DEATH MAKES THE CUT

by: Janice Hamrick              

Publisher: Minotaur Books  

Published: July 17, 2012        

Format: Hardcover (336 pages)      

ISBN: 9781250005540            

Series: A Jocelyn Shore Mystery  

Origin: Publisher through Netgalley (eGalley)

***Though the publisher provides the free book, I offer the opinion.***

My Look:

A single memory played over in her mind as she stared at the body of her mentor, fellow history teacher, tennis coach and friend, Fred Argus.

It all started the day before school. Jocelyn Shore readied her classroom for this year’s group until a loud voice thundered.  In an almost empty building the sound bounced and pinged off surfaces and thwarted attempts to find its source, but Jocelyn was on the hunt to do exactly that. This voice box belonged to one angry parent who came onto the school grounds seeming dead set on an argument, and Jocelyn feared this man’s anger radiated altercation.  Despite several misguided turns, this teacher found the source.  Poor coach Fred wore a panicked look as the bully, disguised as a parent, oozed a venomous rage, and soon Jocelyn was looking into the face of a man who seemed almost ready to pounce.  

Now, she was almost sure the stress from this incident was what killed coach Fred; at least she was until Detective Gallagher started claiming murder and makes a display out of finding drugs in the coach’s filing cabinet.

Determined to clear the name of  her mentor and friend, Jocelyn starts talking to staff, students, and teachers about Fred’s last day and any potential problems he faced.  Soon this history teacher realizes there are some not-so-nice personalities right under her nose.  From the lazy principal, a couple of mean drama teachers, and the wannabe tennis coach, Jocelyn finds more than enough people who could have wanted Coach Fred out-of-the-way, and many of these staffers might just even had other motives.  However, would anyone of these folks kill him?

What about the drugs?  She knew they didn’t belong to the coach, but he did confiscate them from somebody.  Did they have a teen dealer in their midst?  Was she asking all the wrong questions to all the wrong people?   

Jocelyn Shore knew she had shaken a few trees but she wasn’t prepared to be a victim. Someone had just assaulted her and she could have fared much worse, if screaming kids on a movie set hadn’t interrupted this attack.  

Now, this teacher was scared.  

The viciousness of her attack made it personal and for the first time, Jocelyn realized someone wanted her out-of-the-way.   Would death have been their preferable route for her too?  

Moreover, why was the handsome detective in her hospital room until three in the morning?


My Take:

DEATH MAKES THE CUT by Janice Hamrick is a winner! 

Janice Hamrick’s award-winning style mixes cozy with fun and romance to create a mystery that keeps the reader engaged while she creates an amateur sleuth in Jocelyn Shore who is witty, sassy, tenacious, and endearing.  

Although Jocelyn does finds it easy to not find lasting love, her natural inclination to uncover a clue is like a hound dog on a scent.  Once she’s onto something there is no deterrent.   Well, almost none.  She does manage to get sidelined once she becomes the killer’s next target. Who could blame her? It easy to chase someone when they’re not chasing you, but this woman is no forever shrinking violet. Jocelyn will gather herself together and come back full power to hunt down the culprit. Once they get in her business, it’s personal for Jocelyn too.       

DEATH MAKES THE CUT is a standalone novel, although you’ll want to read about Jocelyn’s début in DEATH ON TOUR (Minotaur Books April 2011) until the next Jocelyn Shore mystery releases. 

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