Sunday, December 28, 2014

ARC Review: Geared for the Grave (The Cycle Path Mysteries, Book 1) by Duffy Brown

From the Back Cover:

Mackinaw Island is a peaceful summer resort town where everyone coasts through the streets on bicycles.  But after someone sends a prominent local on her final ride, it's up to one resourceful visitor to get things running again...

Hoping to shift her chances of promotion in her favor, Evie Bloomfield heads to Mackinac Island to assist her boss's father.  Rudy Randolph has broken his leg, and operating his bike shop.  Rudy's Rides, is too much to handle by himself.  But Evie's good turn only leads to more trouble...

After Evie's arrival, wealthy resident Bunny Harrington dies in what looks like a freak bike accident.  Upon closer inspection, it's discovered that Bunny's brakes were tampered with, and now the prime suspect in her murder is also Bunny's number enemy:  Rudy.  So if Evie hopes to stay on her boss's good side, she'll need to steer Rudy clear of jail.  Now she must quickly solve this mystery so she can put the brakes on the real killer's plan...

Book Details:

Geared for the Grave
Duffy Brown

Series: A Cycle Path Mystery

Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Berkley (December 2, 2014)

ISBN-10: 0425268942
ISBN-13: 978-0425268940

Sapphyria's Review:

From one of my favorite cozy mystery authors, Duffy Brown, comes another excellent cozy mystery set in my home state of Michigan.  Geared for the Grave takes place on Mackinac Island (you can read all about the island here:  You'll notice that many of the business names used in the book really do exist on the island.

Evie Bloomfield is trying to earn a promotion by coming to Mackinac Island from Chicago to help her boss's father with his bicycle rental shop.  Rudy had recently broken his leg, making the day-to-day operations of Rudy's Rides difficult.  Plus, the island council is threatening to close him up because of the shop's state of disrepair.  Several of the other island residents have expressed interest in owning his little slice of heaven, even resorting to threats.  On top of that, his number one enemy, Bunny Harrington is found dead - the victim of maliciousness.  

When Rudy is accused by the hottie sheriff fill-in, Nate, Evie makes it her business to get to the bottom of things.  After all, she's the only one in her family that isn't extremely successful, and she's hoping to make a valuable and lasting impression on her boss.  If Rudy ends up in jail accused of murder, Evie can kiss her job goodbye.

Geared for the Grave had me engaged from the second Evie arrived at the island and requested a taxi.  Mackinac Island is motor vehicle free; the only modes of travel besides walking are bicycles and horses.  I knew from that point on that Evie's corporate world was about to get rocked.  Another great aspect is that while Mackinac Island is a tourist destination, there are people who live there, and those people are just like everyone else, everywhere else - sneaky, underhanded, and gossips.

When Bunny is found by Evie and an islander, dead as a doornail, the true natures of all the inhabitants quickly bubble forth.  It appears no one enjoyed the company of Bunny, including her own son.  The list of suspects grows to a substantial number and includes not only Rudy but members of the mob, hitmen, store owners, relatives, friends, and prominent members of the community.  The actual murderer will shock you, as it did me, because there are so many people that had reason to rid the historic island of one Bunny.

I instantly fell in love with all of the characters, even the suspects - they were written so well.  Evie is wonderful protagonist.  She puts herself in potentially dangerous situations, leading some of the townsfolk to aid and abet, others to consider her nothing but trouble, and the frustration she causes the interim-Chief-of-Police, Nate Sutter - case-wise and personally - is fantastic.  Evie is a very likable character.  Even though she comes from a stuffy family of lawyers, Evie is pretty down-to-earth.  She's friendly, helpful (with things other than the Bunny Festival), and, even though she's there on a selfish motive for a job promotion, you can tell that she truly loves the people around her and the crazy lifestyle on the island.  Her talent in painting the bicycles and the shop, both to draw in business, isn't just a selfish endeavor.  She really cares about Rudy.

Rudy is a gruff but friendly gent that plays the part of Mark Twain.  He doesn't want Evie's help and would just prefer her to go back to working for his daughter in Chicago.  Eventually he warms up to her and begins to enjoy her company.

Nate Sutter - oh, hot cop - is a Detroit cop that has come to play Chief-of-Police while the real Chief is out on sick leave.  Hoping to have a nice and relaxing few weeks, he doesn't plan on murder, mayhem, and least of all, Evie.  She's a thorn in his side from day one - and there may just be romance budding between them in upcoming books.

I thoroughly enjoyed the craziness of the townies and the way the plot twists all over the place.  There are so many people that are brought in, developed, suspected, and then discarded that you will have no problem staying engaged in Geared for the Grave.  I couldn't put it down and the only reason it took me 2 days to read it (if you check my Goodreads review timestamp) is because I read it one evening into the following morning.

I've read all three of Duffy's released Consignment Shop Mysteries, as well.  She always provides great reads!!

I received an ARC version of Geared for the Grave from the Publisher, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review.

Sapphyria's Rating:

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Rachelle21 said...

I'm so glad you loved this book. I agree with all you have said.

I am not own a bakery, but Duffy named a character after me and I love my character in Pearls and Poison. I'm the real Rachelle Lerner.

Sapphyria said...

Rachelle - That is very cool! I've never had a character named after me but I have had an author dedicate their book to me. I love it when authors include their fans that way.

Duffy Brown said...

Thanks tons for the fab review, I truly appreciate it. That you had fun with the Mackinac Island gang sure makes my day. Anyone wanting a tote just email and I’ll send one along. Thanks for the support and enthusiasm!! You all are the best. Hugs, Duffy

Sapphyria said...

You're very welcome :) All of your books rock!