by Kathleen Costa
& Elaine Macko
This week we have a review of the latest book from author Elaine Macko, and a fun guest post from her about holiday traditions. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to a copy of Dipped, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Dipped: An Alex Harris Mystery series By Elaine Macko
Review by Kathleen Costa
Elaine Macko starts us off with Alex Harris posing an interesting query…is it good to be passionate over something that involves the death of another? Well, Alex Harris sure has a knack for falling into murder mysteries, and this time, when she gets up covered in chocolate and finding a body also “dipped” in chocolate, it puts her right back into…what else, murder! I love it, but what a way to ruin all that chocolate!
Chocolat, the premier chocolate factory in Brampton, Massachusetts, doesn’t often open to the public, but it is the major candy season, and Barb Taylor, the company’s marketing director, thought it would be a great idea to host Halloween tours. So when she is found dead, drowned in one of the vats of chocolate, the future of the company is in jeopardy. Chief Swinton is very concerned because murder is not a typical crime in Brampton, and he feels his department might not be up to the task. He’s a bit skeptical about involving an amateur and especially one who found the body, but after googling, he discovers Alex is quite good at what she does. He introduces Alex and her good friend Annie Willix as ‘consultants from Connecticut’ giving them an official place in the investigation, but she has to report to him everything she discovers. Poor quality chocolate supplier? Threats “over my dead body”? Secrets and more secrets? Other suspicious deaths…murders? All is revealed in a shocking conclusion I didn’t see coming, but greatly enjoyed!
Marvelous! Although I am new to Elaine Macko’s Alex Harris mysteries starting well into the series with book nine, Dipped, I was still greatly entertained, never feeling out-of-the loop with the backstory or character connections, and thrilled to have so many more books to enjoy. Elaine’s style of writing is a page-turner with excellent descriptions, engaging dialogue, and twists and turns that challenged my inner detective.
A key part of my enjoyment is that she writes a clever mystery along with a realistic perspective into the investigations having her characters, like Alex, working in tandem with, not circumventing, law enforcement. Even though there are opportunities, and some necessities, for Alex to go rouge partnering with her friends and family, she has a unique talent recognized, not ignored, by the police, and it is reasonable to have her closely involved. I really enjoyed the family dynamic, and how everyone seems to embrace Alex’s talent for investigating, as well as finding dead bodies. And then all the chocolate references made my mouth water! I highly recommend this book, and if this is any indication of what one could expect from the other books…I’m in!
Dipped earns 5/5 Premier Chocolate Treats…Murderously Entertaining!
Be a Big Elaine Macko Fan!
Elaine Macko writes this very entertaining nine-book Alex Harris Mystery series introduced in 2013 with Armed. Alex and her sister Samantha run a temp agency, Always Prepared, putting them at a mannequin factory. This would be a great cozy treat for the holidays as it is set a “week before Christmas” and Alex stumbling on her first dead body. It is an engaging murder mystery that introduces all the characters with a bit of humor on the side.
In 2014 Elaine penned a memoir of her “week-long turned twelve-year” European odyssey in 1986 that will entertain you with humor and touch your heart with a few tears. Fried Calamari Looks A Lot Like Onion Rings: 12 Years in Belgium has her heading off to Europe for an adventure of a life time “managing to meet two U.S. presidents, had tea with the queen of the Belgians, and lunch with a countess in her ancient castle,” and more than a few encounters with questionable characters. We find a naive young ex-pat evolve with confidence and self-reliance.
Happy Holidays From Elaine Macko!
To me, this time of year—between Halloween and Christmas—is so cozy and what better time to pick up a cozy mystery than now! Several of my books are centered on the holidays and that was no accident. I’ve always loved Christmas, but it’s not just for presents. What I remember most—and the memory gets more vivid and meaningful the older I get—are the games.I grew up in a middle class family, and there wasn’t always a lot of money for extras, but come Christmas my mother made sure my sisters and I had lovely gifts. Each year she also got us a new game—Yahtzee one year, and Sorry, another. After all the presents were opened and the meal consumed, we would gather at the kitchen table, my older sister and I, to play our new game with my mother. She would make us hot chocolate, place a plate of Christmas cookies on the Formica table, and we would play for hours.
To my delight my younger sister has kept with this tradition with her son. A few years ago he received the card game Five Crowns, and it remains a favorite. My mother is eighty-nine now, but on Christmas morning, after the gifts are opened, we all gather at my sister’s kitchen table for a few hours of play while the roast cooks. Playing games with my family and my brother-in-law’s parents is my most cherished memory each year. So, pick up a game, gather the family and make your own memories. And when you’re tired of playing and you need a break, there are always my books to keep you company!
To enter to win a copy of Dipped, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “dipped,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen November 25, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.
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Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.