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The Brim Reaper (Style & Error Mystery #3)
Diane Vallere
Paper Doll - Robert B. Parker First let me get a few things out of the way. This is a book from 1994. I found it on the book exchange shelf at work and decided to check it out since I was between books. It is also #20 in a series of books about a Private Detective named Spenser although that really doesn’t matter as it was pretty clear each book easily stands on its own.

The general plotline is…Olivia Nelson is the perfect wife to a perfect husband and together they have a perfect marriage. This perfect couple had two perfect children. Their lives were moving along perfectly until Olivia is walking home one day and is bludgeoned to death with a hammer to head. Who did it? and why?

It was a pretty good tale. It unravels in to a case of stolen identity and deceit but the downfall was that it was pretty predictable. The author wrote himself in to a corner when he went down this case of assumed identity because it severly limited the list of potential suspects and it became pretty predictable after his first trip to Olivia’s hometown. I could see where the author did try to lead us away from the truth and he tried to cast suspicion on other characters but it fell just short of successful for me. It’s a shame because it was a good book. I really liked the characters and I enjoyed reading the book. I enjoyed the mystery unravelling even though I knew where it was going to lead. Isn’t that a sign of a good book though? I enjoyed reading it even though I already could tell what was going to happen. I won’t lie. There were a few small surprises toward the end of the book, I would say in the last 15-20 pages, that made me say, “Hmm…I didn’t quite see that coming” but they involved peripheral characters.

Overally, it really wasn’t very mysterious but it was pretty good. I won’t be rushing out to buy the series but if I ever come across another Detective Spenser book I would definitely check it out.