Retired FBI agent Chris Matheson lives with his mom (Doris) and his daughters (Katelyn and Emma) on a little hobby farm complete with dogs (like Sterling), horses (such as Chewbacca), and a bunny rabbit (Thor). His mom doesn’t think his life is complete, so she introduces him to the local murder mystery book club. However, there’s more going on in this book club, which is full of retired investigators, cops, emergency responders, etc. They (who shall be known as the Geezer Squad) want to delve into a cold case and Chris has one that is near and dear to his heart – Sandy Lipton went missing along with her unborn baby when Chris was in his early 20s. A new entanglement with this old case brings in Helen Clark from the West Virginia state police. She also happens to be Chris’s old flame.
I have listened to many Lauren Carr books and this is one of my favorites. There’s plenty of humor mixed in with the more serious scenes. While there’s a little romance in the tale, it doesn’t distract from the main plot. I especially liked the inclusion of the family pets as they provide much of the comedic relief.
The plot was pretty good on this one, having plenty of twists and turns. I liked all the little surprises as one mystery is solved even as it provides another mystery to tackle. About half way through the tale, it did become a bit obvious who was the father of Sandy’s baby. Other than that, there were plenty of surprises.
Every once in a while, things gets a little too cutsy, like saccharine sweet. But I know Carr’s works often do this just as I know such moments move on quickly. I did think Helen was a little silly for still being a little ticked about how things fell out between her and Chris so many years ago. Sounds like she never made peace with it. Otherwise, Helen was a good character on her own and good fit for Chris’s partner on this mystery.
Doris was a hoot! She and Sterling were my favorite characters. She makes her granddaughters try to guess her talent that won her a state beauty pageant when she was in her teens (which provided the tuition money for college). At the end, we finally get to know what that talent was – a talent she kept in top order and came in handy.
All told, this was a fun murder mystery that kept me engaged the entire time. 4.5/5 stars.
The Narration: Mike Alger makes a great Chris. I have listened to many Alger’s narrations and he continues to refine his performance with each audiobook. each character was distinct and his female voices sounded feminine. There were no technical issues with this recording. 5/5 stars.