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A Killer Read [Mass Market Paperback]

Erika Chase
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 8.99
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Book Description

April 3 2012 Ashton Corners Book Club (Book 1)

For the first meeting of the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society, six friends gather in Molly Matthews's old Southern mansion-including Lizzie Turner, a reading specialist with a penchant for mysteries. But the mystery book club meeting becomes the scene of an actual murder when a stranger is shot-and nobody knows who the victim is, or how Molly' antique gun came to be used as the murder weapon.

Then Lizzie begins finding mysterious manuscript chapters in her mailbox. As she and the book club members try to read between the lines, Molly surfaces as the next name on the killer's list...

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plausible ending but the bulk is dull. May 18 2013
By Carolyn TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
So much mainstream mystery is from the USA, I was excited to find Erika Chase. I am befuddled the pages of "A Killer Read" are rife with American habits like "have got" - instead of plainly using "have". Erika even spells "colour" without "U", which should come naturally. American `stuff' is already abundant. Canadians with the chance to produce work, usually showcase our country. Instead, here's yet another setting in the American south!

I like the protagonist, `Lizzy' and cast, after taking time to absorb them. But the second rub is categorization as a mystery. I liken the difference to riding by car versus a plane. Some people travel without a destination. Others prefer to target one and focus time there. This book, other than inserting a death at the start, sees no action until around page 200 and reads like general fiction. The crux turns out to be good and very plausible but it isn't the cat mystery you might expect, nor is there any sense of urgency at any time. It's slow; 85% done before there's any adrenaline or danger. It almost entirely entails Lizzy pursuing a too-busy schedule every day of the week.

One thing that some authors unfortunately do, is sacrifice exciting moments for the mundane. When something interesting finally occurred for Lizzy, like receiving pages of the tale-telling manuscript; we the audience are gypped of being fuelled... because the protagonist had to go to work. Really?! Also, the characters identifying themselves as great mystery fans could be very cute in the solving of various puzzles. But those chuckles and Agatha Christie references are rehashed so many times, the remark feels forced and fizzles by the time it might have been astute. I support Canadian talent whole-heartedly but this novel mismatched expectations on several fronts.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death Turns the Page April 3 2012
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Who wouldn't love to live in the quaint and charming Alabama town of Ashton Corners? Neighbours look after each other, kids drink soda and say ma'am, there's no Mafia, and hard-working reading specialist Lizzie Turner helps reluctant teens. What's missing other than a book club?
Widow friend Molly Mathews is thrilled to volunteer her own plush Victorian mansion to the first meeting of the Mystery Readers and Cheese Straw Society. The table is set with delectables sweet and savoury as the friends settle in. Romance may be on the menu with the handsome new male lawyer in town, a surprise guest of one of the members. Scarcely have they commenced arguing companionably about what book to choose first than a strange man is standing in the hall. Car trouble, so he says, and makes a phone call. Before the evening ends, he's found shot outside in his vehicles, far down the long driveway. And with an old gun that had been in the house for decades. How did he get it? Is this a suicide or a murder? What would Poirot do?
Once identified, the stranger may have had distant connections with the town, but any main players are now dead. Matters turn complex in the ongoing investigation when it's discerned that some book club members may have left the room for a few minutes each in the course of the long meeting. But they're all such upright citizens, and they say that they've never seen him before. The handsome but untested chief of police has unfinished dating business from high school with Lizzie, which intrigues her, but the retired chief doesn't trust the young pup to do any job right.
What was the dead man doing at the mansion? The car excuse seems to have been a total ruse.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  44 reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, interesting mystery April 3 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"A Killer Read" is a cozy mystery that also has a good bit of romance in it. This novel is the first in a series, but it can be read as a stand-alone. The characters were interesting, engaging, and reacted in realistic ways to the various issues they faced (which was more than just "whodunit").

While there were clues, it was difficult for Lizzie (and the reader) to know how they all connected--though once you knew how, it all made sense. I didn't guess whodunit, though there was enough clues it was technically possible. The author did a very good job with this.

The descriptions of the people and setting were vivid, but there weren't many details about Lizzie's job (though I didn't mind that). On the other hand, the author was a little heavy with some unnecessary details. We got a complete description of what everyone was wearing every time we came across them and a list of every item of food eaten whenever a mealtime or snack time went by. It did slow the pacing, but never for very long.

I thought it was interesting that Lizzie has a low level eating disorder. She finds comfort in eating food. She can't turn down a sweat or high calorie food, but she justifies this by adding more time to her already long exercise routine. I'd be interested in seeing this issue subtly addressed in a future book in the series, but I doubt it will be.

There was no sex. There was a minor amount of explicit cussing and swearing. Overall, I'd recommend this engaging and interesting mystery.

I received this book as a review copy from the publisher.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Series that feels Familiar! April 20 2012
By L. Rigod - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was a charming surprise to me. Not only did I truly enjoy the story and meeting new characters, each chapter had a familiar quote by Authors I follow religiously and somehow my favorite novels were chosen also.

The story follows an Reading Specialist, Tutor, Literacy Teacher, Lizzie Turner who has returned to her childhood town to live and work in. Lizzie's Mother has special needs which need her living close by as well.
No one is quite sure what happened to Ms. Turner to cause her withdrawal from the present.

During a book club meeting at the home of Lizzie's friend, Molly, a man comes wandering into the house. What happens next will affect the lives and reveal the past of the groups that frequent Molly's home.

That is all I am going to reveal as the story is tightly written and each piece fits into another like a cleverly made jigsaw puzzle.

Ms. Chase writes with a 'voice' that feels familiar to me and I instantly felt at home with the rhythm of the scenes. I will look forward to her next novel "Read and Buried" due out in December, 2012.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a promising start May 13 2013
By JJ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Anytime I have to read the first few pages of a book 3 times because my mind keeps wandering, that is not a good sign. I will admit, I have not yet finished the book but several things annoy me already. I was raised in Alabama and I find the constant use of Y'all to be not only offensive but just plain stupid. Y'all is plural. And, the author has thrown in every cliche there is in cozy mysteries - the sexy policeman, the young total jerk but pretty female officer, the group of people gathered at some sort of meeting, etc. I'm sure I'll find more and more of them as I read. I'll finish it hopefully as I ordered the first 2 books in the series so will have to wade through not one but two books. I simply must stop doing this. It has always proved to be ill advised to order two books in a series I've not yet tried. LATER: I finally finished it. It's too long but maybe it just seems too long as it's so poorly written and boring, the pace is too slow, the plot is too complicated and there are too many people involved in the dragged out solution. By the time you find out who done it, you just don't care and you don't remember who the heck he is anyway.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars DISAPPOINTED Aug. 2 2012
By S. Schreiber - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was so looking forward to a new first in series mystery. But it took me forever to read it...Boring...
I kept reading hoping there would be something in the next chapter....I have over 1000 cozy mystery books.
and was hoping I could find another author coming out with something to catch my attention.
Seems like main character Lizzy, just drives to teaching classes, to friends, eats, feeds her cats: her personality doesnt grab your imagination...for the murder to happen in the beginning, the story went no place
for chapter after chapter....
I doubt very much I will buy the next book..Unless I find it used.....
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing Dec 28 2012
By fuzzhead - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I always look forward to finding a new cozy series, but this book was a disappointment. To anyone who does not live in the south, y'all is not every other word and is always plural. The author has obviously not spent much time in her adopted part of the country. There was no sense of place in this book and the characters seemed rather wooden and mundane. As mentioned by other reviewers, I found the mutual admiration society with fellow authors who had recommended Ms. Chase's book a bit much.
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