A Molly & Mike Mystery

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
336 Pages
Reviewed on 10/09/2023
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Author Biography

Andre Charles is the pseudonym for Dorothy Leonard and Walter Swap, who started this "Molly and Mike" mystery series with The Bell Tower. Our protagonists are senior amateur sleuths who work with (and sometimes around) local police detectives to solve cases in their retirement community. As Molly and Mike work together to uncover the secrets underlying the crimes, their sometimes rocky relationship develops. We wish to demonstrate the potential older people have for continued service, humor and romance.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite

Overkill by Andre Charles is the second book in the Molly & Mike mystery series. Cactus Heights is a quiet retirement community, but something sinister is lurking. Tom O’Day was a retired judge, healthy, wealthy, and had plenty of friends. When he falls to his death on an outing with the hiking club, Detective Rasmussen deems it suspicious. Mike Landry was following Tom on the hike and noticed he was behaving oddly before his fall, but Rasmussen is pointing the finger at Mike. Together with Molly, Mike needs to clear his name and discover what really happened on that cliff. A burglary at the judge’s house on the day of the hike must factor into their investigation as they solve puzzle after puzzle to get to the truth. When it seems they are out of luck, Molly decides to gamble. Will it be too dangerous, or will it pay off?

Overkill by Andre Charles is a cozy mystery with plenty of action and no small amount of suspense. It’s an easy story to read and follow, with many twists and turns. You’ll have fun following the story and figuring out the real culprit. Although this is part of a series, I read it as a standalone; the characters are well-developed with enough backstory to grasp who they are and what makes them tick. This is a great read for people who love cozy mysteries and amateur sleuth stories; it has a lot of go, a steady tale, and a good, thick plot. If you love puzzles and figuring out the bad guy in a murder mystery, you’ll love this one. It will certainly get your mind ticking.

Kimberlee J Benart

Overkill: A Molly and Mike Mystery by Andre Charles is a cozy murder mystery story featuring Arizona retirees, amateur sleuths, and dating couple, Molly Levin and Mike Landry. Two months after they host a “get to know you” dinner with six fellow residents of their active adult community, one of the attendees, a retired judge, becomes delusional while on a hike with Mike and the others and jumps from a cliff to his death. Mike tells the police that he tried to pull the judge back from the cliff, but a fellow hiker swears that he saw Mike push the judge over the edge. With the police viewing him as the prime murder suspect, Mike and Molly go into full sleuth mode to discover what happened.

In Overkill, Andre Charles gives us an engaging tale that evolves from clue to clue faster than the police can keep up with it. It’s a good thing that Molly and Mike are on the right side of the law. The narrative is descriptive and the plot moves at a comfortable pace, uncovering one surprise after another as the circle of suspicion widens and hitherto long-hidden secrets are revealed. I enjoyed the tenacity of both Molly and Mike in going where the detectives had no interest. Molly and Mike’s romantic relationship is woven into the storyline. Both have issues to resolve before they can move forward. A highly satisfying story and I look forward to more Molly and Mike sleuthing adventures in the future.

K.C. Finn

Overkill: A Molly & Mike Mystery is a work of fiction in the mystery, suspense, and interpersonal drama subgenres. It is suitable for the general adult reading audience with the occasional moment of adult language, and it was penned by author Andre Charles. This cozy mystery novel takes place in the serene retirement community of Cactus Heights, disrupted when retired Judge Thomas O'Day dies in a suspicious cliff fall during a hiking club outing. Mike Landry, who was nearby, becomes the prime suspect. Teaming up with amateur sleuth Molly Levin, they unravel a web of mysteries surrounding O'Day's erratic behavior, a house burglary on the day of the incident, and a potential connection to a car crash that targeted the judge's widow.

