Take one fleabag motel and have three cozy mystery authors bring their regular characters into that motel and you get three novellas loosely tied together.
In “Diners Keepers, Losers Weepers” by Terri L. Austin, it is just before Christmas and Rose Strickland and friends are planning a visit to Graceland. Their planned accommodations fall through and they are forced to take a room in the seedy “Heartache Motel.” At this motel an Elvis impersonator is found dead and some missing jewels may hold the key to solving the murder. But can Rose solve the murder, visit Graceland (a life-long desire) and still get home before Christmas?
“Quick Sketch” by Larissa Reinhart is a Cherry Tucker mystery. Cherry and her boyfriend head to Memphis to help out a cousin who’s been hustled and taken for his entire life savings just before Christmas. Cherry isn’t much of a gambler herself and her boyfriend Todd loves poker but isn’t meant for the big-time. Because everything’s booked up right before Christmas, they have to room in the run-down Heartache Motel. Can Cherry and her boyfriend catch the gambling crooks in a sting, or will they get stung themselves?
Finally, in “Dateline Memphis” by LynDee Walker, crime reporter Nichelle Clarke stops at the motel at Christmas to try and catch a scoop on a major crime story. She winds up locked inside Elvis’ mansion where she alternately is trying to track down criminals while avoiding becoming a target herself.
I was not familiar with any of these authors or their series’ prior to reading this. I found each of the stories generally well-written and interesting. I think Terri Austin’s was most engaging. Perhaps that was a function of being first in the book but I thought the reason for being stuck in the Heartache Motel was more clearly defined here and the action of the mystery took place in and around the motel more than the later stories (and the book is titled for the motel after all).
I suspect that if I was already familiar with one or more of these characters, this would have been much more interesting to me. As an introduction to the characters, this doesn’t really have strong appeal – I’m not immediately looking to read more by any one of these authors. Conversely, it doesn’t turn me off either. If I should happen to pick up a mystery in one of these series’ I’m likely to remember the character(s) and be glad for a little prior introduction to them.
If you happen to like cozy mysteries then this is a nice little beach-read collection.
Looking for a good book? Heartache Motel is a collection of three novellas by Terri L. Austin, Larissa Reinhart, and LynDee Walker. Fans of their books and signature characters will be glad to read a new little mystery from these authors. New readers may not be given the best introduction to these series’.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
* * * * * *
authors: Terri L. Austin, Larissa Reinhart, LynDee Walker
series: Rose Strickland Mystery, #3.5; Cherry Tucker Mystery, #.5; Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller, #2.5
publisher: Henery Press
paperback, 225 pages