By The Book Mysteries #1,#2 by Tamara Berry

Buried in a Good Book

I read the first book in the series and enjoyed the narrative style enough to ensure I had the second to read right after. Obviously, I will be reviewing the first independently of the sequel, although my reaction to the second depends on the first.
The title is quite catchy, but it makes more sense for the second book than the first. That is not a spoiler exactly, but when reading them almost back to back, it is something I noticed particularly.
Our series begins with our leading lady dragging her disgruntled daughter with her to her grandfather’s remote shack in a town where she spent a very brief period in her childhood. Tess Harrow is a very well-known name in murder mystery/thriller book circles. She is a method writer who tends to actually experience as much as she can about her books before putting it down in words. She is struggling with writer’s block, and this is one of the primary reasons for her move. There are several secondary ones.
Her arrival is immediately followed by the discovery of a body and the realization that the local law enforcement is almost a carbon copy of her fictional hero.
What follows is a very straightforward amateur solving with a lot of questions directed towards several people before the solution was discovered. There are two main reasons why this book worked for me. The first and central reason was the writing style. This was completely my kind of narrative voice. I appreciated all the characters more, thanks to the way they all interacted. It was funny at times without trying too hard to be flippant at all times (something I am becoming very particular about in recent times). The second was the plot itself. I found the ending completely unexpected and entirely plausible, given the turn of events. The two very rarely work in sync, but it did so here.
I will not go into the details of the case itself because it is not exactly important in the bigger picture of this review. I highly recommend this series to fans of this genre.

On Spine of Death

The second book in the series made me very happy by maintaining all the features that I enjoyed in the first, as well as adding some interesting characters and twists.
Tess Harrow has decided to set down roots. She is laying the ground for a new bookshop in town. I would only recommend reading this after having read the first. Although I am rating this higher than the other, I would not have liked it as much if I had not previously encountered all the main characters in a different situation.
There are also continuing plotlines from the first time, and no time is wasted on reintroducing the people. We carry the previous knowledge with us, and that is the only way to get a better feel for everything happening. Tess unearths bones at her to-be bookshop, and this sets off a chain of events she could not have foretold. A lot of time is spent just being with friends and family, and the random interactions add a spark to the page.
Tess has a new admirer, her daughter has a new vocation, and both have a lot of trouble that they need to solve before they have some peace. There is a very realistic apprehensive and antagonistic behaviour towards Tess, given the location of the bodies and the fact that death seems to have become more frequent since she came onto the scene.
Overall, this adventure was one that I read in a single sitting and am now looking forward to the next – the plotline for which has already been released. I would recommend this series to fans of this genre!
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.


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