Last year, Jill Orr introduced readers to Riley Ellison and the other residents of Tuttle Corner Virginia in her debut cozy mystery, The Good Byline. Now, in The Bad Break, Riley is back and just as hilarious as remembered.
As The Bad Break begins, Riley has left her job at the library to focus full-time on her journalism career at the Tuttle Times. Her mentor, Holman, is on extended leave leaving Riley to face her harshest critics alone. As is a trope of this sub-genre, it isn’t long before amateur sleuth Riley finds herself embroiled in a murder investigation.
Tabitha St. Simon, Riley’s former co-worker and frenemy, has found her future father-in-law stabbed just days before her lavish wedding. Fearful that accusations of murder will ruin the cultural event of the season, Tabitha expects Riley to save the day.
Meanwhile, Riley has relationship problems of her own. As she continues to get to know Jay, the man she met via Click.com’s online romance service, she also has to deal with her ex and his very pregnant girlfriend.
Once again, Jill Orr peppers the plot with eccentric and quirky characters – also known as suspects – who tickle the funny bone while also feeling truly authentic for the small town setting of the novel. Against her own better judgement and her boyfriend’s recommendations, but bolstered by the town’s desire to remain scandal free, Riley finds herself drawn deeper and deeper in to this mysterious plot.
As with The Good Byline, the storyline here is constantly interrupted by e-mail communications from Click Thru Life, LLC, the company behind Click.com. In this novel, the missives come from Jenna B. – Riley’s Personal Success Concierge, part of the bestmillenniallife.com package Riley somehow got wrangled into. Every one of these “interruptions” puts a smile on the reader’s face and many of them are laugh-out-loud hilarious.
The Bad Break never takes itself seriously, which allows the reader to escape from real life’s more serious problems. Riley Ellison is like the needy and scatterbrained friend who you sometimes dread hearing from, but with whom you always end up having a grand adventure – hopefully, managing to stay out of jail in the process.
Jill Orr leaves Riley with some new challenges to tackle, but readers will look forward to joining her as she stumbles along toward self-actualization. Wait, who are we trying to fool? Riley Ellison will continue to make us laugh for years to come – because she just loves life. And we love her.
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.