Sunday, June 18, 2017

Catherine Finger and Jo Oliver thrillers


Catherine Finger
Elk Lake Publishing
May 2017

Print ISBN 978-1946638113
$12.99

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About the Book
A Dead Body, A Cryptic Clue—Will Jo Oliver Solve the Riddle in Time? Police Chief Jo Oliver needed a little time to herself. But when her escape to Wisconsin turns deadly, she teams up with FBI agent Nick Vitarello, hoping to catch the Bow Tie Killer. Their romantic past and complicated present leads them into uncharted territory as they match wits with a psychopath bent on destroying everything they hold dear.

My Review
The third installment of the Jo Oliver mystery thrillers takes place in Wisconsin. In this story, Jo, or Josie to her friends, is ordered to take some vacation time after a harrowing run-in with a murderer and near death experience. Her vacation ends abruptly on the sixth hole of an early-morning solitary round of golf when she runs after a cap sailing in the wind and traces it back to its owner, buried upright at the edge of an Indian mound.

This is the first book of the series for me. I stop trying to figure out what I’d missed with all the graphic references and obvious romance, and just started to read the current mystery. Apparently Chief Jo has an active romantic life and is widowed, and is well-known to several branches and members of law enforcement. She grew up in Wisconsin and is taking some R&R on inherited property which abuts a golf course. She also has a cabin in the woods and close friends. After a reference to Michelle Obama, I wasn’t sure about racial identity, but that didn’t seem to be part of the story.

Jo had gotten involved in the past with the FBI, and one agent in particular, a gorgeous agent named Nick. She has mentors and friends and also sometime in the not-too-distant past became a Christian. Her golf course victim, she learns, is one of a bizarre series of crimes targeting specific profiles of people. With her friend the local sheriff who has a romantic and lengthy friendly interest in Jo, and the FBI love interest agent, Jo helps hunt down the killer, but not without nearly falling prey a couple of times.

Told in first person throughout, the character is a sassy, lovestruck gal with a reputation of being able to befriend and pray through danger-fraught situations. The romantic angles seem pronounced in this mystery, and those who prefer their Christian mysteries pure and chaste will need to put on blinders for some heavy duty but fairly clean kissing and lots of thinking about kissing, as well as alcohol use. Some of the characters seems like filler, like Jo’s Wisconsin neighbors, though I’m sure they were more important in the earlier books. When using real names and places, it’s always best to use real geography. If you happen to live in the area mentioned in the book, like I do, you may not appreciate unnecessary liberties taken with the setting.

Readers of spicy, dicey mysteries featuring lots of romantic angles and some procedural detective work will enjoy the Jo Oliver series. The first two books  are Shattered By Death and Cleansed By Death.

About the Author
Catherine Finger is recently retired from a wonderful career in public education. Follow her on Facebook, CatherineFingerAuthor, and Twitter, @BeJoOliver.