Finding a corpse buried with Native American artefacts wasn’t the first delay of the renovation Emily faced. But she was not prepared for what followed. A murder investigation, excavation to uncover more artefacts, and drug dealers looking for missing product further delay the mansion’s restoration into an iconic B&B. While facing these setbacks, Emily is also realizing her growing attraction to a local chef, a man who believes a relationship isn’t possible due to his commitment to care for his brain-injured brother.
About Emily Lazzaro
Emily Lazzaro is the daughter of Wayne Lazzaro, the winemaker for the Hilltop Sunset winery in the previously published three Brynn Bancroft mysteries. She moved with her fiancé to Ramona, Calif., a rural community near San Diego, following graduation from college with a degree in hospitality. Her fiancé was eager to purchase a vineyard and develop a winery in the up and coming Ramona wine region, which suited Emily’s goals.
However, after moving to Ramona, it becomes apparent to Emily that she is not a good match for her fiancé. She discovers that he does not respect her opinions and insists on making decisions without her input. So she breaks off the engagement.
She decides to remain in Ramona despite her fiancé living there with his new vineyard. She appreciates the unique rocky terrain and proximity to the ocean and San Diego, along with the mixture of fine wineries, artists, and equestrian activities. She makes her living doing people’s taxes, and when Dangerous Changes opens, we discover she is looking to make a career change.
Dangerous Changes (An Emily Lazzaro Mystery)
A series of events rattle Emily Lazzaro: a near-death encounter with a pickup on a narrow mountain road, the murder of a would-be client, and an ex-fiancé who won’t let go. Can she survive a police investigation, pressure from her ex’s company, and the suspicions of a possible new love-interest—so that she can make the changes to create a meaningful new life in a special town in southern California?
This is my second Joyce T. Strand mystery, the first being Overcast Sunset, one of the three Brynn Bancroft Mysteries.
All of her novels are inspired by actual events and/or real people, although they are definitely fictionalized.
I particularly enjoy Strand’s straight to the point explanations and her obvious knowledge of police procedure. These give an added realism to her writing.
Dangerous Delays is an equally engrossing murder mystery where all the characters have something to hide and we are left guessing what is going to happen next with a sense of foreboding. Strand is adept at building the tension and creating an atmosphere of impending danger whilst teasing the reader with clues and plenty of red herrings.
When a body of a young woman is accidentally unearthed on the site of a b&b restoration in Ramona, she is thought to be of Native American descent. But is she? Or is she a missing festival organiser? What other secrets does the site have to reveal and who exactly is the dubious event planner who suddenly appears from the Mid West?
There are plenty of plot twists and a burgeoning romance for Emily with a will-they, won’t-they storyline to add a little more character development to the story but the main focus is the unearthed corpse and who is responsible.
I found Dangerous Delays to be gripping, highly enjoyable and I am looking forward to the next instalment.
About the Author
Joyce T. Strand is the author of contemporary and historical who-done-it mysteries.
She is the author of the Jillian Hillcrest Mysteries, ON MESSAGE, OPEN MEETINGS, and FAIR DISCLOSURE; the Brynn Bancroft Mysteries, HILLTOP SUNSET, and LANDSCAPE FOR MURDER; the Emily Lazzaro Mysteries, DANGEROUS CHANGES, and the latest release DANGEROUS DELAYS; and a historical mystery, THE JUDGE’S STORY.
Much like Jillian, Joyce headed corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in California’s Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder in her career. She focused on writing by-lined articles, press releases, white papers, and brochures to publicize her companies.
Joyce has been a mystery fan since she read her first Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy stories as a teenager. She has always enjoyed the challenge of following clues to solve a mystery before it is revealed. Therefore Joyce relished the transition from writing press releases to writing fiction.
Today she writes and publishes a blog (http://strandssimplytips.blogspot.com), contributes articles to a regional wine magazine, and continues to pen mysteries. She lives with her two cats and her collection of cow statuary in Southern California near San Diego. She enjoys seeing Broadway musicals, eating at gourmet restaurants, and tasting fine wine—in addition to reading mysteries, of course.
Joyce received her PhD from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. specializing in international relations and her B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA specializing in political science.
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