Monday, November 7, 2011

Opal Fire

by: Barbra Annino

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

This is book one of the Stacy Justice mystery series--laugh out loud crime fiction with a paranormal twist.

Stacy Justice is a small town reporter who was raised by witches. They believe she has a far higher calling than writing articles about the local lizard race. She's just happy she doesn't have to live with them anymore. But when her cousin's bar catches fire and she barely escapes with her life--family squabbles no longer matter. Something cryptic is uncovered in the rubble that changes everything. Stacy is thrust into a cat and mouse game as she seeks to unveil the cause of the blaze that nearly destroyed her family. Suddenly, she finds herself running from a killer that will stop at nothing to keep a secret.

This story centers around Stacy, called Anastasia by her grandma Birdie. She is a reporter in a small tourist town, dating the police chief. She has a Great Dane named Thor, who is a big goofy puppy but a well trained one thanks to her cousin Cinnamon. Cinnamon is half Italian and Cin's mother is 100% Italian, always cooking and yelling at her creepy brother from the old country. As if it weren't goofy enough in Stacy's family with Grandma Birdie and Birdie's sisters. The town is also full of quirky characters, such as every small town has.

Opal Fire was a wild, silly, well-written tale. I have heard it described as a mystery with a paranormal bend. I would say that's the best description. Stacy is a reporter and wants to get to the bottom of who burned down the bar and murdered the girl discovered there. Very much a mystery novel. She is dating Leo, the police chief who butts heads with her at every turn. I felt that part was a little too romance novel, but I was still rooting for them. I felt like Stacy didn't know how or if she even wanted to embrace her witchiness.

Barbra did a great job keeping the story flowing and the writing consistent. There were a great many conversations that turned into silly banter and made me giggle.

I love the title, Opal Fire. Opal Fire has a catchy cover in dark orange. Kind of a twilight kind of color, but fits in with the overall fire and Imbolc theme as well.

This novel as a fast read. At times I did wish it would slow down, but that was only because I didn't want to finish so fast. Seriously, it was super fast. An occasional slow down would have been nice, just to let the poor girl get her breath. But at the same time, when I think about that, that may not have worked. A murder is serious business and isn't going to let you get a dinner date in before the next thing happens. Poor Stacy is so busy, she barely sleeps as it is.

The story takes place in Amethyst, Illinois, which is a fictional town. But the description is a good one. A town that fully depends on the tourism they catch from people traveling east and west. There are far too many towns in that boat. They can't afford to put off the tourists, and try to keep the bigger crimes quiet. Stacy feels the pressure to keep the murder and fire out of the weekend editions - which are printed with visiting tourists in mind.

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