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review 2018-10-22 20:30
Thoughts: Buried Leads
Buried Leads - LynDee Walker

Buried Leads

by LynDee Walker
Book 2 of A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller



It wasn't the first time I'd smelled a dead body, but the faintly sweet, acrid stench didn't get less putrid with repeated exposure.

The scene was quiet for a body recovery, just as I'd hoped.  Not another reporter in sight.

When an Armani-clad corpse turns up in a shallow grave in the Virginia woods, Nichelle Clarke is the first reporter on the scene.  The victim is a tobacco lobbyist with a mysterious past, and Nichelle suspects that his shady business connections are what's driving local politicians to push for a quick arrest.  She soon uncovers a web of astonishing corruption: A dark trail of illegal kickbacks and high-end call girls that stretches all the way to Washington, D.C.

For Nichelle, it could be the news story of the year.  But the power players at the center of the plot have everything to lose, and Nichelle's crusade for the truth lands her right in the crosshairs of the killer.

This second book in the Nichelle Clarke series was maybe a little bit more disappointing than I had hoped.  Sure, it was still written well, and I still like Nichelle.  But I think I would like her better if she didn't blatantly ignore warnings of danger just to trudge forward without a care.  As much as I hated the scene with the stuffed Pomeranian toy, I'm glad that it kind of gave her a wake-up call... even if she still didn't really see the danger in the story she was pursuing.  At least she was taking some action to keep her puppy safe, even if she wasn't taking steps to keep herself safe.

The story pacing and the writing is still winning, though.  As I stated, I still like Nichelle.  I like that she's smart, resourceful, and has a way with puzzles.  I didn't really care for her trying to edge into another co-worker's area though, because it left me feeling like she was trying to steal someone else's job.  She'd been spending time complaining about Shelby trying to steal her job since book one, so it felt a little contradictory.  At the very least, she DOES finally admit that she's not trying to steal Trudy's political beat, and goes to Trudy with questions as well as offers the scoop to her co-worker.

It's a little too convenient, however, that Trudy dismisses Nichelle's insights, thus giving Nichelle a green light for continuing her investigation, conscience-free.

I AM glad for the fact that Nichelle covers more than just the "mystery of the week."  In fact, there are more mysteries going on in this book than I'd expected, and enough to keep readers guessing for hours.  Simply the mystery of the missing white chocolate syrup was lingering in the background.

But to be totally honest, the ending wasn't really all that surprising to me, even if I didn't see it coming.  And I felt like it was kind of abrupt.  All the other incidents that Nichelle covered in this book felt like they should have been separate incidents, but everything tied together in the end, though.  I'm not sure if I like that everything ties together in the end, or if I would have preferred to see Nichelle working an article on an incident that had nothing to do with the "mystery of the week," just to show us that there's more going on in this world than the one big convoluted scandal that serves as the main conflict in this book.

Meanwhile, I'm not a big fan of love triangles, but I could smell this one coming a mile away.  I don't know how to feel about it at the moment, because not a whole lot of character is given to either male love interest--at least not enough for me to like one over the other.  And since I don't like triangles, I'm really hoping that this one doesn't keep up for too long and Nichelle either chooses one guy... or chooses no one.  At this point, you can kind of see her leaning more towards Mr. "Call Me Joey," though it could have just been because of the fact that she and ATF Agent Kyle have a history she's reluctant to get into.

At this point, I am kind of glad that Nichelle's world doesn't revolve around her love interests.  They're really just afterthoughts for her at the moment, even if she finds both of them attractive and alluring.

I'm still not digging the color commentary about Shelby's bedroom habits--nor am I feeling the necessity of Shelby's "Mean Girl" act.  I don't feel like it brings much to the table--Nichelle's urgent deadlines still stand whether or not there's someone actively vying for her position.  The fact that she's got a friendly rivalry going on with Charlie from News Channel Four also serves to keeps her on her toes as is.

Otherwise, this second book of the series wasn't bad.  It wasn't incredible, nor was it as exciting or entertaining as the first, but it was still enjoyable, and fast-paced enough that I finished it in a breeze.



