Miscarriage of Justice by Elizabeth Amber Love is the 3rd book in the Farrah Wethers Mystery series.
The 3rd book in the Farrah Wethers series by Elizabeth Amber Love finds Farrah facing a divorce, the loss of her house, and the possible closure of the spa where she works as a freelance massage therapist. All that gives her plenty on her plate, especially after having recently been a murder suspect and nearly killed on a retreat. Still, her natural inclination to help collides with her nosiness when a client seems to be in trouble, adding yet another layer of stress.
It’s pretty well established that I’m not generally a cozy fan. It’s not that I necessarily have anything against them, and they certainly aren’t the last books I’ll pick up—they just aren’t among the first. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed Love’s earlier books and was excited for Miscarriage of Justice. It didn’t disappoint, and it’s a terrifically fun read.
Farrah is a good, believable mix of competent and “hot mess” that will likely resonate with anyone who’s struggled to balance home and work. Beyond that, the story is intriguing and pulls the reader along in the way a well-told anecdote from a friend keeps you holding out on getting more wine until they’re done.
We find Farrah crying as her husband packs the last of his things and drives away for the final time. After the events of the second book, he’s decided he’s done trying, and as with real life, the final straw was just that. On top of that, a new massage chain has come to town and threatened her livelihood, and her daughter’s taking her soon-to-be-ex’s side, leaving her feeling abandoned except for best friend June.
“Look, sweetie, Jackson is pissed and he left, but I doubt he’s leaving you high and dry. You’ll work out how to pay the bills once you can actually breathe for more than a minute at a time.”
Farrah was plagued about her lack of success at Riverside Wellness Spa. First, she had one wealthy client die on her table—a murder for which she was briefly a suspect. Then, she worked off-site at a retreat center for Caressa Lamour Cosmetics’ conference where she had an affair with a psycho stalker that went beyond kissing but short of intercourse. Other than that, she hadn’t established enough of a clientele in the office to make even a steady part-time income. Jackson was the breadwinner and his support of her new career after her layoff was mediocre. He’d paid to support them, but he hadn’t seemed convinced massage therapy was a viable industry.
With money tight, she’s thrilled to get a little extra income from temporarily taking on a coworker’s clients while the coworker travels. The work seems pretty straightforward, and Farrah sets about making sure she does everything right to keep the client happy. Farrah being Farrah, though, she gets a little too curious, and things go sideways from there.
One of the temporary clients is a young pregnant woman who works in a new-age shop part time but who has a mysterious boyfriend who pays for treatments. When Lenore cancels her next appointment because she’s in the hospital, Farrah decides to visit. Before long, her one-time client is living in her house recuperating. As it turns out, Lenore’s boyfriend is a married doctor who would rather pretend they barely know each other.
“Do you think we should find a way of getting the information to his wife or the hospital administrator secretly? The guy is clearly an asshole.” June was approached by Miles and she bent over to pick him up. She nuzzled him close as she walked into the kitchen behind Farrah.
Farrah popped open the laptop on the kitchen table. “Ya know, you and I have a knack for finding ourselves tits deep in trouble. I want to keep my nose out of this if possible. My only concern is Lenore’s health and wellbeing.”
Famous last words.
Like every nosy dog groomer and professor before her, Farrah ends up “tits deep” anyway as she becomes wholly invested in Lenore’s problems. It does serve as a nice distraction from the mess her own life has become, but Farrah also has some positives going for her this time around. A looming lawsuit June talked her into joining has the potential to pay off; she isn’t a murder suspect this time; and her increasing attraction to a certain detective appears to be mutual.
The friendship between Farrah and June is a huge part of the book—and the series as a whole—and though it serves as a friction point between Farrah and soon-to-be-ex Jackson, the way the women rely on and support each other is heartening. The belief the women have in each other, including Lenore and Lenore’s boss at the new-age shop, is also terrific.
The plot is compelling and downright page-turning, as Farrah and June try to unravel whose been terrorizing Lenore via text and also work to improve their lives. In the end, it’s an enjoyable romp that left me waiting for the next misadventure.
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Neliza Drew lives in South Florida with her husband and too many cats. When not writing, she teaches kids how to punch each other. Her debut novel, All the Bridges Burning, has been called “a triumph.” She can be found online at nelizadrew.com and on Twitter and Instagram as @nelizadrew.