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Monday, July 12, 2010

Retired And On The Rocks by Karen Wiesner

Retired and on the Rocks by Karen Wiesner
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational, Mystery
Length: Short (109 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 3 Books
Reviewed by Rosemary

Denim Blues Mystery Book 1

A missing engagement ring leads to murder…

It’s been a month since Denim McHart hung up his private investigating career after he ended up with a bullet in his leg. The injury has forced Den to re-evaluate future goals in his career, his love-life and his spiritual life. To keep himself busy in early retirement, he’s been attempting to restore an antique table and he’s officially bored. He can’t seem to keep his mind off his investigative partner, the lovely and complicated Sylvia Price whom he’s had an on-again, off-again romantic relationship with in the past. When Sylvia calls him out of the blue, he doesn’t waste time getting down to their office.

In this past month, Sylvia has been dealing with her own feelings for Den, her overwhelming guilt for the pivotal event that happened years ago and caused her mother to be mentally unstable, coinciding with her inability to forgive herself the way she knows the Lord has forgiven her.

Before the sparks can fly between Den and Sylvia in the direction he has his heart set, she says they’ve got company. Jilted bride Naomi Deva tells him that her groom—Mayor Thomas Julian—dumped her at the altar. Reluctantly, she admits he’d caught her in a compromising position with the best man only minutes before the ceremony. Naomi also reveals the reason why she’s sought them—the local police department hasn’t been able to turn up the six point one carat diamond engagement ring Thomas gave her...and the groom wants it back. Immediately.
A strong heroine with a gut wrenching past and a devilishly charming hero solve the mystery of a missing engagement ring and piece together the puzzle of their own relationship.

Despite their inability to maintain a personal relationship, Sylvia Price and Denim McHart’s private detective business is thriving. Sylvia is wrestling with the demons of her past, and whenever Denim tries to get her to open up to him, she pushes him away. But on the job, they have each other’s backs, and they trust each other implicitly. With careful and insightful introspection, both Den and Sylvia realize the ways in which they have let the past interfere with their future. And Sylvia discovers that she doesn’t know Denim quite as well as she thought she did.

Retired And On The Rocks is the first Inspirational mystery I’ve read, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. While faith is a strong undercurrent of the book, it’s definitely not preachy or quoting Bible scriptures. In between investigating the mystery of the missing ring, the story shifts perspective back and forth between Denim and Sylvia which gives an in depth view into both characters. The byplay between Sylvia and Denim is delightful and more often than not, playful.

I would have to say Retired And On The Rocks leans more toward romance than mystery. The plot is solid and interesting, but the main focus of the first half of the book is more on self-analysis than crime solving, and it was a little slow and repetitive on occasion. The second half of the book picks up speed as Denim and Sylvia progress in their relationship, and the action heats up in solving the mystery.

Retired And On The Rocks is a wonderful mix of faith, love, and crime solving. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.