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Absinthe Of Malice (Penny Mackenzie) Paperback – December 1, 2008
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The Amazon Book Review
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"Pearl, California and its history may be fictional, but it could easily have been taken straight from real life. Pat Browning does an excellent job of creating a town of people whose lives have been molded by their past and that of their ancestors." --Lorie Ham, Author of "Murder In Four Part Harmony," "Deadly Discrimination," and "The Trouble With Tenors"
Penny Mackenzie is marvelous as the clever, reluctant, self-effacing heroine of Pat Browning's fast paced and engrossing tale of murder and love in a small town. ABSINTHE OF MALICE is rich with humor and unique characters in a fresh setting. I want more of her!" --Robert Fate, Author of the best selling "Baby Shark" series
"I have rarely read a mystery with such a profound sense of place. You can almost smell the corn growing in the farmlands, and the crickets chirping at night. A beautifully crafted mystery intertwined with life in a small town as it really is."
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This book grabbed me from the first sentence. The characters were bold, human, and realistic. I would like to be friends with Penny Mackenzie. Why? Because she is someone who is a Lady while down to earth. She ventures outside her personal safety space. She is loyal to a fault and almost to her death.
There were more mysteries in this book than you can count on your hand. Missing persons, missing claims, deaths, physical attacks, journalism curtailed, and I could go on and on. Who can you trust? Why this was a question I asked myself several times while reading the book.
This is my first Pat Browning book, but, I can assure you not my last!
Reporters Penny MacKenzie and her friend Maxie Harper discover the old bones and it isn't long before Penny is investigating Maxie's death.Was she murdered or the victim of a genetic allergy? Complicated relationships within the town include Penny's mother's love affair with the police chief, who is somehow involved in the mystery surrounding the skeleton.
The town's founding father was also involved as well as his descendant, who, with his attractive wife, represent Pearl's societal elite. An affair is discovered after the pillar of society's paramour is found dead, and Penny's former boyfriend Watt shows up in the middle of the investigation after nearly a two-decade absence.
A number of Pearl's residents get involved, including the newspaper's photographer, Maxie's neighbor and her former informant at the police department. Browning carefully profiles each character, leaving the reader wondering who's a suspect or who's an innocent bystander.
Because Pat Browning and I worked for the same small town daily in California's Central Valley, and ate at the same Chinese restaurant, which is a setting in the plot, I have a special interest in the book (although I didn't know her at the time). The town of Pearl was patterned after the town where we both lived and the author certainly captures the essence of the agricultural area as well as its residents.
The story is fast-paced, skillfully woven and humorous, and keeps the reader wondering whether Penny will unravel the secrets or become the next victim. The author's portrayal of a small town reporter is spot on, I'm pleased to say, and not the aggressive, obnoxious journalist usually portrayed on film.
I highly recommend Absinthe of Malice as a good read, and look forward to the second novel in the series.
The novel gets off to an exciting start, with Penny and Maxie (friend and newspaper colleague) on a nighttime stakeout, where they dig up more than they bargain for. Maxie soon turns up dead, and Penny is certain that she and Maxie have inadvertently stumbled onto some secrets from the past--secrets which someone is willing to kill to protect. Penny is determined to solve the mystery, even though her life is in danger, and revelations of a past coverup may lead uncomfortably close to home.
ABSINTHE OF MALICE is a remarkable novel. The characters and settings seem real, and the complex story is well within the realm of possibility. For those who don't know, this novel was published ten years ago as FULL CIRCLE, and it is getting new life now, particularly as an ebook. So why the ten year delay, for the second book in what was obviously intended to be a series? Author Pat Browning's biography shows that she graduated from college in 1949. If she was of traditional college age at that time, then she would be well into her eighties now. PLEASE Ms. Browning--get busy! We readers crave more of this wonderful Penny Mackenzie heroine. Fortunately, author Pat Browning says she is well on her way to the completion of the second book, which is tentatively entitled METAPHOR FOR MURDER. OK, I'm on tenterhooks, waiting for this next book in the series!
Most recent customer reviews
I really enjoyed this book.
Don't let the pun in the title put you off. (I had a boss who ADORED puns.Read more