The primary election is almost here and Avery Shaw is in her glory. Her boss has unleashed her on the leading candidates – including two of whom she downright loathes – and Macomb County’s leading reporter (and pot-stirrer extraordinaire) is about to turn the election on its ear.
She just needs to find a story first.
When her nemesis Tad Lancaster loses a volunteer, Avery sniffs out a bigger story … or at least she thinks she does. She has a pile of documents, too many insidious ideas to wrangle, and a long-suffering boyfriend who can do nothing but shake his head.
Avery is determined to find out the truth, even if it doesn’t lead to Lancaster’s downfall. She only has a limited time to do it, too, and the clock is ticking down to election day.
In short order, Avery has to uncover a pile of financial corruption, irritate her co-workers to the point where they don’t want to steal her story, hook her ex-boyfriend up with a new girlfriend, survive family dinner, convince her boyfriend she’s not chasing ghosts but rather something that’s really there, and save Macomb County’s election process for the people.
Oh, she also needs to figure out a way to avoid a baby shower, too.
It’s all in a day’s work for one hard-working and fast-talking reporter. She just needs to survive the final showdown to prove to everyone exactly how superior she really is.
Avery and the gang are back in action for this twelfth book in the Avery Shaw Mystery Series.
Character development: We see continued growth in Avery and Eliot’s relationship. She’s realizing just how much she’s come to love and depend on him- and that that’s okay.
Eliot shifted from one foot to the other, clearly uncomfortable with my serious gaze. “Avery, it’s just a shirt.”
“It’s more than that. It’s a shirt that sums up my attitude in twelve words. You’re the only person I know – and we’re talking about people I’ve known my entire life – who gets me. I just… thank you.”
The T-shirt, which really does sum up Avery:
“I’m a simple woman. I like Star Wars and maybe three people”
But don’t worry, the world’s snarkiest reporter isn’t ready to leave the dark side just yet. She reminds us just how mean she is later on when she bullies and practically blackmails a potential suspect over her parentage (and why she was trying to hide it).
All the secondary characters are back and up to their usual antics. Eliot continues to faithfully bail out his always-finding-trouble girlfriend. Jake continues unsuccessfully to keep Avery out of police business. Cousin Derek and annoying girlfriend Devon continue to push Avery’s buttons. We even spend some time with pregnant best friend, Carly and cousin Lexie as they help in the sleuthing.
The mystery is well-plotted. The murder happens early on in the story and we once again get a varied cast of suspects and motives, most of whom are tied to the Macomb County election. The red herrings are good. I don’t think I was ever able to confidently write off any of the suspects, even the ‘easy target’ one.
My favourite part of this instalment has got to be Jake’s new love interest, Lauren. Twelve books into the series and finally there may be a quality girlfriend for the beleaguered sheriff. She must be perfect for Jake, as Avery picked her after all! I hope it works out as it would be great to see another female sidekick for Avery especially as Carly will soon be busy with a new baby. Lauren’s character so far seems a good mesh with the Eliot-Avery-Jake trio.
My biggest criticism of this story is Avery’s discovery of the documents which play into the murder mystery. It was too arbitrarily found and conveniently done. Usually our fearless reporter has to work a bit harder to land the big clues.
Overall, this was another enjoyable addition to the Avery Shaw mystery series. It can work as a stand-alone but if you’ve read at least a couple of the previous books, you’ll enjoy the inside jokes even more.
I give this story 4/5 espresso shots.
This series is available on Amazon and through Kindle Unlimited.