The basics: Kate Conway is a reality television producer. In Missing Persons, she's working on a show of the same name and documenting the story of a young woman who disappeared a year earlier. At the same time, Kate's soon-to-be-ex-husband suddenly dies, and she becomes a suspect. In Life Without Parole, Kate is working on two shows: a reality show about a new restaurant opening and one documenting the lives of prisoners serving life sentences.
My thoughts: In both books, Clare O'Donohue does an excellent job of letting the mysteries evolve naturally. Cozy mysteries, in which the person solving a crime isn't a private investigator or member of law enforcement, can seem silly. In both books, Clare does end up trying to solve a crime related to her personal life, but it feel authentic.
What I like most about these books, however, is Kate herself. She's a fascinating character, but she's also a very real one. She's someone you'd like to have as a friend not because she's perfect and inspiring, but because she's one you could watch television on your couch while eating Chinese takeout food with. I also loved how much insight into producing reality television O'Donohue weaves into the narrative. O'Donohue herself was a television producer for years, and it shows.
The verdict: Kate is a character I absolutely adore. O'Donohue skillfully mixes Clare's work life, home life, and believable mystery into an entertaining story. While both of these books have two compelling mysteries in them, Kate is what really kept me turning the pages. Her journey was both more satisfying and more enjoyable than the mysteries themselves.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 280 and 288
Publication date: May 31, 2011 and April 24, 2012
Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Missing Persons from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle edition.) Buy Life After Parole from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle edition.)
Want more? Visit Clare O'Donohue's website, follow her on Twitter, and like her on Facebook.
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