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Die Buying
A Mall Cop Mystery, No 1
Laura DiSilverio

Berkley Prime Crime
August 2011/ ISBN 978-0-425-24273-5

Reviewed by Laura Hinds

Emma-Joy (EJ) Ferris grew up in the Hollywood culture of parties and hangovers. Her dad was a famous actor, and Emma could have stayed there and gotten into the business. Instead, she joined the Air Force and spent time in Iraq. An IED exploded and injured her knee badly. After a long hospitalization and rehab, the only job she can find is as a mall cop. She’s working at the Fernglen Galleria near Vernonville, VA, partially so that she can keep an eye on her grandfather. Her grandfather is retired from the CIA, but still likes to keep in on the action.

The normally routine days of cruising around the mall on her Segway, taking care of shoplifters, lost kids, and vandalism are suddenly shattered when numerous reptiles from the Herpetology Hut are released by vandals. Things get even worse when EJ happens upon a customer who has just spotted a dead body in a store window. The man is naked, and he is obviously a murder victim. The homicide detective assigned to the case, Detective Helland, treats her with scorn, believing that as a mall cop she will only bumble around and be in his way. Therefore, EJ, being stubborn, decides to solve the case herself to show him she’s made of better stuff than he gives her credit for. Fortunately, she has good friends and her Grandpa to rely on for extra help when she needs it.

This is an interesting debut novel in what holds promise to be an enjoyable series. Di Silverio paints each character with a broad stroke, allowing the reader to get to know some things about them quite well, but leaving enough to the imagination to whet one’s appetite for future books. I liked that the book is fast-paced and has quite a bit of action in nearly every chapter. There is no downtime for day-to-day mundane things that can slow a story down.

The murder itself does remain a mystery until almost the end. The killer could have been any one of several suspects, and the outcome as to who, what, when, where and why is believable. I look forward to reading more of this series, and recommend it to cozy-mystery lovers of all ages. It’s funny without being over-the-top, realistic about what it means to be a mall cop, and while there isn’t any romance to speak of in this book, there are possibilities for EJ and a couple of the male characters. It will be fun to see how the author advances EJ Ferris, mall cop.

Reviews of other titles in this

Die Buying # 1 [review]
All Sales Fatal # [review]
Malled to Death [review]

Reviewed 2011
© 2011