Friday, May 16, 2014

Review ~ HANGING BY A HAIR by Nancy J. Cohen

Hairstylist Marla Vail and her detective husband Dalton are delighted by every aspect of their new home, until their next-door neighbor illegally erects a fence on their mutual property line. Marla's hopes for making friends are ruined by a resultant argument between Dalton and the man, who happens to be the homeowners' association president. Things grow worse when their neighbor is found dead in his home the next day.

Despite a suicide note, Dalton suspects foul play, but he's removed from the case due to a conflict of interest. At her husband's suggestion, Marla works to know her neighbors better. One of them might have had a reason to want their president dead. Is it another board member? Or a local woman he'd spurned? Perhaps the guy's nephew wants his inheritance? And what about the protesters who disrupt the community garage sale? As Marla learns more about the guy next door, she discovers ugly truths that a murderer wants to keep hidden. Can a sharp-witted salon owner untangle the web of secrets before the killer strikes again?

With a cast of eccentric characters, a sassy hairdresser sleuth married to a sexy detective, South Florida scenery, and a suspenseful story mixed with humor, Hanging by a Hair is a fun, fast-paced mystery that will make you observe your neighbors more closely.

Marla Vail, her husband Dalton, and step-daughter Brianna have recently moved into a new home.  While she hasn’t had the opportunity to get to know her neighbors, she’s planning on resolving that issue to a certain extent at the homeowner’s meeting.  Unfortunately, things don’t go according to plan. Dalton, a homicide detective and the president of the HOA, who happens to be their neighbor, have a disagreement of sorts.  Things become uncomfortable when the President, Alan, makes a racist comment directed at Marla.  I was only aware it was a racist comment because the way the characters responded. Since this was my first time reading a book in this series,  I don’t know if that was something I should have known or not.  It took me a couple to pages to figure out what the problem was and why everyone reacted the way they did.

The following day, things between Alan Krabber and the Vails heat up yet again. Alan tries to put a fence up on their side of the property line.  Angry words are said and the next day, Alan’s dead body is found in his house. Neighbors point their fingers at Dalton and his chief ultimately has him reassigned, citing conflict of interest.

Marla’s friends and even her family tell her that she's good at sleuthing and should put her skills to work to find out who killed her neighbor.  It’s not as if she needed any encouragement.  Marla collects her thoughts and discusses them with her husband and teenage daughter.  In the midst of trying to solve a murder, Marla has to deal with her mother consistently calling her about her deadbeat boyfriend.

This is the 11th book in the series and is a completely stand alone read. Characters from previous books make appearances but it's not hard to figure out the relationships.  While I liked Marla, her snooping came off to be nosy and seemed as if she wasn't really trying to hide what she was doing.  The author tends to repeat things over and over again.  How many times does the reader need to be reminded of the death from a previous book? I remembered from the first time it was mentioned.

I did like that there were multiple events going on to keep you guessing as to why the murder happened.  For me, when the killer was first introduced, I got a weird feeling about them so I did figure out who the killer was before it was revealed.  I just didn't know what the motive was.

As with other cozy mysteries, there's a romance thrown in.  I was surprised that it contained closed door elements, but this could be because the sleuth is married to the detective.

I found Hanging by a Hair to be an okay, enjoyable read.  Sadly, this is a book I would never want to read again and I'm not waiting on pins and needles for the next book in the series.

Rating: 3

Release Date: April 18, 2014
Book Length: 287 pages
Source: Blog Tour Host
Reviewed by: Kim
Reading Format: Available in eBook and other formats

Purchase Hanging by a Hair from Amazon or your favorite eRetailer

For an excerpt and blog tour information, click here.

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