Halloween Bingo 2018
(any murder mystery)

Other possible squares:  Cozy Mystery; Amateur Sleuth; Terrifying Women



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/10/thoughts-buried-leads.html
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review 2015-01-01 22:00
Buried Leads-Fun in high heels
Buried Leads - LynDee Walker

The picture on the cover of this book was enough to get my interest.  I happen to love shoes.  The story inside lived up to the fun of the cover.  It kept my interest from the very beginning.

Nichelle Clark is a reporter in Richmond VA on the crime and courthouse beats.  She will do anything for a story and would like to move up to covering politics for the Washington Post.  She's smart and funny and clever.  She is one of the more likeable heroines I've met in a while.  She hears about a dead body found in the woods over her police scanner late one night and goes to investigate.  The stiff turns out to be a lawyer and lobbyist for the tobacco industry.  As she doggedly pursues this case, it keeps getting deeper and deeper.  She soon finds herself being warned off and that's enough to get any reporter's juices going.

The mystery in this story is a complex one and I enjoyed it.  No simple solutions here.  It's a pleasure to follow Nichelle's investigation as she sifts through the evidence using her own investigative skills and her arsenal of law enforcement contacts.  I love watching a good detective at work.  Her law enforcement contacts feel professional and competent. I love that she doesn't seem condescending toward the people around her.  I really don't enjoy female detective that seem to think they are above normal life.  Nichelle feels like someone you would be friends with. 

This is more of a traditional mystery to me than a cozy though it has elements of a cozy.  It's not set in a small town and the heroine doesn't have some weird hobby or shop that plays into the mystery like so many cozies.    Nichelle actually has a legitimate reason to be pursuing this case and does it as a professional, it just happens to be a professional journalist rather than a professional detective.  It's a quick read, it's not graphic with violence or sex and it's fun but it's not quite as soft as a cozy generally is.

There is a love triangle but for some reason it isn't as obnoxious as I usually find them though I do need it to resolve soon.  Like most readers, writing love triangles is one of the most annoying things that writers do.  They never feel realistic to me because so few men would put up with them.

It felt to me that there was one small continuity error when she was warned away from investigating one of her suspects.  I didn't think that she had even mentioned to anyone else yet that she was following that path so I'm not sure why she would be warned away from it but that was minor.  Maybe I had just missed something.

I can recommend this book for lovers of traditional or cozy mysteries. It should have great appeal to lovers of either genre and you don't have to have read the first in the series to enjoy this one. This is the first one I have read. 

This book was provided by Netgalley and I appreciated the opportunity to read and review it.

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review 2013-11-27 02:24
Buried Leads (A Headlines in High Heels Mystery #2)
Buried Leads - LynDee Walker

I've never much paid attention to who publishes the books I read, but since I've first started reading books by Henery Press, I've been so impressed with the quality of the writing and editing that I've started looking for new releases and authors coming out of their "Hen House".


I classify this series as a cozy - but it isn't.  I don't quite know how to classify it any other way.  What makes it cozy:  an amateur sleuth, a lack of graphic sex and/or violence.  What makes it not-a-cozy: this is a very urban setting and feel, profanity is used well and in context, and there's a depth to the crimes that surpass almost all cozy mysteries.  These plots are intricate and complex, as are the motivations of all the characters involved.   There are layers - like an onion, only not smelly and without that annoying papery layer in-between the layers. 


Buried Leads is the second book featuring Nichelle, a journalist in Richmond, VA whose beat is cops and courtrooms.  She dreams of working for the Washington Post, on their political beat, and with ambition and a healthy work ethic, believes the way to get there is by writing the best cops and courtroom stories on a nationwide level.


I like Nichelle.  She has a thing for shoes I don't understand, but it's more subtle in this book than the first one, and I like her anyway.  She's very smart, capable, independent and on-the-ball.  Generally speaking, I have zero interest in anything journalism related and I resisted reading this series initially because of the journalist angle.  But Nichelle makes the profession sound interesting and rewarding even to me.


