Diners, Dives & Dead Ends
A Rose Strickland Mystery, #1
by Terri L. Austin
Publisher: Henery Press
Release Date: July 17, 2012
Length: 333 Pages
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A waitress turned sleuth, a dermatologist with a secret and a smexy hot criminal mastermind are just a part of the fun in Terri L. Austin's Diners, Dives & Dead Ends, the first book in the Rose Strickland Mystery series. With a large dose of comedy, likable characters, and snarky dialogue, Ms. Austin's story captured my attention and never let go. Reading late into the night, there were times I thought I'd fall out of bed due to laughing so hard.
Former debutante Rose Strickland's life has changed a lot in the last five years. Now a part time college student and a struggling waitress, Rose eeks out an existence working at Ma's Diner, where breakfast is served daily from 6am to 1pm. Somewhat estranged from her doctor father and socialite mother, Rose is the "black sheep" of the family. When Axton, her closest friend and wanna be brother from grade school, asks her to watch his backpack she agrees not realizing the danger she would soon be involved in. When Axton goes missing, Rose seems to be the only person concerned about his disappearance. The police won't help and Axton's dermatologist brother refuses to get involved.
Armed with her trusty notebook and backed up by a strange assortment of friends, Rose begins to investigate who could have taken Axton and tries to discover what they want. Opening his backpack, she's surprised when she discovers a portable computer memory she knows doesn't belong to Axton. Asking his fellow IT geeks to figure out what's stored inside, Rose begins to follow a series of clues hoping to save her friends life. When her own safety is threatened by the criminal mastermind behind Axton's kidnapping, Rose refuses to back down and with the help of her "gang", hatches a daring, and somewhat insane plan to rescue her friend.
Armed with chocolate chip cookies and a bag of Chex Mix, Rose and her group of friends (made up of Roxie, her blue haired best friend and fellow waitress, Ma, the 79 year old woman who owns the diner, and two IT geeks from the local college) locate the villains lair and plan to spring Axton right from under his nose. Armed with a discount tazer, purchased from the back of a friend's cousin's trunk, and a set of walkie-talkies, Rose and Roxie break into the house of a man whose warned Rose to mind her own business.
Ms. Austin did a great job developing Rose and the secondary characters in this story. I especially liked Rose's friends, who helped her regardless of her crazy plans. At the beginning of the story, Rose is struggling with the lack of direction in her life. The "black sheep" of the family for refusing to conform to her mother's demands, Rose is on her own and is financially broke. Still dealing with her family and her mother's demands, Rose is beginning to realize no one else will respect her if she can't respect herself. Standing up to her mother's demands is just one way she'll do that, saying no to the smexy bad guy is another.
Will Rose, Roxie and her gang be able to break Axton out of his kidnapper's house? And will Sullivan, the smexy bad guy let Rose get away with it? You'll have to read Diners, Dives & Dead Ends to find out. I loved it and can't wait to read Last Diner Standing to read about Rose's next adventure.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Crowns
FTC Disclosure: Book reviewed was purchased by the review site.