by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this review on how to enter to win a copy of February Fever. There is also a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy.
Since moving to Battle Lake, Minnesota, ten months ago, Mira James has alarmingly discovered at least one body every month, so she’s understandably more than a little on the edge. When her adorably perfect boyfriend Johnny leaves for a month-long internship at Portland State, Mira’s best friend Mrs. Berns declares it to be the perfect time to get out of Dodge before Mira’s death timer clicks on and she uncovers another murder.
The International Private Investigators Conference is being held in Portland, and Mrs. Berns sees this as a sign and purchases train tickets for them on the only passenger-class rail system. What Mrs. Berms fails to mention is that they will be traveling on the first Valentine Train, along with their lovable (but usually stoned) neighbor Jed Heitke.
Although Mira’s social awkwardness has her fearing the forced interactions with strangers in close quarters, she should have been much more concerned that her murder magnet track record her follow her out of town—which, inevitably, it does. The story soon becomes Lord of the Flies-meets-Orient Express when the train is stopped, the passengers snowed in, and an arrogant celebrity private investigator and the Glendive Chief of Police join the assembled company.
There’s plenty of humor and hilarious dialogue, but all the novels in this series contain a serious thread in the damaged lead character. Mira’s father caused his own fatal drunk-driving accident and killed someone else in the process, and that combines with her childhood witnessing of her best friend being snatched by a stranger—more than enough PTSD to go on with. Seeing another little girl on the train kicks in all of Mira’s protectiveness, further motivating her to investigate the murder.
Countering Mira’s tendency toward negativity is the delightful Mrs. Berns, who keeps Mira grounded. She doesn’t care what others think and inspires confidence in her friend, proving one of wisest and most entertaining detective partners possible. The path to Mira’s future looks to be much more in question, but breaking her streak of monthly victim discoveries would deprive readers of this smartly written series that has as much emotional impact as it does sharp wit and always-amusing characters.
To enter to win a copy of February Fever, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Fever,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 7, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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Click on this link to purchase this book and you will be supporting an indie bookstore & a portion goes to help support KRL.