Nichelle isn't in a relationship, but there are two men in her life.  Kyle - her long ago ex, now an ATF agent just recently assigned to the Richmond office.  He's interested in reconciliation and she sort of is and sort of isn't.  She really likes who she is when she isn't someone's girlfriend.  Then there's Joey.  He's the dark and dangerous man with secrets - literally.  He's mafia, and he appears in Nichelle's life in both the most appropriate and inappropriate times.  


Both men sound hotter than sin (of course!  who wants a dull-sounding love interest?) and normally I'd be screaming "NO!  Not another love triangle!" and running away so fast I'd leave pages flapping in the breeze.  But two things stand out as different for me:  First, both of these guys were introduced at the same time.  I think this makes a big difference; I didn't get attached to one only to have the other come in to disrupt the apple cart.  Second, Joey is written to be unobtainable; he brings a lot of heat and a level of rule-breaking to the story without actually ever being a serious contender for HEA.  I reserve the right to change my mind with future books, but so far, this character dynamic is working for me.


There's a nemesis, because I suppose that nowadays every cozy series Must Have One!  Her name is Shelby and she makes no secret of wanting Nichelle's job or her willingness to sleep her way towards getting it.  Fortunately, we don't see much of her and there's only one or two scenes where we get to experience her true nastiness.  (I'm not a fan of the whole nemesis thing - is it obvious?)


The plot, as I mentioned above, is layered and more intricate that your bog-standard cozy.  Nichelle is following up on a man's body found out in the woods and discovers that he's a lawyer for a lobbying firm with ties to tobacco.  Intrigued at the political possibilities, she starts digging into the story and starts stumbling into all sorts of secrets.  I'll not say more than that, because I don't want to give away the story or the twists and turns it takes.  I'll just say that I had a great time reading this plot as more and more information and discoveries unfolded.  I never saw the ending coming and the killer was never on my radar.


A word about the killer:  if your enjoyment in reading a mystery is at all dependent on all of the suspects being obvious 'players' in the drama/plot, then this book probably isn't for you.  This isn't one of those stories the author designs so you have a better than equal chance of figuring out 'whodunnit'.

(spoiler show)


I had a great time reading this book and I was sorry when it ended.  I'm looking forward to her third book, due out in the spring of '14, and Nichelle's next big story.

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review 2013-09-22 00:00
Buried Leads
Buried Leads - LynDee Walker This is the second book in the Nichelle Clark Headlines in Heels Mystery by LynDee Walker. One of the first book tours I was a part of was for Front Page Fatality and really enjoyed it. So I was thrilled to be able to be part of this tour and get my hands on Buried Leads early!

This book starts out a couple of months following the ending in book one. Nichelle, or Nicey as she typically goes by, is living the glamorous life of the investigative journalist - tromping through the woods at night, looking for the dead body she heard about on her police scanner. When Nicey gets there, she finds the gruesome remains of a man wearing an expensive suit, shot in the face and left in a shallow grave. The teenagers that found the body give Nicey a quote for her article the next day, but otherwise there is little to go on. While the officers are busy, Nicey takes a closer look at the grave and finds a strange piece of paper in the surrounding grave. Hoping this will get her some brownie points (and perhaps lead to a scoop), Nicey brings it to their attention. Little does she know how important that little piece of paper will prove to be.

