December Dread by Jess Lourey is the 8th book in the “Murder-By-Month” mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, October 2012

Silent Night, Deadly Night

With Christmas just over a week away, ’tis the season for grinning sales elves on TV, maddeningly jolly Muzak, and a guilty Nut Goodie addiction. But for Mira James and other Battle Lake-area women, the holidays are marred by something far worse—a serial killer leaving candy canes as his calling card. His target? Thirty-something brunettes who look just like Mira. When a woman from her high school graduating class becomes his latest victim, Mira plows through a case of online dating turned deadly with Mrs. Berns at her side. Will she earn her detective stripes . . . or end up deader than the Ghost of Christmas Past?

With two weeks off from the library, Mira heads back home for the holidays, while a serial killer takes their next victim. Attending PI class and being inquisitive as she is, Mira begins her own investigation into the serial killer only to place herself into the killer’s path.

Even with threat of a hurricane, nothing could make me put this book down. The easy and steady flow of the written words enveloped me in this amazing whodunit. The frantic pace and suspenseful nature of this solid plot had me quickly turning the pages as I needed to know the identity of this monster as well. The teaming of Mira and Mrs. Berns creates our own modern day Sherlock and Holmes and I couldn’t be any happier to see this pair hunt down a killer with their wit in full motion. Going back to Mira’s childhood home serves as the backdrop to this wonderfully crafted story and it was fun to see the woman that the child has become. This is the best book yet in this terrific series and I can’t wait for January’s adventures.

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