Monday, July 23, 2012

Jenn's Review: A Hoe Lot of Trouble

Summary:  Nina Collette Ceceri Quinn’s business, Taken By Surprise--a landscaping firm specializing in surprise garden makeovers--is the only thing in her life that seems to be thriving. Her marriage to adulterous police detective Kevin Quinn has wilted. Her anti-social stepson Riley is spreading trouble around like pungent manure. Even her gardening tools are disappearing, including a rather valuable set of hoes. Worst of all, the delightful old man who first introduced her to the joys of horticulture is dead--and not by natural causes. Something evil has taken root in Nina’s Ohio small town, and the local police--including dearly unbeloved Kev--are baffled. But it’s amazing what a resourceful gardener can dig up when she puts her mind to it--though, by sticking her hands too deeply into this fetid, fertile soil, Nina might well end up planted beneath her own petunias.

Review:  I love Heather Webber's Lucy Valentine series and her new Wishcraft series published under the name Heather Blake, so I thought it might be fun to read some of her earlier works like A Hoe Lot of Trouble. Here you can see vestiges of the Heather Webber I've come to love

I don't read many cozy mysteries, because I find them rather predictable. I have to say even though it isn't a heavy read, Heather Webber had me completely fooled. Apparently, plot twists are something she has always done well. I'm still a little flummoxed about why Nina stuck her nose so far into an investigation in the first place, but, such is the nature of a cozy mystery. And while I found some of it a little frivolous, it held my attention straight through.

I also enjoyed her characters; it's hard not to like Nina. She's strong and spirited and a lot less vulnerable than many of Ms. Webber's other female leads. Nina is going to take the bull by the horns, even of it is in the middle of a china shop. I always find myself thinking her characters would make great friends and Nina is no different. I also found it refreshing that there was no formulaic love interest such as you find in so many cozies. Not to say that Nina isn't on the rebound and looking, but she's okay with that.

A Hoe Lot of Trouble is the beginning of a series of Nina Quinn garden mysteries, and I'm pretty sure I will be reading them all. This is a perfect beach read. I will enjoy seeing how the series progresses and what other kinds of trouble Nina can get herself into.

Final Take:  3.75/5



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