Tag Archives: Christy Barritt

Review: Reign of Error, by Christy Barritt

Reign of Error, by Christy BarrittReign of Error, by Christy Barritt (River Heights, 2017)

Reign of Error is book 2 in the Worst Detective Ever series, and while readers would have a better overall grasp of the series by starting with book 1, Ready to Fumble, they could begin here without feeling lost.

Joey Darling’s acting career is on hiatus while she looks for her missing father and tries to recover from some personal disasters. The problem is, she has one or more over-the-top fans who want her to play detective in real life, the way she did on TV.

The death of a stranger shortly after she’d spoken with him is all it takes for her invisible “fans” to start pushing her to solve the mystery. Unfortunately, the killer wants her to stop.

This is a light-hearted mystery series, complete with two appealing guys competing for Joey’s attention. Each novel is a complete story, with the over-arcing mystery of Joey’s missing father.

Joey is a bit of a drama queen, as one might expect of an actress, so she can be a bit tiring at times, but she’s a likeable character. The obstacles she faces make it easy to root for her to succeed.

Christy Barritt is a prolific author whose Christian fiction includes mysteries and suspense for adults and tweens. For more about the author, visit christybarritt.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: Ready to Fumble, by Christy Barritt

Ready to Fumble, by Christy BarrittReady to Fumble, by Christy Barritt (River Heights, 2017)

She’s a TV star who played a detective, but Joey Darling thinks of herself as the character’s klutzy opposite. Now her career is in ruins, and she’s fled Hollywood for the Outer Banks of North Carolina to search for her father.

Joey’s afraid to trust the local police, who may have been involved in his disappearance, but she doesn’t have many clues to follow. As if that weren’t enough challenge for this non-detective, a strange woman asks her to find her missing fiancé.

On the plus side, she’s a method actor who took some self-defense and investigative training. She actually has a PI license, just not for this state.

On the minus side, someone is recreating one of her TV episodes, and Joey doesn’t remember the ending but it might involve death: even her own, if she can’t pull off an escape like her alter ego.

The story is told in first person, and after Joey introduces herself, she asks:

Confused? Just keep reading. Please. Because maybe you can make sense of this mess I’ve made.

With an invitation like that, who won’t read on?

Christy Barritt kicks off her Worst Detective Ever mystery series with her signature snappy humour and upbeat delivery. This isn’t all a surface read, though. Joey has a lot of hurt and self-doubt from her abusive ex, and the two men who attract her more than she’ll admit each have layers of complexity that leave us wondering who they really are.

Plot, characters, and setting all work for me, and I’ll happily continue reading when the next book comes out. Here’s hoping I can keep up: she’s releasing “episodes” monthly. Just like Joey’s TV show. What I like about this is that each one is a full novel. Although the overall mystery of the missing dad spans individual books, Ready to Fumble is a complete story in its own right.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: Random Acts of Murder, by Christy Barritt

Random Acts of Murder, by Christy BarrittRandom Acts of Murder, by Christy Barritt (River Heights Press, 2014)

Having only a year to live affects a person’s choices. Social worker Holly Paladin knows she can’t change the world, but she can make a difference for a few people – even if her random acts of kindness could get her in a heap of trouble.

Case in point: she breaks into a client’s empty home to clean it. The occupant is a single mom, overworked, underpaid, and out of hope. Won’t a surprise cleaning job give her a boost?

We’ll never know, because as well as a mess, Holly finds a dead body. She flees in panic, but now her cleaning supplies, and maybe her fingerprints, are present at a crime scene.

Afraid to confess to the police and bring scandal on her exemplary family, Holly lives in fear of being found out. The murderer has already found her out, and starts leaving identical cleaning supplies at the scene of his next murders. “The Good Deeds Killer” has been born.

Holly’s family love her but don’t understand her. Her good friend, Jamie, does both. And Chase Dexter, who humiliated her in high school but who claims he’s changed, seems to understand her too. Which may be a bad thing, since he’s the detective assigned to the case.

Favourite lines:

She was tiny and blonde and wore expensive business suits and handed out her business card with all the ease of a little kid spreading the flu. [Holly describing her mom. Kindle location 366.]

Maybe being alone outside wasn’t the smartest idea after being shot at twice, but I refused to live in total fear. Partial would have to do. [Kindle location 1437.]

I had forgotten how much I enjoy Christy Barritt’s sense of humour. She’s the author of the Squeaky Clean Mystery series and other novels, and she’s so prolific that I’ve fallen behind with her books. I definitely want to read the next one in this series, Random Acts of Deceit. For more about the author and her books, visit www.christybarritt.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: Dirty Deeds, by Christy Barritt

Dirty Deeds, by Christy BarrittDirty Deeds, by Christy Barritt (Princeton Halls Press, 2013)

Dirty Deeds finds Gabby St. Claire on a week’s holiday with her fiancé, Riley Thomas, at an exclusive resort. Riley’s there for a conference, and to reconnect with some lawyer buddies that he hasn’t seen since college. Gabby … well, the opulent setting and posh lawyers make her nervous.

