Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Sinister Sense - Allison Kingsley

A Sinister Sense
A Raven’s Nest Bookstore Mystery
Allison Kingsley
Berkley Prime Crime


Before I start the latest book in a series, I find it helpful to look over my review of the previous book(s) to refresh my sieve-like memory.  In my review of the first book, MIND OVER MURDER, I mentioned that Clara Quinn has something the family calls the Quinn Sense, but that this could be easily explained as intuition or common sense.  Not this time!  This time, the Quinn Sense is paranormal, front-and-center, and includes hearing voices and possibly understanding animals, too.  With that said, this series has moved firmly into the ranks of paranormal mysteries.
Clara moved back to her touristy Maine hometown about a year ago, after a bad breakup.  She works for her cousin, Stephanie at her book store, The Raven’s Nest.  Stephanie has always been very interested in all things paranormal and wishes she’d also been blessed with the Quinn Sense.  Clara tries to explain that it’s not an on-demand, reliable resource, but Stephanie still yearns for it.  The Sense failed Clara rather spectacularly in regards to her breakup, and she’s only now considering dating again.  And that’s only because Rick Sanders, who owns the hardware store across the street has been waging a low-key but consistent campaign to get her to go out with him.
All of this takes a serious back seat when the police find a dead body in the bed of Rick’s pickup truck.  The truck was parked in front of his house at the time, and the weapon used was a hammer from Rick’s store.  If Rick’s a killer, he’s really bad at covering his trail.  Clara knows that Rick is no murderer.  That’s not only personal judgment talking, the Quinn Sense agrees completely.  Since the police are being pressured by the mayor into making a quick arrest, and Rick seems to be the only suspect, Clara and Stephanie decide to put on their detective hats again.
This second installment is even better than the first.  Clara and Stephanie have been close since childhood, and their relationship seems very realistic.  This time around, they both seem like grownups who take calculated risks to try to save Rick from going to prison.  Adding to the fun is Tatters, the dog who once belonged to Rick but now lives with Clara and her mother.  The domestic scenes between mother, adult daughter, and dog, expand the characters and seem utterly true.  My only quibble is that the case is wrapped up in a whirlwind finale that feels too quick and pat.  Still, this is a fun addition to what is shaping up to be a very solid series.  I’ll be happy to follow Clara and Stephanie (and Tatters) on future adventures.
Rating: 7
July 2012
ISBN# 978-0-425-25141-8 (paperback)


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