The Opal Fire: A Stacy Justice Mystery, Book 1 by Barbara Annino
Book Description: Stacy Justice is just your average green-eyed, redheaded, twenty-something witch who would rather focus on her job as a reporter than practice the crazy magic her grandmother and great-aunts are into. She’s perfectly content to spend her free time hanging with her cop boyfriend and her gassy Great Dane and helping her cousin Cinnamon run the Black Opal bar. But when the Opal goes up in flames, Stacy may need that magic after all.
The blaze was arson–and Cinnamon is the prime suspect. Determined to clear her cousin’s name, Stacy digs deep into the crime and makes a shocking discovery amid the rubble. It’s clear someone wants her dead–and she’ll have to dodge everything from angry motorists to exploding chickens to survive. It’s time to dust off her so-called magic skills. But will they be there when she needs them?
With its strong, sexy heroine and her razor-sharp wit, and its collection of eccentric small-town characters, Opal Fire introduces a bewitching new mystery series.
My Review: This is a charming little mystery. It possesses all of the characters that these kind of mysteries do. We have the heroine Stacy Justice who does in fact show us her razor sharp wit from time to time. What I didn’t like about her was that she didn’t always use that razor sharp wit. She makes a lot of really silly mistakes that were frustrating to read about over and over. I think this may be a case of trying to shove a character into a story or it may be the other way around. Either way this book doesn’t take itself too seriously so I’m willing to give it a pass.
The townspeople are eccentric and, may I say, some are a little creepy. There is the guy that follows her around for a while and a patron of the bar is a newspaper hoarder. I’m still not sure if the grandma and aunts were creepy or charming. One aunt needs to be drunk to function and one dresses in ball gowns made of taffeta for example. I can tell you one thing, I hate the chief of police boyfriend. Anyone who puts me in holding cell without charging me with a crime better watch out. If a boyfriend were to do it, well, he better move to another country hoping and praying that I forget he exists.
There is a general lack of positive relationships in this book. Cousin Cin is back on with her cheating husband. Stacy’s father died when she was a kid and her mother took off never to be heard from again. Her grandparents decide to go on a couples retreat to get in touch with their feelings. The only problem there is that her grandparents have spent the last thirty years hating each other. Now they’re flirting and wanting to see if they can work things out. The new guy at the office is creeping around and breaking into Stacy’s office. He is a different creepy guy then the one I mentioned above. Oh and her boss is slightly afraid of her. All of that said she has a great relationship with cousin Cin and the Great Dane that Cin gave to her. Don’t worry some of the relationships work themselves out.
The plot was actually good. It begins with cousin Cin’s bar being torched. Cin is instantly the prime suspect so Stacy sets out to find the real arsonist and clear Cin’s name. Things actually get more interesting when a body is found behind a wall in the bars basement. That was the most intriguing thing for me.
I don’t want to judge this book to harshly. It’s the first in the series and I want to give it a chance. I recently learned a valuable lesson when I read the first book in a series that I have loved for years. Somehow I missed this first book in the quirky series that I have come to love. I still can’t believe it myself. The fact remains, however, that I most likely wouldn’t have read the rest of the series if I had started with the first book. I really hated almost everything about that book. I was actually shocked with how different the main character was compared to the character I know and respect. My point is that the author worked out the kinks and really turned the quirky little mystery series around.
So if you want something lite to read while handing out candy this Halloween then Opal Fire is the book for you. It’s easy to follow and will make you look down at your e reader wondering if you just read what you think you just read. It was quirky enough that I will read the next one.
Arson, murder and general mayhem.
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Background Image: Fire Abstract 1 by Victor Maasilamani (dejure) from freeimages.com