Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett

Hollywood Homicide is book one in the Detective by Day Mystery series. Written by Kellye Garrett this book was released on August 8, 2017.

Ironically this was the first cozy mystery I ever picked up. I had never even heard of the genre before. I found the cover to be intensely interesting and beautiful.

The premise itself- a former actress turned sleuth drew me in. I had not seen many mystery leads who were black or of color before and for it to be a female to boot made it all the more appealing to me.

Lights, camera… Dayna?

Dayna, known as Day, is having a rough go at life lately. Once she was the star of nationally syndicated commercials for a chicken chain. She was also known for her attitude fueled catchphrase.

It could wear anyone thin. When we meet Day she no longer has the chicken slinging deal. She has put on a few pounds and signed up with temp agencies which has distanced her from her famed character. Not that she isn’t still recognized- but now it’s because people think they know her but can’t place her in their minds. People who encounter her all feel like she is some random classmate that you saw at a pep rally years ago in high school and you still can’t remember her name.

She has very few of the accoutrements of her old Hollywood lifestyle left. Having packed away her size 4 garments and moved into her friend Sienna’s “bloset”. Her bloset being an actual closet filled with Sienna’s shoe collection but large enough to hold a bed for Day.

Her problems are way bigger than her bloset. Her parents home is facing foreclosure and she signs up to bail them out despite not having enough money to fill the gas tank of her Pepto Bismol pink Infiniti.

Even her car isn’t prepared to embark on a murder investigation. Neither is Day but she vows to in order to obtain reward money for a tip leading to the arrest of a hit and run killer. Simply put she doesn’t fit the role.

Hollyweird happenings…

We learn from Dayna some information about how Hollywood works. From agents and managers to the differences in the houses in the surrounding areas. Sure, she may have had a fall from grace and a star status that has faded but she is now a California girl.

It doesn’t hurt that she fits right in with her friends who are willing to help her while pursuing their own dreams. One of which is Sienna.

Sienna… bloset owner in red

I think Sienna deserves a novel of her own. She owns the shoes and bloset that provide a home for Dayna. No one knows where her money is from aside from maybe an ex husband. She’s ambiguous in some ways but it is crystal clear that she wants fame.

She will even wear all red all the time to get attention from bloggers and possibly reality tv gigs. Who am I to judge her life ambitions?

Emme… the hermit twin to the star

Another friend who helps the main character in times of need is Emme. She just happens to be the twin sister of a mega celebrity. Which doesn’t stop her from being a recluse who is far more comfortable in front of her computer screen than anywhere else on earth.

Aubrey… the former cop now on his own bike patrol

An unlikely ally from the start we find that Aubrey has had his own fall from grace from the police force. He rides a bike, always. Clearly they’re above being inconspicuous when it comes to tracking suspects. Kind of hard to do with a bright pink car running on fumes or a ten speed built for sidewalk travel.

Image result for man on bike funny

Case closed…

The author knows her stuff. The ins and outs of Hollywood are clearly familiar to her and I felt as if I was there while reading.

I appreciated that Day was quite wrong, quite often. In a series debut I wouldn’t have expected her to be an actress turned expert detective which made me free to laugh along the way at the silly jokes and quips. After all this is a cozy mystery.

But she can at least act her way out of a paper bag, and a lot of other precarious situations. Although challenged financially (we’re talking she is using a phone card and living in a closet) she has what anyone would call “heart”. For her first attempt as an investigator she could have done worse.

Yes, the main character is a bit of an airhead, but I liked her silly personality. I also liked the crew of people that surrounded her. You could tell she has a few real friends in her life who are willing to help her out of a bind. Dayna was smart enough to use her acting skills in order to, at times, make up for her lack of knowledge and know how. There was some entertaining Hollywood style action movie scene at the end that stayed true to the heart of the novel.

