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The Truth Sleuth (Kim Reynolds Mystery) Hardcover – June 8, 2011
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“The Truth Sleuth packs a double whammy. Not only is the solution to the murder unexpected, but the sleuth's personal life is just as surprisingly complex. Add in a colorful school setting and a protagonist with special gifts, and you get a winner.” -- Toni L.P. Kelner, New York Times Bestselling author
“Who better than a psychic reference librarian to untangle a complicated romance and decipher a mysterious death? Jacqueline Seewald has written one for the books!” -- Molly MacRae, award-winning author of Wilder Rumors and Lawn Order
“An attractive but demanding administrator, troubled students, along with her lover’s angry ex, complicate Kim Reynolds’ life. Author Jacqueline Seewald understands the ins and outs of high school politics and routines.” -- Susan Froetschel, author of Royal Escape
Psychic sleuth, college librarian Kim Reynolds, has to face a hard truth: budget cuts have led to the elimination of her job. Her boyfriend, Detective Mike Gardner, pulls some strings and gets her a position as an English teacher at the local high school. But for some reason, her department head despises her, her students hate her so much they seriously vandalize her car, and the teen with whom she has the most problems is found murdered. Life gets even worse when Mike’s supposedly ex-wife shows up and announces that she never filed the divorce papers. So when Hank Anderson, the handsome, wealthy principal, starts his cat-and-mouse romantic overtures, Kim is confused—she loves Mike, but since he’s still married, should she give in to Hank?
The talented Seewald puts her heroine (first met in The Drowning Pool, 2009) through the wringer with a romantic dilemma, a job she doesn’t like, two mysterious teen murders, deadly school politics, and financial hardships. Readers will enjoy the continuing adventures of Seewald’s conflicted psychic.
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However her job at the school proves challenging as the acting principal, Henry Anderson, believes she does not have the fortitude to perform with her challenging students. The pupils are nasty while her peers are divided with some like Will and Shandra helpful, encouraging and cynical, and others like Morgana wildly nasty. Then the first murder occurs that she sees in a vision; as Mike's wife who deserted him and their daughter arrives seeking reconciliation and proclaiming she never filed the divorce.
This is an engaging paranormal amateur sleuth with one romance going on hiatus and another beginning while Kim changes jobs. More a character study than a mystery as the whodunit somewhat takes a back seat to the tsuris that piles on the heroine whose gift is not used enough compared with The Drowning Pool. Still readers will enjoy the Truth Seeker as Kim is forced to find herself with new employment and new relationships.
Seewald paints a realistic picture of a suburban high school and peoples it with well-rounded and interesting characters. As in her two previous Kim Reynolds novels, Seewald imbues daily life with both mystery and romance. Her vivid descriptions of the characters and the setting immerse the reader in the world of suburban New Jersey.
As a veteran mystery reader, I am impressed with her ability to keep me guessing until the very end. It is a joy to find a series with such an original and likeable heroine and such wonderfully crafted plots. If you haven't yet read the first two Kim Reynolds mysteries, The Inferno Collection and The Drowning Pool, you are missing out on a fresh new series that is sure to please both mystery and romance readers. My advice is to get all three books and read them in order so that you can enjoy the development of an exciting new sleuth on the mystery scene, psychic librarian Kim Reynolds. You will be as fascinated by her complex personal life as you will by her skillful solutions to the mysterious deaths that she encounters. This is a highly satisfying new series. Read it!
Hasn't anyone ever heard of "Fraternization" rules in the workplace? I kept waiting for one of the characters to mention that a "romance" (or very strong friendship relationship with definite sexual overtones) especially between a supervisor and a subordinate was not OK (actually illegal in some areas.) Finally, the Ass't Principal mentions it rather obliquely and in very bland, almost dismissive terms.
The police procedures are all wrong, too. A body is found in the woods near the school and the homicide detectives aren't first on the scene? They wait for one of them to finish lunch? Secondly, since when would a pair of homicide detectives allow a teacher to ask for school records, rather than getting a court order and obtaining them themselves? Thirdly, why would the police then allow the school department to perform their own internal audit (including checking computers for falsified entries) rather than confiscating the suspected computers as evidence?
There were just too many things wrong with this book to make it enjoyable.