Fast reading is one of the requirements when it comes to reviewing books and author Josie Belle provides a fast one in the first installment of The Good Buy Girls’ 50% Off Murder.
In this economy it pays to shop thrifty and throughout this installment, Belle (an alter ego for Jenn McKinley) sprinkles some good bargain hunting tip’s through her characters, primarily main character Maggie Gerber, the lead GBG.
It all begins with the semi-annual sale at one of Virginia’s premiere outlets and the other GBG’s are set in motion for their shopping. Each member of the group has a specific area to cover and these girls are ready for bargain shopping. With this first glimpse into the frantic world of shopping for the girls it also gives the reader an idea of how to do it without stressing yourself out.
Bargains aren’t the only thing Maggie has to contend with. She’s informed that her old high school flame, Sam Collins, is back in town as the city’s new sheriff and when fellow GBG Claire Freemont is arrested for murder she has no choice but to butt heads with Sam while trying to help clear Claire.
Even though the mousy librarian seems squeaky clean she’s been hiding a secret from the others. Her secret comes in the form of the body found in the basement of the library and with it the reason why she left a successful career to settle down in the small town of St. Stanley.
Since Claire has been living in town for about five years the other girls, Ginger (a lifelong resident and Maggie’s best friend since diapers) and Joanne another transplant the girls think they know everything about one another and are shocked when they discover the living body once dated Claire.
As the suspect list continues to grow so does the mounting tension between Sam and Maggie. She just wants Sam to leave her alone but he does have a way with her and really doesn’t know why she broke off their secret summer relationship. Maggie’s best defense has always been the fact that he was mean to her while growing up and her lifelong nemesis, Summer Phillips, continues to make life difficult for her.
But this book really is a page turner since Belle/McKinley doesn’t dwell on a lot of things. Her characters are well rounded and she adds a good touch with Maggie having been a single mother after her husband was killed at an early age. I think this is also one of the few books which I’ve read where the characters are in their late thirties, early forties. They seem more responsible and grown up plus the use of the thrifty tips throughout the book are much better than at the end (although at the end there are ten tips for being thrifty as told through the eyes of the characters).
I think this will be a good series.