Archive for 'Lamb, John J.'
THE FALSE-HEARTED TEDDY is the second book in the Brad Lyon Bear Collector’s Mystery series. Former homicide detective Brad Lyon and his teddy-crafting wife Ashleigh are at a bear show when a fellow teddy bear designer dies under mysterious circumstances. Brad and Ashleigh try to save the woman’s life and, when they are unable to, alert the police to the fact that she may have been murdered. Unfortunately, the Lyons fall under suspicion when they get into a confrontation with the investigating officers. Brad mounts his own investigation into the murder when he decides that the police are not competent, and proceeds to question the suspects around the scheduled bear show events.
I quite liked Lamb’s first teddy bear book, but was disappointed with this one for several reasons. First and foremost, some of the actions that Brad takes aren’t appropriate to the character Lamb has created and they aren’t endearing to the reader. Lamb is supposed to be a nice guy – a retired detective finding Nirvana making teddy bears with his wife. But to move the story along, Lamb has written a confrontation with the local police which makes Brad look like a jerk and leads him to pursue an investigation on his own. When he intentionally breaks several laws doing so, he lowers himself further in the reader’s estimation. And when he vengefully embarrasses a fellow crafter in front of a large audience, he just looks like an ass. I want to read about characters that I like – but I don’t like Brad Lyon in this book.
Due to some inexpertly dropped clues, I also knew who the killer was going to be before the murder was committed, which is a definite disadvantage in a mystery. Lamb is a new author and I think that both of the book’s problems are a result of insufficient plot development. The plot is too simplistic, there aren’t enough suspects or clues, and Lamb is forced to make Brad act in uncharacteristic ways to justify the story line. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough interesting bear crafting details to redeem this book’s shortcomings.
Favorite character? None. Did I guess it? Yes. Will I read another? Perhaps. The things that are wrong with this book can be contained within it. Every author turns out a clinker now and again.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com ©2007
Okay, I will start off by saying that my husband rolled his eyes when he saw I had picked up a mystery about teddy bears. It just seemed too cutesy. However, this book is a pleasant surprise for those of us who expected to gag on polyester stuffing.
The first surprise is that the author of the book is a male retired police officer who, along with his wife, collects teddy bears. And staying true to the “write what you know” school of writing, the main characters are a disabled retired police officer and his wife who collect and make teddy bears. But in addition to bringing his love for small fuzzy things to this book, Lamb has brought some very intelligent, true-to-life police experience to the table.
This law enforcement expertise is incorporated into the story after the main character, Brad Lyon, discovers a body in a river that runs through his property. But when the local sheriff arrives, he refuses to consider the man a homicide victim, doesn’t even examine the body, and delivers a harsh lecture to Lyon about former law enforcement officers needing to butt out and let active officers do their jobs. Recognizing a corrupt cop when he sees one, Lyon refuses to be scared off and starts digging into the identity of the victim and possible motives for his murder.
Which brings us back to teddy bears. Lamb incorporates a real and famous teddy bear into the story in a way that will pique the interest of all readers, not just bear lovers. Although Lamb spends too much time explaining that is it okay for manly men to like teddy bears, he has done a really good job of blending his hobby with his former professional skills and crafted an interesting and enjoyable book.
Favorite character? Brad Lyon – intelligent, kind-hearted, devoted, and all-around nice guy. Did I guess it? Sort of – there was an interesting twist I didn’t get. Will I read another? Yes.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com Â©2007