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San Francisco lawyer Rebecca Schwartz again turns to sleuthing when her partner, Chris Nicholson, becomes a prime suspect in the hit-and-run death of Chronicle arts critic Jason McKendrick . Chris says she didn't even know the victim, but an eyewitness places her car at the crime scene. Her alibi could get laughed out of court: she was with a group of fellow psychics, and everyone was in "deep trance." Rob Burns, a Chronicle reporter and Rebecca's ex-boyfriend, suggests that they cooperate to find the murderer. As they dig, Jason's life emerges like a puzzle of mismatched pieces: a glamorous job, a depressing hovel of a home and an array of women friends who offer strikingly different perspectives on him. Soon Chris's psychic chums, who ooze sincerity, use their otherworldly skills to nudge the investigation in the right direction. Although Jason's death emerges as one of a series of unhappy events in the lives of some people who have been cruelly mangled by fate, this fact--like a frightening medical problem that Rebecca develops--fails to lend substance to the tale, which doesn't compare with Smith's ( Jazz Funeral ) best. Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"'Julie Smith writes like jazz should sound - cool, complex, and penetrating right to the heart.' Val McDermid 'Smith has perfect pitch...and gives us a multilayered mystery. A believable heroine.' Booklist 'Smith is a very funny writer with a nice feel for the absurdities of urban life.' San Francisco Examiner"
Julie Smith is an effective writer who understand the trade of mystery writing. I was glad to get this as a free download; I had forgotten I previously had enjoyed one or more of Smith's New Orleans mysteries.
Smith does a good job of creating verisimilitude in everyday characters, people we might meet in our own lives. Too often, people in mysteries fall over body after body with little or no effect on their emotions. In reality, encountering dead bodies, not to mention a murder charge for one of the characters, being shot at, and a suicide attempt are enough to give many of us post-traumatic stress syndrome. The mood of stress is captured.
The heroine, attorney Rebecca Schwartz, does a great deal of intellectual huffing and puffing when she finds out her law partner is psychic. A confirmed empiricist, Schwartz goes into philosophical shock and describes the revelation of rocking the foundations of her world. Later, she is surprised to find out her attorney father also relies on intuition. It seems unlikely that Schwartz would not have known this about her father, whose advice she values. Every time Schwartz's mental gymnastics over this started to be tedious, Smith deftly moves on.
Smith's strength is creating believable characters. Even though some of the peripheral personalities might be described as eccentrics, each makes a unique impression on Schwartz that is ably conveyed to the reader.
The ending is abrupt. This is part of a series, so I imagine some of the threads are taken up in future novels. Even so, I thought a few more pages would have helped with a smoother landing.
Plot developments grow out of the apt characterizations. The ultimate motivation and explanation is one you probably have not encountered; I have read a great deal all my life, and I found it interesting. The villain is cleverly hidden in plain sight. Whilst the writing won't set your imagination on fire with passages you want to quote, nor is there snappy memorable dialogue, it all hangs together for a well-written story that won't disappoint.
Smith has mastered her craft. If you like cozy mysteries or are a Julie Smith fan, I would not hesitate to spend a few bucks on this for my Kindle.
I couldn't even finish this book it lacked so much. There may have been a mystery in there somewhere but after reading more than a quarter of this book the only mystery I found was that a man had been killed. I thought it was scattered with no action completed on the characters part. It delved into the physics but never completed what they knew or even how this pertained to the plot of the book. I find it really difficult to not complete a book no matter how boring or unexciting it may be. This was proving to be frustrating and nothing else. Sorry, Ms. Smith but maybe in time you can get your stories more flowing and understandable. For me, anyway.
You may have loved ones, friends or a business partner you have known for years. You think you know them and then one day you find out that you know nothing about the real them. Rebecca's law partner Chris is accused of murdering a man she says she never met but who had her address in his shirt pocket. The skeletons begin to come out of the closet when Rebecca finds out that Chris is psychic and they never stopped until the killer was revealed in the end. The author did a great job of adding characters and motives that kept you guessing until the end.
This is my first Julie Smith book and I will probably read more. It was a free book and I was attracked to it because of its San Francisco setting, as I lived there for eighteen eyars. I felt the plot was interesting and complex and kept me guessing. The SF things mentioned were accurate and brought back many memories. The only reason that I didn't give this a five star rating was the ending. It seemed sudden and abrupt to me and I even re-read it to make sure I hadn't missed something.
I thought this would be a fun read. I was most disappointed once I started the book and never finished it. The psychic aspect intrigued me and wanted to have a fun read with this...not to be done. It may have been better after the first hundred pages or so but if a book does not grab my attention and interest in the first twenty five pages I move on to one that does. I could not recommend this to anyone I know...sorry to write this as I know authors depend on reviews to sale their books.
In the first part of the book I was a bit upset with the talks of different faiths. Lots of twists and turns in this story. It was really going all over the place. And then it really started to make some sense. Slowly each character was eliminated as the killer. Though it seems everyone had a good reason to be a killer. Stick with the story it is good. For me it was a joy to be surprised with my name in the book. A baby named Shirleen, I like it!