Mon
Nov 11 2013 10:00am

Fresh Meat: Diner Impossible by Terri L. Austin

Diner Impossible by Terri L. AustinDiner Impossible is the third book in the Rose Strickland mystery series and features a part-time waitress and amateur sleuth trying to prove the innocence of a crooked sheriff (available November 11, 2013).

Rose and her best friend Roxy wait tables in Ma’s Diner, run by the feisty senior citizen Ma Ferguson, whose nearly seven-foot-tall son, Ray, is the cook. Like any other diner, the pace of customers ebbs and flows. I’ll let Rose describe a typical morning.

Things picked up around eleven, when we were suddenly invaded. My bud, Axton, stormed into the diner with a posse of seven men and two women. All dressed as Klingons in battle gear, they called themselves the KAWs—Klingon Alliance of Warriors.

“Uh, uh!” they grunted, raising their claw-tipped gloves in the air. Immediately shoving three tables together, they sat and spoke to each other in their guttural native Klingon tongue.

No one bats an eye at the Klingon invasion which lets us know just how casual and homey Ma’s Diner is. Of course not everyone is casual. There is uptight Officer Andre Thomas. (You can laugh at Rose’s nickname for him when you read the book.) Given Rose’s history as accidental crime solver, Officer Thomas is pressuring her to investigate the recent death of the police chief’s secretary. And the Chief is the prime suspect. Here’s the scene where Officer Thomas explains to Rose why he wants her help.

He thrust his face even closer to mine. Another inch and we’d rub noses. “Unlike you, Miss Strickland, I go by the book. I follow where the evidence leads. I have to; it’s my job. That’s why I’m asking for your help. You can work outside the system I'm sworn to uphold.”

The prospect of finding justice for the dead woman battered at my conscience. And despite myself, I was intrigued. Curiosity was my weakness—well, one of them anyway. Once I sniffed out a mystery, I couldn’t stop. I got a rush from learning all the players, searching for clues, placing that final piece in the puzzle. Still, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to entangle myself in another mystery.

As unusual as it may be for an amateur sleuth, Rose is romantically involved with the head of more than a few criminal enterprises in town, a sexy man named Sullivan. Enchanted though he may be with Rose, Sullivan is less enchanted with her crime-fighting efforts. Still, he can be a good source of information, and so far they haven’t actually landed on opposite sides of a crime.

Adding to the zany group is Rose’s mother. The very sound of her voice is enough to turn Rose’s knees to jelly.

I braced myself. Talking with my mother was like going into combat. I could train for battle, but I had no idea what hell my enemy might unleash until I actually stepped foot onto the battlefield. “Hello, Rosalyn. How are you dear?” her voice was pleasant, almost warm.

Mom’s saccharine approach is more than enough to put Rose on guard. When it turns out that her mother is in the same camp as Officer, er, (I almost let that nickname slip out.) Thomas. But her reason for wanting Rose to clear the Chief of murder charges is to spare his wife and family the social humiliation. Well, what’s a girl to do?

Rose slips into her amateur sleuth persona and the fun begins. I urge you to tag along. I promise you’ll have a grand old time.

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The first book in Terrie Farley Moran’s Read ’Em and Eat Café cozy mystery series will be released by Berkley Prime Crime in October ,2014. In the meantime her collection of short stories, THE AWARENESS and other deadly tales, is currently available in e-format for the Nook and the Kindle. Terrie blogs at Women of Mystery.

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2 comments
Deborah Lacy
1. DeborahLacy
You had me at Klingon invasion. Thanks for a great review!
Terrie Farley Moran
2. Terrie
This is an entertaining book with a huge cast of oddball characters.
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