Friday, February 20, 2009

Review & Giveaway: Fatal February

Summary: For half Jewish, half Southern Baptist Miami criminal defense attorney Mary Magruder Katz, life starts to spin completely out of control when a minor fender bender turns out to be an unlikely shot from Cupid’s bow.

Carlos Martin, the other car’s driver, isn’t just a distracted driver; he’s distracting. Carlos is charming, handsome, and mysterious. Hardly before she knows what hit her, Mary breaks off her engagement, jumps into a sizzling romance with Carlos, gets fired from her former fiancĂ©’s highbrow law firm, starts her own practice, and lands her first client, Lillian Yarmouth.

But Lillian isn’t just any client; she’s the prime suspect in what’s become the Miami society murder of the year.


While investigating Lillian’s alleged crime of passion, Mary finds that this case, like all matters of the heart, is anything but black and white. And Mary has clearly stumbled onto something that has someone seeing red.

February may be the shortest month of the year, but Mary’s got some long days (and nights) ahead. This month could be a real killer. -- Oceanview Publishing

FATAL FEBRUARY by Barbara Levenson was a very entertaining read. I haven't read a lot of mysteries in the past year or so; but when I do, I find that I really enjoy them. FATAL FEBRUARY was a quick, fast-paced read that captured my attention right from the start.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Mary character and even liked how the author incorporated a lot of Mary's personal life into this book. The reader got to "meet" her current and past boyfriends as well as some family memebers. While I did appreciate the various characters, I also thought the mystery aspect of this novel was very well-developed. I liked how the author included many twists and turns (as well as a few very big surprises) in this story. I don't want to give too much away because it is a mystery, but the plot kept me guessing (and even second guessing) throughout much of this book.

Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was that there were interesting secondary plots. Of course the mystery surrounding Lillian was the main story, but I also enjoyed the other side stories surrounding Mary's life. The budding relationship with her new romantic interest as well as the legal issues with her former fiance both helped the reader to better understand Mary.

FATAL FEBRUARY is Ms. Levenson's first novel, and I think it's a good start to a promising writing career. Her writing style is perfect for this type of mystery. Ms. Levenson served as a prosecutor and has also had her own practice which focused on criminal defense. She is currently a senior judge in the circuit court of Miami-Dade County. It's obvious to me that her legal background has served her well in her writing.

I have a feeling that FATAL FEBRUARY is going to be the first in a series of books with Mary Magruder Katz as the main character. I think readers will find Mary extremely likable, and she is entertaining enough to be a regular character in many more books. I like that the author wrote Mary as a criminal defense lawyer, rather than a policewoman or even a detective, because it makes the story a little different than other female mystery series. I wouldn't hesitate to read another book by Ms. Levenson; and I definitely look forward to seeing more of Mary in future books.

Does FATAL FEBRUARY sound like a book that you would like to read? Barbara Levenson is giving away a signed copy of her book, FATAL FEBRUARY, to one lucky tour visitor. Go to Barbara’s book tour page; and enter your name, e-mail address, and this PIN, 6327, for your chance to win. Entries from Booking Mama will be accepted until 12:00 Noon (PT) tomorrow. No purchase is required to enter or to win. The winner (first name only) will be announced on Barbara’s book tour page next week.

A big thanks to Mystery Book News for allowing me to partipate in this book tour! Check out the schedule for the other stops on the FATAL FEBRUARY tour.

8 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I love a good mystery, and used to read a lot more of them then I do now. It's always fun to discover a new author because it might develop into a series.

misterreereeder said...

Great News!!! I hear from an earlier blog that the next Katz mystery is already written and scheduled for publication in 2010. Also number 3 is in the works as well!!! if the first book is any indicator, then the next two should be good too!!!

Michele said...

I love finding new mystery authors! Thanks for the review Julie!

Anna said...

I love it when mysteries with a lot of legal stuff are written by people who know what they're talking about. Thanks for the recommendation.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Barbara Levenson said...

Dear Julie:
Thanks for the review and for allowing me to be part of your website on my virtual book tour.
Thanks to the readers who commented as well. I hope you enjoy Fatal February. Justice In June will be published June,2010 (Oceanview Publishing) You'll find out a lot more about Mary and the whole quirky bunch.

Barbara Levenson said...

Dear Julie:
Thanks for the review and for allowing me to be part of your website on my virtual book tour.
Thanks to the readers who commented as well. I hope you enjoy Fatal February. Justice In June will be published June,2010 (Oceanview Publishing) You'll find out a lot more about Mary and the whole quirky bunch.

itsamystery said...

Great review -- it sounds like a fun read. I also like getting in right at the beginning of a series!

Pam said...

The review makes this sound like a very interesting book. I'd love to try it!! Thanks.