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Reviewed by Julia Hopkinson for Readers' Favorite
Brenda Limpert’s debut novel is Blue Martinas, a mystery thriller set in the heavy-drinking, coke-snorting, back-stabbing, movie-making world of modern-day California. Following a dramatic prologue, the story centres on an ostensibly friendly party that actually hides a multitude of sins, simmering tensions, and dirty secrets. It’s Mitchell Reynolds’s 43rd birthday and he has invited a handful of his closest ‘frenemies’ – Julia, Rita, Pauline, Mimi, Kevin and Joshua – to his big house in a stylish gated community. Before you can say ‘bring me another dirty martini’, there’s a dead body on the patio, a star-studded list of potential suspects, and two world-weary homicide detectives at the front door. This is a novel with an interesting format: it doesn’t really concentrate on whodunit, but on why!
Blue Martinas is an entertaining ‘there’s a murderer in the house’ style mystery that really kept me turning the pages. It has an intriguing starting point and continues to surprise or throw you off track with a fine series of twists and revelations. It is structured as a series of very short chapters which makes it an easy read and keeps up the pace and development of the story, although there are a few lengthy, awkward sentences that could be re-written. With the exception of cops Captain Thomas Maly and Lieutenant Doug Dooley, Brenda Limpert has deliberately created a stellar cast of believable but deeply unpleasant characters, each one so disagreeable and manipulative, you kind of hope they will be the next victim! I enjoyed reading Blue Martinas and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys golden-age style mysteries.