Monday, December 11, 2006

Mindy Starns Clark's Elementary, My Dear Watkins ~ Reviewed

Elementary, My Dear Watkins
by Mindy Starns Clark
Published by Harvest House, Jan 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7369-1487-1

When someone tries to push Jo Tulip in front of a New York train, her ex-fiance, Bradford, suffers an injury while saving her--and the unintentional sleuth is thrown onto the tracks of a very personal mystery.

Jo's boyfriend, Danny Watkins, is away in Paris, so she begins a solo investigation of her near-murder. What secret was Bradford about to share before he took the fall? And when Jo uncovers clues tied to Europe, can she and Danny work together in time to save her life?

Mindy's third book in her Smart Chick Mystery series is more dark than its predecessors, lacking the light-hearted lilt I'd come to expect and relish. While book two sets us up to expect Danny's absence from Jo's side, I missed their interplay and waited expectantly to see them together again, which finally occured much later in the story. Meanwhile, Jo hits the trail to discover the person behind the anonymous e-mails that warn her she is in danger. The police seem of little help, so Jo takes matters into her own hands and is forced to reside under the protective wings of her rather cold-hearted grandmother, where we meet a new character; Alexa is a troubled teen who has her own POV. As her story unfolds and secrets are revealed, the teenager's vulnerabilities are exposed, which endeared me to her even more.

Danny's own adventure in Paris directly influences him in his decision to return to Jo, though at the risk of losing his internship. When they are reunited, the pace really picks up. And though the multiple twists and turns at the end seemed overdone, Jo's happily-ever-after was warm and satisfying.

Reviewed by Sandra Moore

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