Book Review: Desired To Death, by J. M. Maison

To date, most of the reviews I have written are on bestsellers or books of that ilk. This is primarily because I usually have easy access to these titles, and thus I choose to read them. I also admit to a sense of familiarity with such reads: a feeling that I know something of what I’m likely to get.
This runs contrary to my general thinking though, which is that I wish to support anything that helps us to avoid becoming one big chain. I want it to continue to be possible for the starters out there who come up with an idea to get their idea to the masses. Isn’t it somewhat ironic that Amazon’s Kindle probably allows for more flexibility for potential authors than most any other platform?
Thanks to the recent ability to access Kindle material via the iOS app, I was able to purchase a book written by someone I know on Twitter who writes under the penname of J. M. Maison. That sounds cool to me, as I once thought I’d do my work with the penname of J. Alexander. Has a more literary ring to it, huh?
Anyway, this first book is called Desired to Death. It will be part of a series called The Empty Nest Can Be Murder, featuring main character and “amateur sleuth” Maggie True. Awakened by a call from her former best friend one early morning, she finds herself pulled into the teeth of a murder investigation that causes her to connect with people and places throughout the New England region where she resides.
Much of the story takes place in a small, idyllic town called Halfway Bay in Maine. I love the vivid descriptions of buildings, plant life, the color of the water, and other things Maggie encounters along the way.
I also enjoy the feeling of Mayberry clashing with the modern, as we are as likely to encounter someone on a smartphone as engaged in small-town gossip.
Much of this gossip is over the gruesome killing of A.J. Traverso, an individual who is said to have interacted with many of the town’s women in some way. Starting with jail conversations with her former friend, the well-to-do Cara, Maggie must try and piece together who may have done it and what kind of motives they had. She does this while attempting to keep herself from becoming a suspect in the eyes of the town’s police force, and coping with her kids having moved on to college and other lives.
The story is told from a third-person perspective, and mainly from Maggie’s point of view. We do get the occasional flashback that helps explain why Maggie has opted to take a particular set of actions.
I like that there seems to be a fair amount of depth to and difference between the characters also. We feel the love that Maggie’s husband Joe, an airline pilot has for her. Even their old dog Smythe is definitely an important part of the narrative, as she helps to comfort Maggie and ease some of the loneliness.
I have been taking this story in as I make my commute to and from work, reveling in unraveling the clues as Maggie does, even though I typically am not into mysteries. Maybe I just hadn’t known what I was missing? In any event, I would recommend checking it out.

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