Sunday, November 22, 2015

Murder in the Arboretum (Cold Creek #2)

Nardi, C. (2014). Murder in the Arboretum (Cold Creek #2). Self-Published

Adult / Cozy Mystery / Romance 

I gave this book 4* out of 5 stars 

Click to buy on Amazon! 
Scroll down to read about the just released 3rd book!

In this second book in the Cold Creek series, there has been another murder on campus, but the chief of police is more concerned with naming a murderer than solving the crime.  As psychology professor Sheridan Hendley discovers information that proves the wrong person is behind bars, it becomes clear that there are people who want to keep Sheridan quiet -- no matter what it takes.  With a familiar cast of returning characters and some new ones as well, Sheridan unwittingly finds herself at the center of a dangerous mystery where some will kill to keep it unsolved. 

As was the case in Murder at Cold Creek College, Murder in the Arboretum isn't a rapidly paced page turner, and it does sometimes get bogged down with discussion of the minutia of Sheridan's days (walk dog, check email, get coffee, eat meals, watch tv). Until the reader gets used to all the extraneous information, it feels like something surprising is going to pop-up out of the normal at any moment. Author Christa Nardi does a great job casting lots of shadows and presenting plenty of twists for readers to enjoy. Also enjoyable is the relationship between Sheridan and Brett McCann, the detective she met in book one. Their relationship has progressed to a more serious commitment, but is not the focus of the story, which works well. The romantic element is clean with plenty of blushing and innuendo to carry it along. 

Unfortunately, this book wasn't as cleanly edited as the first book (hence the 3.5 rating).  Not only were there errors with punctuation and grammar, there were several instances of peculiar wording, some confusing plot elements, and one character's name was misspelled a few times. It was a surprising contrast to the first book and somewhat of a distraction from the story. *UPDATE: When I shared the errors I found with Ms. Nardi, she was gracious and appreciative and immediately corrected them on the manuscript. Ah, the joy of the eBook! Solid 4 stars now!

Despite the writing errors, I still recommend this book and series to fans of clean, cozy mysteries. The snapshots of academia provide an interesting and unique lens, and the relaxed pace makes for a book that's easy to read in chunks.  

Thank you to the author for giving me an eBook in exchange for my honest review -- the only kind I give.

Murder at the Grill, Book 3 of the Cold Creek Series. 
Synopsis: Amateur sleuth Sheridan Hendley jumps at the chance to work with the defense when favorite waitress Zoe is arrested for the murder of her ex-husband. Determined to prove Zoe’s innocence, Sheridan probes into the victim’s past and why he chose to return to Cold Creek fifteen years after the divorce. Personalities clash and Zoe’s family closes ranks as Sheridan attempts to unlock the carefully kept secrets of the family that owns and operates The Grill. The closer Sheridan gets to finding the truth, the more her own life might be in danger – a situation that strains her increasingly serious relationship with Detective Brett McMann.
Hall Ways Review Coming Soon!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Christa Nardi is an avid reader and new writer of fiction. She is author of a new cozy mystery series named for its location in Cold Creek, Virginia  (fictitious place). Nardi has a background in higher education and psychology, similar to the main character in the series, Sheridan Hendley. Find out more about Christa on her BLOG or on TWITTER.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you Kristine! Reviewer comments really are important to authors and improve the product for future reviewers!