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Book Review: Between a Book and a Hard Place by Denise Swanson

Updated on February 20, 2019

One of the great things about this fifth installment has to be that author Denise Swanson went back to writing the series as it should be.

Having had (in my opinion) a very weak and cookie cutter cozy for the fourth installment, Swanson has brought storytelling to Shadow Bend back to the way it was originally presented in the debut of the Deveraux Dime Store Mysteries. She brings back a little erotica and a better story of what Dev is going through with her two beaus.

I sort of had an idea that Dev's mother would make an appearance in this installment (as it was alluded to near the end of the fourth installment) and as predicted, she does come back into town with her new husband, Jett Benedict.

Jett offers to reopen the library with his own funds and when he's found dead in the library's basement, everything points to Dev's parents. Yvette, as the wife and Kern, Dev's father who has recently been released from prison. And the fact that the two have seemed somewhat cozy doesn't look good.

Along with the murder of Jett, the citizens of Shadow Bend are also curious about the arrival of Professor Hinckley and the lights that have been spotted over the town. Professor Hinckley has told the citizens that he's been in contact with the head alien and everything will be revealed in due time by the leader. Some of the citizens have been concerned since a rumor has been going around that the teens in town have been possessed by the aliens.

While all of this is going on, both Jake and Noah are still vying for Dev's affection and she still doesn't know who she should choose. Her heart and mind isn't giving her a clear picture as to who she should spend the rest of her life with.

Since this installment goes back to its roots, there's more drama than mystery as Dev and company try to figure out who killed Jett and what his real reason was in coming to Shadow Bend. His visit also opens up secrets to the founding families of the town during the Civil War years.

Generally, it's a pretty fast read and a refreshing change from the standard crimozy, and while it hasn't been implied, Dev is starting to lean toward one of her beaus.

After five installments, it's about time and who she'll choose will ultimately be revealed in the next installment.

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