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review 2018-11-04 22:55
Brief Thoughts: Small Town Spin
Small Town Spin - LynDee Walker

Small Town Spin

by LynDee Walker
Book 3 of A Nichelle Clarke Crime Thriller




A retired NFL quarterback's teenage son is found dead on a rocky shoreline near his family's Virginia home, and crime reporter Nichelle Clarke is called in on special assignment to handle the delicate story.  Just yesterday, T.J. Okerson seemed destined to follow in his father's footsteps towards gridiron glory.  Now his parents, close friends to one of Nichelle's inner circle, are blind-sided and grieving.

The sheriff of the sleepy Chesapeake Bay town is ready to stamp the case a tragic drug overdose and move on.  But Nichelle isn't so sure.

Determined and unafraid, she dives into the seedier side of the quaint island community.  Nichelle's investigation reveals an underground moonshine operation--and more suspicious deaths.  Soon she finds herself confronting a killer who will stop at nothing to keep Nichelle from uncovering the truth.

Small Town Spin is another solid story in this well-written cozy series that I'm happy to have been recommended.  As per usual, I love Nichelle's thought process whenever she starts investigating each case, and I love that she's so resourceful and confident.  I also appreciate the fact that Nichelle has kind of learned from her previous experiences and indeed DOES try not to be the TSTL.  As she mentions, she's not exactly looking to get herself killed or anything.  She just wants her story.

Unfortunately, danger just seems to keep popping up because she's so determined to get to the truth of each story.

Of all the books so far, I kind of feel like this is one with a meatier plot than the rest.  It's quite thought-provoking, even if the entire detailed outline of the murder mystery was quite convoluted.  Maybe Nichelle was following too many trails, I don't know.

Still, this was highly enjoyable!

On a side note:  the love triangle is quite prominent in this particular book than it had been in the previous.  I suppose I understand Nichelle's need to play the field a little bit.  But something about triangles just really ruffle me up.

On another side note:  I was chatting with my BFF about this series, wanting to introduce her to it if she were in the mood for a new cozy.  The topic of the love triangle came up, and then I suddenly admitted that I was really hoping that Nichelle and fellow reporter, sports persona Grant Parker would end up together.  I'm sure that's not going to happen, because the two have already friend-zoned each other; AND Parker is in a committed relationship.  Also, a lot of other readers seem to be rooting for the mafia boss...

But anyway, I just felt like Parker and Nichelle just clicked really well, especially after they finally started communicating more properly at the end of the first book.  Now the two are sort of partners in crime as he had helped her out, both in the previous book and this one.  And they seem to really understand each other.

While love interests, Joey and Kyle, will just tell Nichelle she needs to stop getting herself into trouble, Parker will offer his services to aid her investigative efforts.  I think I like that he doesn't immediately try to coddle her... then again, he's also not playing the role of over-protective potential boyfriend.

Anyway, another entertaining installment to the Nichelle Clarke series, and three more to go!




Halloween Bingo 2018



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/11/brief-thoughts-small-town-spin.html
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review 2015-01-03 19:04
Small Town Spin-The real deal
Small Town Spin - LynDee Walker

I’m sold on LynDee Walker and Nichelle Clarke. This series is the real thing. It’s fun and entertaining while being a very solid mystery. A new favorite series worth my time and money! I just ordered the first book in the series because it was the only one I didn’t have and I can’t wait to see how this all started. But, time to stop gushing and start reviewing.


Nichelle, the crime and court reporter for the Richmond Telegraph, is a little out of her regular beat when the sports columnist asks her to cover the death of his friend’s son which is presumed to be a suicide. The friend just happens to be one the most famous football players in the country and he doesn’t think his son committed suicide. Neither does Nichelle.


This story takes Nichelle out of Richmond to a small town on an island so the suspect pool is pretty small. Unfortunately, this also means it’s a tight-knit group that really don’t want strangers poking around in their business. High school sporting ambitions, locally made moonshine and a closed-mouth sheriff all contribute to Nichelle’s suspicions. As with the last book, it’s a clever mystery that isn’t immediately apparent but clues are scattered throughout the book if you can find them.


Joey and Kyle are both still in the story and her relationship with each heats up quite a bit in this book but not enough to offend anyone’s sensibilities. I do need the author to wrap up this triangle pretty soon. They both contribute to Nichelle’s investigations, however, and are integral to the plot.


The newsroom politics at the newspaper get dicier. Her nemesis, Shelby, is in rare form. I enjoy these parts of the story that are about the day-to-day work of a newspaper reporter. We also find out some of Nichelle’s backstory with her mom which gives more depth to her character.


If you haven’t read the other books in this series, you can read this as a stand-alone and you will enjoy it. It will most likely want you to get the rest of the series. It’s a fairly quick read but in that good way that makes you wish there was more because you don’t want to leave these people.


I received this book from Netgalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review it.

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review 2014-03-23 00:00
Small Town Spin (A Headlines in High Heels Mystery #3)
Small Town Spin - LynDee Walker Small Town Spin is the third book in the Headlines in High Heels Mystery series by LynDee Walker. I was super lucky enough to have discovered the first book, Front Page Fatality, early in April of last year during one of the very first book tours I ever signed up for and fell in love with the book. In October, another book tour company had her 2nd book, Buried Leads and I have a great guest post from Ms. Walker along with the review. There is also a novella available in the Heartache Motel Anthology, that covers events between Buried Leads and the beginning of this book. This has been a consistently great series, so when I saw that it was available on Netgalley, I was super excited.

