Careful Little Eyes: Willow Rose

Book #4 in the 7th Street Crew Series

Book #3 left us with a cliffhanger ending. Mary & Joey’s son, Salter, had been abducted by Mary’s psychotic brother, Blake. Here, Book #4 picks up right where we left off. However, in true Willow Rose style, we see multiple stories intertwine and are told together until they meet up in the present.

The first storyline is, of course, Salter’s kidnapping. Mary & Joey have embarked on a road trip to New Orleans. Internet guru & friend, Chloe, has picked up Blake’s picture from a security camera. She gives all the help she can and the ex-spouses are determined to find their son.

Next, we have a ‘ghost’ story. New Orleans in the early 1900s was terrorized by a murderer known only as the Axeman. Now, in the current time period, murders are occurring via the same M.O. Initially, residents attribute it to the original killer ‘returning’ to kill some more. Regardless, the city is again in the grips of terror as victims stack up.

A more recent yet still blast from the past story involves a woman trying to do the right thing. Robyn is childless & lonely. Little Suzy is an abused, neglected child. When they meet, they are a help to one another. But, Robyn’s kindness & Suzy’s volatile home life are on a crash course. How this connects to the other 2 will be up to curious readers to discover.

Book #4 is a great read. It is almost impossible to guess the ending. Very few clues are given to the reader. With many authors, that would’ve been a disaster. Willow Rose made it work just as she does with all her 2 to 3 plot books.

Unlike many of her works, this one isn’t as gory/graphic. Yes, there’s violence, but it’s not distracting and it isn’t over the top, either. The plot was more of an in-depth mystery than straight horror. I really liked that although the Axeman is attributed by some characters as a paranormal fiend, it doesn’t match the reality. It would’ve ruined the book for me if it had been.

Not all the members of the 7th Street Crew play a role this time. Mainly, it’s all Mary & Joey with a little Chloe. There’s a lot of character development for these two. Blake remains every sister’s nightmare & the mega-villain that he’s meant to be.

All told it’s a fantastic mystery & a definite 4 star read.

Four Cheese Murder: Patti Benning

Book #7 in the Papa Pacelli’s Pizzeria Series

Kittiport, Maine is experiencing a particularly nasty winter blast. The local community center is helping the locals who’ve experience power outages from the weather. Wanting to help, Ellie begins donating pizzas to the center on a regular basis.

During one of her deliveries, Ellie comes face to face with yet another death. A young, community volunteer is found dead, in the snow, outside the center’s doors. Never one to shy away from a mystery, Ellie decides she wants to find justice for the young lady. Unfortunately, there are a lot of layers in this mystery. Disgruntled roommates, jealous co-workers, and no murder weapon won’t make things easy for her. Adding in the fact that the Sheriff is out with an injury and Ellie is knee-deep in more than snow.

‘Four Cheese’ has more character development as we have Ellie & Russell’s relationship beginning to take a more serious turn. We also have more development in the town as Ellie visits more local places and we get a better feel for Kittiport.

The mystery was well-developed and with multiple suspects this time. As the series continues, the books are definitely getting better and more complex while maintaining that cozy mystery feel. This installment is a 4 star book. It can also be read alone, but I believe in reading a series from the first book on.

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