Riley has a low-paying practice that’s more about helping others than getting rich, and Gabby is used to struggling for every cent. Still, relationships involve sacrifices, so she’s determined to fit in for Riley’s sake. She even promises not to snoop into any mysteries for the week.

Asking questions about a kidnapping isn’t snooping, is it? She’s just being … helpful, right?

Suddenly she’s not just a fish out of water, believing that her upbringing cuts her off from the rich and powerful, she’s keeping secrets from Riley and wondering what secrets he’s keeping from her about his past.

And now it’s not just about kidnapping. It’s murder.

Dirty Deeds is book 4 in the Squeaky Clean Mysteries series. Gabby is a fun character and the situations she gets into always provide a laugh. I’m glad to see her developing more faith in her worth—and in God. Book 1 in the series, Hazardous Duty, is a good place to meet her in her crime-scene-cleaning role, but if you want to jump in here with book 4 you won’t feel lost. (There are spoilers for the earlier books, though.) Book 5, The Scum of All Fears, has also released.

Christy Barritt is a multi-published author of mystery, suspense and romantic suspense. For more about the author and her books, you can visit her website.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: The Good Girl, by Christy Barritt

cover art: The Good GirlThe Good Girl, by Christy Barritt (WhiteFire Publishing, 2013)

I wouldn’t have picked this one up based on the title, but as a fan of Christy Barritt’s Squeaky Clean Mystery Series, I know her non-Love-Inspired novels include some off-the-wall-but-lovable characters and more than a splash of humour. The Good Girl does not disappoint.

Tara Lancaster is a 20-something woman who essentially runs away from her Florida home to dog-sit for her sister in Minnesota. Their father is a high-profile preacher, and while her sister inspired his book The Wayward Daughter, Tara has spent her life learning—and living by—”the rules.” She’s not legalistic in a judgmental way, but she’s had this idea that living the “perfect” Christian life will keep her safe, earn approval and blessing, and be the right thing to do. And that if her thoughts don’t always line up with the externals, that’s okay.

Tara had the textbook Christian life and was a role model for her generation, until false allegations stripped away her job and her marriage. Now she’s ashamed, disgraced, and not sure what she thinks about this God who may not even exist.

Hiding out at her sister’s sounds ideal until she arrives to find a menacing note—pinned by a knife—in the kitchen. The house may be haunted, but good Christians don’t believe in ghosts, do they? Or there may be a more human explanation, but that’s still pretty scary. On the plus side, she meets a helpful and charming neighbour, Cooper. And her sister’s friend Candy adopts her for the duration. Candy is the main quirky character in the book, and she’s genuine despite her look-at-me exterior.

Tara’s an over-thinker, wounded and perhaps a bit neurotic, but she makes a good narrator for the story. With all that’s going on in the house to scare her, and with her rebounding from “Good Girl rules” to redefine her life, she doesn’t always make the right choices. But she’s on the way to finding herself and maybe even finding another chance at life, faith and love. If whoever’s trying to scare her to death doesn’t succeed.

Here’s a link to an excerpt from The Good Girl—check out the snappy, first-person writing style. Or visit award-winning suspense and mystery author Christy Barritt’s website to learn more about her series and stand-alone novels. Her newest novel, Home Before Dark, released in April 2013.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: Death of the Couch Potato’s Wife, by Christy Barritt

Death of the Couch Potato's Wife cover art Death of the Couch Potato’s Wife, by Christy Barritt (Lighthouse Publishing, 2012)

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Laura Berry and her husband Kent have relocated from Chicago to a town called Boring, Indiana.

The locals call them city slickers, the Homeowners’ Association rules are driving them nuts, and Laura’s only friend is a senior citizen who tries to talk like a teenager. Kent is putting in long hours as new owner of the town pharmacy, and Laura can’t get a  handle on the housewife thing after being a career woman.

Then she finds her neighbour dead—murdered—and someone starts sending anonymous threats. Will the mystery jolt her out of her depression, or send her over the edge?

Christy Barritt weaves an intriguing plot that kept me guessing until the end. Laura is a lifelike character who’s struggling emotionally, yet she’s someone we can relate to. And the mystery balances her introspection.

In some ways Laura is a textbook “unreliable narrator” in that readers begin to suspect her perceptions and perspectives may not be as accurate as she thinks. That’s a good lesson for all of us, because so often we do the same things to ourselves.

Award-winning mystery author Christy Barritt’s novels include the Squeaky Clean Mystery Series and a number of Love Inspired titles. You can learn more about Christy Barritt and her books at her website.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: The Last Target, by Christy Barritt

The Last Target, by Christy Barritt (Love Inspired Suspense, 2011)

After her SEAL husband’s death in Afghanistan, Rachel Reynolds began a non-profit ministry writing letters to soldiers overseas. Hardly the sort of activity to put her on a terrorists’ execution list.

But she’s the last living target, and protecting her and her four-year-old Aiden may be security expert Jack Sergeant’s hardest assignment yet. Somehow the terrorists always know where to find them.

