I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Destined for Trouble by Claudia Lefeve
Published by Thomas & Mercer on June 23, 2015
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery, Crime, Friendship, Mystery & Detective
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After getting dumped by her boyfriend, FBI crime analyst Jules Cannon flees to her hometown of Trouble Island, Texas, to nurse her wounds. All she wants to do is unwind, forget about her failed relationship, and work on her tan.
But when the owner of the local crab shack is murdered at Jules’s welcome-home party, she is forced to scrap her rest-and-relaxation plans. Now her best friend, Abby Lee, is the prime suspect, and her high school sweetheart, Deputy Chief Justin Harper, is working the case. Even though Jules knows she shouldn’t, she just can’t keep herself from getting involved in the investigation—and entangled with handsome Assistant District Attorney Hartley Crawford. While an old flame threatens to rekindle and a new one sparks, Jules must find a killer and prove her friend’s innocence. But will she put two and two together before trouble catches up with her?
With summer finally in full swing here in Chicago, I’m in the mood for a fun, lighter read to pass the time, and the cozy mystery Destined for Trouble by Claudia Lefeve definitely fit the bill. I’ve read and reviewed Claudia’s previous self-published young adult paranormal works (Travelers series, Darkly Beings), and now she has her first book published by Thomas & Mercer in another genre that I love: cozy mystery!
Jules Cannon is a crime analyst for the FBI nursing a heartache after a breakup with a co-worker, and when she can’t take seeing him at work, she takes all of her accrued leave so she can leave the Washington DC area and return home to the tiny Texas island where she grew up. Spending a few summer months soaking up the sun and ocean waves visiting her parents and aunt should be just what she needs to recharge before returning to the job that she’s great at, but she’s forgotten how suffocating and nosy the locals can be. Jules certainly didn’t expect to find her childhood best friend’s boss’ dead body, or for that best friend Abby Lee to be one of the people accused of the restaurant owner’s murder.
An island full of southern charm, humidity, heat, and family…
Trouble island is a whopping 10 miles across, but news and rumors spread faster than it takes to drive from one side of the island to the other. Jules’ mother is the epitome of a southern woman, and she throws the welcome home party (and practically invites the entire island) for Jules where the man is found dead. Of course she neglects to tell anyone why Jules has returned home so the family can save face after Jules hasn’t come for a visit in several years. Her great-aunt Lula is a skeet shooting, clothing store owner, and after smooth talking Jules into working at her boutique over the summer, Jules remembers why she moved off the island in the first place. I really enjoyed every scene that Lula was in–she stole the show with her smart, witty observations spoken with sass that only someone of her age can get away with without being irritating!
Pick right back up with old friends…
Besides having to navigate the familial waters, Jules comes to realize that she shouldn’t have cut off nearly all contact with her old friends. Abby Lee and Jules’ relationship is totally realistic, and the way they were able to pick right up where they left off is the same way that I am with my best friend from high school. Jules is smart and fiercely loyal while Abby Lee is more realistic and down to earth, and they contrast nicely.
Jules’ high school boyfriend Justin is now a police officer in Trouble, and he’s in charge of the murder investigation. While he tries to steer Jules away from digging into the leads on her own–especially when she’s receiving threats to back off from someone–he won’t give her an inch of leeway when she steps on his toes. After all, she’s just a civilian employee for the FBI, so she might know about crime analysis, but actual investigation–not a chance? But Jules is better at figuring these kinds of things out than he gives her credit for, and soon she’s putting the pieces of the puzzle together. But can she fend off his advances, even though she hasn’t quite filed her feelings from ten years ago for him away? She’s only there for the summer, so it shouldn’t be that hard, right?
I give Destined For Trouble a 4.5 out of 5. This book was a lot of fun, and with a fast pace that continued nicely throughout the book, Claudia Lefeve did a great job of making me feel like I was baking in the hot, humid sun down there in Trouble, Texas. The characters were quirky and unique, yet totally realistic, and that made this a really enjoyable and fast read for me. Aunt Lula was definitely a scene stealer, and I’d love to shoot skeet and have a few drinks with her any day. The aspects of working as a civilian federal employee were spot on, and all of the Texas-isms were great too. I highly recommend this cozy mystery to everyone who loves a tightly written whodunit that is fun, atmospheric, with a side of the off-beat. I can’t wait for the next book in the series!