Review: Murder In The Air by Marilyn Levinson

14 Jun

Marilyn Levinson

Murder In The Air

A Twin Lakes Mystery, Book 2

Blurb: After the 70-year-old remains of a teenaged boy are uncovered at a Twin Lakes excavation site, Lydia Krause’s elderly neighbor comes to her for advice. Daniel Korman wonders if he should report an old crime or let sleeping dogs lie. Then Daniel is murdered, and Lydia sets out to find his killer. She investigates his boyhood friends and greedy relatives, putting her own life in danger and infuriating her homicide detective lover.

Review: Three reasons why “Murder In The Air” rocks!

1) Lydia Krause is my favorite super sleuth.

There are many things that I love about Lydia Krause. At 59 years old, Lydia has many experiences under her belt. She has experienced the loss of her husband, has ran a successful business, and has received greater responsibility at her current part-time position at Carrington House. Lydia has two daughters, grandchildren, friends, and a little romance in her life.

Lydia has a way of dealing with every person and situation with grace, even when she’s angry. I think that has a lot to do with the wisdom that comes with her age and life experiences. She’s welcoming, charming and these characteristics draw people to her, naturally giving out a trustworthy vibe, which is her most valuable asset when trying to solve a murder.

But Lydia isn’t perfect. In this novel, she struggles with balancing the independent, decisive businesswoman in herself with her romantic relationship with Detective Sol Molina. When a Twin Lakes resident or family member confides in her about the recent murders, Lydia immediately follows the lead, even through she knows Sol won’t be happy about it. Lydia has a strong sense of community and responsibility, and that’s a very refreshing quality.

2) I want to live in Twin Lakes.

Marilyn created a fabulous community full of active residents who each have their own distinct personality. Lydia is open, warm, and charming. Daniel Korman is nice yet very secretive. Sol Molina is a dedicated detective, a protector and a romantic. Barbara is the reliable best friend who never lets Lydia down. Each character is so developed, they come to life, and many times while I was reading, I forgot that Twin Lakes lives only in the novel.

Twin Lakes is such a closely knit community because the residents spend time out of their home, participating in a committee, swimming laps at the pool, at dinner parties, taking in a movie or play, or eating at a restaurant. Besides a cell phone (and not the smart phone kind either), the residents don’t interact with the Internet or social media and I love that. Yes, I like technology, but I like face to face interaction even more.

Twin Lakes, even though it’s a community for older people, is full of drama. Not only do each of the residents have their own personal drama, but because they are older, the family drama spills over, making everything that much more exciting. The best part about this novel is that both murders revolve around Daniel Korman, and no one knows if someone from Daniel’s dysfunctional family or personal past has an itch for murder.

3) Let there be more.

A Murderer Among Us, Marilyn’s first Twin Lakes mystery, was selected as a Best Indie of 2011 by Suspense Magazine (Check out page 49), and I was thrilled to learn that a sequel was in the works. With many of the residents in their golden years, death is either inevitable or sought after by someone who has something to gain. I hope Marilyn turns Twin Lakes into a long mystery series. I want to know what happens next between Lydia and Sol. I want to know if Barbara’s relationship will bloom. How will the residents like the new putting green? I want to know more! Marilyn Levinson’s writing is impeccable, the plot always leaves me guessing, every chapter is full of developing relationships and juicy drama. Murder In The Air is a phenomenal sequel and a must read.

Review: Giving Up the Ghost by Marilyn Levinson

7 Jun

Marilyn Levinson

Giving Up the Ghost

Unical Press

Blurb: After her divorce, Gabbie Meyerson moves to the sleepy town of Chrissom Harbor, Long Island, to teach English at the local high school. She settles into her rental cottage above the Long Island Sound and discovers she has a housemate–the ghost of Cameron Leeds, who used to live in the cottage. Cam insists his death was no accident, and implores Gabbie to find out who murdered him eight months ago. After she recovers from her initial shock, Gabbie agrees to investigate.

Review: The Three Things I Love About “Giving Up the Ghost”

1) Every character is fully developed

No matter how big or small the role a character plays, Marilyn gives each character her full attention. Take Jill Leverette as an example. She is not a main character, but we know that Jill is married to Fred, had an affair with Cam (our murder victim), Theo (Jill and Fred’s daughter) caught Jill and Cam together and resents her mother, Fred is having his own affair with a coworker… The family dynamic for these supporting characters is intriguing, and it’s because of Marilyn’s attention to detail in character development. As a result, it’s impossible not to get drawn into the drama that’s boiling in Chrissom Harbor.

2)  Everyone is a suspect and capable of murder

Marilyn doesn’t hold back when it comes to murder suspects. Every man, woman, and child are considered suspects. Marilyn slowly reveals the secrets the residents of Chrissom Harbor are trying to hide, complicating the plot, adding to the suspense, and drawing you deeper into this small community. I also enjoyed how Marilyn explores the darker side of simple, primal emotions like jealousy, friendship, and love. With Cam being a flirt and a ladies man, the women of the town loved him yet were secretly jealous when he showed affection to another. Cam was also a business man who made sure that he came out ahead in every deal, making his friends and business partners jealous of his money and resentment towards his selfish behavior. 

3) Gabbie is a smart, curious protagonist

I loved playing detective with Gabbie in this novel. Gabbie is smart, a teacher, and really cares for the community of Chrisson Harbor even though she arrived not too long ago. After agreeing to help Cam find out who murdered him, she gets to know her fellow residents. Gabbie has a way of asking the right questions – vague with a hint of curiosity – and playing up the fact that she’s new in town. She is a great friend to Cam, a good detective, and fits into Chrissom Harbor perfectly. 

Overall, Marilyn is my favorite mystery author hands down. Her writing style is easy to read, making it easy to keep track of all the characters in the novel, the pacing is consistent, and the plot perfectly unfolds,  revealing the murderer at just the right time. I highly recommend Giving Up the Ghost. 

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