Saturday, 30 March 2019

#BlogTour Checking the Traps by Joan Livingston

Today it's absolutely a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Checking the Traps by Joan Livingston. It's a character driven, quaint, funny and just in general highly entertaining crime read.
About the Author
Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Checking the Traps, published by Crooked Cat Books, is the third in the mystery series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I. The first two are Chasing the Case and Redneck’s Revenge.

An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure.

After eleven years in Northern New Mexico, she returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including the Isabel Long mystery series.

Follow @JoanLivingston on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Goodreads,
Buy Checking the Traps

About the book
Isabel Long is a bit banged up from her last case with a broken collarbone and her arm in a sling. But that doesn’t stop her from pouring beer at the Rooster Bar or taking her third case with Gary Beaumont, a local drug dealer who once terrorized her. Gary is convinced his brother didn’t jump off a bridge known for suicides. Somebody pushed him.

Gary’s brother was a boozer who drove for a highway crew. But what interests Isabel and her ‘Watson’ — her 93-year-old mother who lives with her — is that the man wrote poetry.
The chief suspects are one of Gary’s business associates and a famous poet who plagiarized his brother’s poetry for an award-winning book. Yes, he was that good.

As a journalist, Isabel did regular meetups with her sources for stories. She called it checking the traps. She does the same as a private investigator, and this time, she’ll make sure she doesn’t get caught in one.

I am probably guilty of ageism, but I was highly amused by this crime-fighting sleuth duo. I smirked quite a few times, whilst Ma stood look-out, trespassed or showed people what a lead foot on a gas pedal looks like. It was refreshing to have a main character, who isn't all nubile, nimble or a femme fatale. Nor a cross between or derivative of Lara Croft, Miss Marple or Catwoman.

Isabel, don't call me Izzie, Long is just a middle-aged grandmother who has a sidekick not far off from being an entire century-old. Her mother is a nonagenarian, who helps Isabel to solve crimes. As unlikely as this might sound, the two of them make for a very interesting combination.

The other thing that makes this series so appealing, is the small town feel the author has incorporated into the story. In the majority of books this feeling becomes something oppressive, a factor that facilitates crime or fuels the need to escape. In this case it is exactly the opposite. The closeness, the nosiness, the gossip and the way everyone is related to everyone else, actually drives the crime and the story.

In this third book in the series, Isabel is asked by the local drug dealer to find out whether his brother really did commit suicide or did someone help him fall from a great height? She is surprised to find a sensitive, creative soul, who was passionate about his poetry, when she delves into the life of the victim. A soul so easily pained he was perhaps unable to deal with rejection and failure?

I can't recommend this book enough. It's a character driven, quaint, funny and just in general highly entertaining crime read. Livingston doesn't rely on the usual tropes or stereotypes found in crime fiction. Her main character reflects the women society likes to forget about and shove aside after they have passed a certain age. Kudos to her for reminding us all that age is a number not a rule or restriction, and most of all for bringing the invisible women out of the shadows.

Buy Checking the Traps ( The Isabel Long Mystery Series #3) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Crooked Cat Books; pub date 22 Mar. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

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