Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Review: Dang Near Dead (An Aggie Mundeen Mystery, Book 2) by Nancy G. West

About Dang Near Dead:

Aggie vacations with Sam and Meredith at a Texas Hill Country dude ranch with plans to advise her column readers how to stay young and fresh in summer. Except for wranglers, dudes, heat, snakes and poison ivy, what could go wrong?

When an expert rider is thrown from a horse and lies in a coma, Aggie is convinced somebody caused the fall. Despite Sam’s warnings, Aggie is determined to expose the assailant. She concocts ingenious sleuthing methods that strain their dicey relationship as she probes secrets of the ranch and its inhabitants. After she scatters a hornet’s nest of cowboys, she discovers more than one hombre in the bunch would like to slit her throat.

Book Details:

Dang Near Dead
Series: An Aggie Mundeen Mystery

Publisher: Henery Press (September 30, 2014)

Hardcover: 238 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1941962169

Paperback: 280 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1940976402


My Review:

My review of Book 1, Fit to Be Dead can be found here:

In need of a vacation, Aggie, Sam, and Meredith head to a Texas Ranch.  Both Aggie and Meredith research the ranch and get as much information about it as possible.  Aggie discovers that the previous owners were both found dead on the property and that their niece is the one who inherited the ranch.  As the trio move from activity to activity (swimming, shooting, horseback riding) Aggie can't help herself but get involved in a little amateur sleuthing.  What she discovers may not be related entirely to the mysterious deaths of the previous owners but she digs up some dirt that is better left in the ground  ---  and she puts herself at risk ~ yet again in the novel.

Aggie befriends one of the employees, Vicki, that assists the owner of the ranch, Bertha.  Originally from Wisconsin, Vicki is a great worker but it appears that some of the ranch hands aren't particularly fond of her.  When she mysteriously falls off of her horse, neither Sam, Aggie, or Meredith believe it was an accident.  It's now up to the incognito detective, and his two sidekicks, to get to the bottom of several twists in the goings on at the ranch.

The story dives a little further into the affection that Sam and Aggie share that bubbles just under the surface.  Aggie's secret from Book 1 is revisited but the results are the same as they were at the end of Fit to Be Dead.  In order for their slowly realized relationship to work, Aggie is going to have to come clean about the issue.  The author does a great job of increasing the romance without overshadowing the mystery.

Just like Fit to Be Dead - Dang Near Dead is a humorous cozy mystery that takes the reader all over the place. There are different threads to the craziness that don't seem to be connected and then all of a sudden something happens or is said and everything falls into place. I enjoyed the plot and character development; the world building was done well. We were given the important back story information on the new group of characters in just the right dosage - not too much, not too little.

The only thing I was dissatisfied with was the length of time it took to develop the story.  It seemed like it took forever to get to anything resembling a mystery.  The first half of the book goes very slowly.  But ~ once Vicki is discovered unconscious and bleeding, the story really takes off.  There are so many characters that could be the suspect or suspects that figuring out exactly who was responsible and why was not easy to decipher.

I'm happy with the resolutions in Dang Near Dead and eagerly away the next book in the series.

Review copy courtesy of the publisher, at no cost, in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

Meet the Author:

I’ve been writing since age seven: poems back and forth with my mom. I had a real poem published in the Library Journal, Pegasus, at age fifteen. At eighteen, I wanted to study journalism and English literature, but friends who chose that college route were making minimum wage or selling lingerie. Being practical, I earned a business degree. After marriage and two children, I decided I HAD to study literature and write. I wrote non-fiction articles, a biography, and a suspense novel in 2004. That’s when whimsical Aggie Mundeen cut through the suspense, popped into my head and demanded her own series. The Aggie Mundeen mystery capers were born. Aggie must have been right: FIT TO BE DEAD is a LEFTY FINALIST 2013 for best humorous mystery, nominated by Left Coast Crime.

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Nancy G. West said...

Henery Press has set a release date for Aggie Mundeen Mystery #3, SMART, BUT DEAD.

Official release is November 17, but books will go live for pre-order August 24!
Aggie does it again.

Sapphyria said...

Excellent News!!!