Ah, Avery… this was definitely a fun and intriguing mystery to sink into.
Avery Shaw likes to win. Unfortunately, her single-minded focus on being declared victor tends to get her into trouble. That’s never more true than when she decides to take on her archnemesis Tad Ludington.
With an election coming up, Avery is ready to let her freak flag fly in an attempt to get Tad to show his true colors on television … thus sabotaging his chance at getting into office. That backfires when, after a truly epic meltdown, Tad is shot and left for dead in his own home.
Sheriff Jake Farrell knows Avery isn’t guilty but his belief doesn’t matter when the case is taken away from him and given to the Michigan State Police. The incoming investigator zeroes in on Avery almost instantly … and makes her life a living hell.
In addition to Tad, who is fighting for his life in the hospital, Avery also has to grapple with Eliot’s former employee Fawn, a woman who won’t stop flapping her lips about Avery’s probable guilt … all because she holds a grudge and finally has a platform to express it.
Avery is in a bind. She’s been banned from covering Tad’s attack and the election, and she’s being called a “suspect” on every television station in the state. If she wants to clear her name, she’s going to need help.
There’s little more she loathes than asking for help. She has no choice this time.
Avery has always attracted weirdos. This go-around, those weirdos are going to come to her defense. It’s going to take a motley band of colorful characters to save Macomb County’s favorite intrepid reporter.
Will they be up for the challenge?
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Every fabulous cozy mystery heroine needs a good arch nemesis to antagonize, incite and push them. No one does this better for Avery, the intrepid reporter, than the sleazy politician, Tad Ludington. Throw in a brief and unremarkable college relationship and you can imagine how the fireworks combust when these two go after each other.
But that’s just the issue. Avery thrives on her disruptive and explosive run-ins with Tad. She doesn’t want him dead, but well and alive to continue on as a favourite sparing partner. Not many seem to get that, however, and she’s targeted as the attempted murderer in Tad’s attack.
The mystery to solve is who tried to kill the corrupt want-to-be city counselor. The list of suspects (other than Avery) is quite long. There’s the soon to be ex-wife, employees, opposing politicians and then his blackmail victims too! No one could even accuse Tad of being a good guy. Somany suspects, so many motives, so many delectable theories. Even Tad himself could be guilty of staging the whole thing! Every time I thought I was about to figure it all out, another clue landed and blew my theory out. The constant revelation of clues, red herrings and the snappy dialogue make for a good, interest-keeping pace.
In terms of character development, Avery and Eliot continue to work together, each case bringing them to a new understanding and appreciation of each other. Eliot knows how he wants their future to shape up; and even the skittish Avery finally accepts that he is really in it for the long haul. She surprises herself when she realizes she’s right there with him.
Despite Avery being sidelined at work we still witness her interactions with several of her co-workers, the very very few she likes and especially the ones she doesn’t. There going to be payback for a few people in the upcoming books! I look forward to reading that. I did like that Avery and Devon came to a bit of an understanding (of sorts… kinda) in this one. Ah well, she wouldn’t be Avery if she made too many friends.
Overall, this was a very funny and intriguing story and I can’t wait to see what comes up next for these characters. I give New Media and Old Grudges 4.5/5 espresso shots.