Friday, January 30, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Murder in Los Lobos by Sue McGinty

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Murder in Los Lobos by Sue McGinty. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Murder in Los Lobos by Sue McGinty

A Bella Kowalski Mystery

Fithian Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-56474-477-9 (1564744779)
ISBN-13: 978-1-56474-477-7 (9781564744777)
Publication Date: October 2008
List Price: $14.95

Review: Sue McGinty introduces Bella Kowalski, an obituary writer (but hoping to become a reporter) for a central California newspaper in Murder in Los Lobos.

Bella is driving along a coastal highway when another vehicle, a much larger Hummer, tries to force her off the road. Initially she thinks it's because of her very public stance against a new wastewater treatment plant planned for a pristine piece of property in her community. Later when a co-owner of the property is found dead, her car, which was almost identical to Bella's, pushed over the side of a cliff, she isn't so sure. While researching the woman's background for her obituary, Bella discovers she kept a journal. Thinking the journal may yield clues to who killed her, Bella goes undercover to retrieve the information, too late realizing that she may also be risking her life.

Though Murder in Los Lobos is a promising start to this planned series of (at least) three mysteries, it ultimately suffers from a weak, improbable plot and erratic pacing. On the plus side, the author takes care to introduce interesting characters that are well drawn if a little overly complex. It probably wasn't necessary to have such intricate backstories for all the main characters revealed in this first book but it works to a degree because they're extended fairly evenly over much of the story. In contrast, the details of the murder investigation and its resolution are rapidly compressed into much tighter spaces, not all of it in a linear, logical manner. And it's always unfortunate when the central character does little to unmask the killer or discover the reasoning behind the murder, resorting to the simplistic "if I'm going to die anyway, you might as well tell me why you did it" tactic. Still, Bella is an engaging lead in a series that, with stronger plots that actually develop a credible mystery, has the potential for a long(er) run.

Special thanks to Perseverance Press for providing a copy of Murder in Los Lobos for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

Buy from

If you are interested in purchasing Murder in Los Lobos from, please click the button to the right.

Synopsis (from the publisher): Everyone loves Connie Mercado, daughter of a prominent local family. Everyone, that is, except whoever pushed her off the cliff into the Pacific Ocean, ruining a perfect June morning and bringing turmoil to this small Central Coast community.

Bella Kowalski, former nun, now an obituary writer for the local paper and an activist for nature conservancy, knows Connie’s murder had something to do with plans to build a profitable but ill-advised wastewater treatment plant on environmentally sensitive land. And Connie is only the first victim in what becomes a thorny scandal, involving powerful politicos, corrupt local government, greed, family secrets, and skullduggery.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

Return to ...


Post a Comment

Omnimystery Blog Archive

Total Pageviews (last 30 days)

Omnimystery News
Original Content Copyright © 2020 — Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites — All Rights Reserved
Guest Post Content (if present) Copyright © 2020 — Contributing Author — All Rights Reserved