Sunday, May 8, 2022

Bear Witness by Lark O Jensen

About the Book:

Alaska tour boat guide Stacie Calder faces the deep freeze in this scenic cozy series debut perfect for fans of Paige Shelton.

No nine-to-five cubicle career will suit Stacie Calder—the naturalist much prefers working in the great outdoors. Specifically, the spacious and spectacular Alaskan wilderness, whose rugged charms she shares with sightseers on the top deck of the tour boat where she works. But one May afternoon, Stacie’s passengers see more than glittering glaciers, frolicking harbor seals, climbing bears and soaring seabirds…they also witness a man lying dead in the frigid Alaskan waters. And it seems likely that someone gave him a fatal push.

Stacie didn’t know the unfortunate victim, but he sure wanted to know a lot about her. He spent most of his final afternoon bombarding her with questions quite awkward to answer. And when he wasn’t in her hair, he was arguing incessantly with the boat’s beleaguered crew. Which makes for a suspect list about as long as the passenger manifest. Furthermore, as police helicopters relentlessly circle her boat in search of any clues, Stacie is shaken to find herself on that suspect list.

Before the tour boat reaches shore Stacie—accompanied by her beautiful blue-eyed husky, Sasha—must deduce just who sent the testy tourist tumbling into the turgid waters and have the authorities take custody. Because if she can't, then the killer might aim a fatal ice-cold stare at Stacie.

My Review:

It's the setting that makes this cozy mystery interesting. Jensen has done a decent job describing the scenes from the tour boat as well as the workings of the tour boat itself. I appreciated the information about seals, wolves, and other wildlife. It is clear Jensen did much research to make the nature talks Stacie gives reliable. At times, however, there is too much description as we are given detailed accounts of actions and events that do not move the plot forward nor are really very interesting. We certainly don't need to know what color clothing each tour employee is wearing. There was repetition too as Stacie voices or thinks the same concepts several times.

I did not think the characters were developed very deeply. I did not find Stacie an engaging amateur sleuth. She asked people lots of questions rather than thinking through to the solution. I was surprised a trooper would let Stacie busy herself in investigating the murder. I didn't think trooper Liam was very professional in that respect, nor in his becoming sexually involved with Stacie, a person clearly involved in the murder investigation. The plot was straight forward. The villain was no surprise.

This is the first novel I have read by this prolific author. I was disappointed in the less than engaging plot, the lack of depth of character development, the detailed descriptions of unimportant things and the repetition. I expected more from a seasoned author.

My rating: 3/5 stars.


About the Author: 

Lark O. Jensen
 is a pseudonym for Linda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, has published 53 books so far, including mysteries and romantic novels.  She has written several cozy mystery series including the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries and Superstition Mysteries for Midnight Ink, and the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries and Pet Rescue Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime.  She also writes romances for Harlequin, including Harlequin Romantic Suspense.  Her latest release is Colton First Responder, for Harlequin Romantic Suspense.  Nearly all Lark's current stories involve dogs! You can find out more at Photo credit: EP Imagery

Crooked Lane Books, 320 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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