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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very intelligent, well written mystery.,
This review is from: A Pointed Death (Pointer Mystery Series) (Paperback)A Pointed Death is a very well written, compelling mystery that brings together murder, corporate intrigue, bioscience, and one truly fine pointer dog named Skootch. In the interest of full disclosure, I must reveal that the author was kind enough to provide me with a copy of her book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I must also state that I have never given a five star rating to a first time author with a self published novel. This one is truly deserving.
I started this book with much trepidation. I know nothing about the biotechnology business or finance, two areas that play a large role in this story. For the first thirty pages or so, I was feeling a bit lost as the author seemed to be providing me with too much information. It wasn't long however until her characters of Nola, Janie Belle, and of course Skootch had me completely invested in the story. When Nola discovered a headless body that just happened to belong to a disgraced ex-employee, I was intrigued. When she met Harrison, fraud detective with caramel eyes, I was even more intrigued. When she started playing amateur sleuth and began discovering all the intricate threads that connected into a very ugly web of corporate and international crime I was totally hooked.
The author has a very readable writing style that flows well. She infuses her story with quite a bit of humour, often provided by Skootch the totally lovable dog. Nola is a fierce middle aged woman, often despairing of her current situations, but ever confident in her own abilities. She's a great character; a woman of intelligence and talent who steadfastly refuses to take herself too seriously. Her relationship with Harrison was very nicely portrayed in a way that added further unexpected depth to Nola's character.
The author obviously loves San Francisco as she includes a lot of descriptions of the city and it's surroundings. I was initially a bit put off by this, but soon came to appreciate the role the city played in the story. Her descriptions are so well done she has essentially created another character. By the end, I felt that I had actually been there.
As with all mysteries, in the end, the plot is the thing, and that is perhaps what surprised me most about this book. It is just expertly paced and plotted. There were no gaping holes of implausibility, no chapters that should have been left out or repetition of facts, or any of those other elements that often plague first time writers. This is a great example of mystery storytelling. I now know a bit more about finance, biotech, San Francisco, Episcopal Church Services, and Pointer Dogs. I was also late for work and fixed my kids frozen pizza for dinner so I could finish this up and find out how it ended! The author states in her final acknowledgements that this is a "silly escapist book". Perhaps I will only add that this is in fact a thinking person's escapist book. It was a fun ride and one that I would recommend to any mystery lover.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting new Pointer mystery,
This review is from: A Pointed Death (Pointer Mystery Series) (Paperback)A Pointed Death is an entertaining caper with a unique peek into the world of biotech with San Francisco as the picture perfect location for Nola Billingsley and her pointer, Skootch, to hunt down the bad guys. Kath Russell takes us on a adventurous ride throughout the city's unique locations such as Fort Funston and Soma as she diabolically sets the stage for Nola to provide her unwelcome assistance in an on-going police investigation as she falls in lust with the investigating officer, Bob Harrison. As Bob continues to warn Nola not to interfere, Nola is intent on exposing the scheme of an internet company that is plotting to determine the future of China's population. Nicely paced, I couldn't wait to see what happened next. I live in San Francisco and work for a life sciences company so I really enjoyed the way Russell spun what could disastrously go wrong in the hands of people who want to play God. A must read for fans of the quick-witted thriller written by a welcome new writer to the genre.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good book ---- easy read,
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This review is from: A Pointed Death (The Pointer Mysteries) (Kindle Edition)I enjoy mysteries and enjoy dogs. i wish there were more in this series. Sometimes the two together become dumb - dogs talking, etc. This had the dog being a dog. I loved it!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Written,
This review is from: A Pointed Death (Pointer Mystery Series) (Paperback)In this read we meet protagonist, Nola Billingsley. Nola is a very likeable woman, who lives in San Francisco with her adorable mother and her pointer dog, Skootch. Nola has had a bad run of luck with a business she tried to undertake. One of her employees embezzled large sums of money from her. As the story goes this same employee is found by Nola while walking Skootch one day in a park with her head cut off. What a way to start a day!
Nola is thrown deep into the investigation as the circumstances do seem rather strange that she would find the body. She meets and becomes romantically evolved with the detective on the case. Is that a good thing or a bad? You decide.
This story is not just a murder mystery. It is one that wraps around business and the woes of a woman trying to move forward in this world. Nola's business, social life, personal life with mom and dog, Skootch, and the murder are intertwined nicely. The author did an excellent job at blending all of these into the story. I liked the bits of humor and realism that the author adds. That made the characters touchable, if you will, and not just people on paper.The plot was well thought out and the locals very defined.
All in all a read I am sure you will enjoy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done debut novel,
This review is from: A Pointed Death (The Pointer Mysteries) (Kindle Edition)The author sent me a copy of this book at no cost to read as a top reviewer on Amazon. I am very glad that she did because this is one of the better debut novels that I have read.
The protagonist Nola Billingsley is a woman in her late forties living with her Southern belle mother in San Francisco, where she has been consulting for biotech companies before establishing her own dot.com venture. Her own business has recently failed, in part because of embezzlement by one of her employees, whose beheaded body she discovers in a park while walking her pointer dog Skootch. She develops a romantic relationship with the detective assigned to investigate the homicide, and bands together with an assortment of women and biotech geeks to discover why her employee was killed, and as the title suggests, also gets some help from Skootch.
