Saturday, June 8, 2013

Book review: The Azalea Assault by Alyse Carlson

Roanoke, VA, is a city full of Southern gardens with plenty of azaleas. But now a body has been found in the middle of the blooming azaleas and Camellia Harris is determined to solve the murder. After all, it was Camellia who brought the victim to town. Working as the PR person for the local garden society, Camellia succeeded in having the premier garden magazine do a feature on some of the most beautiful local gardens. The photographer turned out to be famous, but also very obnoxious at the welcoming party. 

available at here

But certainly, that obnoxious behavior was not enough reason to kill him. Or was it? Camellia’s attempts at solving the mystery become more urgent when her brother-in-law is all of sudden suspect number one. As Camellia starts the investigation, she is too late to prevent a further killing, but assisted by her boyfriend Rob, who just happens to be a reporter and hopes for a scoop to make the next headline in the local paper, Camellia sorts out just how many people the photographer really ticked off and who finally said good riddance. 

While the location promises to be the set of a nice Southern charm-inspired mystery novel, the character of Camellia herself may be too much PR for some readers to handle. I understand that a good PR person sometimes has to be in your face to get the story and push the client to the front page, but this character also ends up being a really bad match for this type of mystery story. The character of Camellia introduces an unnecessary and to me unwelcome element of pushiness into the story. Overall, this was just an okay book and will keep you entertained on a holiday. But the author has very many extended dialogue sections in the book that sometimes make it hard for the reader to determine who is talking to whom. Combined with many half-finished sentences in the dialogues, reading through these sections was certainly not my favorite part of the book.

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