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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 02/2020
  • 978-1-943654-13-0
  • 206 pages
  • $5.99
Paperback Details
  • 02/2020
  • 978-1-943654-14-7
  • 337 pages
  • $15.95
Hardcover Details
  • 02/2020
  • 978-1-943654-15-4
  • 337 pages
  • $24.95
Murder Bytes
Peri has had enough. She’s closing her business, marrying her detective boyfriend, and settling down to a life of ease–until her brother shows up, accused of a murder he swears he didn’t commit. Now she’s back in the thick of things, investigating the death of an engineer who may have been stealing techno-secrets from other companies. Her relationship with her brother is an icy one, at best, and she struggles with her ambivalence, as well as her desire to leave investigative work behind. Digging around in people’s lives is reasonably easy, but when the bullets start flying, will Peri be able to keep her promise?
Reviews
Carline’s fifth mystery featuring 51-year-old PI Peri Minneopa (after 2016’s A More Deadly Union) is an action-packed venture set in Placentia, Calif., that features a healthy dose of romance and family drama. Peri, rattled by past traumas, has closed her agency and sworn off investigating. Then she receives an unexpected phone call from her estranged older brother, Dev, who woke up in a hotel room next to a dead woman he swears he didn’t kill. Police confirm that the stabbing victim is Tressa Velasco, an electrical engineer who expressed interest in buying a device from Ro-Bet Engineering, where Dev works. When Peri starts pursuing leads, Dev turns himself in and abruptly confesses to the crime, complete with a murder weapon. Unconvinced, Peri becomes more determined to prove her brother’s innocence.

Readers will be drawn to Peri’s spunky personality and independence; she refuses to hide behind her affectionate, protective fiancé, police detective Skip Carlton, even when flashbacks double the stress of car chases and shoot-outs. Along for the ride is her quasi-assistant, Benny Needles, an autistic Dean Martin aficionado who proves to be indispensable during the story’s climax. The interactions between Peri and Benny are heartfelt as well as humorous, though Peri’s well-meaning neurotypical perspective can grate. (“Sometimes I get to the end of my rope with him, then I remember that he’s trying to process things the only way he knows how.”) In contrast, Dev’s relationship with Peri is one-note, and the reasons for their estrangement are unclear.

It’s fairly easy to spot the killer, but readers will appreciate Carline’s effective cliff-hangers and her ability to build truly creepy scenes, especially when Peri unearths sinister secrets in a prime suspect’s home. Carline also puts considerable effort into her depictions of PTSD, OCD, and autism. This is a satisfying mystery that will leave readers eager for Peri’s next investigation.

Takeaway: This entertaining mystery is perfect for readers who appreciate a funny and courageous heroine.

Great for fans of Anne George’s Southern Sisters series, Sue Grafton.

Production grades
Cover: B-
Design and typography: B+
Illustrations: -
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A-

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 02/2020
  • 978-1-943654-13-0
  • 206 pages
  • $5.99
Paperback Details
  • 02/2020
  • 978-1-943654-14-7
  • 337 pages
  • $15.95
Hardcover Details
  • 02/2020
  • 978-1-943654-15-4
  • 337 pages
  • $24.95

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