Love isn’t always a fairy tale…and Charlotte Ross has kissed her share of frogs, but that’s all behind her. Fleeing her life for a short break, Charlotte, along with her best friend Jane Marshall, find themselves at her aunt’s home in the sleepy town of Raven’s Caw, Michigan. Charlotte hopes to recover from another breakup with her fiancé, and her friend Jane, a new mystery writer, is looking forward to somewhere relaxing. But life has different plans for the two friends and they find themselves swept up in a whirlwind of romance, mystery and murder.
Sparks fly between Jane and Charlotte’s attractive, Machiavellian cousin, Kenny. But is the attraction too good to be true or just a diversion from a mystery that has piqued her interest? Charlotte is pulled along on this roller-coaster of emotion when she meets up with her first love, as she and Jane discover links between a murder that happened twelve years earlier and a recent crime. Risking their lives and hearts, the friends race against the past in an effort to solve the crimes before one of them becomes the next victim.
I began by reading the preface, which started off the book with a bang! (The main character was kidnapped.) Maybe I hadn't had my morning caffeine, but I became distracted for a few minutes when Chapter 1 started, because I was expecting it to take off where the previous story had ended. That's when I thought, what a wonderful way to start a book! Of course we'd all be wondering what took place to get her from one part of the story to the other. A book with its own preview? Yes, please!
Charlotte Ross has had a very exciting and stressful couple of years. First, in Romancing a Mystery, Charlotte and her bestie Jane, find mayhem in Ireland and England. Then, in Masterpiece of Murder, she goes to Argentina in search of Brett, her fiance. Next, in Love, Lies and Murder, apparently Brett announces his engagement ... to another woman.
Now, in Once Upon a Crime, she's still trying to forget Brett, keep her 'bad-boy' cousin away from Jane, decide whether or not to get re-involved with an old flame, and figure out who really killed her cousin's landlord. And that's just the tip of the iceberg for this novel.
Incidentally, I love the title's nod to the traditional start of a fairy tale: once upon a time. There are damsels in distress, a knight or two in shining armor, a few ugly trolls and a number (and no, I won't say how many) of really twisted, evil villains. And the best part is, all of these archetypes show up in modern day characters.
Having read this fourth 'Charlotte Ross' mystery-thriller, I can't wait to read the previous installments. And I hope for further Charlotte adventures in the future.
I’ve been an aspiring author since high school when I wrote short stories to amuse family members. I began my first novel while attending college later in life, and while working in the offices of a major soft drink company. Even though my job, my home, and my family always took precedence, I continued to attend writing classes and work on my novels. Now, after taking early retirement, I finally have the chance to do what I love best; write full-time. While I enjoy playing the piano, being an organic gardener, and an amateur Lapidary, writing has always been my passion. I was a former member of the Agatha Christie Society and am currently a member of Sisters in Crime. I write mysteries with light romance and a little humor. My husband and I live in a suburb of Chicago along with our Black Lab/Pit Bull, Bailey.
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(Disclosure: I received an e-copy of "Once Upon a Crime" from the author and publisher via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.)