Review of On Deadline and Under Fire by Amanda M. Lee

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There’s nothing Avery Shaw loves more than a challenge … at least when it comes to tracking down a story. The challenge she’s facing this time is the one thing she might not be able to overcome, though.
Vacation. That’s right, not only is Southeastern Michigan’s busiest reporter off work for a week … but she’s also on the receiving end of a visit from her boyfriend’s mother.
Eliot Kane is tough as nails but he’s obviously nervous about the two most important women in his life crossing paths. The fact that he’s nervous makes Avery agitated … and she worries about very little other than who she can upset and how quickly she can make her enemies cry.
As luck would have it, Avery stumbles on a story when she should be enjoying her time off. A high-rise apartment fire leaves one dead … and ties to organized crime are abundant. The only thing Avery knows about the mob is what television and movies have taught her. That doesn’t mean she’s not keen to learn.
Avery is in a pickle. She has to uncover the motives behind a murder, get her boyfriend’s mother to like her without losing herself, and keep her family out of trouble even though they’re sniffing around and causing mischief. Oh, and she has to pull it all off without melting down or letting Eliot know what she’s up to.
Things are about to get wacky and dangerous in Avery’s world. She wouldn’t have it any other way … even if it ultimately kills her.

 

Available on Amazon and through Kindle Unlimited.

 

This is Book 13 in the Avery Shaw mystery series.  It can technically be read as a standalone but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Some things I liked:

  • Avery and her friends are up to their usual antics.
  • Avery is interested in making a good impression on Elliot’s mother.  She may be going about it in the wrong way, but it’s nice to see her care about what someone else may need for a change.
  • Elliot doesn’t want her to change.  She tries to change little things about herself to make a better impression on Eliot’s mom but he’s having none of that.  Avery is a take it or leave it kinda gal, and one that he’s happy to take.  It’s sweet.
  • One of the funniest bits for me is the ‘lie pact’.   Avery is given a set amount of lies she’s allowed to tell and will face dire consequences if she breaks the agreement…. vegan-ism!!!
  • The series resident gangster, Andre, is back to provide some tips.
  • There’s a hidden speakeasy!!! And I love the description of it!

 

Some things I didn’t like:

  • I would have liked to see more of Jake’s new love interest, Lauren.
  • Same jokes and same attitudes towards the same ppl with same ending… e.g. Avery provoking Tad only to have Elliot show up; and getting into the same arguments with her cousin’s girlfriend.  That needs some shaking up.

 

The mystery: Mobsters and mob activities get featured this time, and Eliot is convinced Avery simply likes saying the word mobsters. I would have enjoyed a bit more history and depth to that aspect though.  Perhaps even a villain who could re-emerge in later stories. There weren’t too many red herrings and it was more a matter of figuring out motives than culprits.  The end is also rushed and I never got the sense of Avery really ‘solving’ anything so maybe I would have liked a bit more on that too.

The strength of this book lies in the recurring characters and their relationships. Finally meeting someone from Elliot’s family was fun, and it was entertaining to see his mother  and Avery try to figure each other out.  As a story, it’s not one of the series’ best but the recurring characters make for a good read for readers of the series.

Overall I enjoyed this story but would have liked some more meat on the mystery.

I give this book 3.5/5 fiery shots.

3.5 Shots

 

 

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