758211910
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 287 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0758211929
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0758211927
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B004NNUZ3W

Determined to make a new start in her quaint hometown on the banks of the Mississippi, Brandy Borne never dreams she’ll become the prime suspect in a murder case. . .

Moving back in with her eccentric, larger-than-life mother, Brandy Borne finds small-town Serenity anything but serene. It seems an unscrupulous antiques dealer has swindled Vivian out of the family’s heirlooms. But when he is found run over in a country lane, Brandy becomes Murder Suspect Number One–with her mother coming in a very close second. . .

The list of other suspects is impressive–the victim’s business seems to have been based on bilking seniors out of their possessions. And when the Borne “girls” uncover a few very unsavory Serenity secrets, they become targets for a murderer whose favorite hobby seems to be collecting victims.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I have wanted to start this series for some time and put it on my calendar now to help me hopefully finish my Literary Escapes Reading Challenge this year. I am a stickler for reading books in order I had to start from the beginning.

Brandy Borne has left her son and ex-husband behind and returned to Serenity, Iowa with her blind dog to start over and to her sister, Peggy Sue’s delight for help to keep a handle on their outgoing mother who clearly has mental issues. Issues that have allowed her to be taken advantage of by a shady antique dealer. Shocked to find many of her family’s heirlooms gone Brandy vows to get them back. Before she can do that though, the man is killed and both Brandy and her mother separately were on the scene before the police. That lands them the prime two spots on the suspect list. Heck, at first they thought the other one had done the deed. But it seems Vivian Borne wasn’t the only senior citizen the victim scammed out of their antiques. In fact, there is a pretty nice list and Brandy and her mom put their own lives on the line to solve the case.

I need to first say the authors have a unique writing style that takes a few chapters to get used to. The asides really messed with the flow and for me, the foul language has no place in a cozy mystery. I was shocked when a certain word lit up the page.

I really had a hard time with the main character of Brandy. She seemed to care more about her vintage wardrobe and her blind dog than the son she left behind. That really hurt my heart. I realize this book was written back in the early 2000s but Vivian’s mental illness was jabbed at in humourous ways too many times. She was active in the community, a voice to be previously reckoned with but no one seemed concerned when the woman went off her meds. With Brandy not on the scene, I blame her sister while understanding that taking care of a bi-polar parent can be a handful.

The mystery itself was very interesting but more meandering than a typical cozy mystery with many inconsistencies. It did come to a satisfactory conclusion but the exciting chase to the big reveal just escaped me this time.

I do love the antique theme and the publisher stuck by this series for 14 installments. (The 15th book was published by another publisher this past June.) I am hoping that the downfalls were just growing pains as the husband and wife team of writers were learning to write as a duo. So I am not writing this series off, it wasn’t totally “roadkill”.  I plan to read Antiques Maul next year for my Literary Escapes Challenge. with high hopes.

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About the Author

Barbara Allan is the joint pseudonym of acclaimed short story writer Barbara Collins (Too Many Tomcats) and New York Times bestselling mystery novelist Max Allan Collins (ROAD TO PERDITION). Their previous collaborations have included one son, a short story collection, and five novels, including the 2008 winner of the Romantic Times Toby Bromberg Award for Most Humorous Mystery, ANTIQUES FLEE MARKET. They live in Iowa in a house filled with trash and treasures. Website

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3 thoughts on “#FlashbackFriday – Antiques Roadkill: A Trash ‘n’ Treasures Mystery by Barbara Allan #Review / #Giveaway

  1. I’m the co-author (with my wife Barb) of the Antiques mysteries, and I have a couple of comments. First, I don’t recall us ever using “foul language” in these books; in fact we rather avoid it. Possibly the first book or two had an expletive or two; we were finding our way. Second, the attitudes toward mental illness reflect my wife’s experiences being raised by a bi-polar mom — some of the humorous things in the books grow out of that, but our attitude toward mental illness issues is definitely not cavalier. Our two protagonists are flawed, i.e., human, and if you are looking for a warm plate of cookies or role models, you’ve wandered into the wrong kitchen, though we do always provide a recipe or two. The series has lasted 17 novels, and we have grown and changed as writers, and our characters have done some of that, too. The books grow increasingly more amusing, if our readers are to be believed. On my solo novels, I’ve run into the problem of a reader bent on reading the books in order not giving the series a chance to develop. The first book or two in a long-running series may be of interest but usually are not the best examples of that series. We probably hit our stride with ANTIQUES FLEE MARKET, which won the Romantic Times best humorous mystery of the year in 2009. I rather like ANTIQUES CHOP. The current ANTIQUES CARRY ON (with a visit to London) came out well. The books are not for everybody, but we are grateful for the review and very grateful to the readers who have given this wife-and-husband team the support that made Trash ‘n’ Treasures a long-running series.

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