Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Book Review: Dae's Christmas Past by Joyce Lavene


Missing Pieces Mysteries #6

When wild horse rescue director Tom Watts is found dead on Duck Road, newly re-elected mayor Dae O’Donnell is determined to find out who killed him. Her friend Jake Burleson is accused of killing Tom even though the two men have been good friends for years.

The problem is the excavation of the horse cult that’s been happening on Jake’s property. Tom and several archaeologists working on the project think that Jake should give up his land to widen the search for artifacts. Jake won’t do that.

It’s not that Jake hasn’t been acting strangely. He shoved one of the ancient stone horses into Dae’s hands when he knew she was afraid to touch it. He’s obsessed with stopping the excavation—maybe to the point of killing Tom.

But Dae thinks there may be more to the story. Jake’s determination has shown her what the horse cult was used for thousands of years ago, the destruction the demon horses brought before they were stopped. She’s afraid something of the past may have already returned to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and there may be more deaths to come.



If you've been reading my reviews this year, you probably know that I am a fan of Joyce and Jim Lavene's work.  That can work for or against an author (or an author team).  Of course, you expect everything they do to be golden, so it builds anticipation and a predisposition to like whatever comes off the press next.  It also puts pressure on authors to keep hitting the mark.

Luckily for the mystery reading public, this couple must have been taking archery lessons (maybe from someone in their 'Renaissance Faire Mysteries', because Dae's Christmas Past is another proverbial bull's-eye mystery!

The word 'cult' is such a emotionally charged word, both for those who believe in the paranormal and those who claim not to believe in such phenomena.  So the talk of a long-ago horse cult and demon horses is sure to make anyone's little neck hairs stand on least a little.

I particularly liked the interactions between and amongst the characters in this book.  Most people in small towns really care about their friends and neighbors, extending to most of the locals.  I see it in my own life, where it is de rigueur (lookit this ole country gal with her big words! *lol*) to acknowledge people driving in the opposite direction as you anywhere within 5 miles of your house.   I also see it in Dae's town of Duck, NC.

I'd love to see any all off the Lavenes' series (including all the pseudonyms) come out as boxed sets.  Of course, I may need to add on a library to my family's house for that, as they have authored more than 70 books!  (I know. *FAINT*)

If you haven't fallen in love with Dae and Duck already, the upcoming 'holiday season' would be the perfect time.  And if you've been a really good boy or girl this year, maybe Santa will send some of the previous "Missing Pieces Mysteries" in your Christmas stocking this year!



Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.


Please click the logo link just above to see the rest of the tour, including more reviews, as well as guest posts, interviews and a giveaway!

(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book through the authors and publisher, via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest opinion.)