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Grilled, Chilled and Killed (Big Lake Mysteries) (Volume 2) Paperback – December 27, 2012
About the Author
Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office. In her words, “I come to the “Big Lake” to write, hang out in cowboy bars, and immerse myself in the Florida that used to be. No beaches, no bikinis, no sand. Just cows, horses, and gators.”
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Top Customer Reviews
The very first things that grabbed me about Grilled, Chilled and Killed were the characters and the author's sense of humor. You learn the major characters' histories as you go along-- finding out what events shaped their lives and make them react the way they do to other people's behavior and to the action as it unfolds. Also, Emily is different from the normal cozy amateur sleuth because she gave her daughter Naomi up for adoption at birth. They are now forging a relationship, and that adds an interesting element to the story.
Emily has two men interested in her: Detective Stanton Lewis and her boss, Donald Green, a man who never met a bass he didn't like. (We're talking fish here, folks.) Both men have a tendency to rub her fur the wrong way, but with the amount of arguing she and Lewis do, you know the chemistry is sparking between them. The romantic element of the book adds spice and doesn't detract from the story one bit, although I do hope Emily and Lewis tone down their squabbling a bit in future books.
A lot of the humor that I appreciate so much is done in flashes: a descriptive phrase here, a small laugh-out-loud funny scene there. For instance, Emily decides that questioning suspects in restaurants isn't a good idea because she seems to be gaining weight; one person wears a shirt that's had "too many meetings with Maytag"; and Detective Lewis has a run-in with an old hound that will make you laugh a few pages later. Humor can be difficult to pull off, but Diehl does it very well.
The villains are good ones, too. They have different agendas, which (as Poirot would say) makes the reader fire up the little grey cells in an attempt to deduce what's going on and why. Emily flirts with danger at one point, and her fear is palpable. What makes that entire section work is the fact that she doesn't allow herself to become so frightened that she can't think of ways to get out of the situation. I like my heroines feisty and smart, and that's Emily Rhodes in Grilled, Chilled and Killed.
Good characters, good humor, good story. I'll be heading to the Big Lake country of Florida again. Why don't you meet me there?
The characters in this book catch your attention from the first chapter. Each one has a backstory that has shaped them, and hangups that occasionally interfere with their decisions. I enjoyed the interactions between the characters. The relationships were well written, complex enough to make them real, but not too overdramatic.
The villains were especially memorable. I can see why Diehl kept Toby around from the first book. His pathetic qualities mixed with his desire for revenge and penchant for schemes made him a fun and dislikable bad guy. Mr. Smith was creepy and added the edge of fear the situation needed. The definitely made me concerned about Emily and her friends getting out of the situation unscathed.
The romantic side of this book was quite well done. Emily has both Donald, the slightly odd bass fisherman, and Lewis, the detective who always seems to be stomping on her brilliant plans, both hanging on the edges of her life. Donald was a great character. He seems very straight forward at first, but Diehl does a good job of giving glimpses of a deeper character and potential for doing something truly memorable. Lewis was a fun character as well. He and Emily spend more time fighting with each other than anything, but the sexual tension behind much of their antagonism added a whole other layer that will keep readers intrigued. The interplay between them was very entertaining, and there was just the right amount of tension and giving in. The romance between them stayed fairly mild as far as graphic-ness, but it definitely kept readers attention in other ways.
The mystery itself was crafted with a lot of thought. Emily goes back and forth between a few theories, and Lewis has his own guesses as well. Diehl did a good job of keeping readers focused on the events while throwing out clues here and there without giving too much away. I enjoyed following the characters through the mystery and stayed entertained and guessing throughout.
My only real complaint was that occasionally the fighting between Emil and Lewis was a little too much. I didn't always think Emily's reactions made sense, but it was a small matter of preference that didn't dull the story. There were some small editing issues, but again, they were small and didn't really detract from the story. This is a book that will appeal to murder mystery readers, romance readers, and crime drama readers. Some of the themes may not be appropriate for younger readers.
Stanton Lewis and Donald Green vie for Emily's attention while she investigates the murder of a man who likes women, especially those he's not married to.
It's an interesting plot and one that will keep you guessing. I highly recommend Lesley Diehl's latest Emily Rhodes book.
"Grilled, Chilled and Killed" is a wonderful combination of mystery, murder and mirth. This book has it all: an intriguing plot, a cast of colorful characters, a vivid rural Florida setting and a dash of romance intertwined with humor every step of the way. I highly recommend this novel.