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May 21, 2008 > Book Review: Slip Cue

Book Review: Slip Cue

By Robert A. Garfinkle

Slip Cue, by Joyce Krieg, (St. Martin's Minotaur Mysteries), Pp. 309. Price $6.99 (trade paperback; ISBN 0-312-99639-X).

Slip Cue is the second murder mystery in the trilogy of Sacramento radio talk show host and amateur sleuth Shauna J. Bogart. The book was written by Pacific Grove author Joyce Krieg. Smart and sassy Shauna J. gets involved in solving the murder of an old radio personality that takes place in Monterey. The accused murderer, Jasmine, is a washed-up singer who had one hit in the 1970s but has recently become the star of a TV sitcom.

The connection is that Jasmine was a student of Shauna J.'s late mother, also a lounge singer from the 50s and 60s, and Jasmine has escaped from the law and is on the lam. She contacts Shauna J. for help. Jasmine is accused of killing an old disc jockey named Johnny Venture that she believes failed in his promise to promote her music 30 years earlier. It turns out that there were a number of disc jockeys that used the same "Johnny Venture" moniker. So the wrong guy could have been killed and Shauna J. is sure the Jasmine is not the killer. At first, Shauna J. is only interested in getting a firsthand interview of Jasmine for her radio talk show, but Shauna J. winds up speeding down the trail to find the real murderer.

The book is full of references to the music scenes of the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay areas from the 60s to the 80s. Krieg grew up in San Jose and worked for Sacramento radio stations for about 20 years. She brings this inside knowledge of the workings of local independent radio to this book and that breaths life into the story. This first person narrative story draws you right into it. You feel exactly what Shauna J. feels and you see at close range how she interacts with the large cast of characters that she meets along the path to freeing Jasmine and locating the real killer.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in reading murder mysteries. Krieg has a very breezy style, which I really liked, and that made this book a real joy to read. I now want to read Krieg's other two Shauna J. Bogart books, "Off Mike" and "Riding Gain." Both of these books are also out there in bookstores for your reading pleasure.

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