This book opens with Nichelle fights a losing battle with her allergies. Since she is feeling so poorly, she gets a rare afternoon off, to go home a rest. Unfortunately, the news doesn't respect sick days and Parker, Nichelle's co-worker and former super star baseball player turned sports reporter has a scoop for her - and its personal. Parker's college buddy, and football legend's son has apparently committed suicide and they are willing to have his story told - by Nichelle.

So Nichelle heads out to meet with the family, but the more she learns about the boy and what happened, the more the pieces just don't mesh for her. Afraid that she is bringing her personal feelings into the story, she slowly starts digging all the while second guessing her gut instincts. When the boy's girlfriend is also found dead in an apparent suicide, more clues begin to point to murder.

This was the best book yet in the series, honest! Finding out some of the backstory about Nichelle and how/why she chose journalism, and particularly investigative journalism was masterfully done and left me wanting more. We also get introduced to an old friend of Nichelle's, that promises even more backstory in the future. Plus there was such great tension and struggle as Nichelle tries to figure out her relationship with both Joey and Kyle that I am as confused as Nichelle about which guy to root for. I gave this book a 5 star rating and can't wait to see what happens next for Nichelle.
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review 2014-02-21 22:57
Small Town Spin (Headlines in High Heels Mystery, No. 3)
Small Town Spin - LynDee Walker

This is what a cozy mystery should be.  It's fun but not fluffy.  Entertaining but not shallow.  Touching but not melodramatic.


I'll start with a series summary:  Nichelle Clarke is a journalist for the Richmond, VA newspaper, covering the crimes and courthouse beat, giving her ample, believable opportunities to find herself up to her eyeballs in mystery.  She's smart, likeable, a bit cheeky and has integrity to spare, but doesn't hesitate to give as good as she gets.  She has great sources who like her and a couple that like her just a little bit more than the rest, including one ex-boyfriend and one sinfully beautiful man that seems to be in the business of sin, in a Goodfella kind of way.


Small Town Spin centres on the story of a former Superbowl champion whose son is found dead from an apparent suicide.  While not normally her bailiwick, close friend and sports columnist, Parker - whose also a close friend of the bereaved father - asks her to be the first to break the story, in hopes of setting the tone for the media storm that will break when the death is made public.  She soon finds holes in the sheriff's suicide theory; it could be, but it doesn't make sense.  Another teen death soon follows, this one with a note the parents swear is fake.  Nichelle discovers that the police found moonshine at the scene of both deaths, and she's just not going to let this go.


Obviously, teen suicide is a big topic in this book - if this is a hot button topic for you, tread carefully.  My peripheral experience with suicide was as an adult, but I thought the author did an excellent job balancing respect for the tragedy that is suicide of any kind, and a cozy tone that kept the story enjoyable and not at all heavy.  There's nothing here that made me feel like my feelings were being played; the story was written, I thought, with sincerity and a skilful hand.


I love Nichelle; I'd jump at the chance to call someone like her a friend any day.  I like Parker, who plays a part in every mystery in this series - he's cheeky and charismatic without being slimy.  I dislike Shelby and think she's a bit over-the-top hateful, but I've resigned myself to at least one hateful character in every cozy series.  Nichelle acquires another one in this book, Spencer, and someone needs to hit him a good one.  But at least in these books, Nichelle doesn't just take it - she dishes it right back out to both of them and I find myself cheering her on each and every time she puts them in their places.


So, the romantic angle.  I'm conflicted and it's where that half star went.  I hate love triangles.  HATE THEM.  But Ms. Walker introduced two men from the very first book.  Kyle, the ex-boyfriend/ATF agent, and Joey, the Italian-by-way-of-New-Jersey uh...businessman.  Who drives a black Lincoln.  Really, I think all the stereotypes are ticked here, except that he's beautiful and of the refined, luxe variety of goodfella.  Anyway, by the end of the first book, I thought she could make this work in the same way Janet Evanovich makes it work - Nichelle doesn't have to choose.  One is unsuitable anyway.


But in Small Town Spin she's angst-y and feeling guilty and conflicted and now I'm starting to feel angst about the love triangle.  I like Kyle and I like Joey and I don't want her to have to choose.  It's the 21st century, Nichelle is her own woman, and for the purposes of this series I don't see why she can't have both.  In a safe and ethical manner, of course.


The mystery.  The mystery was excellent and so well plotted. Really, deliciously convoluted with blind alleys, dead ends (those two might be the same thing), lots of suspects.  There is moonshine.  Hootch.  White Lightning.  How cool is that?  I don't think I've ever read a cozy that involves moonshine, and I've read a boatload of cozies.  I'm not sure about the murder method; it doesn't jibe with what I know about the subject, but I'm willing to concede I'm not an expert.


Do teenagers get Type 2 diabetes?  I don't mean the obese teens, the guy here is an athlete and seems to have been born with it.  I thought it was only Type 1/insulin dependence that one could be genetically born with and develop as a child.  Dunno.

(spoiler show)


Very little was predictable about this mystery and what little I was able to see coming ended up coming from totally different directions.  I was confronted with the murderer the same time Nichelle was.  That's always a good thing in a murder mystery.


This series is rapidly becoming a top 10 favorite and I am looking forward to the next book.


I received an ARC from NetGalley and Henery Press in exchange for an honest review, but I'm purchasing a hard copy of this book for my shelves because it's one I'll be reading again.

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