Book Review Tuesday: The Body in the Beauty Parlor by Judi Lynn #cozymystery, Vampire on the Orient Express by Shane Carrow #vampirehorror

It’s Tuesday, and that means it’s time for more book reviews. I’ve followed the Jazzi Zanders series from book one, and have loved seeing the growth of the characters plus the creative plots Judi Lynn weaves for her heroine. There’s always a murder to solve when Jazzi and her hunky husband Ansel (her “norseman” or “viking”) are around. If you enjoy cozy mysteries, I highly recommend this series.

BLURB:
In their hair salon, Jazzi’s sister Olivia and mother are savvy businesswomen whose creativity brings fashion and flair to the folks of Rivers Bluff, Indiana. So when their newest hairstylist Misty is caught scamming clients’ debit cards and selling beauty products during off hours to pocket the profits, Olivia fires her. But Misty retaliates by hitting back with a defamation lawsuit—which she is more than happy to drop if Olivia pays her ten grand.
 
But neither blackmail nor courtroom fees are accrued after Misty’s body is discovered in the salon with Olivia’s scissors stuck in her chest. Olivia may be the number one suspect, but her murdered employee had a reputation for making enemies.
 
Then Jazzi’s ex Chad appears, asking for help with his marital strife. This already awkward situation worsens when Chad’s wife vanishes and the police investigate him. Now, it’s up to Jazzi to clear both her sister’s and ex’s names while the killer—or killers—could be a mere hair breadth’s away . . .

MY REVIEW:
I thoroughly enjoyed this sixth outing for Jazzi, her husband, Ansel, their extended family, and group of friends. As always, Jazzi and Ansel are at the heart of the book with Jazzi playing amateur sleuth. In this case, there are two mysteries, both which hit close to home. Her sister, Olivia’s, newest employee is found dead in Olivia’s hair salon, and Jazzi’s ex-fiancé’s wife disappears under highly questionable circumstances. Of course, Jazzi, Ansel, and Jazzi’s cousin, Jerod, also have a house to remodel and flip. Add in a large family, a looming Easter celebration, and Jazzi has her hands full.

As with all the Jazzi mysteries, this is a pleasurable read. The action is split behind sleuthing and Jazzi’s family life. Lynn’s writing style is breezy and easy to read. Characters feel like old friends and the two mysteries are deftly handled. Even Jazzi and Ansel’s pets—Geroge the pug, and cats, Inky and Marmalade—get moments to shine. If you enjoy cozies, this is one series and group of characters who will win your heart. Satisfying from start to finish!

5 STARS

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And, now in a completely different vein:

BLURB:
Paris, 1914. American adventurer Sam Carter boards the Orient Express, departing France in style after an impulsive decision to desert the Foreign Legion. British diplomat Lucas Avery is already nursing a drink in the smoking car, resenting his assignment to the distant Ottoman Empire. Neither man expects anything more from the next three days and three thousand miles than rich food, expensive champagne and fine cigars.

But something dangerous is lurking aboard the train, hiding in plain sight among French aristocrats and German businessmen. Through fire and darkness, through blood and ice, the Orient Express is bearing an ancient evil across the continent – and not all its passengers will live to see Constantinople…

MY REVIEW:
The cover and the setting of this book sucked me in as soon as I saw it. Murder mystery, the Orient Express, and vampires all couched in the year 1914. What a combination! The author didn’t disappoint and delivered an intriguing plot. The main characters—Sam Carter, an American ex-Foreign Legion soldier, and Lucas Avery, a British diplomat—are set up to be polar opposites. Descriptions are good and the secondary characters provide excellent support for the two MCs. My only quibble is that I would have liked more character development for the leads. I couldn’t really connect with them, but I seem to be in the minority on that.

Given this the first book of a series, I expect the author will provide additional character growth over time. In many ways the tale reminded me of an early horror film, offering an old-fashioned vampire story wrapped in superstition, folklore, and slowly creeping chills.

The story does have a complete wrap at the end but sets the stage for Carter and Avery to continue working together.

4 STARS

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From cozy mystery to vampire horror, I had several days of diverse reading. I love how books can transport us anywhere–from house renovation and murder in a small town, to a lavish train barreling through Europe in the early days of the twentieth century. As always, I wish you happy reading!

49 thoughts on “Book Review Tuesday: The Body in the Beauty Parlor by Judi Lynn #cozymystery, Vampire on the Orient Express by Shane Carrow #vampirehorror

    • The Orient Express setting is what sucked me in, too, Joan. A good portion of the novel takes place on the train. Not 100% sure I’ll look into the next one, but I did like the old horror movie feel of this book. And Judi has another good tale with her latest Jazzi.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve got Judi’s novel on my Kindle. I love George and Ansel and can’t wait to see what happens in this story. The vampire book sounds interesting, too. I love that old-timey horror movie vibe.

    Thanks for sharing your reviews.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Sounds like both of these books are my kind of read! I love the sound of the cozy. It made me smile just reading your review. And a murder mystery mixed with a vampire story set in 1914 is very intriguing. It’s a shame you couldn’t connect to the characters.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think I’m in the minority regarding the characters. It could be because I prefer character-driven fiction and the book was definitely plot-driven.

      If you enjoy, cozies, Tessa, the Jazzi Zanders has great characters mixed with fun mysteries!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a nice surprise to see my book reviewed by you! Thanks so much. I have to say, though, a vampire on the Orient Express sounds like a perfect combination. I still remember a scene from the movie Dracula with Gary Oldman where a ship leaves port and the camera zeroes in on a coffin (or box…I can’t remember), and when the ship reaches shore, everyone’s dead. Shivers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s my pleasure to share my review for your latest Jazzi release today, Judi. Thanks for such an entertaining read.
      And I kept thinking about the old Dracula movies (the one with Gary Oldman, and the other with Frank Langella) while reading the Orient Express book. It had that vibe.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Two great reviews here, Mae. I don’t think I’ve ever read a cozy mystery, but I’m expanding my genre horizons, so maybe on the first one. The second book, love the cover, and you’re right, perhaps the characters will be more rounded in the next book. Thanks for sharing, Mae.

    Liked by 1 person

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