The Last Target is a fast-paced romantic suspense with believable characters. The first shot is shot fired on page one, and the danger only increases from there. Christy Barritt has a knack for writing chapter endings that propel the reader onto the next page without time to blink.

Award-winning author Christy Barritt has three new novels releasing this year: Suburban Sleuth Mysteries #1 Death of the Couch Potato’s Wife (May 2012), and two romantic suspenses: Race Against Time (April 2012) and Ricochet (September 2012).

[Book from my personal library. Amazon link is an affiliate link from the author’s website, with no benefit to me.]

Review: Organized Grime, by Christy Barritt

Organized Grime cover artOrganized Grime, by Christy Barritt (Princeton Halls Press, Smashwords Edition, 2011)

Clean enough crime scenes, and if you’re the inquisitive type you’re bound to find some clues and get drawn into a mystery or two. Gabby St. Clair is feisty, quick-witted and funny, and by this, the third novel in the Squeaky Clean Mystery series, she’s developed a reputation for investigating where she shouldn’t, endangering her life, and catching villains.

This time the mystery comes to her door, in the form of FBI agents hunting her animal-rights activist friend, Sierra, who’s suspected of arson and bombing a building. Sierra has tried rescuing crabs from restaurants before, but Gabby’s sure she’d never commit acts of eco-terrorism.

Gabby needs to find Sierra before the authorities—or the real criminals—do. A string of murders is good for her business, but each crime scene turns up evidence of Sierra’s presence. As Gabby follows leads, danger follows her.

Organized Grime is a fine wrap-up to a fun series that I didn’t want to see end. The mystery itself is fast-paced, and I enjoy Gabby’s sense of humour. At the same time she’s finishing her forensic pathologist training, discovering what her new faith means to how she lives life, and resolving relationship issues with her family and her cute neighbour.

If you haven’t read the first two novels in the series, Hazardous Duty and Suspicious Minds, you can jump in with book 3. But the first two are good reading too.

Christy Barritt is also the author of the non-fiction book Changed: True Stories of Finding God Through Christian Music and the romantic suspense novels Keeping Guard and The Last Target. She has three new books releasing this year: Suburban Sleuth Mysteries #1 Death of the Couch Potato’s Wife (May 2012), and two romantic suspenses: Race Against Time (April 2012) and Ricochet (September 2012).

You can learn more about award-winning mystery author Christy Barritt and her books at her website. See book trailers for the first two Squeaky Clean novels here. Organized Grime is available as an eBook in multiple formats through Smashwords, in Kindle format, and in print from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.

[Review copy provided by the author.]

Review: Keeping Guard, by Christy Barritt

Keeping Guard, by Christy Barritt (Love Inspired Suspense, 2011)

Kylie Summers is petite and a cancer survivor. She knows she’s strong, but her family treats her as someone fragile to be protected. And now she needs protecting—someone is stalking her, and his actions are escalating.

Her brother’s best friend, former Coast Guard rescue diver Nate Richardson, lets her hide out in his restaurant until the police catch the man who’s been terrorizing her. Kylie hosts her own cooking show, but Nate doesn’t want to hear her ideas on improving his menu.

Kylie and Nate each have baggage from past relationships. And their personalities conflict. He’s a rescuer, she’s independent. As much as they know they don’t match, they each feel the attraction.

Keeping Guard is set in historic Yorktown, Virginia, and gives readers a whirlwind tour of the town and a sampling of local dishes. (I love books with food in them.) The suspense begins on page one and doesn’t let up.

I’ve been a fan of Christy Barritt since I read her Squeaky Clean Mystery series. (See my interview with Christy Barritt from 2008) She packs a lot of story into this short novel, and I’m looking forward to her next one.

You can learn more about Christy Barritt at her website and on Facebook.

It must be awards season…

A number of books you’ve seen on my free books page are up for awards these days:

Finalists for The Word Guild Christian Writing Awards (winners announced at The Word Guild Awards Gala, 17 June, 2009) include:

Cibou, by Susan Young de Biagi: in both Book—General Readership and Novel—Historical categories.

Vengeance, by Donna Dawson: in both Novel—Contemporary and Novel—Mystery/Suspense.

Stories from the anthology Hot Apple Cider are short-listed in seven categories: Article—General Readership (two), Article—Inspirational/Devotional (two), Article—Personal Experience, Article—Profile/Human Interest, and Short Story.

Finalists for the Daphne du Maurier contest (winners announced at the Romance Writers of America National Convention, 16 July, 2009) include:

Suspicious Minds, by Christy Barritt: Inspirational Romantic Mystery/Suspense.

Finalists for the Faith, Hope and Love, RWA Chapter’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest (winners announced at the RWA Conference in July) include:

Shadows at the Window, by Linda Hall: Romantic Suspense

[This one hasn’t been one of my free book offers yet, but Shadows in the Mirror, previous book in the series was.]

Congratulations to these authors and to all the others who are up for these and/or other awards!