Monday, April 14, 2014

A Vision of Murder by Victoria Laurie

Synopsis: Professional psychic Abby Cooper is planning to fix up an old house and make a killing in the real estate market--until she encounters a killing of another kind....
This Old Haunted House
When Abby gets roped into investing in a fixer-upper, she has no idea she'll go from real estate mogul to real-life ghostbuster. After the deal is closed, phantom inhabitants of the house replay a violent night from long ago that ended in the murder of a beautiful blonde. The only way to evict the house's spectral tenants -- and save Abby's handyman from flying drills -- is to uncover the dead woman's identity and solve her murder.
Aided by her boyfriend, sexy FBI agent Dutch Rivers, Abby discovers the key to the puzzle is a hidden treasure lost since World War II. Unfortunately, Abby's not the only one intent on finding it. As she gets closer to the truth, a madman shadows her every move. Now a race is on to find the treasure and solve the mystery -- and only the winner will survive. ...

My Thoughts: A disappointing cozy despite the addition of paranormal elements that I adore.

What Worked: I very much enjoy books featuring psychic phenomena. I love Jayne Ann Krentz's Arcane Society books. I love Christine Feehan's GhostWalker series. I will even read non-fiction books that talk about the subject! So, thank goodness for Psychic intuition and all things woo-woo because otherwise this book might have turned out to be a complete dud for me. Abby is a professional psychic and her abilities are pretty fascinating. I love her on board lie detector that sing songs the words "Liar Liar pants on fire!" In addition to the enjoyable woo-woo factor I liked the secondary cast of characters even though most of them were over the top caricatures of real people. I especially liked the inclusion of MJ Holliday, who is the star of Laurie's other series. Also, the added history about WWII, Jewish precious gem dealers from the 40s and priceless treasure were all very interesting.

What Didn't work: Abby. Period. She was one of the most, without a doubt, TSTL women I've read about. You'd think she would have a special insight when it comes to avoiding trouble but NOOOOOOO. Abby not only finds herself in trouble repeatedly but she purposely avoids listening to her intuition. She's a freakin' PSYCHIC here people! So why would she go barreling into her home knowing that the person who broke in is STILL THERE? Because she's Too Stupid To Live! Why would she, not only ignore her boyfriend's, (who is an FBI agent) insistence on having someone with her at all times, but purposely sneaks away to be on her own after being assaulted on two different occasions? Because She's Too Stupid To Live!!!!! Now, throw in a large amount of whining, a slur against her boyfriend's mother, vindictive behavior with the sole purpose of causing her boyfriend pain and childish argumental rebuttals (similar to "I know you are but what am I?") and you've got a big reason this book did not work. Now on a side note I did read the first 2 books in the series ages ago and liked them enough to get all the rest of the books in the series.

The Abby Issue aside, the plot also didn't work quite well in this book. Granted the background story about the gems and Nazi's and stolen treasure was all fun but the mystery aspect of who was causing Abby harm was pathetically obvious. There was only one suspect. Not even a red herring was thrown in to mix it up a bit. Not to mention the haunted house subplot that was wrapped up very quickly with no fanfare. In addition to that, I'm wondering if the business that Abby, her sister and her handyman went into together will continue into the next books or if it's sole purpose was to bring in the haunted house as a catalyst to the pathetic mystery within this book.

In A Nutshell: Despite my love of all things woo-woo I just couldn't like this book much more than 2 stars. I'm very character driven in my reading so a TSTL female lead just kills the book for me. BUT even if I were more plot driven this book would still fail. With all that said, I do plan to continue on with the series because I'm really hoping this was just one rotten nut in the mix.
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