Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Review for Last Diner Standing (Rose Strickland Mystery #2) by Terri L. Austin

Last Diner Standing
By Terri L. Austin
Rose Strickland Mysteries, Book 2

Publisher: Henery Press
Release Date: December 3, 2012
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Length: 296 Pages
ISBN: 978-1938383083

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About the book:

Rose Strickland is having a blue Christmas. Her friend is arrested for attempted murder, her sexy bad guy crush is marked by a hit man, and her boss is locked in an epic smackdown with a rival diner. Determined to save those she loves, Rose embarks on an investigation more tangled than a box of last year's tree lights. With her eclectic gang at the ready, Rose stumbles across dead bodies, ex-cons, chop shops, jealous girlfriends, jilted lovers, and a gaggle of strippers in a battle for freedom she might not survive.

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In Diners, Dives & Dead Ends, Terri Austin introduced us to part time diner waitress Rose Strickland, her blue haired anime loving best friend Roxy Block, and to her stoner friend Axton Graystone, a fellow drop out from Huntingford’s social elite.  All are back for a second dose of mystery hijinks in Last Diner Standing, the second book in the Rose Strickland Mystery series.   Further developing her characters, and adding a few more to the mix, Ms. Austin’s series has become an auto buy for me.  If you like cozy mysteries, you’re going to want to add this series to your list so you don’t miss the “awesome sauce” of Ms. Austin’s writing.

When Rose receives an early morning phone call from study partner Janelle, she knows her day is off to a bad start.  Seems Janelle’s been arrested for hitting her ex-husband (aka “Asshat”) and putting him in a comma, and for the murder of his lover (aka Chicken Licker).  Swearing she’s innocent, Janelle begs Rose for her help since they both know the police won’t really bother investigating the case.  After making arrangements to meet Dane Harker (attorney and occasional date) and Janelle later in the day, Rose heads off to “Ma’s Diner” only to find she’s caught in the middle of a “diner” war.  

As Rose and Roxy, fellow waitress, and best friend, attempt to calm Ma down, they learn Rudy Jorgenson of “Rudy’s Roundup Restaurant” has decided to start serving breakfast and is undercutting Ma’s prices in order to steal their clientele.  As Ma and Rudy battle it out with lower prices, new menu items and basically drive their staff insane, Rose is caught between her loyalty to Ma and the reality that the “diner war” is causing both restaurants to lose money and the waitresses to lose tips.

Meanwhile Rose, accompanied by Roxy and Ax, begins  investigating Janelle’s case and becomes entangled in a web full of strippers, chop shops and a couple of mob bosses currently at war.  When Sullivan, the sexy and dangerous criminal Rose met in Diners, Dives & Dead Ends, takes center stage and winds up with a hit man on his tail, Rose realizes that Janelle and Sullivan’s problems are somehow tied together.  Ms. Austin does a wonderful job as she continues to develop Rose’s character and introduces us to Rose’s colorful sidekicks.  The mutual and forbidden attraction between Rose and Sullivan adds just the right touch of heat.   

Will Rose discover who’s behind both crimes?  Will Ma and Rudy agree to settle the “diner” war amicably and go back to serving the meals they both serve best?  You’ll have to read Last Diner Standing to find out. I really enjoyed it and can’t wait to see if Rose and Sullivan’s mutual attraction makes it to the relationship stage.

My Rating:  4.5 out of 5 Crowns

FTC Disclosure:  The review site purchased a copy of this book for review purposes.  No compensation was involved.

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