Three Strikes You’re Dead by Elena Hartwell

Three Strikes You’re Dead by Elena Hartwell
Publisher: Camel Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (290 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

Private investigator Eddie Shoes heads to a resort outside Leavenworth, Washington, for a mother-daughter getaway weekend. Eddie’s mother Chava wants to celebrate her new job at a casino by footing the bill for the two of them, and who is Eddie to say no?

On the first morning, Eddie goes on an easy solo hike, and a few hours later, stumbles upon a makeshift campsite and a gravely injured man. A forest fire breaks out and she struggles to save him before the flames overcome them both. Before succumbing to his injuries, the man hands her a valuable rosary. He tells her his daughter is missing and begs for her help. Is Eddie now working for a dead man?

Barely escaping the fire, Eddie wakes in the hospital to find both her parents have arrived on the scene. Will Eddie’s card-counting mother and mob-connected father help or hinder the investigation? The police search in vain for a body. How will Eddie find the missing girl with only Eddie’s memory of the man’s face and a photo of his daughter to go on?

“Being a grown-up wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.”

That’s what Eddie Shoes, P.I., was thinking waking up in the hospital bed looking up at her two newly discovered parents. It’s sort of like everyone is getting to know one another in this book and it makes for a very entertaining story. Eddie and her parents create a rather odd trio of investigators. Having been on her own for a long, long time, she’s used to working on her own and making her own decisions. For that matter, the same seems to be true of each of her parents. This is a good plot with an ending I am sure you can’t predict.

Hartwell did a really good job of making her characters come alive in this book. You begin to know them and to enjoy them due to the well-written and humorous dialog she creates between them. Eddie (Edwina) Shoes is an interesting female private investigator and one tough cookie. She’s kind of stuck between learning to know newly met or finally found parents, wanting to please them and yet wanting to be herself. Utilizing a triangle of characters to help with an impromptu investigation, the author creates a lot of funny moments.

This one was hard for me to put down. I really enjoyed it. This is the third “Eddie Shoes Mystery” that Hartwell has written. Hope there are more to come.

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