In this book we get the return of Joey, the shady mafia guy who visits with Nicey after dark and Kyle, Nicey's high school flame and currently the new ATF agent. Nicey has occasions during her investigation to work with both of the guys separately and we get the joy of being on hand for their first face to face meeting at Nicey's house. All that testosterone in one small space, it's enough to make a girl swoon! *fans self* But seriously, though Alpha guys they be, Nicey is a woman who takes care of herself and calls her own shots. She is not going to let someone tell her how to do her job or live her life. Even when faced with a massive professional set-back, Nicey kept her head high and kept moving forward. Nicey shows us that a woman can be aggressive, yet classy and tough, yet feminine. If you like strong female characters, you are going to want to check out this series. This earned a 4 star rating from me on Goodreads.
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review 2013-07-28 00:00
Buried Leads (A Headlines in High Heels Mystery #2)
Buried Leads - LynDee Walker LynDee Walker’s Buried Leads is the second book in the Nichelle Clark series. You don’t need to read Front Page Fatality to enjoy Buried Leads; although, several characters from Front Page do make an appearance. If you’re worried about spoilers, you won’t find any major ones preventing you from enjoying Front Page at a later date. Feel free to dive right in, but I do recommend reading Front Page prior to Buried Leads so you can become familiar with Nichelle and company.Richmond Telegraph crime reporter, Nichelle Clark is back! At first glance a dead body is just that, but when Nichelle receives a tip that the victim is a tobacco lobbyist and the suspect is the vice president of a tobacco company, she realizes there’s more to the story than meets the eye. Armed with a great pair of designer heels, she sets out to uncover the truth only to receive a death threat. Not one to be deterred, she refuses to heed the advice given by one very sexy Mafia boss and proceeds to continue to research the story. Little does she know she’s about to uncover secrets that will rock Washington politics. Will Nichelle uncover the truth before she’s silenced or will she kiss her job goodbye as her nemesis steals the limelight?I always have fun reading Walker’s books and Buried Leads was no exception. Character development continues to be strong. In Front Page Fatality we meet sexy mafia boss, Joey and he’s still enigmatic as ever, but does open up to Nichelle. At one point she makes a reference about how many people he’s killed and Joey responds that not all deaths are at his hands. He goes out of his way to warn and protect Nichelle, but our feisty heroine is not one to back down from threats and proves she’s resourceful and can hold her own. I’m not going to lie-I lit up each time Joey made an appearance. How Nichelle manages not to grin like a fool every time she sees him is beyond me. This time Joey has a little competition with Nichelle’s ex-boyfriend, Kyle, moving to Richmond. Kyle is ready to pick up where things left off, but Nichelle puts a halt to things. Upon seeing Joey pay a late visit to Nichelle, Kyle is immediately suspicious and since Kyle works for the ATF, I wonder how long it will take him to do a background check on Joey. The real treat for me was seeing Parker and Bob! I feel as if I’m an honorary employee of the Richmond Telegraph and I loved catching up with Parker especially when he was willing to help Nichelle do a little research. For those that read Front Page Fatality, you might remember Troy Wright and how his brother died; Walker follows up with Troy and I really appreciate being able to touch base with him via Nichelle.Once again, the writing is engaging and Buried Leads is a fast paced read. Walker expertly combines serious scenes with a touch of humor. For example, Nichelle meets the mother of a tobacco farmer and she’s a smoker who carries an oxygen tank. She has Nichelle wondering if she’s going to blow them up as she tries to question the woman. I really like how Walker showcases a newspaper competing with a television station and how Nichelle not only has to deal with competition from a television reporter, but she has her co-worker Shelby to worry about. I loved that Parker understands what Nichelle is up against especially when he’s assigned to a job with Shelby. The interoffice politics is downplayed a little in Buried Leads, but it’s still a very important aspect to story and series. I do love watching Nichelle grow as well as Parker and can’t wait to see what Walker does with these two in the future.One reason why I really like Walker’s writing is that she slowly feeds us the information and the reader has to make sense of the clues. At first glance, the different stories Nichelle has to cover don’t seem connected and it’s up to us to decide if they are. I love working out the puzzle with Nichelle and Walker gives us the ability to get our feet wet by playing detective alongside Nichelle. As for the mystery, I thought I had it figured out and I agreed with Nichelle for the most part, but I had a nagging suspicion that it was a bit too tidy. No mystery could be that straight forward and sure enough it wasn’t. Walker delivers a curve ball that would make Parker proud!LynDee Walker’s Buried Leads is a must read for any mystery fan. I loved Front Page Fatality, but Buried Leads may be my favorite in the series to date. If you’re a fan of mysteries or contemplating trying a new genre, I highly recommend Buried Leads.This review is posted at Literary, etc.
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