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Book Review: Mind Over Murder by Allison Kingsley

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Kingsley’s Mind Over Murder is the breakout must read mystery of the fall season. Mind Over Murder is the first in a new series from Berkley’s Prime Crime imprint and a definite contender for best new cozy series of 2011.

The name Allison Kingsley may be new, but it’s just another pseudonym added to the prolific Kate Kingsbury’s résumé — then again, Kate is just another pen name for Doreen Roberts Hight, who also writes under the moniker of Rebecca Kent. Still with me? Whatever name Hight is writing under to deliver entertainment, one thing is certain — she is a remarkable storyteller.

Kingsley has effortlessly melded all the components richly to bring the cozy genre front and center with Mind Over Murder.

Yep, I know what you’re thinking, another paranormal cozy – been there and done that – but Kingsley layers like the Cake Boss with enticing paranormal twists that is not just “high-spirited,” but exhilarating and fun. Blended with feel good inside yumminess…like a caramel apple on a crisp afternoon.

Mind Over Murder is a stay in your pajamas all day kind of read. Readers, let me give you the scoop. For the longest time all Clara Quinn wanted was to escape and break free from her inherited gift of seeing into the future and reading people’s minds, a trait her family calls the Quinn Sense. Clara wasn’t able to steer clear for long, and before she knows it, she is home helping her cousin, Stephanie Quinn Dowd, run the Raven’s Nest bookstore in the picturesque hamlet of Finn’s Harbor, Maine. 

Finn Harbor’s town crier, Ana Jordan, is incensed by Raven’s Nest’s supernatural collection and is convinced it is corrupting Finn Harbor’s adolescents. In the meantime, Molly, an employee at Raven’s Nest, is extremely vocal about her animosity toward Ana’s shenanigans. So when Ana turns up dead, by a sculpture of Edgar Allan Poe that Molly sculpted, she is first on the suspect list. One thing Clara and Stephanie know for certain is Molly and Raven’s Nest are in one major predicament. Clara has no choice but to rely on her Quinn Sense to grasp the nonsensical.

While paranormal mysteries seem to be popping up a bit too much of late and are bordering on saturation, Kingsley dollops in just enough supernatural sparkle to bubble playfully and keep the reader entertained.

Kingsley’s inhabitants are a sensational cast of players with exhilarating and quirky personalities that vibrantly jump off the page engaging the reader immediately.

Kingsley’s location adds a rich sense of ambiance and is reminiscent of my all-time favorite bookstore mystery series, Death on Demand by Carolyn Hart.
Now, Hart’s beloved series is set in Broward’s Rock, South Carolina and Kingsley’s is set in the north, so readers get to see there are slight similarities, but that’s where it ends. Each writer knows how to weave a tale and pull you in.

What makes Kingsley stand out, is how deftly she adds authentic elements without going over the top, asking one to suspend common sense at the expense of frustrating and losing the reader’s attention.  

Mind Over Murder proves Kingsley is not just “telling” a story for the reader to follow, but is building a cozy theatrical ensemble demonstrating just what animated narration is…by living and breathing it!

As for the cover, well as a cover tart, this is making me swoon like a tween @ a Bieber concert… or for my ma’s generation, a fainting at an Elvis concert…  

For more on Doreen and all her nom de plumes click here.

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About Diane Morasco