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Friday, November 7, 2014

Fiction Reviews: The Vengeance Squad Goes to England, Murder at the Art and Craft Fair

Photo by: samuiblue

The Vengeance Squad Goes to England by Sidney W. Frost is an entertaining adventure. The Vengeance Squad is a group of friends that got together on their first task together in Sidney Frost’s first book by that title. In this sequel, the Vengeance Squad is the same, but the goal is to capture a criminal, not exactly wreak vengeance. 

Normally happy and hugging Liz is depressed. She realizes her boyfriend Virgil isn’t what he seemed. She believes he has somehow made off with the funds put aside to buy a new bookmobile. Many thousands of dollars are missing. There are quite a few hilarious adventures, including one with a homemade drone and surveillance gone wrong. Over the course of the book, the entire Vengeance Squad ends up in London, England.

There are several fun threads: Chris’s romance with Angela and his photographic memory, Angela being a spy, Tex and his wife, disguises, and chasing down the thief with a very conspicuous bookmobile.

There are a few things I don’t endorse: one of the women is a fitness competitor and Christians drink wine.

Otherwise, it’s a fun, light read. Personally, I liked The Vengeance Squad (first book in the series) better, but there’s nothing wrong with this one. It’s the kind of book that’s just plain fun.

Murder at the Art and Craft Fair by Steve Demaree is delightfully different. It’s the style! It’s so quirky and funny that it had me laughing out loud throughout. The narrator, Cy, is a retired police detective. He’s well over fifty and retired--except when he’s needed on a case. His best friend, Lou, is also over fifty. Both are overweight bachelors (Cy’s a widower), avid readers, and have girlfriends who feature throughout the book. 

The way Cy and Lou relate to each other makes the book, in my opinion. Their friendly joshing and silly dialogues are delightful. The murder plot doesn’t begin right away, but the fun surely does. The bachelors are roped into going to an art and craft fair--a place they would only go for a few minutes, if they had their choice. They end up enjoying it and buying way too much. By Saturday night, someone is dead, and they go to work.

Cy and Lou spend a whole night together in an outhouse, Cy’s car is towed away, and they end up eating food they shouldn’t while working on the mystery. Who killed Thomas Kincaid? Why? Plenty of people were mad at him, but none of their motives seem serious enough for murder.  

Of course, in the end, the murderer is revealed and locked up, and peace returns. 

I loved the style of this book because it’s so funny. You can hardly believe some of the narrator's statements. Hilarious! Then, there’s the humor of the two older detectives together. Their girlfriends are ditzy and not developed, which is fine. The couples kiss a lot, which I also found humorous in a book about people my age. But, this is no heavy breathing book, and I didn’t find all the lip contact too distracting (though it’s not my own idea of how to date maturely). This isn’t a page turner. It goes slowly and deliberately, but for once, I didn’t mind. All told, I will be reading more of Steve Demaree’s books when I need a chuckle--or two or three. Five stars.

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