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Award-winning historical novelist makes a fine debut in the mystery field with SKELETON IN A DEAD SPACE. Alter gives readers a twisty plot, excellent use of ...
Award-winning historical novelist makes a fine debut in the mystery field with SKELETON IN A DEAD SPACE. Alter gives readers a twisty plot, excellent use of setting, and a very likable protagonist. I hope this is just the first of many novels about realtor/detective Kelly O'Connell!
-Livia J. Washburn,
author of the Fresh Baked Mystery series and the Literary Tour Mystery series
Skeleton in a Dead Space is a must-read for cozy fans. Kelly O'Connell is an engaging realtor with adorable daughters and a talent for trouble. Alter's mystery debut stands on a lasting foundation of sinister clients and suspect houses. Location, location, location-for murder!
-Charlotte Hinger, author of Deadly Descent and Lethal Lineage.
Kelly O'Connell never thought real estate was a dangerous profession, until she stumbled over a skeleton in a dead space in an early-twentieth-century Craftsman house she was transforming into coveted modern home in an older urban neighborhood. From that moment, she runs into teen-age gang members, a manipulative ex-husband, a needy and single pregnant friend, a cold-blooded murderer, and a policeman who wants to be more than her protector. As free-spirited as the chocolate-peanut-jalapeño candy she craves, Kelly barges through life trying to keep from angering her policeman-boyfriend, protect her two young daughters, pacify her worried mother a thousand miles away, and keep her real estate business afloat. Too often she puts herself in danger, and sometimes its the girls, not Mike, who come to Kelly's rescue.
Posted April 29, 2013
Author: Judy Alter
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
Tags: Suspense, mystery, Cozy
Source ISBN: 1937389251
Kelly O'Connell, a realtor and divorced mother of 2 receives a frantic call from her contractor, Anthony Dimitrios, to come immediately to the house he was renovating for her business, O'Connell and Spencer Realtors. When she arrives Anthony takes her into the kitchen and shows her the dead space he found when he removed some of the cupboard. She finds what he had a box with a skeleton in it. From the remains of the tattered clothing the discern the skeleton was a female. The police arrive, including Officer Mike Shandy a man she has seen around town and spoken to on occasion, they remove the skeleton and the box, question them both, and tape the entire house off. Kelly is told that no one will be allowed in until they are done with their investigation.
That night she dreams about the skeleton and knows she needs to find out who she was and who killed her. She decides to call the skeleton Miranda. Late into the night she is awoken by the phone and is warned to leave the skeleton or else. Kelly doesn't take threats well and decides to do some checking to find out about Miranda, who she was, her life and her death.
The next night is not any better, Her friend Joanie comes over crying and upset and tells Kelly she is pregnant and doesn't know if she wants to have an abortion or keep it, After Joanie falls asleep on the couch Anthony calls and tells her the skeleton house is on fire. When she arrives to find onlookers, the fire department and police already on the scene. Anthony is being treated by paramedics. He tells Kelly he came back to sneak into the house to get his tools and someone knocked him out.
The next day Anthony goes to Kelly's house and gives her a locket with the initials M.W.M. and a picture of a man and women inside left in the dead space and gives it to Kelly. They now know the woman's initials and from the style of her hair lived during the sixties. Using her resources she finds out that her name was Marie Winton.
Her life does not improve over the next few days. The phone calls continue and she receives a call from her deadbeat ex-husband, who walked out three years earlier and hasn't come to see the girls in over a year, stating he is coming to town to pick up Em and Maggie and take them back to California with him. Kelly tells him not to bother because he will not be getting the children.
Follow along as Kelly searches out the killer, stands up to her ex, keep her and her children safe, find out where the attraction between her and Mike will go and still run a business I made the mistake of opening this book planning on just skimming it and then putting away for a few days while I finished the last two books in the series I was reading. Instead over an hour had passed and I was getting close to the end of the book. It is very engrossing and fast moving with characters that you can identify with. Be sure to add this one to your must read list. Thank you Judy Alter you have out done herself with this one. I can not wait to start book 2.
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Posted February 15, 2014
Reviewed by April
Book provided by the publisher for review
Review originally posted at Romancing the Book
I am a huge lover of cozy mysteries, so when I came across Skeleton in a Dead Space by Judy Alter and read the blurb, I was instantly intrigued! Kelly sounded like an interesting character and the story line sounded like something that would hook me quickly. Did it live up to my expectations?
Somewhat. I did enjoy the story line and the twists and turns that took place. The writing was smooth and the suspense flowed well. I loved the premise of the story with the discovery of a skeleton while doing renovations on an old style house before putting it on the market to sell. With that being said, for some reason I had a really hard time liking the main character of Kelly. To me, she seemed a bit on the rude and cold side. Example? When her best friend would call her for some emotional support/help, Kelly didn’t want to deal with it. Granted she had her own thing going on, but it just rubbed me the wrong way. Kelly did; however, exude kindness once in a while, but just seemed more on the snobby/unlikable side for me. One character that I really did enjoy was Theresa, a young girl who was going through some difficult times and experiencing the angst of growing into adulthood and trying to stay out of the bad crowd. I felt very close to her and truly found myself engrossed within her character and cheering her on.
Kelly’s two young daughters were adorable, strong and brave. When their Dad, who had been out of their lives for some time, decides to enter back into their lives and stir things up for their Mom, they put on a brave face, and make no bones about their feelings to their Mom.
All in all, Skeleton in a Dead Space was an enjoyable and intriguing read. I do recommend it to lovers of cozy mysteries and think that it makes for a good read with some great twists and turns that pop up throughout. The mystery surrounding the skeleton and Kelly’s search for answers to discover who this poor murdered and forgotten woman was was very well plotted out and written in a way that definitely held my interest and attention the entire way throughout the story. For the most part, the characters were enjoyable and the writing of Judy Alter is extremely well done. I do look forward to reading more by this author and encourage readers to give her a try.
Favorite Quote: Boy, there was a side of Tim I didn’t see when he was in the office. The people who worked for him didn’t like him. Aloud I said, with some irony, “He’s going to protect me and the girls.”
“Yeah? You best get yourself a gun – and use it on him first.”
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