Deadly Readings by Laura Bradford was a new to me author discovered on Scribd. Firmly in the cozy sub-genre of mysteries, it was a delightful read.
Ocean Point, New Jersey is a small town where new reporter Elise Jenkins lands her dream job. Mitch Burns is the detective in town, frazzled and tired trying to retain his job when a murder puts the town on edge and the citizenry upset. Elise is determined to prove herself, Mitch is determined to keep his job and protect the town. Together Elise and Mitch unofficially team up to solve the murder and unravel the mystery.
Elise and Mitch are well crafted and relatable characters. They both have personalities and relationships outside one another that provide the reader with insight into their backstories and personalities. Elise isn’t a typically written young twenty something female so often portrayed these days in fiction. She is neither shallow or self-obsessed, rather she struggles and achieves things through hard work and determination. Mitch is slightly older, more harrowed by life experiences but far from jaded and uncaring. Individually and together Elise and Mitch make strong protagonists which are relatable and believable.
There is a religious component to this novel but it is part of the plot but it is not a intrusive, preachy overtone of the book. It is integral to the storytelling but it isn’t a plot device for the sake of sales or to get published.
A solid four stars out of five stars for a well plotted novel with strong characters. This was the first in a new series and I will read others.