Finding a corpse buried with Native American artifacts wasn’t the first delay of the renovation Emily faced. But she was not prepared for what followed. A murder investigation, excavation to uncover more artifacts, and drug dealers looking for missing product further delay the mansion’s restoration into an iconic B&B. While facing these setbacks, Emily is also realizing her growing attraction to a local chef, a man who believes a relationship isn’t possible due to his commitment to care for his brain-injured brother.
Welcome to my stop on the book tour for Joyce Strand’s newest Emily Lazzaro mystery, Dangerous Delays! This novel contains a series of very unfortunate events as Emily is trying to manage the opening of a B & B for her friend/employer, Diane. As renovations are going on, excavation uncovers a woman buried in the yard, but that’s only the beginning. One thing after the other happens while Emily is trying to get their grand opening on track, handling a million little details, and also, falling for her friend Jackson.
Let me begin by saying that there is a previous Emily Lazzaro mystery, Dangerous Changes, that unfortunately, I have not read. Although I would love to read it and learn more about Emily, it in no way impacted my enjoyment of Dangerous Delays.
I was thinking to myself as I started this novel that I don’t read nearly as many mysteries as I would like, and quickly found myself spellbound by the events occurring after the body was found buried at the B & B. Because of the Native American artifacts discovered along with the body, several factors came into play regarding the crime scene. Especially the fact that several people and authorities felt that drugs were still on the property courtesy of the owner Diane’s deceased brother. While Emily and the contractor Gabe (along with all of his employees) twiddled their thumbs waiting to continue on the project, there seemed to be one mishap and problem after the other. However, the downtime also afforded her the pleasure of spending more time with her friend and upcoming chef Jackson, as well as, Jackson’s wonderful brother Harry who suffered brain damage as a result of a car accident several years prior.
Although Strand interweaved several happy and humorous moments in the story, the mystery surrounding the body was the primary issue in Dangerous Delays. This novel did the thing that I love best about mysteries – it kept me guessing until the resolution. The author created fabulous suspicion in my mind about several characters during the story, resulting in my surprise and shock when everything was revealed. The people that I suspected were innocent. Those that were not so innocent had not been prominent on my radar while reading… All of this equaled a fantastic and suspenseful read that had me burning up the pages to figure everything out.
The only criticism I can possibly think of regarding the novel is the flat affect of Emily, and perhaps, Jackson. I wish there would have been more emotion from each of them, but as I write this, I also think maybe it’s intentional to go along with the “typical” main characters in a mystery series. They both seemed to open up and were more expressive towards the conclusion of the novel but I found myself puzzled several times over their lack of emotion.
Nevertheless, I truly enjoyed Dangerous Delays and not only do I want to read the first book, but I am also beyond excited about the next Emily Lazzaro mystery to be released in the fall of 2019. Joyce Strand has definitely earned a new fan and I commend her on her writing of such a wonderful mystery!
*Thanks to Beck Valley Books and Joyce Strand for providing this review copy in exchange for my honest review!
About Emily Lazzaro
Emily Lazzaro is the daughter of Wayne Lazzaro, the winemaker for the Hilltop Sunset winery in the previously published three Brynn Bancroft mysteries. She moved with her fiancé to Ramona, Calif., a rural community near San Diego, following graduation from college with a degree in hospitality. Her fiancé was eager to purchase a vineyard and develop a winery in the up and coming Ramona wine region, which suited Emily’s goals.
However, after moving to Ramona, it becomes apparent to Emily that she is not a good match for her fiancé. She discovers that he does not respect her opinions and insists on making decisions without her input. So she breaks off the engagement.
She decides to remain in Ramona despite her fiancé living there with his new vineyard. She appreciates the unique rocky terrain and proximity to the ocean and San Diego, along with the mixture of fine wineries, artists, and equestrian activities. She makes her living doing people’s taxes, and when Dangerous Changes opens, we discover she is looking to make a career change.
Dangerous Changes (An Emily Lazzaro Mystery)
A series of events rattle Emily Lazzaro: a near-death encounter with a pickup on a narrow mountain road, the murder of a would-be client, and an ex-fiancé who won’t let go. Can she survive a police investigation, pressure from her ex’s company, and the suspicions of a possible new love-interest—so that she can make the changes to create a meaningful new life in a special town in southern California?
About the Author
Joyce T. Strand is the author of contemporary and historical who-done-it mysteries.
She is the author of the Jillian Hillcrest Mysteries, ON MESSAGE, OPEN MEETINGS, and FAIR DISCLOSURE; the Brynn Bancroft Mysteries, HILLTOP SUNSET, and LANDSCAPE FOR MURDER; the Emily Lazzaro Mysteries, DANGEROUS CHANGES, and the latest release DANGEROUS DELAYS; and a historical mystery, THE JUDGE’S STORY.
Much like Jillian, Joyce headed corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in California’s Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder in her career. She focused on writing by-lined articles, press releases, white papers, and brochures to publicize her companies.
Joyce has been a mystery fan since she read her first Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy stories as a teenager. She has always enjoyed the challenge of following clues to solve a mystery before it is revealed. Therefore Joyce relished the transition from writing press releases to writing fiction.
Today she writes and publishes a blog (http://strandssimplytips.blogspot.com), contributes articles to a regional wine magazine, and continues to pen mysteries. She lives with her two cats and her collection of cow statuary in Southern California near San Diego. She enjoys seeing Broadway musicals, eating at gourmet restaurants, and tasting fine wine—in addition to reading mysteries, of course.
Joyce received her Ph.D. from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. specializing in international relations and her B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA specializing in political science.
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I received this book through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.
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