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December is the Blues
Radio host, Miss Nora, struggles with hot flashes, bad bosses, and life in general. She manages pretty well when she can get out of her own way. And she’s at her best when she has a case to solve. In this one, Nora assists Detective Gus Chestnut untangle the mysterious murder of an environmental activist in Buscando, a fictional county on California's Central Coast. In the course of the investigation, Nora and Gus run into an assortment of local characters, including an alcoholic ex-girlfriend, a homeless man, owners of a local development company, a loudmouth parrot, a Mexican immigrant nanny, and a missing falconer.
Set in fictional Buscando County, Calif., Keeney’s promising series launch introduces an unconventional amateur sleuth, earthy, menopausal Miss Nora North, who has a love for hard drinking and the blues. When an environmental activist she knows from the radio station where she hosts a late-night show is murdered, Miss Nora uses her connections in the community to assist Det. Gus Chestnut in solving the crime. She also steps up to locate her son’s missing childhood friend, whose meth use and involvement with underground falconry have landed him in trouble. The narrative alternates effectively between the perspectives of Miss Nora, Gus, and various suspects, though the story is at his strongest when it stays close to Miss Nora. Some chapters conclude with a recommended blues song, which loosely mirrors Nora’s state of mind as she pursues her leads. Readers will want to see more of Miss Nora—whose pro bono work ought to earn her a place on the payroll. (BookLife)

Correction: An earlier version of this review misspelled the author's last name.