Book Review: Unlucky Charms (A Superstition Mystery) by Linda O. Johnston


I was attracted to this book solely by its cover. And I initially selected it after reading two great cozy mysteries and wanted to keep reading more of these fun, light books.

There is a cozy mystery formula that readers have grown accustomed to, quirky female lead who has interesting non-traditional job (so far I have read food truck owners, café owners, bakers, jewelry makers, artists) who have great sleuthing skills.

The cozy mystery formula so far has been:

  • Introduce the main character, a fun female lead who is on the brink of transition
  • Set the catalyst for a big life change, usually this is a break up, job loss, death in family
  • Fun female lead moves to small town and starts over
  • Introduce a long list of odd-ball charming characters
  • Throw in at least three mean ones
  • Kill one of the meanies
  • The main character is a suspect (or if it is book two or three in the series a friend or family member of the main character is a suspect)
  • Main character investigates
  • Main character solves the case
  • End

Cozy mysteries are great for reading right before bed. I love reading cozy mysteries and I am really keen on finding a good series to stick with and I was hoping Unlucky Charms would be it.

In Unlucky Charms, the lead is Rory Chasen, manager of the Lucky Dog Boutique in Destiny, California. Destiny is a very odd town centred on tourism and superstitions.

At the start Rory launches a new line of good-luck doggy toys. The timing of the line’s debut proves ill-fated, when several local shops, the including the Lucky Dog are ransacked. The local shops are vandalized with spilled salt and other unlucky charms.

The most likely culprit is real estate agent Flora Curtival. Flora is pushy and disliked in a town with where everyone appears to be super nice. But before Flora can be questioned about being the vandal, she is killed.

And Rory is the main suspect.

Somehow Unlucky Charms took longer to move along and the impending death of Flora was very slow in coming.

And another matter that was of concern, the book cover and even synopsis did not clearly state that this was book three in a series. There are repetitive reminders, hints and pandering over previous events that speaks to this being a sequel. So I paused reading around halfway through my reading and did a little research.  Unlucky Charms is book 3 in the Suspicious Mystery series, the first two books were Lost Under a Ladder and Knock on Wood.

I have decided to limit the number of series I read and to only start reading at the beginning of a series if I feel that is something I will truly enjoy. I won’t be reading the other books in the Suspicious Mystery series.

Now here is what Linda O. Johnston got right, the reveal.

When the identity of the killer was eventually revealed, I was surprised. I did not suspect that person and perhaps because I was reading the Kindle edition, and not focusing on the pages or location in the story, I was not expecting the narrative to warp up when it did.

Unlucky Charms is a NetGalley ARC, the book is to be published by Midnight Ink in October 2016.



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