A tale of kidnapping, murder, and neighbors you’d like to kidnap and murder…
Bonnie Fattori is a sexy, sassy, Italian Princess living in New Jersey. She’s loving life with a rich husband, beachfront living, and a promotion at work—until a new neighbor, Lyla Spratt, is determined to destroy her happiness.
After several run-ins with the unstable woman next door, Bonnie starts to suspect a connection between her new neighbor and the untimely death of a local resident, Polly Pitcher. She recruits her good friend Chelsey to help figure out if her suspicions are correct.
As the neighbors go head-to-head in a hilarious battle, Lyla is pushed to the brink of insanity. The more unhinged Lyla becomes, the more Bonnie’s life and the safety of her family are at risk. Can Bonnie find out what really happened to Polly Pitcher before it’s too late? A perfect read for those who like laugh-out-loud humor in their mysteries!
Well, I like laugh-out-loud humor in my mysteries, and I liked Community Affairs as well!
A number of the first chapters start with a paragraph or so in which Bonnie recounts the episode where she has been kidnapped. No laughing matter, to be sure. These chapters then continue with the events leading up to the abduction.
And to say that neighbor Lyla is unbalanced would have to be the understatement of the year, if not the decade...(century, perhaps?). Granted, her husband Casen (a Senator) has given her reason to be suspicious of anything in a skirt. But when she gets it in her head that Bonnie is lusting after Casen, it is ON. One morning, there is flaming (FLAMING!) dog poop on Bonnie's porch, and a snickering neighbor woman. Then, there is W-H-O-R-E in red paint on the white garage door, and trying to avoid explaining to her tween-ish daughters what that means. With each new incident, I did not know whether to gasp or groan - you see, I've had crazy neighbors. They were not in Lyla's league, but they were pretty out there.
Ms. Seigfried does a fine job of taking the scenic route to reveal her story, and Community Affairs held my interest the whole way. As a friend, I might suggest she turn down the snark a little once in a while, but I thoroughly enjoyed Bonnie's antics. She's no saint, but she's not a victim either, although she does get brownie points for what she tries to do for Lyla.
If there was one thing that didn't tickle my fancy, it was Jayce's (Bonnie's husband's) reaction to her actions. I understand being upset and concerned for one's safety and that of the family, especially the children. But to just leave, alone, with no notice, and make the other person go find him? If I were in a similar situation, I would explain why I felt uncomfortable with the way things were going and what I intended to do if they continued. And, if you were really concerned with your children's safety, wouldn't it be better to get them away from that situation, pronto?
I'm not saying 'the character should have been written differently', though. Real life isn't a fairy tale and most books aren't, either. Sometimes, the stuff really does hit the fan. Honestly, Jayce's actions, and my feelings about those actions, made me think. This is a characteristic of the books that 'stay with me' a long time.
I've actually been to the Jersey Shore, although many years ago. I've enjoyed this vicarious visit back. And I can't wait to see what shows up next on Bonnie's doorstep!
Michele Lynn Seigfried is an award-winning novelist, children’s book author/illustrator and public speaker who was born and raised in New Jersey. In her mystery novels, she draws from her personal expertise in the area of municipal government, in which she has served for over 16 years in two different municipalities. She holds a B.A. in communication from the College of New Jersey with a minor in art. She obtained the Master Municipal Clerk certification from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks in 2010. She also holds the Registered Municipal Clerk certification and Certified Municipal Registrar Certifications from the State of New Jersey. In combining her love of writing with art, Michele began writing and illustrating children’s picture books in 2013.
Michele is a member of Sisters in Crime, Sisters in Crime – Central Jersey, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, New Jersey Author’s Network, International Institute of Municipal Clerks, Central Jersey Registrar’s Association, Municipal Clerk’s Association of New Jersey, and the Municipal Clerk’s Association of Mercer County, where she is currently President. She also serves on the New Jersey League of Municipalities’ Legislative Committee.
Michele is available for public speaking engagements such as book talks, seminars, readings, panel discussions, and other author events. Contact her for more information.
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)