Saturday, September 25, 2021

Independent Bones (Sarah Booth Delaney #23)


Independent Bones is the 23rd Sarah Booth Delaney cozy mystery by Carolyn Haines. Released 18th May 2021 by Macmillan on their Minotaur imprint, it's 368 pages and is available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

This is an entertaining and engaging book in an engaging series by a competent writer. There's a strong paranormal element (the main character's sort of haunted by her great-great grandmother's nanny, a black woman named Jitty who has Opinions and lots of cryptic advice). MC Sarah Booth Delaney's also a PI and this installment sees her untangling a multiple-murder mystery involving misogynistic abusive men whilst trying to avoid having her very pregnant best friend go into labor in the middle of a stakeout. 

Sarah Booth is still trying to define and stabilize boundaries with her handsome lawman, Coleman, and the counterpoint of their healthy and supportive relationship is even more poignant compared to the many unhealthy abusive relationships written into the book. 

The plotting is often meandering (it's a cozy with almost 400 pages), and there's quite a lot of "fluff" to add humor. Ms. Haines is quite an adept author and I never found my interest waning, although there were a few eye-rollingly silly moments. The denouement and resolution weren't overly surprising, but they were satisfying. This series is dependably entertaining and fun, and this entry is worth a read. The ensemble cast and returning characters mean that readers who are new to the story might want to read a few in the series prior to this one first, although it's simple enough to probably work well enough as a standalone. There are dogs, some cats, positively portrayed LGBTQIA+ characters, the language is clean, and there's light (off page) sexual content, but nothing explicit. The book is full of southernisms like "bless your heart" and "y'all" and more sweet-tea than you can shake a stick at.

Four stars. Cozy mystery comfort food.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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