Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: FM For Murder by Patricia Rockwell

Publishing Information:
Title – FM For Murder (Pamela Barnes Acoustic Mystery #2)
Author – Patricia Rockwell
Publisher – Cozy Cat Press
Date Published - 2011
# of pages - 217

Genres & Themes: Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Music and sound, Family secrets

GoodReads – 9 Ratings, 3.78 Average Rating – 12 Reviews, 4.0 Average Rating

My Rating: 3.5/5

Plot Summary:

Who shot the disk jockey while he was on air? No one saw the killer, but many heard the murder on the radio. Local police are mystified and ask Psychology professor and acoustics expert Pamela Barnes to assist them in investigating the crime. Can she determine who shot the deejay just by listening to the radio station’s audio recording of the killing? And how does this crime connect to the impending death of a wealthy carpet manufacturer hundreds of miles away? And the driven behavior of his conscientious son who hides a very important secret? Unknown to Pamela, another thread of this strange mystery is about to unravel. Will she be able to solve it before another victim is claimed? In FM FOR MURDER, the second in Patricia Rockwell's acoustic mystery series, we follow feisty amateur sleuth Pamela Barnes who doesn’t let academic duties prevent her from fighting crime. And Pamela fights crime with the tools she knows best—sound waves.


* Includes recipes at the end of the book
*Multiple perspectives (two)
*Multiple times (eg. “one week ago”)

What I thought:
FM For Murder is a short cozy mystery with a fresh new perspective. It stars Pamela Barnes, a professor speciallizing in sound that has caught the attention of a police officer looking to recruit her for help on a murder case. It's not a premise for a cozy mystery series that I have seen before. When I think cozy mystery I usually think of something along the lines of book shops, bakeries, flower shops, etc. And I'm excited to see something new!

FM For Murder is the second book in the series but this was my first time reading a Pamela Barnes Acoustic Mystery book. I didn't have any trouble getting into this one and Patricia Rockwell does a fine job of introducing new readers to her characters. When something involves a character that also appeared in the first book, Ms. Rockwell explains a small piece of the story so we know who the character is and why they know Pamela. This also helps to explain Pamela's involvement in the murder case when it comes up.

The murder case is very interesting and has a lot of twists and turns in it. A disc jockey - "The Black Vulture" -  is murdered during his late night broadcast in the middle of his banter about an unexpected visitor, or who he thinks is a fan. The book then dives into the aftershock by the community and Pamela is asked to be a part of the case to see if she can find any hidden clues in the recording. It also follows a second storyline of Daniel Bridgewater and his ailing father. Daniel's story was the most interesting for me, although for a large sum of the book it was uncertain to me what this story had to do with the murder mystery going on in Pamela's life. The great thing here is that Daniel's story begins a week before the murder takes place, meaning that we get glimpses of the past and start to clue in to what happened to "The Black Vulture".

I enjoyed Pamela's storyline, just not quite as much as Daniel's. She had this brightness to her character that made her so adorable. I pictured her always with a sparkle in her eye and ready to smile at anyone who crossed her path. She was also quite funny at points too. In one scene, she accidentily tells her class about the case she is working on and everything she has concluded to see if they had any ideas. It's only afterwards that it occurs to her she probably shouldn't have given out all that information and comes up with her own light-hearted excuse in case the police officer in charge questions her about it. My only problem with her storyline was that she was just a little too slow in figuring out what happened for me as the reader. By the time she comes to any real conclusions, the murderer and exactly what happened is already revealed. She does have a big role in apprehending the murderer, and that's redeeming to the story, but in the end I wished she had a bigger role in solving the case for me as the reader.

Overall, this was a good, entertaining book. I really respect Patricia Rockwell for doing something different in the cozy mystery genre that had never even occured to me as an option. This book may be more likely to appeal to an older crowd because of it's main character who comes from a middle age perspective and light-hearted rather than edgy, but the subject and mystery is one that could appeal to people of ages. It will be interesting to see what kind of mystery the author comes up with next.

Disclaimer:  I received the book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Recommended to:  Cozy mystery lovers, people interested in the alternative/goth subculture in music

Where you can purchase this book: in Paperback
Amazon Kindle 
Add this book to your tbr list:
Visit the FM For Murder  Goodreads page.

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