Reading this was like a wild goose chase. Day thought just about everyone did it at some point. Meanwhile I figured the culprit from the time they were introduced. I still enjoyed the journey through the streets and metropolitan area of Hollywood and all of the fashions and celebrity happenings along the way

I am excited to see how her detective skills improve in the future. I would love to find out more about what lead her friends to where they are today. I very much look forward to reading the second book in this series, Hollywood Ending. Hopefully she uses her acting skills to even greater advantage than before.

Deep Fried Trouble by Tyora Moody… Time to Dish

What is this?

Well, it is what I am here for…

Deep Fried Trouble is a Eugeena Patterson mystery brought to us by Tyora Moody. It is part one in a series of three books, all of which have officially been released.

Readers are introduced to Eugeena, a long suffering Mother to a daughter who is distant and troubled, victim of a restricted healthy diet and unlucky enough to stumble upon the dead body of her former best friend who she had a notorious beef with.

Eugeena and her friend before she found her dead

Deep fried you say?

The title says it all. Okay, maybe it doesn’t really tell you that actually virtually nothing is really fried because of the aforementioned diet. Good health is a good thing. Healthy eating is wonderful. But if you are looking for a cozy mystery with recipes for deep fried goodies then you will want to look elsewhere.

This trouble isn’t fried, dyed and laid to the side

Which of course is part of the trouble isn’t it? When I dive into a cozy mystery I have been mentally trained to expect one with a quirky title related to food preparation to include lots of food preparation. Oftentimes we readers are gifted with recipes at the back. Perhaps the author will one day release a separate healthy soul food cookbook based on some of the meals mentioned. Such as oven baked fried chicken. A bit of an oxymoron but certainly worth a try!

Just checking on the chicken

I cannot be super disappointed in the book for not being more inclusive of descriptions of food that I expected based on the title and cover art. There was food that was mentioned although it didn’t sound particularly amazing, even to Eugeena’s own admission at times.

The trouble with love is…

This was a book that in many ways discusses love, family and difficult long lasting friendships. Eugeena has a love interest, Amos, with a background that allows him to mingle with the local law enforcement. As a widow we learn of her former life as a schoolteacher and wife of a physician. We also learn a bit about her sons and her devotion to her grandchildren.

When her emotionally distant daughter storms into town bringing with her plenty of surprises and secrets we see Eugeena’s desire to defend and protect her child unfold. While she has the aforementioned history of bad blood with her former neighbor who is buried with the secrets of who killed her she expresses her regrets but pledges to find the killer while also taking care of the deceased woman’s Corgi.

What do you mean dear Eugeena when you say you don’t want me in your bed?

Throughout the novel and despite her reluctance to accept or adjust to certain things it is clear that Eugeena is a woman with the heart of a Christian who wants to offer forgiveness and assistance in whatever way she can. It is endearing as a character trait and makes you want to see her win and find the killer of her friend.

Eugeena admits to her own character flaws and is very introspective. Friendship, especially long lasting ones, can be very difficult to maintain as with any relationship. I took away the feeling that she was admitting her mistakes and wanted to make things right even though she didn’t have the ability to do that before her friend was killed.

Detective skills… you can’t hide from the neighborhood watch

Ah, the whodunit and why? Ms. Patterson is on the prowl and determined not to let up. Her investigative style is disarming- as would be expected of a grandmother as sweet as southern iced tea. She asks simple questions and is not afraid to get herself into dicey situations.

Hey neighbors… Eugeena is just being nosey per the neighborhood home association guidelines

As an independent investigator she goes off of her intuition and she has to have guts to be a non-gun toting granny winging it off prayers.

Case closed

I gave this book four out of five stars. I really enjoyed it and will pursue the other two and a half books in the series- the next being Oven Baked Secrets.

One thing I would have liked would have been the selection of a killer with a twist. I figured out who the murderer was based on simple clues and was not entirely satisfied with the motivation behind the actions that person took. Overall it was the story itself inclusive of the mystery surrounding her daughter, the main character and her truly sweet heart that drew me in and will keep me coming back for more.