Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Murder in a Buckhead Garden by Lynn Kear

Publisher:                   P.D. Publishing

Nicole Westlake is a highly sought residential gardener in Atlanta, Georgia, and has designed landscapes for many prominent people.  She arrives for her regular visit to Bob Thigpen's home and is stunned when a mysterious woman murders him right in front of her.  This plunges her into a mystery involving Thigpen's estranged wife Abbie, his adult children who make no pretense of their disapproval of their young stepmother, and police detective Stephanie Grace, who is a former lover of both Nicole and her partner Nora.  Despite her best efforts, Nicole is dragged deeper into the situation, especially after someone gives a false tip to the police that Nicole is involved with the number one suspect Abbie.  Solving the murder is not just about clearing her name, but making sure that her relationship with Nora is not destroyed.

A Murder in a Buckhead Garden is a good example of a book that has a catchy introduction and good end, but what's in between is disappointing.  The story starts off strong and then wanders around through unnecessary scenes.  It seems as if Kear thought of enough for a short story and then couldn't fill in the details properly to make a full book.  There are moments when the story is interesting and shows the potential it had, but they aren't sustained.  At times it seems as if Kear can't decide if she wants to tell a mystery or a mixed up love story.  Her main character is confusing since she professes love for her partner, but contemplates cheating with more than one of the other women.  This inconsistency in characters is irritating instead of enlightening.  Where the book does deliver is in the ending.  The mystery does have a surprise.

This isn't Lynn Kear's first book, but it is her first work of fiction.  Her other books are biographies, which seems to indicate that relating the facts of someone's life may be easier than creating details from scratch.  She needs more practice in applying her skills to fiction if that is the course she's going to follow.
A reader looking for a book to occupy a couple of hours will find this book suits that need.  This isn't a keeper though and doesn't deliver the value for the cost.

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