Posted in Book Reviews

A Killer Blackout: Jenna Coburn

‘Althea the Circus Sleuth Mysteries Book #1’

Yes, the circus is in town! Having grown up under the Big Top, Althea Thwaite is used to unusual folks & a lot of travelling. As the oldest of three children, Althea’s job is more administrative while her sister & brother are performers. Her magician father & retired dancer mother round out the family of entertainers. For the first book in the 3 book series, her brother, Braden, is the focus.

Usually one to have his head in the clouds, Althea has always been protective of her baby brother. Things have been progressing nicely at their current locale, that is, until two Policemen & a FBI agent arrive. When they ask for Braden, red flags go up for Althea. They’re investigating the murder of a man staying at a nearby hotel. While Braden remembers drinking with the man, he blacked out afterwards.

Circus folk stick together so Althea is determined to work alongside law enforcement to clear Braden. She’ll need all her smarts & her circus family’s support to show he’s innocent.

‘Blackout’ is certainly a unique cozy mystery. Not too many authors would’ve ventured into Circus life for their heroine. I like Althea & her family- extended to include colleagues. The plot was good and stretched just enough where the mystery had substance. There is enough character development to allow readers to form opinions on most of the important cast members.

My only complaint is the portrayal of law enforcement. Unfortunately, this is all too common. Having a FBI agent, basically hand over his work to a woman with no law enforcement background and who is a family member of the accused is completely unrealistic. If this little kink had been fixed, it would’ve been a phenomenal start to the series. But, any sense of realism is out the door when the agent is more concerned with local cuisine than with catching a cold-blooded killer.

I give it 3 stars and hopefully, the next installment with be more legally believable.


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