- File Size: 2414 KB
- Print Length: 192 pages
- Publisher: Endeavour Press (December 3, 2015)
- Publication Date: December 3, 2015
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B018Y0Q4MU
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #421,321 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Worse than Death (Anna Southwood Mystery Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
Her good intentions tend to be destined for failure. Her client list comprises one retired colonel with a paranoid claim against a telephone company. Her business partner, Graham, is a handsome out-of-work actor who is unreliable if an audition is in the offing – and her white cat, Toby, can be a decidedly aloof and moody companion.
Anna’s fortunes change when she is employed by a drug lord, Rex Channing, who claims his wife has kidnapped their daughter, Beth. Enquiries soon uncover an intertwining mystery. Beth’s friend, Kylie Johnson, has disappeared around the same time. What has happened to the two girls? Anna’s investigation leads to dangerous encounters with Rex’s criminal acquaintances and bent cops. She also must delve deeply into the shattered lives of those closest to the missing teenagers before the disturbing solution to the crimes is discovered.
The reader is soon involved in Anna’s life with her quirky intelligence and determination which belies an underlying vulnerability. She dives in over her head quite a few times but manages to survive. By the end of the novel, she has changed from a dilettante detective to a serious investigator.
Bedford’s prose is expert and wry. She provides a wonderful glimpse of 1990’s inner city Sydney with its narrow streets and harbour views. I enjoyed her Chandlerish descriptions such as ‘[He] beckoned me inside and down a hallway lined floor and ceiling with enough imported marble to restore the Colosseum’ or ‘He sat behind an enormous desk— half the lost southern cedar forest there, at least..’ Her characterizations are also deftly drawn: ‘He liked this game, you could see it in the habitual folds of his sour grin.’ or ‘I looked at the photo eagerly. It showed…Rex grinning at a rather sulky-looking little girl on his lap. I was surprised at the love in his face. It made him look like a different person.’
Worse than Death is the first book in the Anna Southwood Mysteries. I look forward to watching this character develop as she navigates through further adventures in her retro VW Beetle painted with bronze, black and silver tiger stripes.
So far all she's detected have been missing pets and one elderly gentleman who is being bothered by hang up calls.
Things look up when she's hired to find a missing teenager Beth Channing. Her mother is currently being charged with murder even though she refuses to say anything. The last anyone saw or heard her daughter, they were arguing, quite loudly.
And then there are the similarities to another missing girl several years earlier. So is there a connection? Is Anna way in over her head?
This is a not-so-suspenseful mystery. The story line is a good one, if not so much unique. Doesn't seem to be a lot of substance. Anna is a good-hearted person, who wants to solve crimes. She comes across as a rich woman jumping into things without researching or knowing what she's getting into. And then gets frustrated when things don't go her way. The other minor characters aren't really fleshed out enough to get a feel for who they really are.
My thanks to the author / Endeavour Press who furnished a digital copy in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
There were things I liked about this book, and things that irritated me.
I liked the setting, Balmain in Sydney Australia.
The plot is a good one, not unique, but interesting if a little clumsily handled in places. There is not a great deal of depth, but that is okay as it actually works. I wasn't left wishing that the author had explained more, or given us more background.
Mostly I liked the characters. They are a human mix of good and bad, and show we are entitled to change our opinions of people as we get to know them better.
I did feel that the plot lacked a lot of suspense and that things are trivialised in part. Was there an actual attempt on Anna's life, or was it just supposed to be a warning. The cracked/broken ribs - she is fine the next day. I have had cracked ribs, and NO, you are not fine for some months after.....And of course post 9/11, you can't fly anywhere without identification.....so there are a few annoying bumps in the plot, although it is hard to determine in what era this story is set as no-one actively appears to have mobile phones........
But overall I felt it is a satisfactory read, and yes, I will be following up on the remainder of the series as it appears. I will be interested to see how Jean Bedford's writing progresses.
Thank you to NetGalley and Endeavour Press for providing me with a digital ARC of Worse Than Death by Jean Bedford fore review.
All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.