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A Reader's Opinion: MURDER ON HIGHWAY 2 by Emma Pivato



A READER'S OPINION

Emma Pivato is a Canadian author who writes "cozy mysteries" a popular mystery genre that shuns graphic violence, sex, and profanity. It is quite popular amongst young adult readers and mature ones alike.

MURDER ON HIGHWAY 2 is book number 5 in the Claire Burke Mystery series and while one need not have read the previous titles in the series, it certainly helps in familiarizing oneself with the various characters in Claire's ever-widening circle of friends and family. In book #5, Hilda Boaz' husband Gary and her mother Marion are killed in a motor vehicle accident on Highway 2 (the setting is Edmonton, Alberta). Devastated, Hilda turns to alcohol, takes time off work, disconnects her phone, and puts a Do Not Disturb sign on her door. She simply cannot cope with the double loss in her life.

While the Edmonton Police believe the deaths were the result of an accident, Claire, ever interested in getting all the facts and looking for opportunities to solve a mystery, thinks otherwise when it was discovered by forensics that the driver of the van that hit them was wearing a crash helmet! This motivates Claire to get her team together to follow leads that the police have not investigated yet, such as a biker's clubhouse, pulling encrypted files off a PC and so on. The team meets regularly to hash out issues and discuss findings so that everyone is on the same page. A lot of tea and cookies are consumed.

Some of the story involves some suspension of reality on the reader's behalf, but MURDER ON HIGHWAY 2 is a good story, and it is not centered around any one character in particular. In fact, Claire does not really make an appearance until well into the storyline. Ms. Pivato does not go too deeply into social issues like depression, coping with the loss of a loved one and living with disabilities, but she is a compassionate writer who writes in an easy to read, conversational and sometimes informative way. Some potential roadblocks to the story are solved in an all-too-easy manner (like getting passwords to encrypted files a little too easily) and there are too many exclamation points in the dialogues for my liking, but if you are a fan of cozy mysteries, you are sure to like MURDER ON HIGHWAY 2, if not the entire Claire Burke Mystery series.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars | Content Rating: 1 Heart | Reviewed by: James Fisher

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BOOK SYNOPSIS

When Hilda’s husband, Gary, and her mother, Marion, are killed on their way to the airport, it seems like a tragic accident. But Hilda’s friends, Claire, Tia, Gus and Amanda, suspect otherwise.

They are particularly upset by the death of Marion and are determined to find her killer. Marion had worked hard, along with the rest of them, to buy and organize a home for her autistic nephew, Bill, Tia’s sister-in-law, Mavis, and another young man, Roscoe, who had all come to Edmonton from a Calgary institution for people with developmental disabilities.

Claire’s Aunt Gus begins the action by fishing for possible suspects at Gary’s business. There she bumps into an old friend who becomes an invaluable asset to their group. Slowly some important clues emerge thanks to another new group member, Matthew, the 16 year-old, computer-savvy grandson of Tia’s neighbor, Amanda. These clues lead to some tense adventures on a cruise, and dangerous interactions with members of two motorcycle clubs.

But still the group seems no closer to finding Marion’s and Gary’s killer and Inspector McCoy and Sergeant Crombie are also stymied. Then Tia’s baby is born and while visiting her at the hospital Claire comes across the first glimmerings of an answer.

Genre: Contemporary Cozy Mystery | Pub Date: March 23, 2016 | Page count: 190pp | Publisher: Cozy Cat Press

Format Read: E-Book | Source: Provided by the author or publisher

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