Reviewed by: BigAl
Genre: Woman Sleuth/Mystery
Approximate word count: 40-45,000 words
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Texan LB Clark likes to combine her love of writing with her love of music. We previously reviewed a short story anthology, Music Speaks, that she compiled and edited along with being one of the contributors. Her now completed Jukebox Heroes series has characters with musical ties and are hard to pin down as far as genre with a touch of contemporary fantasy and a little mystery as my best shot at describing them. This book is the first of her “Hollywood Knight” series, which takes characters from the Jukebox Heroes series in a different direction. They have some magical powers (the contemporary fantasy part of the previous series), but the focus is more on the mystery with those elements taking a back seat.
“After the loss of her friend and former lover, Jenny Marshall decides to trade her old life in northern Florida for a new one on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Even though she's been in L.A. for a few months, she's still adjusting to the city and her new cadre of misfit friends, including her new roommate, Seth Webber, who happens to be not only her high school crush but also the front man for Tangled Web, one of the hottest rock bands on the planet.
On top of everything else, Jenny lands her first case as a licensed California detective before she even has a chance to unpack. A twenty-year veteran of the world of private investigations, Jenny is good at what she does--maybe even one of the best. Still, the missing persons case she finds herself embroiled in presents some unique challenges...and eventually leads her down a path she'd once sworn to herself she'd never follow.”
What I liked most about Smoke and Mirrors falls into three main categories.
First, is the obvious genre assignment. My reading diet has always leaned heavily toward suspense, thriller, and mystery, and the private investigator story is a popular mystery subgenre. Whatever appeals to me in mysteries (primarily trying to figure out how the clues fit together) was here and well done.
Second, is the characters. I found it easy to get invested in what happened to them. (That some of them are musicians and that I’m a sucker for books that involve anyone in the music business was a bonus.)
Third, is the cross genre aspect. This book (the first in a new series) is using characters from Clark’s Jukebox Heroes series, which is contemporary fantasy. Some of them have magical powers which don’t figure heavily in the story here, but come into play just enough to spice things up, taking this beyond “just a mystery.” It’s a combination I like.
Some adult language.
No significant issues
Rating: **** Four stars