Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Mystery Book Review: The Clockwork Teddy by John J. Lamb

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of The Clockwork Teddy by John J. Lamb. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Clockwork Teddy by John J. Lamb

The Clockwork Teddy by
A Bear Collector's Mystery with Brad and Ashleigh Lyon

Berkley Prime Crime (Mass Market Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-425-22429-5 (0425224295)
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-22429-8 (9780425224298)
Publication Date: October 2008
List Price: $6.99

Review: Brad and Ashleigh Lyon return to their former hometown of San Francisco to exhibit their hand-crafted teddy bears (and investigate a murder or two) in The Clockwork Teddy, the fourth mystery in this series by John J. Lamb.

Brad was once a San Francisco cop who was forced into retirement after being shot in the leg. He and his wife Ashleigh moved to the Shenandoah Valley in , together collecting and creating whimsical teddy bears. They return to the city by the bay to attend the Teddy Bear Flag Republic, but also to visit their daughter, Heather, who has followed in her father's footsteps and is a detective with the SFPD, and Brad's old partner on the force, Gregg Mauel. But murder intrudes when Gregg is called to the scene of a murder, accompanied by Brad. A dead body is in the room of a seedy motel and found in the alley, a 2 foot teddy bear robot. Brad helps steer the direction of the investigation to a local firm, Barbeary Coast Bears. The owner's son is a designer of computer games for Lycaon Software and for fun, had combined his expertise of gaming with his father's knowledge of teddy bears resulting in the robot. But there's commercial interest in the robot with one firm having paid $400,000 for the prototype. When a man from Lycaon is shot, and the cash stolen, Gregg and Brad are determined to solve the crimes ... and is it possible the teddy bear robot may be able help?

Books about teddy bears may bring to mind cute, early chapter readers, but The Clockwork Teddy is a strong mystery albeit written with a light touch. The bear names, for example, are fun and truly ingenious. But the best aspects of the story are the well-developed characters and the carefully plotted mystery that cleverly incorporates the theme of the series. Brad and Ashleigh are a delightful investigative team who play off each other's strengths very well. The plot twists are not overly complicated and consistent within the context of the story with readers likely to be kept guessing at the outcome right until the final pages. The Clockwork Teddy is really an exceptional mystery and highly recommended.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Clockwork Teddy and to Penguin Group for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Sometimes you shouldn’t go home again. Brad and Ash have returned to for the first time since moving to the Shenandoah Valley and their visit has suddenly turned ugly. While attending a teddy bear show, they witness a robbery and then have a menacing encounter with an ex-SFPD cop with an ax to grind against Brad. That night, a man is murdered at a seedy motel and Brad’s former partner doesn’t quite know what to make of the unique teddy bear left at the scene. Although they’re on vacation, Brad and Ash offer to share their fur-ensic expertise…especially since it will give them the opportunity to work with their daughter, Heather Lyon, an undercover detective on the force.

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