by Sandra Murphy
Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of Twenty-Nine and A Half Reasons, along with a link to purchase the book.
Rose Gardner is having a heck of a time. Her boyfriend, Joe, is back at work, which means he’s a couple of hours away from her. She misses him something awful. Her sister Violet says she should date other men and find someone “suitable”—which means someone local.
Rose pretty much hates her job at the DMV. Well, who wouldn’t, with a boss like she’s got? It’s a welcome change when Rose gets called for jury duty, assuming she can get there on time. It’s just one thing after another, including a very needed stop at the restroom, only to find the cleaning lady won’t let her in until the cleaning is done. In desperation, Rose uses the men’s room.
Rose is prone to visions and has one right then, with a man using the facilities right next to her! She heard him say he got away with murder. Of course, since she didn’t see him, it’s hard to say who he was.
As luck would have it, she’s selected as juror for a murder trial. The prosecuting attorney is Mason Deveraux III, a man Rose crashed into just outside the men’s room. In spite of the fact he should exclude her from the jury (having had a recent murder in the family, she might be unable to be neutral), he insists on choosing her, much to the annoyance of the defense attorney. Rose is pretty sure neither of them likes her.
On the other hand, she does make a friend in Neely Kate, a potential juror sure to be excluded since she works for the city. Rose hasn’t had many friends in her life since her mama pretty much told her when and how deeply to breathe—and bossed everything else as well. Now that she’s kind of on her own, it’s exhilarating and frightening at the same time.
Jury instructions say jurors are not to examine the scene of the crime or do any investigating on their own. Rose feels the need to disregard that precept since she’s sure the defendant is innocent. Too bad she gets caught and ratted out by the dead man’s neighbor—and from the witness stand, no less! What with the air conditioning being out in the courtroom and the judge looking fit to explode, no wonder Rose got cited for contempt of court.
As usually happens, there are a lot of twists and turns in the murder case. She’s in danger a few times, usually not through her fault. Mason pops up in unexpected places and you just have to wonder about that. Joe is more and more frustrated at their separation and none too happy about Mason being around. Violet is over the edge, almost channeling their mother—which is a very bad thing indeed.
Rose is naïve after being so sheltered for most of her life but she manages to muddle through and find out what really happened. Of course, those around her are close to a nervous breakdown by the time that’s done, but all’s well that ends well, just like this book.
As a character, Rose is unsure and confident by turns, a delight to read. In the most serious of situations she’s able to make the reader laugh out loud. I look forward to more adventures with Rose, Joe, Violet, Neely and whomever else Rose collects along the way.
To enter to win a copy of Night of the Twenty-Nine And A Half Reasons, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Reasons,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 3, 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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