🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟Five big stars to author Brook Peterson for her latest mystery, A Display of Deception (Jericho Falls Cozy Mysteries, Book 3).
A Display of Deception: Jericho Falls Cozy Mysteries, Book 3, by Brook Peterson
Find this book on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Display-Deception-Jericho-Falls-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B0C489VQBK/
Brook Peterson’s Mysteries Never Disappoint!
When Brook Peterson’s newest installment in her Jericho Falls Cozy Mysteries was released, I quickly added A Display of Deception to my TBR pile. As soon as my schedule was free, I dove right in. Fans of cozy mysteries love the genre because it’s often like returning to hang out with an old friend. And that’s what I love about reading Peterson’s books: I feel like I’m going home to visit a real friend.
Of course, a visit to Jericho Falls means murder! *cue the dramatic music here* 😉 The murder comes on the heels of a missing book club member — a member who is challenging to like on a good day. What unfolds is a perplexing history between siblings and reveals that drama is indeed alive and well in a small town. It’s up to Chloe Martin, as our amateur sleuth, to wade through the rumors, the half-truths, and what really happened to get to the bottom of the missing member of the Poison Pen Book Club.
A discovery of a dead body — by Chloe, no less — introduces a clever subplot. It’s here in book three that I paused in my reading and appreciated just how much like famed amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher Chloe has become in Peterson’s series. She’s not happy about the dead body, but she cares more about getting to the bottom of the crime than squeamishly dashing off. You go, Chloe!
Peterson isn’t afraid to bring in an undesirable character or two, and “the pink cowgirl” certainly fits the bill. Troubling Chloe and staking a claim on Police Chief Garner added an additional element of stress. Peterson, in my opinion, brought more conflict than ever for her main character to navigate. In fact, conflict was a theme threaded throughout the entire book and manifested in multiple ways.
I must say, I was surprised by some of the character interactions Peterson brought into play this time around. The tension between Chloe and Garner increased — but not necessarily romantically. No, Peterson put her main character and her crush head-to-head in situations where they certainly did not see eye-to-eye. I thought this was a fascinating move by the author. Chloe gave more pushback than I’ve come to expect, and I really liked it. Gardner is a great character, don’t get me wrong, and he’s certainly a worthwhile love interest, but it was good to see Chloe willing to risk a chance at a relationship and do the right thing — because isn’t that what heroines should do?
I also noted a pronounced strain more than once between Chloe and her beloved grandmother, Lily. This was unexpected as Peterson typically keeps those two characters in such a happy place. But this is book three, and relationships morph and experience different feelings as they go along. I *think* this might be what Peterson was demonstrating. Grandma Lily is a spitfire, and while Chloe is no wilting flower, the two *are* different. The relationship feels more real with actual bad days between the two women.
Rounding out the story, series favorites return — the loveable Bree Brandon, sweet Dr. Leonard Dunning, and of course, furry pals Jed and Elliot. I even like Chloe’s ex, Blake White, and he’s back to add a tiny layer of relationship complexity. It *is* a small town, after all.
Peterson’s overall plot (missing book club member, solving a murder) moves along smoothly, and it’s a fun exercise to figure out the what, who, how, and why. The author delivers fun twists, and the reason and reveal are clever. Still, although the crime is solved, many relationship wrinkles to be ironed out remain, and I suspect those will unfold in book four.
In sum, A Display of Deception was a massively satisfying read, and I cannot recommend it enough to fans of classic cozies. This series is one of the best contemporary mystery series sitting on my bookshelf. Peterson’s writing is tight and a delight to read.
Five big stars to author Brook Peterson and her book, A Display of Deception! I can’t wait until book four is released.
One last note: A fist-bump of appreciation to the author for Chloe’s Halloween costume. It was a lovely homage to one of the best mystery writers of our time. Well done.