Sunday, November 9, 2014

First three Hope Street Church Mysteries by Ellery Adams

Image linked from Goodreads
Path of the Crooked
An interesting series from an author whose "Books by the Bay" and "Charmed Pie Shoppe." I was able to get all three from NetGalley. These are updated versions of the author's earlier books printed under the name Jennifer Stanley. Even with the updating though, the language seems stilted and not quite as well-edited as the other series. Oh, and it's religious. Very, very religious (I didn't see the series title "Hope Street Church Mysteries" until after I had downloaded the book. In retrospect, the title is something of a giveaway.)

Cooper Lee's boyfriend has just left her for a woman who bailed him out of jail and then made him go to church (this just struck me as odd). Cooper's family are all church goers (even if her sister goes more to be seen) but they're not pressuring her to join. When a client suggests that Cooper should come and try out the Hope Street Chruch, Cooper agrees to come. The client, Brooke Hughes, is a nice lady who seems to be having a hard day. One that should end better since her husband is coming to pick her up for their anniversary date. So it comes to a complete shock when Brooke ends up murdered and her husband is accused. Even her bible study  group doesn't believe that can be the case. It's the same bible study that Cooper ends up accidentally joining. A group that she helps to figure out who the true killer is.

Image linked from Goodreads
Way of the Wicked
The Hope Street Church bible study is at it again when they decide to help volunteer for a program similar to Meals-On-Wheels. Cooper is excited to help start but she starts to get nervous when she overhears the head of the program talking about some suspicious robberies from various program patrons. Add to that the fact that there have been some mysterious deaths and Cooper's friends have their work cut out for them.

Though I gave them the same rating, I enjoyed the first book slightly more. The ending of this one felt a bit muddled. Also, I didn't feel like the reader had a chance to guess at who the killer really was. Would still recommend the other two Ellery Adams series over this one.

Image linked from Goodreads
While I can't find myself warming to this series as much as the other Ellery Adams books, I think that people who enjoyed the first two books will enjoy this one as well. Do you need to read the first two? I don't think so. This seems to be a good standalone.
In this third book of the series, Cooper, and her family and friends, find themselves at a crossroads. Cooper is torn between two men, one dangerous and new, one comfortable but seeming to move away. Her sister's husband is moving further away than ever in this book. Cooper's friend Trish is going through chemo and another is fascinated by a new woman at their church.
There is, of course, a mystery, but it seems like this book is more about character development than the mystery. Not a bad thing, just something to note.

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