March 20, 2015

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Dirty Little Secrets (J. J. Graves Mystery #1)

Dirty Little Secrets (J. J. Graves Mystery #1), by Liliana Hart
Publish Date: December 4, 2012
Publisher: Createspace
Genre: adult crime/suspense
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(From Goodreads) J.J. Graves has seen a lot of dead bodies in her line of work...

She's not only in the mortuary business, but she's also the coroner for King George County, Virginia. When a grisly murder is discovered in the small town of Bloody Mary, it's up to J.J. and her best friend, Detective Jack Lawson, to bring the victim justice.

The murders are piling up...

The residents of Blood Mary are dropping like flies, and when a popular mystery writer shows up on J.J.'s doorstep with plans of writing his new book about the Bloody Mary Serial Killer, J.J. has to decide if he might be going above and beyond the call of duty to create the spine tinglers he's so well known for. It only clouds the issue and puts her reputation on the line when the attraction between them spirals out of control.

And passions are rising...

J.J and Jack are in a race against time. They discover each victim had a shocking secret, and the very foundation of J.J.'s life is in danger of crumbling when it turns out she’s harboring secrets of her own—secrets that make her the perfect victim in a deadly game.

After a string of new adult and adult audiobooks, I wanted something different. I had heard good things about Liliana Hart's J. J. Graves Mystery series, and when I saw it was on sale, I decided that a good mystery was just what the doctor ordered. Not to mention the fact that it's Liliana Hart - I love her MacKenzie Family series. 

The thing is, Dirty Little Secrets is completely different from Liliana Hart's other series. J. J. Graves is a completely different heroine. It was a fun departure from what I've been listening to as of late. The characters in this book would be enough for me. They're all interesting and quirky and so full of color and life. But, in addition to the awesome characters, there's a twisty mystery that kept me guessing through the entire story. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, I was shocked to find out I didn't. 

J. J. Graves is the medical examiner/coroner/funeral director in the small town of Bloody Mary, VA. In such a small town, her life isn't all that interesting, even with all the hats she has to wear. That is, until people start getting murdered. Then she and her best friend, the town sheriff Jack, have entirely too much to do. 

Dirty Little Secrets really had it all. First, there's a fantastic mystery. One person dies, and you think you know who did it. But, as J. J. and Jack start their investigation, things don't exactly fall into place that neatly. Because, then another person dies. And, once again, you think you have it all figured out. And by the time the third murder occurs, you just throw your hands up and abandon all theories, because every one you come up with is thwarted. 

I love mysteries like this. The ones where the who-dun-it sneaks up on you. They're thrilling and they give my brain a work out. 

There's also the characters. J. J. is hysterical and cynical and snarky. I love her relationship with her bestie Jack. They've been friends since they were kids and they've been there for each other through all the bad things. Their relationship is unique and special. They go through some more tough times in this book, but you just know that they'll come together again. 

Despite the heat we see in Liliana Hart's other books, it's not in Dirty Little Secrets. J. J. has a bit of a romance, but any sexy times are all non-descript and fade-to-black. The focus of the story is truly on the mystery at hand, as well as the mystery surrounding what really happened to J. J.'s parents. 

Laura Faye Smith did a fantastic job narrating Dirty Little Secrets. Her intonation and inflection were perfect for all the characters in the story. This was a fantastic audiobook, and a pretty short one too. At less than six hours long, it can be finished quickly. I'm really looking forward to listening to the other books in this series, especially given the events at the very end of this book. I have a feeling some really good things are in store for J. J.

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