Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Review: Sandra Balzo's New Series A Winner!

Caucasian male wearing a red shirt and suspend...Image via Wikipedia
"The man's wearing a blaze-red shirt--"
"Vermilion," AnnaLise interjected."..
Chuck looked skyward.
"What?" Annalist protested. "It's still deep red, just with an orangish--"
Running on Empty

A Main Street Mystery

By Sandra Balzo

I had to add this lovely picture of Sandra--I can just imagine her creating her new character, a news reporter, AnnaLise Griggs, who is going to be interrupting and correcting all the other characters, as she does above...

Or writing the dialog for Mama and Daisy as they shared their secrets as best friends...

LOL, you are right Sandra, it is funny for readers. I'm not so sure about how your other characters put up with it though...

I enjoyed meeting Maggy Thorsen in A Cup of Jo (See My Review), which is the latest book in Sandra Balzo's Maggy Thorsen Mysteries, but I loved meeting the new characters in Running On Empty, the first book in Balzo's new Main Street Mystery Series.

Running on Empty (Main Street Murders)AnnaLise Griggs has come back home when she received a call that, in working with a blood donor, her mother made a mistake and took extra blood (3 pints!) from Mrs. Bradenham. She has also had some other moments that have concerned Dr. Stanton--in fact he said that Daisy "might not be quite right."

Now I should quickly point out that Mama is the owner of the Main Street restaurant and all the patrons call the present owner Mama...

AnnaLise calls her mother Daisy, although that's not her real name.

There seemed to always be some type of trouble going on in Sutherton, North Carolina, people being drowned in Lake Sutherton and other events that occur in towns where there are many visitors on vacation or sightseeing, but this time it involved her mother so AnnaLise left immediately for a long weekend to find out what was going on.

Of course, AnnaLise went immediately to the restaurant upon arrival in town. There you will quickly see the atmosphere and quality of discussions that are routinely going on in this small town. Of course, the first thing offered is food! Mama is not a creative cook, but she does follow recipes making them into scrumptious treats, leaving the main ingredient name the dish--Baker's German Chocolate Cake or Bacardi Rum Cake...

Anyway...AnnaLise quickly found out her mother was not expecting her. But she seemed quite logical as she explained that she had made a mistake and would not even accept its being an accident. Sooooo, most of the time, her mother seemed fine. But not always--and when AnnaLise saw what happened, she knew it would be longer than a weekend that she would be staying.

Finding her old friends again was fun though, Bobby, whose mother was the individual who had too much blood removed, was fine and was quickly forgetting it ever happened. Bobby, who had been a good friend of AnnaLise quickly brought her up to date, while Chuck who was now in the Sheriff's Office was still as good looking as ever, but unfortunately took the time to announce to AnnaLise that he was gay. Bummer...

It was with Sheree Pepper, her close friend, that she discussed the possibility of her mother's Alzheimer's or a vitamin deficiency, noting that her behavior was "downright spooky."

Of course, danger arrived. Rance Smoakes had been found on the beach dead. Dickens Hart was wounded, but was with AnnaLise at the time--could it have been her the individual had been aiming for? Interestingly, in addition to Chuck's having come out, it was also now openly being discussed that Bobby was the son of Dickens Hart and that he had purchased the home for he and his mother many years ago.

Actually, there were quite a few secrets that had been kept for many many years that were now coming out.

But when AnnaLise is seriously hurt by someone pulling a garage door down on her. And they find what was used in one of the murders in their garage, there was fear that Daisy was going to be blamed. After all, there were times she didn't seem to remember what had happened or where she had been. There was no way that AnnaLise, a crime reporter, was not going to conduct her own investigation and clear her mother!

Balzo has created a fun set of characters that are uniquely individual but small-town close neighbors, caring about those that live there in town and putting up with the visitors who help them make their living. Dickens Hart, a supposed playboy millionaire seems to be at the center of many of the problems, or is he? Flushing out the old connections between town members now, after so many years, does indeed lead to sadness and anger...but also to new relationships? Hopefully, this series will be around for awhile! I thoroughly enjoyed Running on Empty.

I purposely didn't include earlier that Dickens Hart had commissioned AnnaLise to work with him as a collaborator to create his memoirs... This, a man, who ran a version of the Bunny Club in NC, called the White Tail Lodge (and, yes, the girls wore white tails)...just imagine the possibilities for future stories!

Book Received Via
Bostick Communications


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