Friday, December 23, 2022

Murder up to Bat by Elizabeth McKenna

Series: Book 2, A Front Page Mystery
Category: Adult fiction; Genre: Cozy mystery

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Pages: 186 pages
Published: August 2022

Mystery with a whiff of romance … After falling in love with the quiet lake life and a certain police detective, former Chicago Tribune reporter Emma Moore trades interviewing jocks for chasing champion cows at the county fair. As a small-town newspaper reporter, she covers local topics both big and small, but when her friend Luke is arrested for the murder of the head coach of his club softball team, she’ll need to hone her investigative skills to clear his name. Emma calls up best friend Grace for help, and together the women go up against cutthroat parents willing to kill for a chance to get their daughters onto a premier college sports team.

Murder up to Bat is my third read written by author Elizabeth McKenna. In all three novels, I have found McKenna to be a talented writer with an attention-grabbing story. In her latest novel, which is the second in the Front Page Mystery series, we again meet friends Emma and Grace. Emma, who is now living in the town where she last investigated and reported on a robbery, and plans on spending a weekend with Grace, while she's in town, along with her police detective boyfriend Ryan. However, just before the festivities begin, one of their close friends, Luke, is arrested after the head coach of the softball team he sponsors is found dead in his fitness center. The fast-paced book covers the effect this homicide has on the friend group and Emma's relentless pursuit to find the truth and save their friend from decades in prison. 

As in her previous books, it took me little to no time to get into and be captured by the story. McKenna does a great job of creating suspense while also making the story easy to follow. With a total page count of just under 200, this is a quick read that covers a weekend in plot timeline and also could easily be completed in one. But don't mistake the shorter page count for lack of depth. McKenna explores themes of competition in student sports as well as overly-aggressive parents of those athletes. While the story if fiction, I am sure readers can relate (in some way) to the seemingly unrealistic (read: they're not) behaviors of sideline parenting. 

I was glad for the opportunity to revisit some previously-read characters and get involved in their lives again. My only critique of this book is the believability that Emma's character would be able to get so involved in an investigation and her brazen questioning of police tactics. However, I would say this is a minor fault when reviewing the book as a whole. 

Recommendation: I would definitely recommend this book for cozy mystery fans. It would be a great read to get baseball lovers ready for the season as well. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.

Elizabeth McKenna’s love of books reaches back to her childhood, where her tastes ranged from Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys to Stephen King’s horror stories. She had never read a romance novel until her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene).

Her novels reflect her mercurial temperament and include historical romances, contemporary romances, cozy mysteries, and dark mysteries. With some being “clean” and some being “naughty,” she has a book for your every mood.

Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband and Sidney, the rescue dog from Tennessee. When she isn’t writing, reading, editing, or walking the dog that never tires, she’s sleeping.

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