Sam Clair, snarky yet mild-mannered, introverted editor and sometime sleuth, finds herself threatened by flames in the third Sam Clair mystery A Cast of Vultures.
Sam has a wickedly sarcastic sense of humor that she doesn't always express aloud, but we are privy to it in her thoughts as the story progresses. For example: "It is, tragically, still illegal to force people to buy books at gunpoint. I don't know why this kind of restriction is allowed to remain on the statute books." (location 31 on my Kindle)
Sam has a neighborhood friend named Viv. Viv's friend and neighbor Dennis goes missing. Logically this means that Sam and Viv must break into his apartment to determine if this was a planned absence or if something dire has happened to him. After yet another in a series of fires in the area, Dennis is found, but many questions remain.
Much goes into Sam's efforts to find out what happened to Dennis. From calling his co-worker to pump him for information to following a shady character at the market that was reportedly an associate of Dennis's, Sam gets involved deeper and deeper into the mystery. Someone isn't happy about her interference though and as things escalate her life is at stake.
I enjoyed reading this book. The characters were mostly well drawn and interesting. I read it as a stand-alone, but felt that I might have benefitted from reading the first and/or second book in the series. I felt that would have fleshed some of the characters out more. I did like reading about her job as an editor as well as her exploits as she attempts to solve the mystery.
The mystery was well done. It starts out kind of slow, but accelerates as the book goes on. By the end, I was turning pages very quickly to find out what happened next.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars. It's well written. The characters are interesting. Sam has a lovely snarky sense of humor. And the mystery is well plotted out. Don't be put off by this being the third book in the series. It can be read as a stand-alone and enjoyed. Just a word, there is nothing about birds in this mystery. If there are any vultures, they are the human type.
This edition of A Cast of Vultures is due out February 21, 2017 from Minotaur Books.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.