Publication Date: April 21, 2015
In Hide nor Hair (A Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery) by Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa, Colleen Caruso is back and looking for a hairstyle that works. What she finds is a stylist dead in the hair-washing sink. When another small business owner plunges from a plane without a parachute, Colleen knows something is up and it’s up to her to get to the bottom of the mystery before anyone else meets an untimely end. Hide nor Hair is the second book in the Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery series.
The author, Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa, gave me this novel in exchange for my review.
New Math is Murder, the first novel in the Jersey Girl series, was a strong outing. There were some first novel hiccups in the execution. In the second outing in the series, Colleen has experience and gumption and people who play against her interests but also struggle to be on her side because they have a faith of which the character is worthy — as illustrated in a believable way by the author.
Colleen is an average woman — a middle-aged mother of two — divorced from her husband and working to raise her kids as best she can. She has a supportive, if somewhat quirky family and a sister, who she sees as close to perfectly put together physically and emotionally as any human can be. Reccoppa brings life and flavor to her characters. They are interesting, in a way that does not go over the top and very real in their approaches to situations. In New Math is Murder Colleen was a bit shell-shocked from the dissolution of her marriage. She’s not ready to think about love, so the book gives a minor romance element for other characters but it is a very mystery-oriented read. In Hide nor Hair, Colleen is ready to look around and maybe test some romantic waters. That said, she’s a practical woman and some schoolgirl-crush isn’t going to be the focus of the narrative. At its heart, Colleen is doing what Colleen does best and looking for answers.
Reccoppa has clearly become very comfortable with her characters and genre. What she delivers is a very polished piece of fiction. The characters are relaxed and at times at bit comical but they work with the very serious weight of the mystery plot line. These are not just people dying, these are people known to the main character dying and to whom she owes something of an imagined debt by that very loose friendly connection. What makes the story so interesting is that Reccoppa keeps it light while readers feel as though they read something really worthwhile.
The Jersey Girl series is one with staying power. Reccoppa has built valuable players in a believable world. I don’t know how authentic the Jersey setting is but it feels like a legitimate characterization. While Colleen could live anywhere she fits well in the world that Reccoppa has built for her.
If you have a vacation coming up where you’ll have time to sit back and enjoy a summer read, New Math is Murder and Hide nor Hair are the perfect companions. Start with the first to get to know Colleen and then read the second for an extended visit with a great character.
Read our review of the A Jersey Girl Cozy Mystery, New Math is Murder.
Read an excerpt and buy Hide nor Hair by Jo-Ann Lamon Reccoppa on