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Yasmine Galenorn: Murder Under a Mystic Moon

 

Crescent Blues Book Views Berkely Prime Crime (Paperback), ISBN 0-425-0002-7

Book: yasmine galenorn, murder under a mystic moon.
Emerald O'Brien, owner of Chinz 'n China teashop and town witch, finds herself smack dab in the middle of another murder with supernatural overtones. Her biker friend Jimbo asks for help after a biker buddy, Scar, goes missing. Jimbo believes Scar to be dead but Emerald wonders if he just took off.

The police merely look the other way; those bikers never do anything good, after all. Reluctant to get involved, Emerald does anyway, repaying the favor she owes Jimbo for saving her son's life a few months previously. She and her police detective friend Anna Murray begin doing a little snooping and eventually turn up Scar's very dead body. The lazy chief of detectives writes it off as merely a cougar or bear attack, though the claw marks look too big to belong to either of those creatures.

The town gossip ascribes the killing to the Klakatat Monster, a Bigfoot-like creature said to inhabit the Klickavail Valley near the town. A little psychic detective work puts Emerald in touch with some supernatural forces in the area, very old and very powerful -- and very scary.

Meanwhile, she must fend off the oh-so-fake-and-plastic local newswoman, Cathy Sutton, and her new intern, George Pleasant, a psychic wannabe who wants to eavesdrop on Emerald's tarot readings and learn everything he can about being psychic. But his bratty, spoiled, super-smug demeanor puts Emerald off, and she tosses him out of the store.

Then another bike goes missing, and when Emerald, Jimbo and Murray find it, they also find George sitting right next to it. George winds up in jail as the prime suspect, and Cathy begs Emerald to help clear her cousin's name because no one else will help her. When the Cathy and Emerald head for a shack at the foot of the mountain and a cave leading inside (George's last known whereabouts before being found with the body), they find a whole lot of trouble -- and the Klakatat Monster.

Yasmine Galenorn weaves so many threads into a wonderful story: the murder plotline, the constant struggles of raising two children with no help from her self-centered deadbeat ex-husband, a surprise and secret romance between Jimbo and Murray, her own romance with firefighter Joe, plus the shenanigans of Cathy and George. It seems like a lot to cram into a book only 270 pages long, but nothing feels forced or rushed or inadequately explained.

However, a few more sentences describing events in previous books in this series would help. A couple of references to past situations didn't bring those events to mind, even though I read the previous two books (admittedly, probably a year ago). Still, Murder Under a Mystic Moon makes for a great weekend read, and I look forward to more books in the series.

Jen Foote

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