Thursday, October 9, 2014

Review: Dead in a Dumpster (Leah Norwood Mystery, Book 1) by B.L. Blair #Mystery #Romance #CozyMystery #Giveaway

Mystery / Romance
Date Published:September 23, 2014

About Dead in a Dumpster:

“I found the body on December 1st. It was a horrible way to end an already terrible day.”

When Leah Norwood finds the body of Isabel Meeks in the dumpster behind her store, she never imagined the police would consider her a suspect. Sure, she didn’t liked Isabel, but then again, neither did anyone else. Isabel had a condescending attitude and a bad reputation. As manager of the antique store, Patina, she had made a lot of enemies.

There is Patina’s assistant manager, the handsome and charming Trent. Isabel was blackmailing him. There is Patina’s owner, the aloof and influential Anthony Thorpe. Isabel was smuggling drugs through his store. And there is the entire drug dealing Cantono family. Isabel had lost a box containing heroin from one of their shipments. That is just to name a few and didn’t even include the stranger who was seen arguing with Isabel just hours before her death.

The police have too many suspects and too many soft alibis. Leah needs to prove to the sexy new chief of police that she had nothing to do with Isabel’s death.

Leah loves a good mystery. Can she find the killer before the police charge her with murder?

Sapphyria's Review:

Leah Norwood co-owns a small lotion and fragrance shop, Scents & Sensibility, in downtown Reed Hill, Texas.  Her business partners are her best friends Gage and Olivia.  Olivia develops the scents (she was a chemist) and Gage manufactures the products (at a manufacturing plant owned by his family).

Not a huge fan of the manager of the store next door, Isabel, Leah finally has had enough when their deliver driver parks in her delivery truck's space, not allowing the driver to unload the packages for Scents & Sensibility.  As Leah walks into Patina to ask Isabel to move the truck, she's surprised to see an odd exchange between Isabel and her employee, Trent, but on top of that the owner, Anthony Thorpe is in the store, too - a rarity.  After discussing putting Isabel in her place with an employee of another store in the downtown shopping area, Leah finds herself a suspect when Isabel's body is discovered (by none other than Leah) in the dumpster they all share behind the stores.

When Leah's shop is ransacked and she opens up a package filled with drugs, it's evident that something sinister is going on.  Could the drugs be linked to the death of Isabel?  If so, why does the body count rise with the death of a prominent member of society with no links to the small town drug cartel ran by the Cantono family?

Dead in a Dumpster is the perfect cozy mystery - Seriously!  Leah is a fantastic heroine, trying to figure out what's going on in her town.  She's a suspect and has decided to try and clear her name by all means necessary.  I really didn't find any spot in the book where she did anything overly stupid and placed her life in jeopardy - that's not to say that someone's not out to get her or anything, because someone is gunning for her.  She's an everyday, average citizen that gets tangled up in a mess.  I really like her character and style - she's nice to everyone - being a business owner does that to a person but I really think she'd be nice anyway.

Finding the body of Isabel puts Leah in the sights of new Chief of Police, Alexander Griggs.  He is dreamy and completely swoonworthy.  There are definitely sparks between the two although Griggs doesn't take too much action.  There is a spot where Griggs caresses Leah with his eyes and even I blushed while reading it (don't get me wrong - there is NO sex or inappropriateness in this cozy mystery).  He's tough as nails yet you can see some of that melt away when he's in any proximity of Leah.  His favorite one liner for Leah is "Don't leave town" and it's enduring.  I love the build up between Leah and Griggs.  The potential for romance was definitely there but in no way did it overshadow the main theme of the novel.  I love that Marcus Cantono was tossed in for good measure :)

B.L. Blair does such an excellent job with Dead in a Dumpster.  The writing is fluid, easy, and flows along nicely.  All of the characters presented are written in a way that each one could be the murderer - the set up was executed so well.  Red herrings were tossed in along the way to shake up the characters and the reader, as well.  I thought I knew who did it a couple of different times, only to be blindsided by new developments.

The novel is very descriptive, giving the readers a wonder picture to paint in their minds.  I felt like I was actually in Reed Hill.  I felt like part of the community and part of the story.   The secondary characters don't clog the story with unnecessary dialogue or events.  The everyday events in this novel are written very realistically with, of course, the addition of the murder/drug scenario.

I am very excited to see what Leah does next!

Review Copy Courtesy of the Author, at no cost, In Exchange for an Honest Review.

Sapphyria's Rating:

Smashwords Dead in a Dumpster




About the Author:

B. L. Blair writes simple and sweet romance and mystery/romance stories. Like most authors, she has been writing most of her life and has dozens of books started. She just needs the time to finish them.

She is the author of the Holton Romance Series and the Leah Norwood Mysteries. She enjoys reading books, writing books, and traveling wherever and as often as time and money allows. She is currently working on her latest book set in Texas, where she lives with her family.

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