Author Andre Charles has crafted an engaging experience filled with intriguing clues and clever plot hooks that kept me hooked from start to finish. The well-crafted plot, intriguing characters, and clever puzzles made for a captivating mystery that unfolded with suspense and unexpected twists, but I’d especially like to highlight the atmosphere and detail of the setting at Cactus Heights, which was a delight and immersed me from the get-go. With this unique backdrop to the investigation in place, Charles utilizes some really stellar dialogue to express the dynamics between Mike and Molly, furthering their relationship, delivering clever banter, and giving us naturally occurring plot clues and surprises at the same time. Overall, Overkill is a delightful mystery that keeps you guessing until the very end, and I would highly recommend it for your next cozy read.

Delene Vrey

What should have been a pleasant hike for Mike and the other hiking club members quickly turned into a nightmare. Retired Judge Tom O’Day had a very bad day and would not see another. To make matters worse, Mike is accused of pushing Tom over the cliff. Now Detective Rasmussen has Mike in his crosshairs as a person of interest in the investigation. While rumors run like wildfire in the Cactus Heights “active adult” retirement community, Mike needs to prove his innocence. Molly is placed in the heart of the mystery as she has to deal with the not too grieving widow as well as the “other woman” in Tom’s life. Molly has the arduous task of cleaning out the personal effects from Tom’s house and happens upon evidence that could point to the true culprit. Molly and Mike are retired and have a knack for solving puzzles. They once again work together, using their knowledge, wit, and expertise from retired professionals to show the youngsters how things are done. Overkill by Andre Charles is an engaging cozy read.

Overkill is the second book in the Molly and Mike series. Writing under the pseudonym Andre Charles, the authors of the series are both retirees, just like Molly and Mike, and reside in Arizona. They know the area, as well as understand the interaction between retirees in a close-knit community such as Sunrise Acres. The author duo has succeeded in creating characters that draw the reader in and hold the reader’s attention. The story develops at a lively pace throwing curve balls that will have the reader shocked at how many suspects there could be in one murder case, as well as to what extent people might go to exact revenge on those they feel have done them wrong. The story addresses topics such as how far a person will go to protect himself from overzealous law officials as well as the impact that crime and punishment have on both the offender and the family they leave behind.

The characters are relatable and come across as authentic. They act within the parameters of their age and situation, which makes the plot believable. The plot highlights that even retired professionals can still teach the younger generations much about being thorough and diligent in their investigations, even showing that old-school methods are sometimes better than the new and improved methods of looking for forensic evidence. It just goes to show that you should never count a pensioner out, especially when their freedom is at stake.

Kristen Van Kampen (Teen Reviewer)

Overkill by Andre Charles is a suspenseful mystery that begins when Judge Tom O’Day falls off a cliff. Mike, who had been hiking with him that day, is soon accused of pushing him but insists he is innocent and that O’Day had been hallucinating and stepped off. He and his partner Molly set out to uncover the truth behind the incident, eventually proving that O’Day had been poisoned. But by whom? Was it O’Day’s soon-to-be ex-wife Audrey, who now inherits everything the judge owned; Conrad Konsinski, a man hiding a serious secret; or Shelley, the judge’s newer, younger partner? The mystery deepens when Molly discovers that the judge’s house has been broken into, and Audrey suffers a car accident driving the judge’s car and insists the car was hacked. Do these incidents connect to the murder, or are they mere coincidence?

Overkill by Andre Charles is an absolute must-read with intriguing mystery and fascinating characters. The book is a real page-turner, with three solid suspects to keep the reader guessing who was behind the murder until the end. The mystery is expertly written, with motives slowly becoming apparent and clues sprinkled throughout the narrative that builds to the grand reveal of the culprit, which is both surprising and satisfying. The characters all felt like real people, which helped to draw me into the story. I liked the depth of Molly and Mike’s relationship and that although they had ups and downs, they cared about each other. I loved that the narrative followed many characters, such as Mike, Molly, the detectives, and Conrad, so I felt I got the whole story instead of just a few sides. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it.