Tuesday, 7 February 2017

*** REVIEW *** BONES AND ROSES (Cypress Bay, #1) by Eileen Goudge

New York Times bestselling author Eileen Goudge presents Bones and Roses, the first book in her exciting new Cypress Bay Mysteries series!

Welcome to the northern California seaside town of Cypress Bay, where the surf's up, the sixties live on and long-buried secrets are about to surface. From home invasions to cheating spouses, Rest Easy Property Management owner Leticia "Tish" Ballard thought she'd seen it all. Almost four years sober after flambéing her real estate career in an alcohol-fueled blowout, she's finally in a good place in her life when the discovery of skeletal human remains rocks her world and plunges her headlong into solving a decades-old crime. Now she must delve into the darkness of her own past, including the one-night stand gone horribly wrong with Spence Breedlove, who happens to be the lead detective on the case. When the truth comes out at long last, Tish finds herself pitted against an enemy who will stop at nothing in a fight for her own life.

Call me crazy, but I like sleuths who aren’t real detectives like Jessica Fletcher, Rose Strickland, Amelia Peabody and others of that ilk.  You know what I mean they have careers, writer, traveler, and waitress, etc. then stumble upon a murder and take it upon themselves to solve the mystery.  It is my life’s desire to be an amateur sleuth, so everything works for me.  I devour everything murder related in books and on television to sharpen my skills.  Eileen Goudge’s Bones and Roses is an amateur sleuth book that is perfect for me.

Leticia “Tish” Ballard owns Rest Easy Property Management Company.  In her business, she spends a lot of time in wealthy families’ homes and gets pulled into some of their business.  Everything is going well for her after many years of alcoholism; Tish is now sober with a nice boyfriend, and the respect of her clients.  Then her foundation begins to shake when she gets a call to come to a storage locker and finds old skeletal remains.  The remains are her mother’s the woman her and her brother thought abandoned them when they were children.  Now the question for Tish is what happened to her mother all those years ago.

The characters are suitably matched to enhance the story.  Ivy, Tish’s best friend since they were kids, is her confidant and instigator.  Their childhood is equally dysfunctional in a way that allows them to connect forever.  Ivy is the friend that will try anything once, including men and she will always have her best friend’s back.

Arthur is Tish’s schizophrenic brother.  He has a high IQ but often lives in a world of his own.  Tish is responsible for him and does her best to keep him out of trouble.  The relationship between these two is loving and sweet.

The male characters in the book are a broad range of personalities.  Spence Breedlove, the primary detective on her mother’s case, is a high school one-night stand that went bad.  Tish hates him because he spread rumors about her and ruined her reputation.  They lock horns when Tish follows her clues that the police ignore. 

Daniel is Tish’s boyfriend.  He is safe and comfortable.  He has a protective streak and also tries to control Tish at times.  Tish is at a point in her life where safe and comfortable works.

Bradley is the hot son of one of Tish’s property owners.  There is chemistry between Tish and Bradley, but since they are both in relationships, there is little chance that any significant sparks will fly.  Besides, Bradley’s career has him traveling the world most of the year.  He is a hot one just the same.

My favorite character is retired NYC cop, McGee.  Tish pulls him into the case against his will, but deep down I suspect he enjoys being on the job.  He is a head of reason for Tish but his own life is a mess.  I can't wait for find out more about him.

If you like mysteries that can give you reasons to hand wave events in a storyline, you will like Bones and Roses.  I found the characters realistic and loveable.  I have also read enough accounts of real-life amateur sleuths who come in and solve a loved one’s case when law enforcement gives up.     

Eileen Goudge is an excellent storyteller and the way she reveals her characters flaws and attributes brings them to life.  There are funny moments throughout the story coupled with some emotional ones.   Bones and Roses is a fun mystery.  I like that this is book one and look forward to seeing what kind of trouble Tish will get into in book two.

4 Stamps