Monday, April 25, 2016

Book Review of A Fool & His Monet by Sandra Orchard

A Fool & His Monet is my first book by Sandra Orchard and my first mystery to review.

It was a fun story with quirky characters following a trail of missing art and leading to so much more!

Serena Jones has a passion for uncovering lost and stolen art—one that’s only surpassed by her zeal to uncover the truth about the art thief who murdered her grandfather. She’s joined the FBI Art Crime Team with the secret hope that one of her cases will lead to his killer. Now, despite her mother’s pleas to do something safer—like get married and give her grandkids—Serena’s learning how to go undercover to catch thieves and black market traders.
When a local museum discovers an irreplaceable Monet missing, Jones goes into action. The clues point in different directions and her boss orders her to cease investigating her most promising suspect. But determined to solve the case, and perhaps discover another clue in her grandfather’s case, she pushes ahead, regardless of the danger.
With spunk, humor, and plenty of heart-stopping moments, Sandra Orchard gives readers an exciting string of cases to crack, and a character they’ll love to watch solve them.

Sandra Orchard tells her lovely tale in first person POV. That is a personal preference and some people don't like it. I do. I like reading it and I like writing it. However I had some troubles with that in this book. I enjoyed the perspective of Serena - getting in her head - for a while. Unfortunately, as the story progressed I wished I had someone else's perspective of Serena to counter balance my confusion.

The personality of this plucky FBI agent, sometimes felt over the top. I had a hard time believing she was a legitimate FBI agent. She's a rookie, that much is for sure, but knowing her thoughts and seeing her actions I questioned a lot about her abilities. That made it hard for me to invest in her as the main character.

Even still, the story was fun and fresh. I loved the title and book cover. Book #2 Another Day, Another Dali coming out in October looks equally exciting with its bright red cover.

Overall, I liked the concept of the the story and characters better than I enjoyed reading the book. I found myself putting it down after a chapter and leaving it for some time. This made the "chase" of it drag down to a crawl. However, this won't stop me from reading book 2 and giving this author another go.

One of the enticing aspects of the story is the romance. The author has written Serena to be a beautiful woman who seems to have men falling down around her feet. However, Serena seems dull to the fact. There are two would-be suitors that occupy the pages with her. Number one, Nate, is the Super of her apartment building with a love for tea, movies and a very loose definition of "her" apartment. Bachelor #2 is her hard working, by the book, field training agent, Tanner. Both have fantastic qualities and both are competing to be one whose advances she recognizes first.

Along with the fun of chasing criminals and dodging advances Serena has to keep up with her family. What a fun and odd bunch. If you've read any other reviews of this book I'm sure you've heard mention of Aunt Martha. A lively character that for me, kept the plot moving more than the art crime suspects. Delightful bunch! Worth reading just for the antics they bring to the page.

In recap, I would still recommend this book to others, especially if they like mysteries. I plan to read book 2 and see if Serena can win my heart more, as well as find out if #TeamNate or #TeamTanner will win.  BTW, the author has set up a reader/fan page to vote for your favorite guy to win Serena's heart.

Check out Baker Publishing for an excerpt to read as well as a reader's group guide.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment about this book or any other Sandra Orchard or mystery author you'd like to share.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."

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