If you think this turns out to be a silly story, you are dead wrong. The plot is creative, interesting and well structured. The story touches on timely scientific, business and political issues, and the ending will surprise you. The writing is fresh and crisp, filled with lots of wit and humor, and mercifully devoid of the clichés and sermonizing that often plague debut novels. The characters are real people who you get to know. The City of San Francisco comes alive with the author's skillful depiction of different places.
In many ways this novel reminded me of David Baldacci's Camel Club series and James Patterson's Women's Murder Club series. The reason that I gave it only four stars is because the novel tends to be a bit slow for a mystery thriller. Although it is informative, clever, and funny, the novel does not pay quite enough attention to developing the tension that is the hallmark of a good thriller. However, this author definitely has talent, and this novel does provide a good read. I look forward to reading the next novel in the Pointer Mystery Series
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational,
This review is from: A Pointed Death (Pointer Mystery Series) (Paperback)I got totally involved in A Pointed Death, the biotech industry, Skootch and San Francisco and thought it fascinating and wonderful.
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Character Mystery,
This review is from: A Pointed Death (Pointer Mystery Series) (Paperback)Sure, when Roger Chen's embezzlement torpedoed Nola Billingsley's start-up company, she wanted to see him dead, but she never thought it'd really happen! But as the one with an axe to grind, and the one who found the body, she finds herself atop the suspect list. Her friends and colleagues have gone onto other jobs, and she's struggling to restart her career, so Nola can only trust one investigator: herself.
This big-hearted debut mystery reminds me of TV shows like "Monk" or "The Closer." Like those shows, the whodunit here is pretty workmanlike, because to writer Kath Russell, her characters are the real heart of the story. Her mystery is just the pressure cooker in which she combines them and lets them explore their parameters. And they're good characters, too: smart, funny, intrepid. This is a darn good character novel.
Mystery purists might grouse that the cops only go through the motions in what appears to be a pretty routine investigation. But again, the mystery is just the skeleton around which Russell builds her character interactions. If you love cracking secrets and unraveling clues, this ain't your book. But if you want to see characters stretched to their limit, and then pushed one hair further, this is an entertaining novel.
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Debut Mystery,
This review is from: A Pointed Death (Pointer Mystery Series) (Paperback)Nola Billingsley has been caught in the dot-com burst. Her company, which added value to biotechnology companies, goes under when an employee embezzles funds. The news gets worse. Nola, walking her dog, finds the decapitated body of that former employee, a coincidence that is hard to believe.
While the police don't come out and tell her she is a suspect, it is obvious that suspicion has attached to Nola. Between trying to put her life back together by going back to her career as a biotech consultant, she decides to try to solve the mystery of who killed her former employee and why. She is helped in this venture by her extensive network of contacts in the world of biotech, and by her new-found romantic relationship with one of the police assigned to the case.
Before the case is solved, Nola uncovers high-tech corporate espionage, and connections to overseas governments determined to steal the intellectual property of these firms in what is one of the next economic frontiers.
A Pointed Death is an engaging mystery. Nola is a strong, independent career woman who makes no apologies for her intelligence and ability to put facts together to solve the case. The romance is handled in an adult fashion also, with none of the coyness that is so often found in mysteries and which is off-putting. The supporting characters are fun to read about. Nola's eighty-year old mother lives with her and spends her time trying to manage her daughter's life. Her dog, the pointer in the title, is an engaging canine who alternatively drives Nola crazy and enriches her life. The mystery is difficult enough that the reader doesn't feel talked down to. All in all, this book is a wonderful debut to a series that mystery readers will fall in love with.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read,
This review is from: A Pointed Death (Pointer Mystery Series) (Paperback)This is the second book I have read that was written by Kath Russell. Again she has impressed me with her descriptive language. Many times I felt as if the scenes were playing out before me and I could see what was happening. This book is about a 40 something biotechnology consultant named Nola. On a leisurely stroll with her dog she runs into the beheaded body of a previous employee. She isn't pleased with the police investigation or maybe it is just her human curiosity, so she begins to do some of her own investigating. At times things get a little dangerous for her and she gets into some sticky situations. What she discovers is a bit alarming and could have drastic impact on many people. She also begins a relationship with the police officer, who was investigating this dead employee for fraud prior to his death. Bob Harrison, this boyfriend always seems to be available when she needs him. This is the first book in the Pointer Mystery Series, I look forward to reading future stories in this series.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mystery buff,
This review is from: A Pointed Death (Pointer Mystery Series) (Paperback)A Pointed Death
Intrique at it's best. The opening murder sets the stage for Nola Billingsley, an intelligent 40 plus heroine to pursue the death of the embezzler, Roger Chen. Especially since Chen contributed to hasten the fall of Nola's dot-com business. Through Nola's curiosity of trying to investigate her former employees gruesome demise, she meets investigator Bob Harrison. A romance with Harrison and her consulting business blooming, Nola gets involved deeper and deeper into the world of biotech companies. Nola still living with her ever curious mother, Janie Belle, gives for a hilarious note as her curiosity is always there for her daughter's love life. One is charmed by the antics and jealousy of the short-haired pointer Skootch, who is forever noising into the life of his mistress.
An intriguing read that keeps your attention held until the unexpected outcome.
I look forward to the following adventures of Nola and Skootch for it's mix of mystery, romance and wit....................Marcella Baker
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A Pointed Death (Pointer Mystery Series) by Kath Russell (Paperback - August 24, 2010)