A Deadly Combo

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
280 Pages
Reviewed on 09/19/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

A Deadly Combo by Karen A. Phillips is a Rocky Nelson Boxing Mystery. Raquel, aka Rocky, has trained in boxing for years with the help of family friend Cutter and is confident that she can face anything thrown her way, except perhaps her own demons. When her sister Bridget returns with her new husband, Rocky pays her a visit to check out her new trailer and quickly learns that her sister hired a professional restorer to fix up the place. When the restorer is found dead soon after Rocky meets him, she worries that this could come back on her family and soon learns that Bridget has caught the attention of the local police. Determined to prove her sister’s innocence, Rocky begins her own investigation with the help of her father, though she quickly butts heads with Detective Thompson.

Rocky is a great character. She’s well-rounded with multiple layers to her that include sleuthing, boxing, familial relationships, and inner demons. These qualities make her instantly likable and relatable in how she closes herself off and handles the issues in her life. Each character that surrounds her helps to draw out one of these aspects of her personality. Her dynamic with Detective Thompson has a hint of rivalry as she goes against him, which gives humor to the story. Her familial relationships are the most important ones in her life with her father and her trainer being two influences that guide her. Scenes with each of them are so rich and rewarding, each time revealing something about Rocky as a character.

Karen A. Phillips specifically focuses on the relationship between the two sisters which is at the heart of the mystery and what drives Rocky forward. Their dynamic is realistically portrayed as they’re total opposites and each faces family demons that still have a presence in their lives. Phillips explores a variety of emotions with Rocky as she’s struggling to deal with past pain and hurt feelings that still impact how she reacts to situations and deals with her sister. The mystery takes them into trailerfest which is a fun backdrop to the story and helps to give the cozy aspect to it. A Deadly Combo is a delightful read with incredible characters that feel fully formed from their personalities to their dynamics and effectively draw you into this world.