Coded For Murder Review

CODED FOR MURDER

by
DIANNE SMITHWICK-BRADEN
Genre: Murder Mystery / Amateur Sleuth
Publisher: DSB Mysteries
Publication Date: September 26, 2019
Number of Pages: 358 pages

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Jade O’Neal is a senior at West Texas A & M University in Canyon, Texas. She’s on track to graduate with highest honors and a degree in history until she is accused of murder. She juggles her busy school and work schedule around taking care of an overgrown Rottweiler and being questioned by police until she finds a series of clues hidden in puzzle form.
Time is against her as she follows the clues to find the true identity of the murderer while avoiding arrest and her own murder.

 


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I can honestly say that the summary of this book in no way prepared me for everything that unfolded in Coded For Mystery. Greater in size and world building, this book can have you immersed in its characters lives and the shadow of mystery that hangs over them. For one, we have Jade’s uncle Erik, who is a significant throughout so much of this book. Along with him are a slew of characters and a rowdy giant dog that will show the great talent of character development. The instant dislike for some and hopeful protective nature to others. It is easy to see that Smithwick-Braden has a knack for creating tones to her characters.

 

This book excels in bringing detail and thoroughness to the story. While a scene can walk you through the main parts, Smithwick-Braden gives a slower tempo to the characters. This was excellent not only to draw out the tension in scenes but share the character’s uneasiness. On the opposite end, the shift in perspectives and frequencies of other characters being introduced can throw you for a loop sometimes. A few times I did need to go back to remember certain characters, though I didn’t mind at all. Oftentimes, you get the sense of reading a case file written like a diary. With dates and even times to keep the book moving forward, it was easy to track the span of time and follow along when the story’s pace changes.

 

It was easy to connect with Jade’s character. Especially since I have also been dragged across the ground by a rambunctious dog chasing their dream of catching defenseless prey. It’s not pretty. Especially when someone is watching. Pretty much from that scene in the beginning, Jade was a likable character and I rooted for her. With Jade’s hope of having a career like her Uncle one day, she is blindsided by all the events that take place. At times, I was so frustrated with how things went. Especially Uncle Erik keeping his investigations a secret. Overall, this is a great murder mystery story that had me guessing!

 

Dianne Smithwick-Braden is a native Texan raised on the family farm near Vernon, Texas. She seasons her mysteries with a little romance, a dash of adventure, and a touch of humor. She currently resides in Amarillo, Texas with her husband, Richard. 

————————————
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
GRAND PRIZE:
Signed copy of Coded for Murder, hot chocolate mix, mug, crossword puzzle book, mini-notepads, M&Ms, clip-on book light
TWO WINNERS: 
Signed copies of Coded for Murder
February 25-March 5, 2020
(US Addresses Only)

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