Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Fiction Can Be Murder by Becky Clark

Becky Clark, the author of "funny mysteries with a dash of murder", launches a new series with Fiction Can Be Murder. But, humor isn't universal, and I found the ending absurd and the motivation improbable. However, I know others will enjoy Charlee Russo's search for a killer.

When literary agent Melinda Walter dies in a one-car accident, even Charlemagne "Charlee" Russo's boyfriend questions her. Charlee had been questioning her agent about her royalty checks. Now, Melinda is dead, killed with the methodology Charlee used in her latest manuscript. While the police question Charlee, the author panics. Is she also a potential murder victim? Who had access to her manuscript? By Charlee's reckoning, at least fifteen people could have read "Mercury Rising". That includes every member of her writing critique group.

Charlee knows where she was when Melinda Walter was killed, but it takes time to check alibis for all those other people. One by one, she eliminates them as suspects by taking chances, and even following people. But, something must be wrong with her answers. Charlee eventually finds she has no one left on the list. And, there's still a killer out there.

As I said, the humor in this particular mystery wasn't for me. While the author tried to inject humor in the form of Charlee's hand tremor as she constantly spilled coffee on herself, I found that sad. The members of the writing group were indistinguishable at times. In fact, by the time the killer was revealed, a person with an outlandish motivation, I couldn't even remember who the killer was.

Perhaps I've just been reading too many mysteries lately that are similar. The premise that a mystery author's story was used as a murder method just seemed too familiar to me, although I couldn't place it. I might have been thinking of Layton Green's Written in Blood in which crime scenes resembled famous crime scenes in literature. Close enough, but I don't know, and that's not a cozy, humorous mystery.

Saying all that, Fiction Can Be Murder launches a new humorous mystery series. We'll see where it goes.

Becky Clark's website is www.beckyclarkbooks.com

Fiction Can Be Murder by Becky Clark. Midnight Ink, 2018. ISBN 9780738753324 (paperback), 312p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Jeffrey Meyerson said...

You're right. That exact plot was in a recent movie, I believe. It's not exactly a fresh story line.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I think writing a humorous mystery would be difficult. It's hard enough just writing a traditional one.

Kay said...

I will say that there have been times lately when I feel that I'm reading the same story over and over. This year, I've been reading other books between the psychological thrillers that have been a lot of my reading material. It has helped. I know you're constrained a bit by the books you must read to review for journals and such. It's a little tough, isn't it? :-)

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

It's the new Alan Cumming television show! Someone used his book about serial killers as a guide.

Lesa said...

Jeff, Thank you! I actually haven't seen the new Alan Cummings show, but that plot just seemed so familiar. I know I've read it lately.

Lesa said...

Oh, I totally agree, Elizabeth. And, I couldn't do it.

Lesa said...

I'm reading one right now, Kay, that I'm not crazy about. On the other hand, I just finished a debut that was fantastic, and I might never have seen it. Yes, it has its good and bad points, but the good outweigh the bad.

Gram said...

Dark in Death by J.D. Robb. Same idea.