Publication Date: October 2, 2016
In Murder on the Page (A Harley Hill Mystery) by Kennedy Chase, Harley Hill and her agency partner, Cordelia, are hired to find a diary written by John Dee, advisor to Queen Elizabeth I. When their search leads them to a dead body, they find themselves thrust into the English underworld and into a plot that could end the monarchy. Murder on the Page is the second book in the Harley Hill Mystery series. Have you seen those shows where the cases are solved by sudden revelations? The hero stops in his or her tracks and stands stock still, horrified/stunned look on his or her face and then suddenly the one thing that ties the case together and leads directly to the killer, is revealed. Murder on the Page is that show but one where there are the frequent revelations without resolutions. The e-mail opens and the gaze lights on that one thing missed before, the sudden realization sparked by visual suggestion. There’s no doubt that this sort of thing happens in life but I would hazard a guess that it’s usually within a more valid context.
Murder on the Page opens with Harley having been kidnapped and listening to her captors trying to settle on a way to dispose of her body. We learn very quickly that she has a syndrome common among female-led cozies. Harley settles into her captivity musing on what suggested method of disposal she prefers and then introduces us to her compatriots in the adventure. She introduces us to the requisite actual law enforcement professional that she’s dragged into her plight by plunging headfirst into danger. It’s not a good idea to head into a mafia den without any sort of actual plan. Who knew! We’re meant to think of her as tough and capable, but she really comes off as impulsive and a danger to herself. I have not read the first novel in the Harley Hill series but think if I had, I would have understood the character a bit better or, alternatively, disliked her more. Readers of this blog will know, I’m not a fan of the giggly “I can’t get my life together, I’m so bad” characters. Life happens, and people experience things that are challenging and then some people bring those challenges to their own door. It’s not cute to be a mess.
The background characters are pretty much hitting the list of what you’d expect, the hot officer, the quirky old lady, the hot love interest. None are really all that fleshed out and a few of them are more talked about than seen. The romance in the story was light and out of nowhere brought together by their snap-together parts instead of in a context where a connection was built.
There are some fairly serious editing problems in Murder on the Page. I’m no grammar expert but the errors were obvious, so originally, I kept track of them using the note feature but soon abandoned that plan as the notes piled up. The story is told in Harley’s voice which is light and conversational. The story flows easily but there are many “wait, what? moments. “That’s good,” readers of this review are saying, “there are surprises!” As mentioned, there are a lot of out-of-nowhere revelations that drive the story but read as contrived.
If you have the idea that I hated this book, it’s because I kind of did. Harley annoyed the crap out of me (a word that appears 27 times in the story … it seems to be the author’s expletive of choice). She was the wrong character for me, but her type of character is very popular and the reviews on Amazon are overwhelming in favor of the work so if it sounds like something for you, check out Murder on the Page. It could be your fast and perfect #fridayread.
Read an excerpt and buy Murder on the Page (Harley Hill Mysteries Book 2) by Kennedy Chase on