A Reason to Live by Matthew Iden

IdenAReasonToLiveWhy I Read It: I enjoy mysteries that have a history. 

Where I Got It: A review copy from the author (thanks!).

Who I Recommend This To: Modern-day murder mystery aficionados.

Narrator: Lloyd Sherr

Publisher: Self-published (2013)

Length: 8 hours 10 minutes

Series: Book 1 Marty Singer

Author’s Page

Marty Singer recently retired from the force to battle his cancer. It’s kind of like a pet, or evil succubus twin. It requires daily care and feeding, and if Marty ignores it, then it gets cranky and tears up his insides. Marty is pretty bummed about this. But then Amanda Lane walks into his life; she’s Brenda Lane’s daughter. Memories come back to Marty of an ugly episode in his cop career. Brenda was shot to death in her home, her own bedroom, and the cop accused of the shooting walked. Marty has regretted not being able to put the bastard away for life. And now Amanda thinks he is back and stalking her, because the same eerie white carnations have started turning up again.

This book was a distraction. Don’t tell my man, but dinner was late a few nights because I wanted to listen to this book instead of making a glorious meal (and I do enjoy cooking). Yeah. I liked it that much. Quite frankly, I got attached to Marty Singer. His character made the book for me. He’s got a cat, is a history buff, bit of a wise ass, and has a soft spot for people being stalked by killers. I wanted Marty to kick his cancer in the ass, catch the killer/stalker, and save the day. And he does, but the path is full of twists and turns. Marty had to be nimble to catch his man.

Amanda, a 20-something year old with one degree and working on a second while interning at the university, was the maiden in distress. As Marty was my favorite character, Amanda was my least. I really only have one criticism about this book, and it is how Amanda is portrayed. She lost her mother to a shooting as a kid, grew up in foster care, got a degree, has a job, and is working on a second degree. So why is she portrayed as a 16 year old kid half the time in the book? Other than being the object of desire for the stalker, she doesn’t really bring anything to the story.

OK, enough on that. Enter Julie, the defense attorney who got the cop involved in the shooting of Brenda Lane off. Yeah. Now that the stalker/killer is back and leaving little flowers for Amanda, Marty starts digging through Brenda’s case. Alas, much of the files from the 1990s have been lost or somehow destroyed. So Marty goes to Julie, to see if she has any information on the cop and is willing to share. I really liked Julie’s character because she starts off so very prickly, but then softens, decides to help out, and as a friendship forms between Marty and Julie and Amanda, we learn some of the reasons Julie seems so bitter. She had depth and I liked how that depth was explored.

The pacing was excellent, with plenty of suspense intermixed with reflection, piecing the clues together, and a bit of action. The ending had a few twists I was not expecting (excellent, as I don’t like to guess the ending every book). And the ending also left me hoping Marty’s battle with cancer goes well. Which of course makes we want to read the next in the series.

The Narration: Lloyd Sherr was an excellent pick for this book. He owned the role and I can’t imagine another voice for Marty. He also had distinctive voices for the other characters, including the ladies.

What I Liked: The mystery (plenty of twists and turns; Marty was so very easy to get attached to; the current mystery tied to an older one; Julie and her reasons for being bitter; the cat; the ending was not quite what I expected.

What I Disliked: Amanda’s character was a little to young and innocent considering her history and present abilities.

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