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Blind Dates Can Be Murder (Smart Chick Mysteries, Book 2) Paperback – March 15, 2006
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From the Author
Blind Dates Can Be Murder was a bit of a departure for me, in more ways than one. Juggling four distinct points of view, the book is almost as much a suspense novel as it is a mystery. Poor Jo cant seem to get her love life right, but things go from bad to worse when a blind date turns up dead. As she struggles to make sense of the death, shes faced with some startling revelations from her friend Dannyrevelations that force her to look deep inside her own heart. To put it simply: Between the mystery and the romance, this is one wild ride! "Whenever I finish the first draft of a book, I never know how well Ive pulled it off. It takes timeand feedbackto figure out how well my intentions translated to the page. In this case, the story was so complex and the characters so real to me, I just wasnt sure if the story worked. The day after I finished the rough draft, I handed it to my husband (my first editor and toughest critic) and went off to an allday seminar at my church. That night, I was afraid to come home, afraid he might hate it or have torn it to pieces with his little red pen. I parked in the driveway and took a deep breath, ready to come inside. You can imagine my surprise and delight when I reached the front porch only to see that he had taken the chalkboard out of the kitchen, propped it beside the door, and had written in giant letters I LOVE IT! ...I hope you will too."
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Jo's best friend Danny Watkins has been waiting for the perfect time to tell Jo about his true feelings. He's only recently figured out that he loves Jo as more then just a friend. But Jo being involved in yet another murder investigation just complicates things.
What neither of them realize is they are truly in danger. Jo's dead date had some pretty unscrupulous business partners who think he gave something to Jo before they died. They are going to be pulled into a case far more dangerous then they ever dreamed they would face.
This book is a great example of romantic suspense. There are few clues to follow and Jo and Danny spend little time attempting to do so, usually turning over anything they figure out to the police. However, the book shifts viewpoints quite regularly, allowing us to know what the bad guys are doing and how it affects our heroes.
Equally important in this book is the romantic storyline. While I'm not a fan of romance books as a rule, I found myself pulled into this plot just as much as the murder. While this plot is certainly more predictable, it's handled well with a nice twist or two to throw things off a little.
Mindy Starns Clark is a master of building suspense, and this book is no exception. While things start with a bang, the suspense just keeps growing until the book becomes impossible to put down. And she leaves us with a cliffhanger on the last page that is sure to make the reader buy the next book as soon as it comes out.
Of course, part of this is because the characters are so good. Jo and Danny are well developed and truly likable; it's easy to root for them. The best character in the book is Lettie, the villain's henchwoman. She is really developed well and I felt myself very conflicted over what I wanted to have happen to her before the story was over.
As mentioned earlier, the story is told from multiple viewpoints, shifting quite regularly. Most of the time, the scenes are a couple of pages or less, which makes the book a little hard to get into. After a few chapters, that's no longer an issue and the story pulls the reader along until the end.
I've now read all of Mrs. Clark's books and loved each one. My only disappointment is that I have to wait until the next one is published to read another one.