Monday, October 17, 2011

Skating Over the Line by Joelle Charbonneau

There’s nothing like small-town life when everyone in town knows your business. Joelle Charbonneau proves that in her second mystery featuring Rebecca Robbins and her inherited roller-skating rink, Skating Over the Line.

Rebecca inherited the rink from her mother, who loved it. But, she wants a big-city life in Chicago, and she’s been trying to sell the rink in Indian Falls. When she gets an offer, provided there’s a manager to go with the rink, she should be happier. Instead, she’s wondering about leaving the hunky vet, Lionel, and her grandfather, Pop, the man who was always there for her, since her father deserted her and her mother when Rebecca was in middle-school. There’s something to be said for small-town life, even though she doesn’t get along with Deputy Sean Holmes. He wasn’t very happy when she got involved in a murder investigation, and solved the crime.

Now, Deputy Sean has more reasons to be unhappy. The members of the Senior Center asked Rebecca to look into the theft of an old car. Before she can do that, she finds the car on fire in a field. And, when Rebecca’s father shows up in town, his car is stolen. Between cars on fire, her up-and-down love life, her con man father, and her uncertainty about the sale of the roller rink, Rebecca has her hands full. A break-in at the rink, and the bad relations between two employees only give her more grief. And, who are the strangers in town who show up to threaten her, but don’t speak English?

Charbonneau’s second book is a solid effort. I did figure out who was behind the thefts long before Rebecca did. But, the mystery, and the investigation, were fun. A little reminiscent of Janet Evanovich, maybe, with exploding cars, and a romantically indecisive protagonist. Charbonneau’s strength is in the creation of her characters. Pop, the seventy-six-year-old Elvis impersonator is a fun character. And, it’s hard to resist a hat-wearing camel named Elwood. Rebecca comes across as a little wishy-washy at times, but she has guts when it counts. She stands up to the suspected bad guys when she needs to protect family. And, she has a big heart. She’s kind to everyone, even her con man father.

Skating Over the Line was a fun mystery with an unusual setting.  I’m looking forward to the next mystery in this series. It certainly has potential. Now that a roller derby team has rented the rink, can murder be far behind?

Joelle Charbonneau’s website is

Skating Over the Line by Joelle Charbonneau. St. Martin’s Minotaur. ©2011. ISBN 9780312606626 (hardcover), 275p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Liz V. said...

Should I read the books in sequence?

Lesa said...

I'm sure it wouldn't hurt, Liz, but I didn't. I didn't have the first one, and I read this, and it didn't matter.

Like my sister, though, I do like to read them in order when I get the chance. In the case of this series, it won't matter for character development. However, you'll get to know the characters as they enter the series if you read the first one.

Nancy said...

This looks to be a good read. A seventy-seven year old Elvis impersonator and a camel in the same book? Okay, I have to read this one.

Lesa said...

Nancy, I think the camel had a bigger role in the first book, Skating Around the Law. You might want to start with that one.

Stephanie @ Read In a Single Sitting said...

What a fun setting! I read a series of ice-skating mysteries that I quite enjoyed, but there's something even more enticing about roller skating!