"The Man In The Microwave Oven" Proves That Newer Isn't Always Better

Title:  The Man In The Microwave Oven
Series:  Theo Bogart Mystery #2
Author:  Susan Cox
Length:  304 pages
Expected Date Of Publication:  November 3, 2020
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Rating: 4 Stars

Following Susan Cox’s MB/MWA First Crime Novel award-winning debut, this is her next delightfully quirky mystery featuring San Francisco transplant Theo Bogart.

Following Susan Cox’s Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel award-winning debut, The Man on the Washing Machine, comes her next quirky, charming mystery featuring San Francisco shop owner Theo Bogart. To escape a family scandal in her native England, Theo changed her name and moved to San Francisco, where she runs a soap store called Aromas. But her quiet new life was upended when a murder rocked her neighborhood. Now, just as the dust is settling, Theo’s best friend, Nat Moore, finds a human finger in the microwave oven at his coffee shop. Not knowing what it means or what to do, he turns to Theo for help. Meanwhile, Theo’s grandfather is disappearing back into the shadowy world he used to inhabit as an agent for the British Secret Service, and he may have brought an even bigger breed of trouble right to Theo’s doorstep.

Once again Susan Cox has painted a delightful portrait of a colorful San Francisco neighborhood and a woman finding her way through just the kind of scandalous mystery she was trying so hard to leave behind. 


Please enjoy this exclusive excerpt from...
The Man In The Microwave Oven
by
Susan Cox
CHAPTER ONE I saw Katrina Dermody alive for the last time before dawn on a dismal San Francisco morning, when she was heading north and I was heading south on Polk Street, near where we both lived. Her new Tesla was supposed to be housed in the garage she was having renovated for it, but the work wasn’t finished and she had to park her bright blue baby on the street. I was surprised no one had keyed it or slashed its tires, honestly. One of Katrina’s clients was trying to push through planning permission for a fifteen-story condo in our neighborhood of two-and three-story apartment buildings built around a small, private park on the nicer end of Polk. We were usually a friendly little community, but life for the past few months had been enlivened by sign-yielding protests, raucous meetings with the city, and general havoc, most of it Katrina’s doing. With her talent for reducing people to white-faced terror or murderous rage, often in the space of a single conversation, Katrina played what my American lover, Ben, called hardball. Matthew, a homeless, semipermanent resident of our sidewalk, was cowering and mumbling in the corner of a doorway, trying to hide under his duvet, so presumably Katrina had given him both barrels, and not for the first time. When she wasn’t happy she applied a scorched earth policy, and everyone in her path got burned. The only way to deal with her was to stand your ground and fight back. Matthew, who could barely put together a lucid sentence or pull on a pair of jeans, wasn’t a fighter. stuff .

My Thoughts
Susan Cox's second offering in the Theo Bogart Mystery series seems a whole lot less Tales Of The City...
And entirely too much...
Espionage and geriatric spy rings, dead priests, mutilated body parts, philanthropic endeavors gone awry, and just plain weird.

Not helping matters in the least is the fact that most of the original cast that helped to make the first book so readable was either killed off or jailed in said first book. Has left for some reason or other. Or has paired up in some semblance of decidedly murder free domesticity
Causing Theo to call in the help of her grandfather and by extension the aforementioned geriatric Branch of the Secret Service.  To solve the murder of resident bitch, Katrina Dermody.

A woman who, as luck would have it. Proves tons more interesting in death than she was in life.
With ties to a dead priest, whose mutilated hand ends up inside the microwave at the local coffee shop.  A not so above board orphanage in Kiev, and the local homeless man who often camped out on front of their building.

While it is quite clear that Ms. Cox makes a valiant effort to both construct and support both a captivating storyline and plot.  The transience of the new cast members.  Coupled with the forced complexity that the espionage elements brings to things. Takes away away from the homey atmosphere of the first book and makes the Katrina's killer far easier to spot.
A great many of the more jaw dropping moments are found in those revelations about Katrina and her connections.  Than can ever be attributed to her untimely demise.

*I would like to take this opportunity to thank Netgalley and Minotour Books for providing the review copy on which my honest critique is based.


About Susan
Susan Cox is a former journalist. She has also been marketing and public relations director for a safari park, a fundraiser for non-profit organizations, and the president of the Palm Beach County (Fla.) Attractions Association. She considers herself transcontinental and transatlantic, equally at home in San Francisco and Florida and with a large and boisterous extended family in England. She frequently wears a Starfleet communicator pin, just in case. Her first novel, The Man on the Washing Machine, won the 2014 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition.



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