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August Moon (Murder-by-Month Mysteries, No. 4) Paperback – June 8, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* When the Adonis of Battle Lake doesn’t show up for an evening of romance, librarian Mira James decides that she has had it once and for all with small-town Minnesota. After dealing with only two television channels, corpses, killers, and a missing statue, Mira counted on this rendezvous to balance out her otherwise yucky existence. Instead, she finds a replacement librarian, files her last column with Battle Lake Recall, and prepares to leave town. But when her teenage library assistant is brutally murdered, Mira has to stay and solve the case. Battle Lake is peculiar enough, but now that a sinister religious cult has moved in, it’s downright weird. Among the quirky citizenry is an octogenarian library worker as sly as she is crazy, a caped curator of a tick museum, a flamboyant mayor fond of the bottle, and a shady police chief. Librarians will appreciate the author’s attention to everyday operations, from shelf reading to the banned-books display and an attempt to destroy the “Godless books.” In all, Lourey’s mystery is hilarious, fast paced, and madcap. --Shelley Mosley


"Lourey has a gift for creating terrific characters. Her sly and witty take on small town USA is a sweet summer treat. Pull up a lawn chair, pour yourself a glass of lemonade, and enjoy." --Denise Swanson, author of the Scumble River Mystery series. -- Denise Swanson, author

"Lourey's mystery is hilarious, fast paced, and madcap."--Booklist, starred review -- Booklist, starred review

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Midnight Ink (June 8, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738713252
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738713250
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #952,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Hopkins on May 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
Ms. Lourey has created an anything-but-typical heroine in Miranda (Mira) James - a witty, cynical and somewhat embittered woman who moves to the small town of Battle Lake, Minnesota to housesit. While the Murder-by-Month Series has been classified by some as belonging to the cozy subgenre of mysteries, Mira is not your typical amateur female sleuth. She is hard hitting, hard talking, and hard drinking. If you're easily offended, this series might not be the best fit for you.

I will admit to initially being a bit put off myself (please don't let this be a cheesy romance novel disguised as a mystery - not that there's anything wrong with cheesy romance novels!). I did, however, come to thoroughly enjoy the main characters and the gorgeous setting, and also to admire Mira. One would have to be made of pretty tough stuff to endure the physical reminder of her father's folly on a daily basis as she did in high school. Kudos to Ms. Lourey for creating such a complex and sympathetic heroine. Mira reminds me of the words to a song by Saving Jane, "don't mess with imperfection." She is a perfectly imperfect protagonist.

In August Moon, Mira is disappointed in a man yet again, overindulges, and decides to leave Battle Lake even before her housesitting gig is up. She is passionate about her job as the local librarian, however, and won't leave before hiring and training a replacement. She sets about doing just that and also meets several individuals who are fairly new to the area. When a tourist stumbles upon the body of a local cheerleader, Mira can't ignore her desire to find out exactly who's responsible before she returns to the Twin Cities, so she uses the cover of her other job, that of reporter and columnist for the local paper, to do a little detecting on her own.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dana Fredsti on June 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
I read a lot of books. I read before going to sleep, in the bathroom (you all do it, come on, admit it!), on the Muni and while I'm walking. Seriously. I've perfected the art of reading while walking without a: tripping, b: bumping into fellow pedestrians or other obstacles, or c: getting hit by cars. I read quickly too, so I go through at least five books in a week. Very rarely, however, do I read books that make me laugh out loud, especially in public. AUGUST MOON, the fourth in Jess Lourey's Murder by the Month series, is one of those rare books that did just that. We're talking the kind of laugh accompanied by a snort. You know. The kind of involuntary snorting that increases in frequency with age. Luckily the embarrassment factor decreases with each passing birthday. Good thing 'cause I was snorting up a storm while reading AUGUST MOON on a recent plane trip. The people in my row no doubt thought they were sitting next to some strange hybrid of woman and warthog.

Seriously, though, AUGUST MOON is just plain funny. It's also a cracking good mystery with a well thought out plot, plenty of suspense and a bountiful selection of suspects and assorted eccentric characters adding to the mix. To shameless quote the back cover of AUGUST MOON here: Our sassy young heroine suffers more than just unrequited lust during a Minnesota scorcher of a summer in this fourth Murder-by-Month mystery. A dead cheerleader and various oddball fanatics are uncovered in the small town of Battle Lake, "where the women are churchgoers, the men like to hunt, and the body count is above average.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on June 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
Battle Lake, Minnesota has a population just over nine hundred residents. On the surface, it is a quiet quaint samll town in which everyone knows their neighbors and strangers are always noticed. Mira James has a radically different opinion on the town that she believes is the murder capital as she has recently been involved in several homicide investigations.

When Johnny Leeson stands her up, Mira decides to leave Battle Lake. She finds a replacement librarian and gives notice to her boss and at the paper where she writes a column. She is glad to be leaving since Pastor Meale and his wife opened up the New Millennium Bible Camp. The Meales want to dictate what books the library can circulate and what must be banned because they go against God's commandments. A cheerleader who works part-time at the library is assassinated by a bullet stunning everyone. Mia Googles the Meales for their prior connections and engagements and learns other girls were killed who looked like the late cheerleader. The Pastor declares that a local festival is devilish and those who partake pagans. When a teen is kidnapped, Mia thinks she knows who is behind the crimes, but her guess proves false, leaving her life in danger.

AUGUST MOON is a fabulously entertaining amateur sleuth tale in which the audience like the heroine will not identify the killer, but also will be shocked when the culprit reveals their identity. Jess Lourey is a fabulous story teller who uses everyday people as the back drop to her fine whodunit. Mia is an interesting lead character who is torn between what she wants and what she needs; however when it comes to murder she is confident in what she must do. Readers will empathize and admire this caring woman who holds this regional tale together.

Harriet Klausner
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