Wedding plans are in full swing in Bloody Mary, Virginia. J.J. Graves is ready to walk down the aisle and start a new life - despite the fact her father is still on the loose, blood money is stashed in her closet, and an unidentified body is missing from her parents' bunker.
But it isn't her personal life that's threatening her chance to say "I Do." It's the remains of a brutally murdered corpse found buried beneath a prize-winning rose garden. And the message attached leaves no bones about it - the body is meant for J.J. The clock is ticking as J.J. and Jack search for a killer before he becomes the ultimate wedding crasher.
©2014 Liliana Hart (P)2015 Liliana Hart
"Pretty good mystery!"
Liliana Hart is one of those authors who writes romance novels as well as mystery/thrillers. Even with the mystery/thrillers there is a strong element of romance novels, but they are also good mysteries. Her mysteries are offbeat, light, and fun and her protagonists are a bit crazy. Hart is also one of the real success stories in self publishing. I reserve listening to her books for just after listening to a really intense and serious thriller.
JJ Graves, the protagonist is a physician, medical examiner, and funeral home operator in Bloody Mary, Virginia. She inherited the funeral home from her parents who were also criminals. In Down and Dirty Graves and her boyfriend and sheriff Jack are preparing for their wedding when the mansion of a locally prominent family burns down with the family and the teen son's girlfriend inside. It turns out to be an arson for the purpose of murder. Down and Dirty is Book 4 in the ongoing JJ Graves series.
"B rating overall..."
I've enjoyed all of this series on audiobook because Laura Faye Smith does an incredible job with J.J. and Jack. I love both these characters and what they each bring to the table in their romantic relationship and their working relationship.
But this book had a few issues...
Note: the cover and story description on this book is TOTALLY wrong. Yes, J.J. and Jack are on the cusp of their wedding, but nothing about the corpse on the cover or the body in the rose garden in the description is right. It's like Liliana Hart wrote an entirely different book, scrapped it, and then rushed to come up with this version. Really odd.
While I thought the suspense was well-done overall (I knew where it was leading for who did it, but couldn't figure out how all the details fit together), it needed more at the end. I had to stop listening to the audio with 15 minutes left and was sure the audiobook wasn't going to be complete (I've had that happen once before) because there was no way to wrap everything up in that amount of time. It was wrapped up, but it wasn't done to the level that I've come to expect from Liliana Hart's novels.
There was a black moment in the novel that seemed to be just thrown in there because that's the way you're supposed to write a book...that's the formula. But it was completely out of the blue, didn't even make sense, and then was resolved with hardly any effort. WTF?
Despite all of these issues, I did still enjoy listening to this audiobook. Like I said before, Laura Faye Smith does brilliant narration. There were sweet moments between J.J. and several of the characters and watching her struggle to balance her job and her prep for the wedding was entertaining as always.
But I understand this is supposed to be the final main book in the series. What about J.J.'s father? What was on those flash drives? There's some discussion of that between her and Ben, but it's not complete. Matilda got fried in the crash....were the flash drives fried too? That tiny epilogue for the wedding...I needed MORE. :( I'm just sad that it feels like Liliana Hart rushed this one to publish when it wasn't quite ready yet....especially if it's the final book.
"The Best Yet"
Every book in this series is better than the one before it. This is a great series. it's a great mix of romance and suspense.
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