Book Review: EVERY TRICK IN THE BOOK by Lucy Arlington

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Series: A Novel Idea Mystery, #2
Publisher: Berkley
Released: February 5, 2013
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Lila Wilkins has it all: the home of her dreams in the charming town of Inspiration Valley, North Carolina; a perfect police officer boyfriend; and a new job she absolutely loves. At the Book and Author Festival, which is sponsored by the Novel Idea Literary Agency, Lila expects to discover some talented new authors, but what she finds instead is the body of an editor to whom she bears an eerie resemblance.

Trouble is, the editor’s death isn’t the only literary murder taking place. Soon a blossoming author is also killed, and Lila has a gut feeling that the two murders are linked. Now she must hunt down the dark figure who killed these women—and to her surprise, she just might find the clues hidden in a manuscript…

———

Mistaken identity, ravens feathers, and murder. EVERY TRICK IN THE BOOK is a suspenseful and cozy-yet-dark continuation of the A Novel Idea Mystery series.

Lila Wilkins has been promoted from query letter reading intern to full-fledged literary agent at Novel Idea. The agency is hosting its first Book and Author Festival in Inspiration Valley. Lila is hoping to find some potential clients at the event, and she does, but she also finds trouble. Two festival guests are murdered just days apart – an editor and an author. The victims don’t appear to have know each other, but Lila is certain there’s something hidden that connected them.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and breezed through it quickly because I wanted to see how the mystery played out. I do think it had a darker tone to it than most cozies. Some sad, emotional stuff in regard to the victims.

One ironic tidbit – Lila is the agent for cozy mysteries, and at one point she was lecturing an aspiring author about something to never put in a cozy because readers found it disturbing, and then this book goes and does the very same no-no! Ha. I know that was intentional, but it did make me go, “Hmm…” Was a bit unsettling!

It was good to catch up with the characters once again. Lila was her typical self, passionate about her work and the case, and perhaps overstepping her bounds a time or two (which would be easy to do, since her boyfriend Sean is the police officer working the investigation). It was great to see Sean and Lila’s relationship moving forward. We also see Lila’s son Trey’s character grow as he deals with some issues with his job at the Red Fox co-op.

This is such a clever series being centered around a literary agency, and I can’t get enough of the bookish shop talk. (Can I please have a job there?) I’m on pins and needles waiting for the next installment.

Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: BURIED IN A BOOK by Lucy Arlington

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Series: A Novel Idea Mystery, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Release: February 7, 2012
Source: Review copy from publisher

After receiving her first pink slip at the age of forty-five, former newspaper journalist Lila Wilkins is desperate for work, even if it means taking a pay cut. After combing through the classifieds, Lila accepts an internship at A Novel Idea, a thriving literary agency in the utopian town of Inspiration Valley, North Carolina.

Lila can’t imagine anything better than being paid to read, but with a crew of quirky co-workers and a sky-high stack of query letters, she doesn’t exactly have time to discover the next great bestseller—especially when a penniless aspiring author drops dead in the agency’s waiting room.

No one else seems too concerned about the man’s demise, but when Lila uncovers a series of threatening letters, she’s determined to uncover what—or who—killed the man’s dreams of literary stardom…

———

BURIED IN A BOOK was a fantastic cozy mystery! When we first meet Lila Wilkins, she’s just been “let go” from her job as a journalist at the Dunston Herald. She’s spent the past 20 years there, so Lila is none too thrilled about starting over at age 45. She packs up her things and her 17-year old son and moves to the picturesque town of Inspiration Valley, North Carolina. She moves in with her eccentric mother, a fortune teller, until she can get back on her feet.

Lila takes a job as an intern at a local literary agency. She is assigned the task of reading query letters from authors all day, weeding out the few promising ones from the many that will be rejected. On her first day, a very scruffy and smelly man comes into the agency demanding that his query letter be read. And it’s not the first time he’s done this. Lila turns her back for a few moments, and surprise! The strange man is dead on the lobby sofa.

With another big investigation going on, the police don’t make the suspicious death of a homeless man their top priority. So Lila decides to do some amateur sleuthing to see what she can find out. She discovers that there was so much more than meets the eye when it came to the victim. There are many possible suspects, and someone’s not too happy about Lila’s interference, yet she’s determined to discover the truth and do right by the deceased.

This was an impressive debut by Lucy Arlington. I loved her writing style. She really drew me into the Inspiration Valley with the rest of the characters. I thought is was clever to make Lila’s job be reading query letters and to have a query letter be a big part of the mystery itself. I liked the whole cast of characters. I particularly enjoyed Lila’s budding romance with a certain Officer Sean Griffiths. Let’s just say that Officer Griffiths knows how to kiss.

BURIED IN A BOOK is a witty, captivating read that mystery fans will enjoy. I’m looking forward to my next visit to Inspiration Valley.

Rating: 5 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.