Fiction, Mystery

Mirror Lake by Juneau Black

Shady Hollow #3

The third in the series, Mirror Lake has been my favorite of the series thus far. I don’t know if there will be more (there is a short story eBook and the review for that will be up tomorrow!), but for now, this is the third and final full book. 

Synopsis

From the publisher marketing:
The third novel in the Shady Hollow mystery series, in which Vera Vixen takes on her most challenging case yet: solving the murder of a rat who appears to still be alive.

Change is afoot in Shady Hollow, with an unusually tense election shaping up between long-serving Chief of Police Theodore Meade and Vera’s beau, Deputy Orville Braun. But the political tension takes a back seat when resident eccentric Dorothy Springfield becomes convinced her beloved husband, Edward, is dead, and that the rat claiming to be him is actually a fraud.

While most of the town dismisses Dorothy’s rants as nothing more than a delusion, Vera has her doubts. More than a few things don’t add up in the Springfield household, but Vera will have to tread carefully, since, with Orville’s attention on the election, she may be more exposed than ever.

Review

While I first thought this one would be as predictable as Cold Clay, I was ultimately impressed by the increased subtlety to the mystery in this one. Ultimately my first instinct proved to be correct, but there were a few more twists and turns here. 

Vera is back, accompanied by Lenore, her best friend and raven, and her beau, Orville, bear and police deputy who has decided to run for police chief after getting frustrated by his boss’s penchant for fishing over crime solving. While Orville is tied up in campaigning, Vera finds herself solving the potential murder that may not be murder on her own with an unwelcome companion, bestselling thriller author and self-obsessed wolf, Bradley Marvel. 

One of the things I absolutely love about the Shady Hollow series is that the authors (two authors writing under a pen name) are fellow booksellers. I love the details that they include about the bookselling business, and in both this book and Cold Clay, we get an author event, both very different in flavor. I’ve met a few, thankfully not many, authors like Bradley Marvel and it was delightful to see the book world written about in a book, I love that sort of thing.

Bradley refuses to leave Vera alone and with Orville campaigning, he has plenty of opportunities to rope her into dinners and even follows her on her jaunt out of town for a few days. Thankfully, Vera won’t stand for his interfering and he eventually backs off, but it was nonetheless disconcerting to read. As a young woman, I’m always afraid of an unwelcome companion and have been subject to similar awkward situations that have made my skin crawl.

The jaunt to the neighboring town proves to be a fun side excursion and it was neat to see the other woodland towns outside of Shady Hollow. Thankfully, though, everything still revolves around Joe’s Mug (I appreciate Vera’s coffee obsession and need for her daily cup), and the residents of Shady Hollow. The mystery plays out in a rather predictable way once more, but I read the books for the characters, not the mystery anyway so I was still delighted.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Where to Buy
In the USA, I recommend purchasing through BookShop or your local independent, in the UK, and many other parts of the world, I recommend Blackwell’s, and if neither of those cover where you live, I recommend checking out your local booksellers! Independent bookstores are vital parts of every local community and I wholly endorse supporting your local stores versus Amazon.

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