Death in Dark Blue
Julia Buckley     

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Writer's Apprentice
Book: 2

An aspiring suspense author finds herself writing mysteries by day and solving them by night in the second Writer’s Apprentice Mystery by the author of A Dark and Stormy Murder and the Undercover Dish Mysteries.

In the quaint town of Blue Lake, Indiana, Lena London is settling into her dream job, but someone is making her life a nightmare…

Things are beginning to go right for Lena. She’s got a new job assisting suspense novelist and friend, Camilla Graham. She lives rent-free in Camilla’s beautiful, Gothic house. She even has a handsome new boyfriend, Sam West.

After being under attack by the media and his neighbors, Sam has recently been cleared of suspicion for murder. Journalists and townsfolk alike are remorseful, and one blogger would even like to apologize to him in person. But when she’s found dead behind Sam’s house, Lena must dodge paparazzi as she unravels the many mysteries that threaten to darken the skies of her little town and her newfound love with Sam.

Writer Lena London recently moved to Blue Lake, Indiana for the job of a lifetime. She is an assistant to gothic novelist Camilla Graham and actually gets to help her idol write her books. Lena’s boyfriend Sam West has finally been cleared of murdering his estranged wife, but the paparazzi are hounding the two. This situation only gets worse when someone connected to Sam’s wife is found dead behind Sam’s house. It seems like history is repeating itself and throwing more obstacles in the couple’s way. Before Lena and Sam can have a chance at happiness, they must get to the bottom of this new murder case.

Death in Dark Blue is a well-written and interesting mystery, but not particularly unique. I enjoyed it, but couldn’t help being disappointed when comparing it to the first book in this series which was a moody but modern Gothic mystery. This follow-up is good, but isn’t as special without the gothic feel of the first book. Also, the pacing was a little uneven with long stretches in between times when progress was made on the investigation. Lena and Sam’s romance moves slowly, too, since they were trying not to be seen together because of all of the reporters watching everything Sam did to try to spin it into something bad.

The best parts of the book are when Lena is with Sam and when Lena is working together with Camilla. Lena and Camilla are wonderful characters and the book is more enjoyable when the focus is on them. I also loved that each chapter began with the gothic novel that Lena and Camilla are writing. The reader is given a glimpse into their novel and the passages cleverly tie in with events going on in Blue Lake. This installment has an interesting plot and moves Lena and Sam’s story along as well as Lena’s working relationship and growing friendship with Camilla. For that reason, I still plan to follow the Writer’s Apprentice mystery series, but recommend new readers start with the first book, A Dark and Stormy Murder to fully appreciate this excellent series and how talented author Julia Buckley really is.

~ Christine