Diners, Dives and Dead Ends by Terri L. Austin is the first book in the new “Rose Strickland” mystery series. Publisher: Henery Press, July 2012

As a struggling waitress and part-time college student, Rose Strickland’s life is stalled in the slow lane. But when her close friend, Axton, disappears, Rose suddenly finds herself serving up more than hot coffee and flapjacks. Now she’s hashing it out with sexy bad guys and scrambling to find clues in a race to save Axton before his time runs out. With her anime-loving bestie, her septuagenarian boss, and pair of IT wise men along for the ride, Rose discovers political corruption, illegal gambling, and shady corporations. She’s gone from zero to sixty and quickly learns when you’re speeding down the fast lane, it’s easy to crash and burn.

In this new series, we follow Rose as she and her co-workers search for her friend who has disappeared to parts unknown. What she uncovers opens up a big can of worms, and Rose with help from her friends will have to find him before time runs out for the both of them.

This traditional mystery captured my attention from the opening pages to the exhilarating finale. The frantic pace and action packed drama kept me on my toes as I followed Rose and her friends through the myriads of situations in order to rescue and save her friend. Rose is a strong character whose determination shines as she comes across people who are against her. The author did a good job in keeping me in suspense especially with a revelation that took me by surprise. With a likable cast, nice verbal exchanges, and the diner used as the backdrop, this was an enjoyably pleasant read in this debut series and I look forward to more adventures with Rose and the gang for years to come. Note: Diners, Dives and Dead Ends is a traditional mystery that contains quirky humor, off-the-wall characters, and a dash of spicy language.

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