Title: February Fever
Author: Jess Lourey
Length: 264 pages
Where Stacie’s Copy Came From: An ARC from Midnight Ink
Plot Basics: Mira James is cornered into a cross country train trip by Mrs. Berns. Mira hopes that getting away from the small town Battle Lake, Minnesota, is a bonus since too many of the towns people have suffered since her arrival. Alas, Mira’s luck isn’t that good and she is pulled into a mystery anyway, one with tragic consequences for many.
Banter Points: This was a pretty interesting read for me. Lourey has been writing the Murder by the Month series for a while and February was #10 in the series. I never jump into the middle, preferring always to start at the beginning. I am glad I did though. I wanted to see how back story and reader knowledge impacted my enjoyment of the book.
I had heard Lourey speak on a panel at Murder and Mayhem in Milwaukee and enjoyed hearing how she knew she needed to wrap up the series, and deliver the last two, but she didn’t want to end on a down note for herself or readers. Let’s be honest, we’ve all read something that went on for a few too many titles. I admire that Lourey called this out as a conundrum for the final titles in the series.
I enjoyed how the quirks of the characters were introduced and enhanced the story lines. I felt like I learned them through this story rather than trying to catch-up to something. Same with the back story. Along with the characters to learn, There’s the mystery side of the story and the romance. All of it had a balance that I found effective as a new reader. Sure, there’s questions that I have about the characters, but I can go back to the beginning to get those answers. I’m not affected by it for this story.
Bummer Points: The final death in the book was a character I really grew to love. Of course, that automatically means that character was the best choice, but also the saddest.
Stacie’s Recommendation: Great as a stand alone, worthwhile to start at the beginning.