The death of an aging senator doesn't at first strike Amy Hobbes as monumental news, but when she realizes he grew up in a small town nearby to where she works as an editor the wheels begin turning. In the beginning she has dreams of writing a book about the senator. It might be enough to get here out of small town news and back into syndication. About the time threats start appearing, the body count begins rising, and the possibility of a carefully hidden family secret surfaces Amy realizes getting a career boost is hardly her biggest problem. Staying alive definitely takes precedence.
Edited for Death is an engaging murder mystery. It has a fascinating historical background that draws from the Nazi occupation of Germany and the artwork and precious items confiscated by the Nazis, and in some cases stolen again. I enjoyed learning more about this topic. Drier worked in all the historical elements very well to form a seamless story of both past and present.
Another aspect of the book was the romance between Amy Hobbes and Phil Etange. Their relationship was enjoyable. The two personalities made an interesting mix. It gave readers a chance to see a different side of Amy, something more vulnerable than the on top of things editor. I did expect a little more from the romance, though. When Phil was first introduced I didn't expect things to come together so easily. I felt like there should have been at least a few challenges to their relationship to make it more integral to the story. Phil's incorporation into the book felt a little rushed because him being involved was important to the story later on. Even though the romance was not the main focus of this book, I think his character would have had more impact on the story as a whole if he had needed to overcome something in order to be there when Amy needed him.
The mystery itself was quite interesting. Drier presented multiple possibilities, and did a great job of keeping the reader unsure of exactly who it was right up to the end. None of the suspects were overly sneaky and devious, but neither were they too pious to be taken seriously as a suspect. The characters were real and complex, which made it hard to decide what was really going on inside their heads. I did think the secret that is revealed at the end wasn't terribly surprising. During one of the flashbacks I felt like Drier spelled out what had happened pretty clearly. Amy and Phil knew nothing of the flashback, of course, but as a reader I was pretty confident I knew what the secret was before it was ever revealed. I just didn't know who was behind all the deaths.
As a whole, Edited for Death was a fun murder mystery. Definitely on the lighter side of the genre, which I personally like, but if you're looking for a real gritty crime drama this may not be what you're looking for. The writing was strong, and the book had enjoyable characters. I think it's a series I would be interested in continuing, but I would hope for a little more personal conflict for Amy Hobbes.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, but to specific audiences only. It's not gritty or intense enough for hard boiled mystery readers, and not technical enough to be a strict police crime drama. The romance was enjoyable, but it's not going to be a strong enough element to pull in serious romance readers.
Who would I recommend this book to? This is geared more toward soft boiled crime/mystery readers. I suspect it would lean more toward a female readership than male just based on the main character and her attitudes. Readers interested in WW2, especially the artwork thefts, will enjoy this book. There is some mild language and sexual scenes, so it's questionable for younger readers. Those who are looking for a solid, but not gruesome, mystery with a touch of romance will enjoy Edited for Death.
You can get your copy now from Amazon in Kindle or Paperback.