Reviewed by: Sooz
Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words
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Morse is a California resident who writes mysteries. One of her novels was a quarterfinalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards.
Clancy Parker is a private detective by day and is in a rock n’ roll band by night. Her mother – who is part of the rich crowd – refers her to a woman who has lost a precious, expensive necklace. Clancy has to figure out what happened to the necklace as she navigates the life of the upper class, including mixing it up with a sexy psychiatrist, who seems to be at the center of it all, in the process.
Clancy Parker is a likeable character. She's a private detective who plays in a rock n’ roll band. One of her best friends is a spunky 70-year-old who is also her landlord.
P.J. Morse's set up of Heavy Mental is great. The case is plausible with fringe characters getting enough face time to enjoy their presence – and even want to learn more about some of them.
However, midway through the book, it unravels. Clancy has taken a case for a rich socialite who has lost a $2 million necklace she intended on giving her psychiatrist to auction for charity. The woman also wants to know why some of her maids keep disappearing.
Clancy’s investigation doesn’t gain much traction until she goes on a stakeout. However, it doesn’t go as planned, but she still makes her greatest breakthrough in the case and we catapult toward the end. The book went from a semi-relaxed whodunit to an all-out crazy fight in the middle of a San Francisco Giants game.
When it comes to mysteries, I prefer a good mix of action rather than someone sitting around asking questions all day. You definitely get plenty of action in Heavy Mental. However, it just seemed to go from 0-60 in such a quick turn that it was a little startling.
Morse does a good job of keeping the book light-hearted and adding in humorous elements.
Morse describes her writing style as not your grandmother's cozy -- and it certainly is not. I actually liked – and wanted to like – this book. However, Clancy's turn into a gun-toting superwoman who brings her friends into the fray took me back. The other issue I had with Clancy was that she had taken on the case for the rich woman but then took on her husband as client who wanted Clancy to watch and report everything his wife was doing. I had issues with the clear conflict of interest.
This was the first book in a series of Clancy Parker mysteries with the second already published. While the story didn’t live up to what I hoped it would be, I do plan to continue the series – that’s how much I liked the characters.
This is the first book in the Clancy Parker Mysteries.
Rating: *** Three Stars