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Showing 1-10 of 535 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 607 reviews
on April 3, 2016
Every one of his books are fantastic! This entire series? He can't write fast enough for me. Incredibly great characters and a spot on description of mountain town people.... especially that mayor! Each book makes me laugh out loud and the mysteries are not easy to figure out. Puts your detective skills to work. I hope Nick continues to write because he is a talented, unique writer! God bless you and your family Nick.
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on July 31, 2014
Nick Russell is one of my favorite authors. Excellent mystery, written with humor. Love the characters, and the way the story evolves. Read the sequels, too! I can't recommend these books highly enough.
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on May 28, 2016
I just finished the Big Lake series (through Big Lake Brewpub) and it's ... okay. The dialogue is contrived, but some of that may be clumsy exposition. The series bounces from whodunnit to tough-guy crime novels, so one gets some variety in it not present in other series and the author doesn't get too predictable in his whodunnits, although he is pretty predictable in them.

The first one, Big Lake, a whodunnit, contained a nice twist ending. However, that ending is repeated in various ways in the other whodunnits of the series "If it was X in the first one, it must be Y in this one." Major character reveals can be seen coming from miles away (in Big Lake Reckoning, a character reveals something of her past that was obvious to the reader)..

The archetype characters who exist solely to annoy the protagonist have no redeeming features. They're two-dimensional cartoons. With major exceptions in Big Lake Scandal where two annoying characters are humanized.

Like most whodunnits, the sheriff seems a little slow to explore alternative theories of the crime that the reader is practically shouting at him to consider.

Situations are contrived that cause the characters to laugh hysterically, but leave the reader rolling his eyes.

So, what does the author succeed in? He's created a highly readable series. He's created likable (though somewhat stock) characters. He's created a good rationale for his small town's spiraling crime rate. And not every book in the series is a gruesome murder. Arson, rape, and robbery make their appearances as the crimes du jour. So, one is not left wondering why anyone would remain in a town with a near-constant murder rate.

The author is also unafraid to take on mature themes. One book centers around the rape of a young woman. Other mature matters (spousal abuse, teenage pregnancy, etc.) are discussed throughout the series in an adult manner. The causes of the crimes are real motivations; no one is killed over a cupcake recipe or a dog show ribbon.

In all, it's a fun series to read, consistently better than average for a small town cozy. Don't take it too seriously. Sit back and enjoy.
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on December 14, 2014
It did need me to go back a couple of times to pick up the very early parts of the story to ensure that how I remembered my first reading of an event matched what later transpired, but I have to admit that I did not see the ending coming, so kudo's to the author. A great read and I do look forward to some more in the series.
Worth the price for some enjoyable escapism.
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on April 13, 2012
It is one thing for a writer to conjure up how it is in a small town and quite another for the real story to be told. Big Lake author Nick Russell gets inside the story of a double murder with the ability of a man who has been in a small town and doesn't need to invent life in the countryside. He knows it and you will too as you follow the hero Sheriff in the story who attempts to pin down the facts as this story slides all around the lives and back roads of an Arizona town. Like pompous politicians who manuever public money so their kid can get hired as a deputy? This book has it! How about nut-case militia types? Got 'em. Sexy damsels in distress who want to bed the Sheriff? Got her too. This book brings to life every one except those who have been killed off as the body count builds. A surprise tests the honesty of the Sheriff, just get busy reading this really terrific mystery. One of the best books I have read in a long time with a field crowded with talented authors, this one is top notch.
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on January 10, 2015
Although I had some problems with the book, the story line was interesting. I found the characters to be rather unbelievable, especially the law enforcement characters. (I really think they behave more professionally in real life.) The characters mostly seemed to be stereotypes.
I also had some problems with the grammar, but as an old retired English teacher, I am probably more critical than most. ;-)
What really pushed my button in this book was the misuse of "it's" and "its". So many (new?) writers think "it's" is the possessive form, when it actually is the contraction for "it is" -- and that's ALL that it is. "Its" is the possessive (and yes, it's an exception to the rule). If you're going to be a professional writer, you have to use proper grammar.
(I also hate the widespread misuse of the pronoun "I" -- but that's another story.) ;-)

All in all, the book was worth my time, although the end was really abrupt. It felt like -- okay, I'm done, here's the answer, the end.
I like more satisfying endings, maybe with an epilogue. This ending was disappointing (not the revelation of the killer (who else could it have been?) but the rapidness of it all.
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on October 20, 2014
Really enjoy the story associated with Arizona high country. Good characters and very factual details of life in our summer place. Would buy more of this series
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on January 28, 2017
Yes, it's truly very difficult to discern the "who" that done it in this engaging mystery. The residents of the town are very real characters and the "clues" point in many directions. Only one of the FBI characters seem slightly unreal and prejudiced and the conflict with the mountain family seems forced to add more "red herrings" to the plot. Very enjoyable reading regardless.
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on December 4, 2013
Nick weaves this mystery like his wife operates her loom! Expertly and beautifully done! I felt as if I were driving the back roads of Big Lake. The author brought the characters to life with clues stitched into the detailed descriptions. I was constantly guessing "who done it" through the first three quarters the book. The last chapters I found my self hoping that "who done it" was who actually had done it because it would be the perfect surprise ending.I was pleasantly surprised and liked the cliffhanger. I will definitely read NIck's next book in the series, Big Lake Lynching. Good job Nick. Great read to curl up with by the fire.
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on August 18, 2016
This is the start of a mystery series starring the same characters, and it starts off with a bang. The murders of two security guards transporting around $300,000 to the bank starts it off. As the bodies pile up, Sheriff Jimmy Weber of a small town in central Arizona, has to find who has killed a man he considers a good friend. The character development was wonderful, the plot was unusual. I really loved it!
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