Bad Blood by E. E. Smith

Posted August 23, 2014 in Book Review / 0 Comments

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I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Bad Blood by E. E. SmithBad Blood by E.E. Smith
Series: Alexis Smith #2
Also in this series: Death by Misadventure, Russian Roulette, Prescription for Murder
Published by Phoenix International on February 1st 2014
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 194
Format: ARC
Source: ARC from publisher
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four-stars

Alexis J. Smith, a young private investigator, returns to California after a case in England where she was a witness to murder – although the British court ruled it “death by misadventure.” The dead man’s overbearing sister, Monica Beck, is her first office appointment. It soon becomes clear that there is bad blood between Monica and her stepmother, Francine Faraday, and Lexie finds herself in the middle of a family feud over a valuable necklace that has gone missing.
She barely has time to solve the mystery of the missing jewelry, and heal the rift between Monica and Francine, before she is called back to England to work on another case with her friend, Harry Hawkins of Scotland Yard. It seems that Lexie’s old forensic science professor at Sacramento J.C. is teaching a course at Cambridge and raising alarms by sounding like a communist. More worrisome yet, he has supposedly discovered a formula for artificial blood, worth millions to any country that could get exclusive rights to it. The United States is in a Cold War with the Soviet Union, and there is fear in both the US and Britain that the professor will sell his formula to the Russians. Her assignment is to prevent that from happening.

Main Points
Writing Style:
The writing had the same charm as the first book, but also the same little annoyances, like the repetition of things. Once I thought a sentence sounded familiar, and then discovered it was an almost word-for-word copy of one a few pages back. Happened maybe once or twice at most, though. And sometimes it doesn’t really work in a book when there are too many exclamation marks in the narration (it doesn’t matter with dialogue), but with this one it was fine. It was like we were really getting inside the mind of the character, hearing her thoughts and all that.
Plot:
This was kind of a double story, and it was really cool how it was done. Both mysteries were somewhat short and sweet (well, more so the first than the second). And yet, both seemed to put things in place for the larger story- the one of Alexis and her P.I. business. I don’t often say this of books, but I feel right at home with this series. I didn’t have to recall much from the first book because the second mentioned a lot of the critical things we would need to remember without being too obvious about it.
I also love how the title works so well with both mysteries. There was bad blood between Monica and her mother, but it also applies to the artificial blood that Professor Gore seems to have discovered. And that in itself is certainly an interesting concept, but it wasn’t really the main focus of the story. After all, this is a P.I. case, not a medical thriller.
The ending wrapped up as expected, though a bit quickly. I was a little disappointed when she decided to ‘break things off’ with Harry but honestly I don’t believe it’s the end of them.
I also really liked how old-fashioned Alexis’ style of sleuthing was, but yet it worked so well. She didn’t have to use really technical gadgets and there wasn’t much of that fancy spy language- that would just confuse me anyway.
Setting
I still absolutely love how historically accurate the book feels, and I love even more how the differences between British English and American English become so apparent.
Good vs. Bad
Good:
  • writing
  • plot
  • characters
  • pacing
  • ending
Less than perfect:
  • repetition
  • romance (or lack thereof)
Bottom Line
This book was every bit as wonderful as the first. I was happy to see what new adventures Alexis would be having next. There are two exciting ones in this book. The characters are still very intriguing and charming, except the bad ones of course. The setting is quite marvelously historically accurate. The ending was satisfying if abrupt. Would I read more by this author? Yes. I can’t wait to read the third book. Would I recommend this book to others? Definitely.

About E.E. Smith

E. E. Smith lives close to her native San Francisco where, after many years as a playwright, she now writes books and short stories instead of plays. One story was published in Writers’ Forum: Britain’s Best Magazine for Writers, in 2006. The play, WARTIME RECIPES, first performed in Oklahoma City in 1998, was reprised there in 2010. Her first novel, BOARDINGHOUSE STEW, was published in 2009, and the New Edition published in 2011. The second novel, TIMES LIKE THESE, was also published in 2011, and IN LOVE AND WAR, a memoir, was published in 2012. She debuted as a mystery writer with Death by Misadventure in 2013. At least three more books in the series will follow in 2014 and beyond

Rating
Plot
four-half-stars
Characters
four-stars
Writing
four-stars
Setting
four-stars
Romance
two-half-stars
Cover
four-stars
Ending
five-stars
Overall: four-stars
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