Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Armed with Steele by Kyra Jacobs, Jessica Hartley gets going, nothing can stop her and she’s determined to find the cause of the accident that nearly took the life of her best friend. All roads seem to lead back to Maxwell Office Solutions and Officer Nate Steele is hesitant for Jessica to get involved until he has no other option. Can Nate and Jessica delay the distraction of the heat burning between them to get to the root of this mystery?
The author, Kyra Jacobs, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
Cozy characters have to be imbued with a special confidence that says everyone is getting it wrong, and I need to look closer. The character forgets the danger and dives in feet first with a strong sense of justice outweighing every dangerous consequence that may occur. Jessica has a very personal connection to the event. The victim is someone as dear to her as her family. When Jessica hears that her friend’s beloved designer purse opened and spilled everywhere, she doesn’t buy that perhaps, it fell as a result of the accident. Jessica smells a rat and knows the only way she can keep her friend safe is to make sure anyone and everyone responsible for the attempt on her life is locked up.
Jessica is a great cozy character. She is over the top in the way women often aren’t, but in a way that leads a reader to nod knowingly and say, “If anyone is going to do that, it’s this character.” There is a solid confidence built in Jessica that she is not just a pretty face, despite her first meeting with Officer Steele might tell us just that. She will get to the bottom of this case and get the job done. Her confidence is reassuring and slightly dangerous as she may get it done, but that’s not to say there may be some loss on the way.
Officer Steele is rather typical of male protagonists in the genre. He’s hard bodied and super hot. A bit of a player, who knows when to be soft and knows when to lay it on — the alpha dog of the novel. There are characters who challenge his standing but none that can rise to the top of the pack.
If you expect all sex and no story from Armed with Steele, you’ll be disappointed. Jacobs’s novel suffers a bit from a belabored start, but once it gets going, the story is compelling and well crafted. Once working undercover at Grace’s (the friend nearly killed) workplace, Jessica just happens to have the right skills and just happens to fit the bill and just happens to be hired. Someone I worked with many years ago said: “Everyone hates that new person.” In real life this is true, but in cozy stories, especially the new person always finds someone with wide-eyed trust and verbal diarrhea who is willing to run down the suspects and call me cheesy, but I just love that. Of course, Jessica learns that the mystery is deeper than she ever suspected and rather than candy coating and moving on from the new information, Jacobs develops the story for the reader. What’s a little embezzlement between friends?
In requesting my review of her novel, Jacobs compared the story to Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum stories. I’d hesitate to do so. Jacobs has written a well-composed mystery novel that I think better compares in spirit to Sarah Strohmeyer’s Bubbles series. Jessica doesn’t have the maturity or life complications of Bubbles but she approaches her life with the same sense of infallibility and the knowledge that if everything is not OK, it’s not a kind of world she wanted to live in any way.
If you like cozy mysteries, I highly recommend Armed with Steele. If you pick it up, be sure to contact Jacobs to inquire about a follow-up novel involving one of the male background characters in this book. You’ll know who he is.
Read an excerpt and buy Armed with Steele by Kyra Jacobs on