Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Series Review of the Mercy & Elvis Mysteries by Paula Munier

 I have been trying to figure out a way to share all these books I read with you but still include other non-review posts on the blog.  One method I have come up with was to share the reviews for an entire series (or pair) of books in one post.  I will do my absolute best to keep spoilers out of these posts in case you plan to read the books, but there is a slight chance that even the synopsis of a book can give away the result of the previous book. So if you don't want to know anything at all about the later books in a series that might giveaway something in the first book STOP READING NOW!

I have just recently started reading mystery books, Cozy Mysteries in particular, and this series kept popping up on my recommendation list, so I thought I would give it a shot.  This is leans a little more into the regular mystery category and a little less cozy but it still has enough elements to keep me interested.  Lucky for me with this series is it pretty new and I don't have a whole backlist of books to catch up on, so far there are 2 books out and another scheduled for release in March 2021.

 Synopsis: "First in a gripping new mystery series about a retired MP and her bomb-sniffing dog who become embroiled in an investigation in the beautiful Vermont wilderness
It may be the Fourth of July weekend, but for retired soldiers Mercy Carr and Belgian Malinois Elvis, it’s just another walk in the remote Lye Brook Wilderness—until the former bomb-sniffing dog alerts to explosives and they find a squalling baby abandoned near a shallow grave filled with what appear to be human bones. U.S. Game Warden Troy Warner and his search-and rescue Newfoundland Susie Bear respond to Mercy’s 911 call, and the four must work together to track down a missing mother, solve a cold-case murder, and keep the citizens of Vermont safe on potentially the most incendiary Independence Day since the American Revolution.

A Borrowing of Bones is full of complex twists and real details about search-and-rescue dog training that Paula learned through the training of her own dog. With its canine sidekicks and rich, dramatic story, this debut will be a must-have for mystery fans."

My Review: In my search into the new to me genre, Cozy Mysteries, this book kept popping up in my recommendations. Of course with a dog on the cover, how could I resist? Then you add in a female Army MP and I am there. I really enjoyed Mercy, she is a strong character, but clearly has a soft quiet side. Then you add in the mystery of a baby found in the woods, and I am hooked. I could not put this book down, with every twist and turn in the story, it hooked me more and more. I found it completely entertaining how the dogs are characters of their own in the story. This is exactly the type of book I am looking for, a bit of a dark story but some light entertaining moments, a touch of romance and a lot of interesting twists. I did figure things out before the end of the book but it wasn't much. I have now purchased both books in the series (diving into the second here very soon) and pre-ordered the 3rd book!

My Rating: I absolutely loved this book, I loved the characters and the story and the mystery was intriguing and multi-leveled.  I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag!


Synopsis: "Former Army MP Mercy Carr and her retired bomb-sniffing dog Elvis are back in Blind Search, the sequel to the page-turning, critically acclaimed A Borrowing of Bones

It's October, hunting season in the Green Mountains--and the Vermont wilderness has never been more beautiful or more dangerous. Especially for nine-year-old Henry, who's lost in the woods. Again. Only this time he sees something terrible. When a young woman is found shot through the heart with a fatal arrow, Mercy thinks that something is murder. But Henry, a math genius whose autism often silences him when he should speak up most, is not talking.

Now there's a murderer hiding among the hunters in the forest--and Mercy and Elvis must team up with their crime-solving friends, game warden Troy Warner and search-and-rescue dog Susie Bear, to find the killer--before the killer finds Henry. When an early season blizzard hits the mountains, cutting them off from the rest of the world, the race is on to solve the crime, apprehend the murderer, and keep the boy safe until the snowplows get through.

Inspired by the true search-and-rescue case of an autistic boy who got lost in the Vermont wilderness, Paula Munier's mystery is a compelling roller coaster ride through the worst of winter--and human nature."

My Review: After inhaling the first book in this series I was really excited to pick this one up. This was definitely a much more intricate story with lots of twists and turns. I still really enjoyed the story and love Mercy, Elvis, Suzie Bear and Troy but struggled a bit to stay focused on this one. I like the shift in seasons from the first book, the added risk and danger of hunting season and dropping temperatures was a great addition. I think the main reason I struggled was because of how Henry was treated, the constant pushing him beyond his abilities and the lack of parental care. I couldn't imagine letting anyone but family take care of my son after a traumatic experience. Beyond that element, we are definitely led down a twisted path of personal relationships and high society. It was a puzzle that wasn't easy to solve and it didn't fully come together until the end. I am still really enjoying this series and have pre-ordered the next book for next year!

My Rating: This was a very busy book with a lot of different levels to the story and a few different mysteries in play.  I found it a little difficult to focus on the story, it didn't draw me in quite the way the first book did.  I am hoping the future books pull me in again.  I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.


Series Review and Rating: The first book in the series really sucked me in, I loved the small town feel, the touch of romance, the addition of the dogs and the way the story played out, I enjoy being able to figure out the mystery just before the character does but not too early and this book did that for me.  After consuming the first book in a single day, I was excited to dive into the second book.  I really struggled to stay focused on Blind Search, it may have been because I was reading it during a high stress and extremely busy time but I also really struggled because of the story itself.  I was not thrilled with the way Henry was treated. Also, this book had a lot going on, relationships that are twisted around each other for decades and multiple mysteries taking place. I still enjoyed it, just not as much as the first book.  Overall I give the series a rating of Three Paws and a Stump Wag and I am looking forward to continuing the series.

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