Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Book Review: Dying Before "I Do" by Judy Fitzwater


Love and murder: two words that should never go together. But when Jennifer and long-time beau Sam Culpepper finally decide to tie the knot, murder rears its ugly head to intervene. Now Jennifer has more to contend with than choosing colors and flowers for the most important day of her life. She and Sam must thwart whoever is bent on keeping the secrets of an old kidnapping case. One man is dead, and young reporter Teague McAfee is next in line. Jennifer finds herself embroiled in a twisty tale of love gone wrong, while dodging her friends who are determined to give Jennifer and Sam the perfect wedding.



I understand Jennifer's hesitance to get married, even to such a nice man like Sam.  After my first marriage was over, I had no desire to 'jump in' to another relationship quickly either.  But luckily for Jennifer and me, the good ones have stamina and will wait until the time is right.

Certain elements make Dying Before "I Do" seem like a cozy - female heroine, amateur sleuthing, the dog Muffy.  However, there are things that are not so 'cozy' - set in Richmond, which I don't think is a small town, and the main character is not dating a law man.

Even though this is the 7th Jennifer Marsh mystery, it reads very well as a standalone.  That is lucky for me, because the series and author were both new to me before this tour.  Now I would like to read the rest of the series and hope there will be more, because I have to find out how Jennifer and Sam find married life and if that changes their sleuthing dynamic.

Jennifer is a great character.  I love that she is loyal to her friends, even when they frustrate her (mostly as well-meaning wedding planners.  Some of them have even helped her out on previous cases, as we can tell y the interchange of two of them *ahem* 'borrowing' hospital employee clothing to get into the room of a wealthy citizen whose car was forced off the road.

There are a lot (a LOT) of interwoven character relationships in Dying Before "I Do", and by that I mean people who have personal and/or professional pasts with each other.  It adds subtle yet rich layers to the story (think filo dough in baklava - my favorite!), and are introduced at a rate that with enough support that they keep the story flow going.

The stand-off with (one) of the villains at the end is priceless, and that's all I'm going to say about that.

I generally prefer more realistic covers, but this duo-tone cover fits in well with the other books in the series and goes with the 'noir' feel of a mystery-thriller with fingers in the profession of journalism.

The previous books in this series, Dying to Get Published, Dying to Get Even, Dying for a Clue, Dying to Remember, Dying to be Murdered, Dying to Get Her Man, have all made their way onto my TBR (to be read) list



Judy Fitzwater is excited to have recently published the 7th book in her popular Jennifer Marsh Mystery Series–DYING BEFORE “I DO”! She has also just released THE ROCKY ROAD TO PUBLISHING: ADVICE ON WRITING, a fun, insider’s look at the world of writing and what it takes to be successful.

Judy grew up an Air Force brat and has lived in nine states, including Maine and Hawaii. Her first published mystery, DYING TO GET PUBLISHED, was plucked from a stack of unsolicited manuscripts at Ballantine Books. It was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Mystery. The subsequent seven-book series, The Jennifer Marsh Mysteries, was a delight for her to write, especially the scenes with Jennifer’s quirky writers’ group. All seven are now available in Kindle editions. Judy’s suspense thriller, DROWNING IN AIR, is now in paperback, as well as a Kindle edition! And don’t miss her very funny romantic comedy, VACATIONING WITH THE DEAD, which is filled with ghosts and mayhem. She has plans for more mystery, suspense, humor, and paranormal adventures.


Click the button above to go to the tour page, where you can find more reviews, as well as guest posts and author interviews!

(Disclosure:  I received an e-copy of Dying Before "I Do" from the author and publisher via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)


This book also helps me fulfill the following 2015 reading challenges:

52 Books in 52 Weeks
105 Challenge (cat 11 - cozy mysteries)
Around the World Challenge (mini 2 - US/Georgia/Macon)
New to You Challenge (author)
Prequel/Sequel Challenge (book #7 of series)
TBR Challenge
Women Authors Challenge

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