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Book Review: Mixed Signals: A Grace Street Mystery (Grace Street Series) by Jane Tesh

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The second book in the Grace Street Series, Mixed Signals continues where Stolen Hearts leaves off. The premise of the plot is Private Investigator David Randall’s psychic friend and house-mate, Camden, has a flashback of a murder. The two discover that Camden’s friend, Jared Hunter, has been brutally stabbed and found in his garage. The police have a suspect, a client of Randall’s, but Camden’s psychic vision is not focused on him. Unfortunately, his vision will not stand up in court to set the suspect free.

During the investigation a plethora of characters are introduced into the story. Although author Jane Tesh manages to keep them separated through her ardent character development, I found there were too many that didn’t add to the story and often weighed it down.

We learn that Jared was jailed for breaking into the Parkland Museum of History and that a son of the editor of Parkland Herald was also implicated in the same break-in.

Then there was the Avenger and the Super Hero Society. Were they also involved in the murder?

Oh yes, and put this all in the midst of break-ins and you’ve got yourself a rambling story.

This book is written in first person with the narrator being male (David Randall) but, to me, it didn’t seem like a male voice. It had female undertones in the conversations and content that often added confusion to the plot. I would have preferred the voice be more masculine.

I didn’t find the urgency in Mixed Signals that a good mystery book, even a cozy mystery, has. Until the last few chapters, the story dragged on and I wasn’t sure what direction it was going into to solve the mystery, or was it just about Randall to talk about the death of his child, Camden romancing Ellin, or Randall romancing Kary.

Granted, all these things added to the plot, but at the same time distracted from the mystery it is intended to be. The last few chapters did spike my interest and I flipped through the pages while holding my breath wondering what the outcome will be.

Nonetheless, if you are looking for a simple and clean cozy mystery, then I encourage you to read Mixed Signals. Jane Tesh’s writing is engaging and simplistic, making it a good book to read when you a need an escape for a few hours. I’m sure it will fulfill that need quite nicely.

(Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views)

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