Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Scoop by Kit Frazier

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Scoop by Kit Frazier. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Scoop by Kit Frazier

Scoop by Kit Frazier
A Cauley MacKinnon Mystery
Midnight Ink (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0-7387-0915-8 (0738709158)
ISBN-13: 978-0-7387-0915-4 (9780738709154)
Publication Date: September 2006
List Price: $13.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Banished to the "death page" at the Austin Sentinel after sleeping with her boss, Cauley MacKinnon is eager to shed her shameful title as the Obituary Babe and put her new journalism degree to good use. When her childhood friend Scooter Barnes, exotic pet store owner and former Dallas Cowboy, threatens suicide, she sneaks into the crime scene and manages to talk him out of it. But Scooter is later found dead and everyone -- a hot FBI agent, a menacing one-eared maniac, the Argentinean mafia, and a flirtatious customs agent -- wants the scoop on what he told Cauley in his last hours.

Up to her eyelashes in dead bodies, Cauley gets mixed up in a Texas-sized hunt for Scooter's killer and also manages to fall for a couple of cuties involved in the murder case.

Review: Kit Frazier's debut mystery, Scoop, introduces Cauley MacKinnon currently working as the obituary editor for an Austin newspaper but looking for her big break as a news reporter.

She may get her scoop sooner than she thinks when Scott "Scooter" Barnes is found dead after two unsuccessful suicide attempts. Cauley doesn't believe he actually killed himself, but there's no real evidence to think he was murdered. Cauley's persistence, however, pays off when she's able to connect the importation of exotic animals from South America with events that took place decades ago and that someone is willing to keep secret at all costs.

Frazier appears to be trying to appeal to readers of "chick lit" by having Cauley state in the opening paragraph of the book, "Sometimes I think the only things standing between me and certain doom are instinct, pure dumb luck, and a kick-ass hairdresser." But the label doesn't strictly apply to what follows. True, Cauley is pursued by two eligible, handsome bachelors, one good for her and one not (both of whom will no doubt play recurring roles in the future). And she spends way too much time thinking about her underwear. And yes, there is the requisite cat. All this and a cover prominently featuring stylish high-heeled shoes just screams "chick lit". But Scoop is also a serious mystery with dramatic and suspenseful elements that are well interwoven to the plot. The only significant lapses in logic have to do with the backstory behind the murder, though they don't stretch the imagination so much that they detract from the appeal of the mystery.

Kit Frazier has created a smart, independent, strong-minded woman to be the heroine of her series, and with Scoop has written a solid mystery that should appeal to a wide range of readers.

Special thanks to Book Trends for providing an ARC of Scoop for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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