By Gail Meath
Genre: Historical Romance/Cozy Mystery
Summary: A gung-ho gumshoe and his canine partner team up with a beautiful Broadway star to track a serial killer. But people connected to the theater keep winding up dead. Is Laura next? Can Jax and Ace crack the case before the killer strikes again?
“Hey Mom!” says I, Kimber the Magnificent. You gotta get a load of this “cozy mystery” thingy. (No idea what that means. But it sounds yummy!)
“What’s up, Kim?” says Mom.
“This Songbird book? It stars Ace the German shepherd. His human sidekick is Private Detective Jax Diamond. I’m goin’ with the dog, okay? Whaddya think?”
Here’s our review:
Just Plain Fun!
This historical romance is quick, clever, and just plain fun! It grabbed me in chapter one and didn’t let go until the final page.
It’s Broadway during the Roaring 20s. Former police officer turned-private detective Jax Diamond and his canine companion, Ace the faithful German shepherd, are surveilling a playwright. Sam Sanders has just written a play for rising songstress Laura Graystone. (Laura and the play are both known as Songbird, so the word has a double meaning.)
When Sam suddenly winds up dead, his death is initially ruled due to natural causes. But his million dollar manuscript is missing.
Something doesn’t smell right to Jax and Ace. Investigating further, Jax uncovers evidence of murder. When additional victims start piling up and gardenias start arriving in Laura’s dressing room sans card, Jax wonders if there’s a link between the playwright and other victims. All are somehow connected to the theater.
Questions abound: Who murdered musical actress Kitty Cooper? Is there a connection between the snooty, wealthy theater owners and the murders? Why did Sam’s wife hire Jax to gather evidence of an affair if she was already planning to divorce him? Why is Sam’s lunch pail missing? What’s up with the anonymous flowers? Is there another target? Is it Laura?
The Golden Age
Rimming with charm and fascinating historical references, Songbird also has a delightful Dashiell Hammett feel to it harkening back to the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. Additionally, alert readers will enjoy piecing together enigmatic whodunit? clues. They’re lightly sprinkled throughout the story and reel you in without giving too much away too soon. Expertly written with pitch-perfect pacing, the story is also structurally sound and lightning quick.
Meanwhile, as Jax is tracking down clues and running down whodunit? leads, he’s also falling for Laura. Hard. The feeling is mutual. But Jack has secrets of his own. Will a visit to an orphanage shed any light on Jax’s past, or muddy the water further?
Bonus points: Vintage photos head each chapter and add a visual dash of panache.
Clever and Captivating
Clever, captivating, and action-packed, this historical romance features slang expressions of the time, a visit to Coney Island, speakeasies, jazz, and an agile, engaging plot that’ll have you turning pages until the very end. Indeed, Jax Diamond and Ace are so much fun, they may be habit-forming.
We hear there’s another Jax and Ace book in the works. I’d keep an eye out ‘fize you. Cuz these two are going places!