Third Degree by Maggie Barbieri is the fifth book in the “Murder 101” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur, November 2010

On her way to meet her boyfriend’s parents, college professor Alison Bergeron stops by a coffee shop to steel her resolve. It’s a big event. Not only is it the first time she’s met NYPD detective Bobby Crawford’s entire family, but it’s coming on the heels of a wedding proposal that she has left unanswered so far.

Then, as she steps into the shop, a brawl breaks out that ends in the death of Carter Wilmott, a merciless and loathed local blogger. The case couldn’t be any simpler, and Alison witnessed the whole thing, but when Wilmott’s car explodes in the aftermath, what looked to be a crime of passion becomes something far more complicated and maybe even premeditate.

With Alison and Bobby involved in the case and with each other, readers are in for a treat. Third Degree, the latest in Maggie Barbieri’s charming mystery series, is one heated mystery with plenty of steamy romance and cunning villains who are about to get burned.

All Alison wanted was a cup of coffee. A punch in the eye. A man dying. A simple yes will do. Max and her new ideas. What’s up with Kevin? And it all started with the upcoming meeting of the Crawford family. What is a person supposed to do, but stick her nose where it doesn’t belong and finds herself involved in several mysteries and entanglements? There were several heart-warming moments that left me choked up. This was an awesome read and the best one yet in this delightful series. Like fine wine, this series improves with time. My rating: 5 stars

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