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review 2018-10-15 17:19
Thoughts: Front Page Fatality
Front Page Fatality - LynDee Walker

Front Page Fatality

by LynDee Walker
Book 1 of A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller

A fiery crash kills two young police officers. A horrific accident? Or something more sinister?

Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke is covering the deaths of two young police officers near Richmond, Virginia. On the surface, it looks like a tragic accident. But as she digs deeper into the investigation, Nichelle realizes that all is not as it seems.

Evidence goes missing.

A prosecutor vanishes.

Someone is trying to cover their tracks.

Nichelle is struggling to put the pieces together, until a seductive Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime. But each step closer to the truth becomes exponentially more dangerous. And her investigation soon transforms into a murderous game of cat and mouse.



On a side note:  I like the newer covers for this series.  It's been noted that LynDee Walker was able to get the rights to all of her books, thus giving her the opportunity to repackage her series.  Each book gets a brand new, grittier looking cover illustration, and the whole series gets a brand new title as well, having previously been known as A Headlines in High Heels Mystery, which I can see why it had been given this series title in the first place, but doesn't really show you that there's so much more to the story than Nichelle's love for fancy heels of all kinds.


Now, moving right along to the review:



Front Page Fatality is an extremely enjoyable and strong start to the Nichelle Clarke Crime Thrillers, and definitely has a lot of potential to continue on being great if the rest of the books follow along the same vein.

The story is fast-paced and the murder investigation keeps you on your toes.  To be honest, I really didn't know what to think and who I thought would end up the ultimate culprit of the murders, and of the drug evidence disappearing.  I wasn't surprised at the ending, but was kept guessing throughout.  As others have mentioned, this book feels much grittier than your typical cozy mystery, with constant action from the beginning, all the way till the end, and even a darker atmosphere than your typical, humorous cozies.  The characters are all interesting in their own way, and I hope to see more of them in the rest of the series.

I especially loved our heroine, Nichelle Clarke, who isn't the typical badass independent woman, nor is she a giggling, swooning damsel either.  Nichelle is resourceful, smart, and doesn't spend her time pining after the first man who gives her a mega-watt smile.  I also love that she's not out to be TSTL material, even though she DOES manage to get herself into trouble a couple times--at least she openly admits that getting herself killed was never the plan.

She also reacts appropriately when she finds a strange man in her home who shouldn't be there... sort of.  I would have liked a lot less talking and a lot more dialing of 9-1-1, but I'm guessing Nichelle had her reasons; though I don't really approve of her still finding Mr. "Call me Joey" attractive after he'd just broken into her home.  I DO appreciate her then spending the time searching her home and locking all of her doors and windows following that little incident, and keeping vigilant about it even a day or two later.

I also love Nichelle's relationship with Bob, her boss--a pseudo-father-daughter relationship, if you will.  I like how they kind of take care of each other.  I hope to see more of that in upcoming books.

The side characters could have been fleshed out a little more.  Grant Parker felt like he should have been more interesting than he actually comes off.  Nichelle's best friend, Jenna also feels like another tangent waiting to be told.  And then Nichelle's police detective source, Aaron ended up disappearing for a good portion of the book.  So, ultimately, as I'd mentioned already, I DO hope to see more of these people in future books, if only because there is SO much potential going on there.

The only one thing that DID bug me about this book were the constant commentary about Nichelle's co-worker, Shelby--it felt in bad taste, honestly.  What people do in their romantic and/or sex lives is no one else's business, and using that as an attack against Shelby so much was uncalled for and unnecessary.  No matter that Shelby was a big bitch to Nichelle all the time--you can dislike her for her general attitude and rude behavior, but there's no need to stoop to attacking her bedroom habits.

I had figured Nichelle to be above that, considering she'd been able to hold her tongue against Les, the temporary stand-in when her boss, Bob has a heart attack.  Les was a standard asshole who kept the insults coming and I had so, so wanted her to retort back at least once.  But she held her tongue every single time, even after he kept insinuating that she was playing hooky and not taking her job seriously enough.

Nichelle's behavior towards Shelby is a different matter, however, from the fact that Shelby's "sleeping with the boss to advance her career" side-fact had to be brought up at all.  Truthfully, I had been so ready to be happy about Nichelle and Shelby's relationship being one of friendly rivalry of some sort when Nichelle mentions how Shelby is good at what she does, and could even potentially work the police and crime beat if she got the chance.  But then we pull the slut-shaming card and I just felt a bit frustrated.

I appreciate that Nichelle and Charlie, a television news reporter, have the friendly rivalry going on, but Charlie barely makes an appearance in the book.  It would have been nice to see more of this between Nichelle and Shelby, rather than just making Shelby out to be the stereotypical "Mean Girl."

But anyway, this book was overall entirely enjoyable, and I was very satisfied with it.




Halloween Bingo 2018
(a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community)

Other possible squares:  Amateur Sleuth; Terrifying Women; Murder Most Foul



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/10/thoughts-front-page-fatality.html
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text 2016-09-27 23:31
On sale this week for 0.99
Front Page Fatality - LynDee Walker

Just in case anyone is looking for new murder mystery series possibilities:


This is the first book in a series called Headlines in High Heels, and was nominated for an Agatha award for Best First Novel.  The series name makes it sound vapid, but it isn't.  It's excellent; one of the few series I look forward to over and over again.


Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke's days can flip from macabre to comical with a beep of her police scanner. Then an ordinary accident story turns extraordinary when evidence goes missing, a prosecutor vanishes, and a sexy Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime. 


The first book in ebook format is on sale this week for 0.99 across all the major outlets (iBooks, Kobo, B&N, Amazon).


I don't have a horse in this race; just thought I'd fling it out there to anyone interested since I'm a personal fan of the books.

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review 2016-02-29 00:00
Front Page Fatality
Front Page Fatality - LynDee Walker So I really did enjoy this book from beginning to end. The only reason why I gave it four stars was that I found certain plot points kind of tasteless (i.e. Nichelle's coworker Shelby and the constant commenting on her bedroom habits) and the flow was off here and there. However, other than that, I thought it was a very nice set-up to the series.

Nichelle Clarke is a twenty something investigative reporter living in Richmond, Virginia. Her dream is to go and work for the Washington Post someday as a political reporter (I am shocked by that, I don't think anyone in D.C. even looks at the Post as the most credible news source out there anymore) and is slowly building up her reputation in Richmond. While working on a story about two robberies/murders that may be linked, she also gets pulled into an investigation involving some Richmond PD officers who died on a boat.

I thought that Nichelle's editor/father figure Bob was really great. I had someone like that in my life early in my career too. You need that person that is going to push/pull you and also you get just as irritated as Nichelle does that her investigative job may be up for grabs to her annoying coworker Shelby.

Speaking of Shelby, I was sick of her and her machinations regarding Nichelle. In the real world she would have been fired and or reported to HR for her unprofessional behavior. Having her act like a jerk and we find sleeping with those in charge to advance her career, ugh. I wish we could just have a story about two women who are good at their jobs with Shelby not being looked as being "bad" for using sex to advance herself. Why can't she just be good at her job? That was the only part of the story that fell a little bit flat to me.

We also get some other characters introduced in this one, Nichelle's best friend, and her coworker Parker. And we also get some asides thrown out about her high school boyfriend. There seemed to be a lot of things going on at once, but Walker managed to keep the story going with the main focus really being on the story that Nichelle investigates and not her non-existent love life. I am not going to lie, some of the secondary characters were a bit thin, and there didn't seem to be much backstory really to Nichelle's character, but I assume that we will get more information on her in future stories.

I thought the writing was really good and Walker I found out used to work on a newspaper so you can definitely see that she knows what she is talking about. This book gave a really nice insider look in how stories are developed and how reporters have working relationships with the police.

I think the flow was off here and there, not a lot, but just a little because the story sometimes got really muddled when we have Nichelle trying to fit all of the pieces together, so some times I found myself re-reading things trying to figure out what was going on.

The setting of Richmond, Virginia was great. Walker really does a good job describing the town and the different areas in the community. She also has me hoping that the bookstore that she described in this story really does exist. I may have to take a road trip and investigate.

The ending had everything wrapped up in a slightly messy bow with a hint of more mysteries to come with Nichelle at the center of them.
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review 2015-02-08 23:16
Front Page Fatality-Restores my faith in the contemporary American cozy genre
Front Page Fatality - LynDee Walker

I am usually scrupulous about reading a series in order.  In fact, my sister and I have had this discussion several times because she is willing to run willy-nilly through a series in any way she wants and I insist on going from start to finish. This series, however, I read out of order.  And it didn't matter.  I loved them all.

Front Page Fatality is the first of the Headlines in High Heels series.  Nichelle is the crime and court reporter for the Richmond Telegraph and she loves designer shoes. She also loves beating her main rival, the reporter at Channel 10, to the big stories.  This one begins with a boat accident.  It happens while she's out having dinner with a friend so she's late to the scene and her rival is already on television with the story.  This story, however, goes a lot deeper than just a boating accident and as Nichelle digs deeper, someone is trying to stop her from finding out that rest-of-the-story that she is sure is there.  It doesn't help that her supportive boss has a heart attack and she's left dealing with a very non-supportive replacement that wants to give her job to his girlfriend.  Add a sexy mafioso that shows up in her living room and Nichelle is having an interesting week.

This series has all the fun a cozy mystery reader is looking for along with the atmosphere I like.  It also draws you into Nichelle's world in a way that lesser writers miss when trying to write this genre.  I read the 2nd, 3rd and 4th books in the series because I had gotten them from Netgalley.  As soon as I finished the fourth one I logged right onto Amazon and bought this one.  It enjoyed it that much.  I felt like this one may have had a few more f-bombs in it, which I hate, than the next 3 but I don't count them so I don't know for sure.  They aren't pervasive but I don't like them at all.  Anyway, this is a series that restores my hope for the contemporary American cozy.

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review 2013-04-22 00:00
Front Page Fatality (A Nichelle Clarke Headlines in Heels Mystery #1)
Front Page Fatality - LynDee Walker

Excellent read! Not a light weight cozy, but a very well thought out, edge-of-your-seat cozy mystery.


I found the plot itself entertaining and sufficiently complex enough that I was surprised at the ultimate culprits behind the crimes. I loved the introduction of the bad-but-yummy mafia man, I hope that he'll be making future appearances.


Delightful characters and a great plot make this an excellent first book in a new series I'm looking forward to.

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