In Sharpe Mind by Lisa B. Thomas, Deena Sharpe covers the local government news of Maycroft, Texas for the Northeast Texas Tribune after having given up a 38-year career teaching journalism to high school students. At the latest city council meeting, Deena notices that Marty Fisk tries for the third time to get the city to condemn a large part of the city. Curious about Fisk’s motives for this move, especially when she discovers that these are the only proposals or votes Fisk has made during his entire time as councilman, Deena decides to look into the development in her position as reporter.
Deena’s research takes her to the pawn shop owned by Fisk, where she gets confirmation that Fisk himself has his own plans to develop the land that he has been trying to get condemned. This is clearly a conflict of interest, so Deena strikes out on her own to look into the case. Having learned that the main holdout against Fisk’s efforts to purchase the land is Barbara Wild, Deena goes to interview Barbara, only to find the senior woman murdered. Going against her boss’s order not to involve herself in the investigation, Deena finds herself looking for a new job. Almost immediately she gets offered a position as investigator for the lawyer on the case, Ian, who is married to her best friend, Sandra. Soon Deena finds herself teaming up with Dan Carson, the chief reporter at the Tribune, to get to the bottom of the murder and also Fisk’s effort to buy up all the property using eminent domain.
I appreciated the experience of listening to Sharpe Mind. After having enjoyed the previous two books when they first came out, I jumped on the opportunity to buy the next book in the series when I saw that not only book 3, but book 4 was released. So I happily bought both books (look for the review of book 4 soon!). The book’s strengths are in its delightful characters. Deena comes across as a strong woman with her own strengths and weaknesses, making her human. I enjoyed getting to know Ian, as we have come to know Sandra before now.
Kelley Hazen performs the audio edition of this book, doing a good job of making the book interesting and exciting. The book uses a lot of third person narration, and this has potential to become tiresome, but Hazen keeps things moving with strong expression and effective inflections of the text. She gives the book creative elements of interest, making the listening experience enjoyable.
Sharpe Mind was a fun book, and I liked seeing a middle- aged woman as the protagonist instead of a young sexy thing. The plot had interesting elements and kept me listening eagerly. And the characters drove the book in a fun manner. I give the book four stars.
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