Book Review: Mystic Mayhem (Mystic Isle Mystery #1) by: Sally J. Smith & Jean Steffens

Publisher: Gemma Halliday Publishing

Publication Date: September 15, 2015

Origins:  From Author for Review

Synopsis: Melanie Hamilton is not your average artist. She brings home the bacon by inking tattoos at New Orleans's Mansion at Mystic Isle, a resort in the middle of the bayou that caters to fans of the peculiar and paranormal, but her true passion comes alive when she volunteers restoring Katrina-ravaged landmarks. Between her day job, her restoration work, and selling her paintings in Jackson Square, Mel's life is more hectic than Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday. But when a guest of the resort, a millionaire's widow, is poisoned, and Melanie's close friend is arrested for the murder, things go from hectic to downright dangerous.

Mel joins forces with the resort's delish manager, Jack Stockton, to prove her friend's innocence. Soon they find themselves dealing with séances, secret passages, the ghost of the millionaire himself, gators, swamp rats, and a sinister killer who proves that not everything is what it seems in the Louisiana bayou.

Come on along, and get your creep on.

Review: MYSTIC MAYHEM is the first book in the Mystic Isle Mysteries series featuring Melanie Hamilton, a tattoo artist at New Orleans’ Mystic Isle Mansion. Aside from her main job as a tattooist, she also dabbles in painting, and volunteers to help restore landmarks damaged by Katrina. During a séance at the Mansion, the distraught wife of a deceased millionaire is murdered by poisoned. One of Melanie’s friends (and the partner of Mystic Isle’s owner) is accused and Melanie decides to solve the murder. MYSTIC MAYHEM is chick-lit mystery smothered in New Orleans cliché. Everything is “delish”, “chère”, and “fo’ sho/fo’ true”. If the authors had included some of what makes the Jordan Welsh & Eddie Marino series work so well, MYSTIC MAYHEM would have been a lot better. The characters seemed two-dimensional and the mystery lacked a true “hook” to pull readers in. MYSTIC MAYHEM seemed to be more about Melanie finally getting her ‘delish’ man than a mystery with so-called supernatural elements. If you’re looking for a light chick-lit mystery with way too many strange similes and a heavy dose of New Orleans “flavor”, MYSTIC MAYHEM might be right for you. As for me, I plan to stick to the authors’ other series.


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