When the Richmond police offer an exclusive in exchange for help with a case, nothing—not even a costume party—stops crime reporter Nichelle Clarke from making Manolo tracks to the crime scene. The hunt leads her to a televangelist’s compound in the Virginia countryside where the Reverend may be more interested in fat stacks of cash than he is saving wayward souls.
With two sexy guys tangled up in Nichelle’s story—and in her heart—work and love are on a crash course for disaster. Pressure pours in from every corner, including a faceless new competitor that means the deadline is always five minutes ago. As secrets threaten and the truth becomes her lifeline, Nichelle must unmask the killer and nail down the story before she’s snared in the carefully-constructed web.
I think this is the first cozy I've read where the heroine is a news reporter - specifically for crime, So, while not really an investigator, Nichelle does have a leg up on her cozy sisters. Although you might not know it when she shoes up at the scene of a grizzly murder (at the request of the police, no less). She is dressed in 80's rocker-chick garb.
And she knows her designer shoes, that's for sure. Having never had a pair of designer
shoes (anything?), I was not up to speed on the fact that they are usually called by the designer's name instead of the style. They are not pumps, they are 'Manolos'. The shoes on the cover are pretty, but I could never wear them; neither my budget nor my ankles would allow it. I once wore a pair of 4" platform heels to the soft opening of a department store at which I worked, and due to several circumstances, wound up wearing, walking and standing in them for the better part of 14 hours. NEVER AGAIN!
I like that the social issue of homelessness is woven into Walker's story. The victim is a homeless woman, who is butchered in a deserted, run-down building. She apparently hung out with another woman and two men, and the police think that these folks might be more open to talking with Nichelle than with an officer.
One of the men (street name Picasso) has autism and is an amazing sketch artist. When Nichelle insists on paying him more than he usually gets from the tourists, and then helps him get even more from a woman wanting a sketch of her child, Picasso begins to warm to her. The way his story wraps up is heartwarming. Many people just roll their eyes and think that the homeless would just spend the money on alcohol. Not Nichelle. She gets extra person points for that one.
There are several sidebar stories that enrich the main action. Nicey (Nichelle's nickname) has two admirers. One is Kyle, an ATF agent; the other is Joey, with *ahem* ties to the local organized crime organization(s). They don't particularly care for each other anyway, and the fact that Nicey is attracted to both of them doesn't help matters. The testosterone in Nicey's place is so suffocating at one point that she takes off, leaving them to puff their chests out at each other. But, when it comes to saving Nicey's life ('cause you know a good cozy MC gets into danger), they both have her back.
The fact that Jasmine (the victim) became extremely agitated when it was suggested they go to a church-run shelter, takes Nichelle to a compound run by a televangelist. So of course, she has to go and
investigate observe. Some of the church ladies make her change out of her heels into some flip flops. They claim it is for insurance purposes. A friend Nichelle makes at the compound lets her know that it is more because some of the male pastors have had their heads turned away from God's work by the sight of a pretty leg.
Nichelle's mother's reaction to hearing that her daughter is thinking of going to this church organization is puzzling until we find out that Nichelle's father wanted her mother to have an abortion when he found out she was pregnant. When she refused, the self-righteous heel dumped her and turned to religious activity (to show how much better he was?). UGH.
There is a lot of ground to cover in Devil in the Deadline, and Ms. Walker does a wonderful job of pacing the action, and I think our emotional reactions to characters and situations is just what she imagined it would be during the writing of this book.
I definitely look forward to reading more of Nichelle's story (of digging up more stories).
LynDee Walker’s award-winning journalistic work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the nation.
Her debut novel, FRONT PAGE FATALITY, is an amazon and Barnes & Noble #1 bestseller, and was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. DEVIL IN THE DEADLINE is the fourth in LynDee’s Headlines in High Heels mystery series. The fifth arrives October 2015.
LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is either playing with her children, working on her next novel, or admiring beautiful shoes she can’t wear.
Click on the button above to see the tour schedule, which includes more reviews, as well as interviews, guests posts and the giveaway!
(Disclosure: I received an e-copy of Devil in the Deadline from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.)
This book also is fills slots in the following 2015 reading challenges:
52 books in 52 weeks
105 Challenge (Cat 11 - cozy mystery)
Around the World Challenge (Cat 1 - North America/USA/VA/Richmond)
New to You Challenge (author)
Prequel/Sequel Challenge (Book 4 in a series of 4)
Women Authors Challenge