Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sticky Fingers: A Tess Camillo Mystery by Morgan Hunt

Sticky Fingers: A Tess Camillo Mystery (An Alyson Mystery)
Morgan Hunt
Alyson Books (2007)
ISBN 9781593500030
Reviewed by Cherie Fisher of Reader Views (6/07)

I had a sleepless night thanks to Sticky Fingers. First, the book was so good that I could not put it down until I found out what happened, and once I finished, I could not get the images of snakes out of my mind! Morgan Hunt’s wonderful writing style will engage you from the first page and keep you turning pages until the very end.

The main character, Tess Camillo, is just that, a real character. She is not a detective but a middle aged woman employed in an okay job in San Diego. She shares a house with her ex-lover, Lana, and is currently not in a relationship. The current love of her life is her Welsh terrier, Raj.

The mystery begins when Tess finds a rattler in her bedroom. The police chalk it up to coincidence but the story takes an ominous turn when someone else in the gay community is brutally murdered by a poisonous snake. As Tess becomes friendly with the murdered woman’s partner, Darlene, the danger increases and she becomes a target herself. Instead of being scared off the case, she turns into an amateur detective who will not rest until she solves the mystery. I am usually good at figuring out “who done it” in mystery novels, but this story had so many twists and turns that I was surprised at its hair-raising conclusion.

Tess not only has to face her mortality when she faces snakes, but she also has a major health crisis that could end her life. Her naturally inquisitive nature helps her research her disease and her friends give her the wonderful support she needs to face up to this health crisis. Morgan Hunt’s familiarity with breast cancer shows in the sensitivity, fear, strength and dignity that she gives to Tess throughout her ordeal. The author, Morgan Hunt, has a wonderful sense of humor which comes through again and again through her quirky characters. I also had the feeling that the author and Tess share many similar qualities -- “Criminitlies!” is an expression that Tess uses throughout the book that seems to have no meaning. This is a great book. I highly recommend Sticky Fingers to all open-minded mystery readers. I would also recommend it as a great read to anyone recovering from cancer surgery. I definitely would not recommend it to anyone with a snake phobia!

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