Perfect Coed by Judy Alter

Perfect Coed by Judy Alter
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (312 pgs)
Heat: Sweet
Rated: 4 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Susan Hogan is smart, pretty—and prickly. There was no other word for it. She is prickly with Jake Phillips and her Aunt Jenny, the two people who love her most in the world. And she is prickly and impatient with some of her academic colleagues and the petty jealousies in the English department at Oak Grove University. When a coed’s body is found in her car and she is suspected of murder, Susan gets even more defensive.

But when someone begins to stalk and threaten her—trying to run her down, killing the plants on her deck, causing a moped wreck that breaks her ankle—prickly mixes with fear. Susan decides she has to find the killer to save her reputation—and her life. What she suspects she’s found on a quiet campus in Texas is so bizarre Jake doesn’t believe her. Until she’s almost killed.

The death of one coed unravels a tale of greed, lust, and obsession.

Ms. Alter’s quick, snappy writing style and fast-paced storyline will grab mystery fans right from the start: but her characters will keep people reading.

When a missing person is inescapably tied Susan Hogan, some of the police assume she’s guilty. She knows she’s not, and happily, she has a useful connection in the police department, in boyfriend Jake. Jake is a bit long-suffering, but a likable guy and truly believes her innocent.

Susan is an unusual, youngish-but still absentminded professor type; not easily fooled, but still sympathetic to her students. This main character immediately likable, mostly for her human qualities. She’s both forgetful and sharp, as well as quick-witted. While she doesn’t want to be blamed for a murder, she doesn’t start investigating until it seems as if she has become a target, as well.

There are intriguing potential suspects, from fellow classmates of the student to certain faculty members that might be putting a more devious plan in mind. Its unpredictable, in exactly the way a good mystery should be. You’ll be puzzling over clues and characters as you go.

Red-herrings also abound, as someone, we soon discover, must have set Susan up. Sorting the real clues from the ‘placed’ is all part of the challenge.

I also enjoyed the quick conversations and some of the secondary characters; the toad-like Ernie springs to mind. Aunt Jenny, every bit as stubborn as Susan herself, is another star performer. Aunt Jenny seemed to be whipping up dinner (centered around beef) for every disaster. Great, individual and interesting characters and simply super writing make this a must-read for mystery fans.

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