Monday, May 21, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Blood Matters by Taffy Cannon

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

Blood Matters by
A Roxanne Prescott Mystery

Perservance Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-880284-86-3 (1880284863)
ISBN-13: 978-1-880284-86-5 (9781880284865)
Publication Date: April 2007
List Price: $14.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Everybody loved adoption guru Sam Brennan, a compulsive collector who made his life’s work the creation of adoptive families and the reunion of birth relatives—until somebody beat him to death with a statuette of Michael Jackson. Homicide Detective Roxanne Prescott takes on the baffling murder and looks for answers in Brennan’s contradictory past, among the women who loved him, and in the business deals that formed the framework of his rags-to-riches life and death.

Review: After a nearly 7 year absence, Taffy Cannon brings back Roxanne Prescott in Blood Matters, the second mystery in this series featuring the San Diego homicide detective.

The wealthy community of Rancho Santa Fe is known for its horse ranches, orchards, and massive homes. It isn't known for murder, and when one of its residents is brutally killed, the San Diego Sheriff's Department is assigned to the case. Sam Brennan, a self-made millionaire, was the founder of Adoption Central, an organization that not only arranged adoptions but reunited birth parents and their children, was found beaten to death. As Roxanne and her team probe his murder, they uncover an unusual fact: Sam Brennan was dying of cancer and had only a few months to live. Why would someone risk killing Sam when he had so little time left?

There are no shortage of suspects, from ex-wives and current lovers to business associates and clients. Cannon deftly handles all these characters well giving each a potential motive for wanting Sam dead then providing them with alibis for the time of the murder. An inveterate collector of the sometimes arcane and obscure, Sam's home was filled with objet d'art that the author cleverly uses as clues that eventually point to the killer.

Towards the end of the book, Roxanne summarizes all the suspects on a whiteboard for review. With so many characters, it's unrealistic to expect readers to remember each and every one. Yet with this simple act, so rarely practiced by today's mystery authors, Cannon allows readers to participate in the denouement instead of just following along.

After such a terrific setup and delivery, the identity of the killer is a bit of a disappointment if only because it is, ironically, so predictable (alibi notwithstanding). This objection, however, is a relatively minor point in an otherwise outstanding mystery.

Special thanks to Perseverance Press for providing a copy of Blood Matters for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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