Sunday, July 1, 2012

Review: Tempest in the Tea Leaves By Kari Lee Townsend

Tempest in the Tea Leaves (A Fortune Teller Mystery)
By Kari Lee Townsend 
Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
3 Heart Review

Leaving the Big Apple for the quaint town of Divinity, New York, Sunny is determined to make it on her own as a psychic. With an ancient Victorian house as her place of business, Sunny uses various psychic methods to aid the town's residents. But when she uses tea leaves to give a reading for a frazzled librarian, what she finds at the bottom of the cup is anything but helpful.

Sunny informs the police of her deadly vision, but her warning is too late. And with hard-nosed, ruggedly handsome Detective Mitch Stone denying her abilities and name her prime suspect, the situation is dire. Now Sunny has to use her visions to clear her name, before the killer can put an end to the psychic's future...

I picked this book up at the library because I'm always up for a cozy mystery - especially one that hints at a romance - and this one plainly stated on it's cover that it was the first book in a new series. Win! I wish more publishers would play that up on covers since I like trying out a new series before there are 5 books more to read...

I really enjoyed the author's voice and that this was a cozy with a slightly younger - 29 years old - heroine. As much as I want to shout that there should be older characters in romance, cozies can sometimes take the age thing in the other direction too much. Beyond the age, the heroine Sunny Meadows is also unique and refreshing for a cozy. She still has that "outsider who never really fit in" thing going for her that most cozy heroines do, but she feels fresher. My issues with the book didn't have anything to do with Sunny.

I did have slight problems with the hero Mitch Stone because I found him to be a little wooden and not necessarily because his character is supposed to be guarded and stoic. He just doesn't feel entirely fleshed out and his dialog seems slightly off. He has potential though and I hope that Mrs. Townsend will develop him further in the next book.

The biggest issue I had was with a plot point in the book. From the back cover blurb you know that Sunny has to work to clear her name and I can't go into too many details or I'll be spoiling part of the plot, but how she gets involved in the investigation was really not believe. It took a giant leap of faith for a reader to believe and unfortunately I didn't think it was done in a way that allowed me to take that leap.

Tempest in the Tea Leaves is a solid and fun cozy mystery and I liked the premise and the characters enough that I'll be picking up the next in the series to see if some of my issues get worked out. I do think Kari Lee Townsend has a fresh, sweet voice I really found pleasing to read. I'll be looking for more books by her in the future.

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