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1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Ready, Aim, Under Fire by Camilla Chafer

on May 24, 2017

Ready, Aim, Under Fire (Lexi Grave Mysteries #10)
Camilla Chafer
Self-published
2017, eBook
Purchased personal copy via iBooks

Blurb {courtesy Goodreads.com}:

When Private Investigator Lexi Graves’ police lieutenant brother, Garrett, asks her for help on a missing persons cold case he’s been instructed to close, she’s happy to poke around. After all, it won’t take long to prove if the woman he’s checking up on is an impostor or the real deal. 

Garrett isn’t convinced that Debby Patterson, who skipped town ten years ago, is the same happy, family-conscious woman who has finally returned home. Her parents are thrilled to welcome her back so there is no reason to think she isn’t. But just as Lexi begins her investigation, a friend of the family approaches her with some suspicions. Before Lexi can find out what is worrying her, the woman is murdered. Coincidence? Or something more dangerous?

Solving a murder and proving a missing person’s identity, Lexi must put everything she’s learned to the test. Perhaps, by solving one crime, she can solve the other and determine, once and for all, who is the real Debby.

I love this series, I do. But this is not my favourite installment of it.

The mystery is pretty good. Lexi’s brother Garrett, a detective, asks her for help with a case that has bugged him about a missing woman who vanished 10 years ago and was reported by her landlord of all people. Her parents always seemed relatively unconcerned and over the years they received sporadic postcards and emails from their daughter who claimed to be travelling her way around overseas. Then one day she just returned, but Garrett still has questions and he wants Lexi and her non-threatening presence and different way of looking at things, to cast an eye over it and see if she picks up on anything or gets to the bottom of it. When a woman who claims that the woman who returned is not the one who vanished and is then murdered before Lexi can interview her properly, it definitely seems like there are people with secrets to hide.

So that part is fine, I always like the way Lexi goes about things. This seems to be the only thing she really works on in this book and it’s pro bono. She is mostly working on it alone, so to be honest Solomon isn’t a large part of this book. However Maddox is back, creeping around in odd locations for some reason or other and he and Lexi have a conversation that’s probably been brewing since book 2 or 3. The thing is, Lexi and Solomon have had conversations brewing since probably book 5 or 6 and they just don’t ever seem to happen. Lexi is by nature, pretty nosy. And she’s been curious about Solomon for a while and Maddox only hammers home these things that she doesn’t know about him. I’m not sure Maddox’s motives are pure though, in fact I think it’s probably a sneaky handed way to make Lexi doubt her engagement but the fact is, there’s so much that Lexi and the reader don’t know about Solomon. And that kind of works while he’s the man of mystery on/off love interest but not really when they’re engaged to be married. They live together. And they’ve never had a conversation about his life before she met him in book 1? It’s starting to wear a little thin and even after Maddox raises these points, Lexi only attempts a half-hearted conversation with Solomon about where he met some of the other employees of the private detective agency and he smoothly switches the topic after a few vague answers. She’s aware that he’s doing it, she makes mention of it but she doesn’t actually call him on it or pursue her line of questioning. I’m unsure why…..either she’s too chicken to ask because she fears the answer or she fears Solomon flat out refusing to share with her. Either way…..it doesn’t bode well.

I like Solomon – if you want to “ship”, then I’m team Solomon and Lexi. I find Maddox a bit boring and well, a bit of a twat. But at the same time, there’s only so long you can spin out mystery (see: Manoso, Ranger) before it starts to get tedious. Solomon has evolved throughout the books and he’s always been quite obviously into Lexi so his reluctance to share anything about himself with her doesn’t suggest much for their relationship long term, despite the fact that they’re living together and engaged. He doesn’t have to suddenly become super chatty and confide his life story but I think it’s probably time they actually had an adult conversation of some description that didn’t involve work and wasn’t ended by one of them using avoidance tactics. I’m not even sure if Lexi knows how old he is. She’s just vaguely described him as “older than her”.

As I mentioned, I like this series. But I’m ready not to be drip-fed and have some real information shared and see Lexi and Solomon working more in a partnership rather than him just checking in. Not my favourite of the series but it’s a solid story. The mystery saves it.

6/10

Book #93 of 2017

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