Review: A Brewski For The Old Man by Phyllis Smallman

Title: A Brewski For the Old Man {Sherri Travis Mystery #3}

Author: Phyllis Smallman

Published: Mcarthur & Co Feb 2010

Sypnosis: John Ray Leenders, the brutal man who tried to rape Sherri Travis when she was thirteen, is back in Jacaranda, living with the single mother of a teenage daughter. Sherri does not want to get involved and tries hard to ignore what she sees happening to Lacey, but it’s impossible to look away. Then Sherri’s father, Tully Jenkins, also reappears in her life, dragging Sherri deep into the swamp in search of alligator poachers

Status: Read on March 26, 2011 — I own a copy

My Thoughts:

The third installment in the Sherri Travis Mystery series follows Margarita Nights and Sex in a Sidecar. After a hurricane and a psychopath tore the town of Jacaranda apart, bartender Sherri is rebuilding the Sunset with the investment of her new lover, Clay. Just as things seem to be returning to normal, Sherri is shocked to find the man who beat her mother and molested her as a teen is involved with one of her tenants, Reena. Though reluctant to get involved, Sherri finds herself dealing with Reena’s troubled teen daughter, a vicious stalker, light fingered staff, duelling chef’s, her best friend’s relationship crisis and then Ray is murdered and her gun is missing.
There is no lack of momentum in this crowded plot, Smallman juggles themes of domestic abuse, teenage ‘cutting’, stalking, blackmail, alligator poaching and greedy property developers as Sherri finds herself involved in one crisis after another. It certainly keeps things interesting, but the threads of the plot connected naturally and tied up neatly at the conclusion of the book. I did feel at times that the story didn’t flow easily and scene jumps were sometimes abrupt but that may have had something to do with the ebook formatting. The mystery aspect is well plotted with a number of suspects that keep you guessing.
As in the two previous books, Smallman pays as much attention to her characters as her plot. Sherri struggles with being relied upon and relying on others after her tumultuous childhood and marriage, and this book concentrates on the development of these aspects of her character. Despite her reluctance, she can not turn away from Lacey’s desperation or Reena’s situation, even though her involvement means her life is threatened and she is accused of murder. When family friend Ziggy is injured in a move designed to make him leave his property, Sherri teams up with her father to track the men responsible and then moves Ziggy into her and Clay’s home for his recovery. Sherri is also finding the management of the Sunset more complicated than she expected, and she doesn’t want to let Clay down. With Clay absent through the novel (sailing in a race, Sherri doesn’t have his immediate support and dealing with these situations are big steps for Sherri who values her independence and generally dislikes being responsible to, or for others.
A Brewski For The Old Man a quick and engaging read with plenty to recommend it to readers who enjoy a cozy mystery with an edge. With so much nuance tied to the characters,  could be a little bewildering for someone who hasn’t read the previous books in the series, though I think the plot holds its own and it could work as a stand alone.

@ Goodreads

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Stephanie @ Read in a Single Sitting
    Mar 29, 2011 @ 08:47:23

    Wow, this sounds quite edgy for a cozy. I love a good mystery, but I try to avoid anything that involves rape, so not sure that this one is for me!

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    Reply

  2. Tracy
    Apr 02, 2011 @ 04:12:59

    I haven’t come across this author before, might look her up as they sound like the type of books I enjoy.

    Like

    Reply

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