Murder Comes by Mail by A. H. Gabhart

Disclaimer: Murder Comes by Mail, by A. H. Gabhart, was provided by Revell in exchange for an honest review.

Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane doesn’t particularly enjoy being touted as the hero of Hidden Springs after pulling a suicidal man back from the edge of the Eagle River bridge in front of dozens of witnesses—a few of whom caught the breathtaking moments with their cameras. But the media hype doesn’t last long as a new story pushes its way into the public consciousness of Hidden Springs’ concerned citizens. Photos of a dead girl arrive in the mail, and Michael becomes convinced she was murdered by the man he saved. With a killer one step ahead, things in Hidden Springs begin to unravel. Now Michael must protect the people he loves—because the killer could be targeting one of them next.

Murder Comes by Mail is a pretty decent mystery novel, combining small-town life with its predictable quips and quirks with a string of murders that suitably cause the characters to freak out. It’s no Agatha Christie, and it lacks a bit of the oomph and tension that I love in murder mysteries, but it’s good.

My main quibble is that the murderer is way too obvious. I also don’t like the inevitable moustache-twirling conversation the murderer has with Michael when Michael solves the mystery. It is very, very difficult to pull those sorts of things off without sounding ridiculously hammy and cheesy, and while Gabhart did an okay job of it, it still reeked of triteness.

One positive is that, although this is the second book in a series and I did not read the first, I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything. Maybe a little more introduction for Alex would have been nice, but I didn’t feel like anything was missing just because I hadn’t read the first book. That’s hard to do in an interconnected series, even if each book has a different plot, and kudos to Gabhart for never making me feel lost with the characters.

Murder Comes by Mail lacks the sort of in-depth, tense mystery that I love, but what it has is pretty good, if simple. The villain was the black spot, as that over-the-top “I’m crazy” conversation at the end was too much, and the plot as a whole is predictable, but I generally liked the characters, the “small town” feel of it, and the ease with which I slipped into the world without having been introduced to the characters in the first book.

My rating: 3/5

Warnings: Murder

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Realistic, Christian

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