Sunday, August 12, 2018

Book Review: Last Man Out (A Markos Mystery) by Isabella Adams

Some Serious “Series Building” and A Murder Mystery Too!

Last Man Out introduces us to Dr. Andromeda “Andie” Markos, heroine of the Markos Mystery series.  And by the end of the book, she may feel like your best friend.  You’ll learn about her and the Greek culture, transplanted to Tarpon Springs, Florida, in which she was raised.  You’ll met her three best friends, her mother, her somewhat moody teenage daughter, her philandering husband or ex-husband (depending on who you talk to), and her new romantic interest, Sean.  Sean just happens to be a detective in the local police department and Andie’s high school boyfriend.  Yep, there’s a lot of family, a lot of history, a lot of Greek culture in this first installment of the series, and the author does it well.  Add to that her skill in bringing the sights and smells of this Gulf Coast city to life and this first novel involves some serious building of the series setting and its characters.

But don’t worry; there is a murder mystery too!  Andie treats one of the criminals early in the story, then stays involved in the case through a combination of bad luck, coincidence, and some meddling by one of her friends who wants to fan the flames between her and Sean.  The author maintains the story’s tension skillfully, but overall, the pace is a bit slow, especially for a book in the crime-thriller genre.  There are explosions and murders, but there are also quite a few chapters with only backstory, devoid of any event that moved the plot forward.  But as the first book in the series, this heavier focus on character development and setting building is understandable.  And the finale, while short, is action-filled and tense.

Overall, Last Man Out is a deliberately paced, suspenseful murder mystery, introducing us to an interesting amateur sleuth, complete with nods to her family, friends, and Greek life in a Gulf Coast city.  It’s a solid foundation for a series.

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