Monday, August 13, 2012

Book Review: THE AZALEA ASSAULT by Alyse Carlson

Title: The Azalea Assault
Series: A Garden Society Mystery, #1
Author: Alyse Carlson
Publisher: Berkley (June 5, 2012)
Format: Paperback Novel
Source: Purchased
Genre: Cozy Mystery

Roanoke, Virginia, is home to some of the country’s most exquisite gardens, and it’s Camellia Harris’ job to promote them. But when an out of towner turns up dead, she discovers there’s no good way to spin murder…

Camellia Harris has achieved a coup in the PR world. The premier national magazine for garden lovers has agreed to feature one of Roanoke’s most spectacular gardens in its pages—and world-famous photographer Jean-Jacques Georges is going to shoot the spread. But at the welcoming party, Jean-Jacques insults several guests, complains that flowers are boring, and gooses almost every woman in the room. When a body is found the next morning, sprawled across the azaleas, it’s almost no surprise that the victim is Jean-Jacques.

With Cam’s brother-in-law blamed for the crime—and her reporter boyfriend, Rob, wanting the scoop—Cam decides to use her skills to solve the murder. Luckily a PR pro like Cam knows how to be nosy…

Review: The Azalea Assault by Alyse Carlson is a blossoming debut in the cozy mystery scene.

Camellia Harris works PR for the Roanoke Garden Society. When RGS achieves the huge coup in some national gardening magazine exposure, Cam’s PR skills will be put to the test, especially since their internationally renowned photographer winds up dead in the azalea bushes. As the suspect list continues to bloom, Cam takes it upon herself to prune the list and solve the crime before the murderer gets away smelling like roses.

The Azalea Assault charms with its quaint city backdrop of Roanoke, Virginia. As a native Roanoker, I had fun reading about my hometown. Even with the large cast of characters, Carlson did an excellent job weaving in backstories and giving each character unique personalities. My favorite character was Annie, hands down. She’s delightfully quirky and spunky. I loved the complexity of the plot, even though I had my suspicions proven with who committed the crime. Carlson definitely writes a great mystery.

Alyse Carlson’s The Azalea Assault plants a brilliant start for a great series. I’m looking forward to reading the next one.

Four Bookworms = I really liked it!