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Empty Houses (A Kate Waters Mystery) by…

Empty Houses (A Kate Waters Mystery)

by Betsy Thornton

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Having read and enjoyed all of Thornton's Chloe Newcombe mysteries which are also set in Dudley (a thinly disguised Bisbee), I was excited to see this first book in a new series. As I've come to expect from Thornton, the setting is vivid and adds so much texture to the story. In addition, the mystery kept me guessing from beginning to end. However, all the various parts of the book never really gelled into an enjoyable read for me.

Thornton inserts derogatory comments about Arizona SB1070 (the highly inflammatory immigration law) and the state's (lack of) gun control. I happen to agree with her on both counts, but if she feels that way about guns, why does one come in so handy in one particular scene? It certainly could have been written differently.

Although the book is listed as a "Kate Waters" mystery, Kate does very little investigating in the book. Instead it's MacGregor's expertise that is put to good use. I liked MacGregor even though he seems to be one of those men who are drawn to damsels in distress. He's a good investigator and a nice guy.

Kate Waters is certainly a damsel in distress. A very annoying one. I have to admit that she is the main drawback in this book. The woman has just escaped from an abusive relationship. She lives in fear that her ex will find her. She is extremely paranoid. All that being said, then why on earth did she go do something and leave her house unlocked for the entire day because she knows a friend will be stopping by? That almost beggars belief. And-- once again-- if Kate is so paranoid, why can she never remember to charge her cell phone? A bit difficult to call for help if her phone's dead, isn't it?

I did enjoy the mystery in Empty Houses, and as always, I can't get enough of the setting, but with Kate Waters as the main character, I doubt very much that I'll continue with this series. What a shame. ( )
  cathyskye | Jul 2, 2015 |
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Dudley, Arizona is an isolated desert town attracting people who need to escape. Kate Waters flees there following an abusive relationship. Phoenix cop Malcolm MacGregor comes to recover from the death of his wife. No one knows why Carrie and Wes Cooper arrived. But when they are shot dead, the town authorities' first instinct is to protect the lucrative tourist trade and make a quick arrest - without asking too many questions. Having once spoken to Carrie briefly, Kate becomes increasingly convinced that the wrong man has been arrested for the crime. Was the shooting random, or is there something in the victims' history back east that would explain it? Teaming up with Malcolm MacGregor, Kate is about to uncover disturbing links between her own and Carrie's past. Is Kate herself at risk?… (more)

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