It's no secret that I rave about the book covers for the Berkley Prime Crime paperbacks. And, I showcased A Timely Vision by Joyce and Jim Lavene in my recent book chat because I loved Robert Crawford's cover illustration. Fortunately, this first book in a new series lives up to the cover. I hope A Timely Vision marks the launch of a successful, long-running series.
Dae O'Donnell is the Mayor of Duck, North Carolina, a small town on the Outer Banks. She's also the owner of Missing Pieces, a thrift shop. And, that's a very appropriate name because Dae has a special gift, the ability to find lost objects when she holds hands with the person who is looking for their lost item. That's usually a lost key or piece of jewelry. But, this 4th of July, that gift will lead to tragedy.
When ninety-two-year-old Miss Mildred asks her to find her missing watch, Dae humors her. She's done this before for the woman who taught so many of the younger people in town. This time, though, she sees that watch attached to an arm. Since Miss Mildred said she loaned the watch to her sister, Elizabeth, Dae checks out her house. It's the new neighbor, Kevin Brickman, who now owns The Blue Whale Inn, who says he hasn't seen Miss Elizabeth for a few days. Together, they're searching for the missing woman, when Dae stumbles over the body on the beach.
It doesn't take long for suspicion to fall on Miss Mildred since she had a long-running feud with her sister. Dae is determined to keep her friend out of the clutches of the law, and enlists Kevin's help. As a former FBI agent, he might provide the guidance she needs. It's her vision and gift that will provide a path to the truth.
The Lavenes have launched a wonderful series, with a great deal of opportunity for future books. Dae O'Donnell is a strong, independent woman, respected by the community, who has roots there. Her gift for finding missing objects, along with her belief in ghosts, adds the touch of paranormal that is so popular right now. Dae lives with her grandfather, the retired sheriff, a delightful man, still shrewd and interested in women. He's also a matchmaker, trying to fix his granddaughter up with eligible men. All of the characters in this book, from Gramps to Kevin, to the police officer who has been courting Dae for years, are delightful. Duck, North Carolina is a realistic town, with its history, turtle and tourist issues. This is a mystery with strong characters, a vivid sense of place, and touches of humor and the paranormal. A Timely Vision is one of the best traditional mysteries I've read this year.
The Lavenes' website is www.joyceandjimlavene.com
A Timely Vision by Joyce and Jim Lavene. Penguin Group (USA), ©2010. ISBN 9780425234754 (paperback), 304p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received my copy of the book from the publisher, in hopes I would review it.