From the Booking Desk:

In light of the events in Orlando this weekend, it has been a difficult few days with more struggles still on the horizon. As I attempt to keep the conflicting emotions of depression and anger at bay, I have surrounded myself with the things I love – the people, the theater, the music, and of course, the books. In particular, I found that I needed to reach for a book that would envelop me within the LGBTQ community that has given so much back to me. Fortunately, I had the new Jessie Chandler novel on my every growing to-be-read pile and with it, I found the book I needed and proceeded to allow the goodness to comfort me.

Jessie Chandler’s Blood Money Murder is the fifth book in the Shay O’Hanlon Caper series and the first to be published by Bella Books. If you are new to the series, Blood Money Murder is easy enough to follow, but afterwards you will find yourself wanting to go back to better acquaint yourself with Shay and her crazy gang of friends.

As Blood Money Murder opens, Shay O’Hanlon’s dear friend Eddy Quartermaine receives a visit from some unsavory looking men. When Eddy brushes it off, Shay proceeds to the St. Patrick’s Day grand re-opening celebration of her father’s bar. By morning, Shay and her half-sister are missing and there is only the smear of green cupcake frosting on her car’s bumper as evidence.

Since Shay and her half-sister Lisa have only recently met and their relationship is anything but simple, Chandler conveniently structures the book in such a way as to tie (literally) these two together for much of the book. This forces them to work together, while also giving them time to analyze why there is such animosity between them – admittedly, mostly on Shay’s side of things. In order to survive, they are going to have to work through their differences. After all, the situations they find themselves in vary from dangerous (lost in the woods at night) to unexpected (aiding in the delivery of a baby).

Meanwhile, Shay’s significant other, police office JT Bordeaux, is worried sick about her lover. When Eddy insists she come to the house, JT has no idea she is about to hear a story that reveals more about Shay’s history than either of the two women knew was unknown. Gathering their other friends for help, the gang sets out to find Shay and Lisa, stop the bad guys, and finally put to rest some long-standing guilt.

Blood Money Murder is a short novel – coming in at 240 pages – so there is limited real estate with which to tell this story. Jessie Chandler excels at this shorter format, never allowing things to lag for even a moment. Her economy of words is to be commended as well. By using metaphors so successfully, Chandler is able to convey what the reader needs to know with a minimum of output. Take for example these gems: “A pall settled over us like a friar’s robe, dark and thick and course.” Or “That son of a bitch weaseled his way into my heart like a tick burrows under the skin.”

The Shay O’Hanlon Caper series never takes itself too seriously, so just like the other books, Blood Money Murder is the perfect afternoon escape from the realities of the world. Fortunately, the end of the novel opens up some new possibilities for Jessie Chandler to explore in future escapades.


Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the author. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.