Monday, December 6, 2021

Review: A Plus One for Murder by Laura Bradford (Blog Tour)


About the Book

Cozy Mystery
Release Date
December 7, 2021


Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Entrepreneur Emma Westlake is reinventing herself as a hired friend when murder gets in the way in this exciting new mystery series from USA Today bestselling author Laura Bradford.

Emma Westlake has always wanted to be in business for herself. As a kid, she had her own successful lemonade stand and dog-walking business. And when she entered adulthood, Emma sunk all her cash into her dream job of travel planning. But as her customers became more and more internet savvy, the need for her services declined. At a loss for what to do next, she turns to an elderly friend who suggests she try to get paid for doing something she's really good at--being a paid companion. Emma thinks it's a crazy idea until requests start pouring in. Big Max from down the block wants her to act as his wingman at the local senior center's upcoming dance, nurse practitioner Stephanie needs a workout partner, and writer Brian Hill asks Emma to be his cheering section at an open mic night.

Brian will be reading from his latest work and wants to know someone will clap for him when he's done. When Emma balks at the notion that people wouldn't, he tells her the room will be filled with people he's invited--most of whom will likely want him dead by the time he's done reading. Assuming he's joking, she laughs. But when Brian steps up to the mic and clears his throat to speak, he promptly drops dead. Emma is one of the last people to see him alive, and so she becomes an immediate suspect. Now she'll have to cozy up to a killer to save her skin and her new business.


My Review


Emma Westlake needs a career.  She wants to be her own boss and opens a travel agency business.  Unfortunately, in this day and age, people prefer to make their own travel arrangements online.  She does have a side job as a paid companion to an elderly widow, Dottie, but that’s not going to be enough to support herself.  Dottie suggests she put her services out there and can be a paid companion for other people. 

Between her own advertising and Dottie’s “word of mouth”, Emma’s business begins to build up.  One of her first jobs is to accompany Brian Hill to an open mic night where he is going to recite one of his poems.  Her job is to make sure to clap for him.  He wants to be sure someone will clap since the people in the audience would prefer to see him dead.  Emma doesn’t know what to think until Brian begins his poetry reading but doesn’t get to finish it as he dies in the middle. 

Since Emma was the last one with him, she becomes the prime suspect. 

This is the first book in Laura Bradford’s “A Friend for Hire” mystery series.  It’s off to a good start.  The premise is clever and has potential.  It’s not your typical cozy set around a hobby or food.  It’s much different and unique. 

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more reluctant amateur sleuth than Emma.  She’d much prefer to leave the investigation to the police, but her clients, Dottie and Stephanie, have other ideas.  Dottie loves cozy mystery books and Stephanie loves crime TV shows.  Who would be better to investigate this murder? 

Dottie and Stephanie are a delight.  They are lively characters full of energy and are very entertaining.  Their determination does eventually rub off on Emma.  I would love to see Emma’s character developed more.  It began happening in the second half of the book. Emma, also, has an adorable dog named Scout.  There are a couple of possibilities for romance for Emma.  I look forward to seeing how that plays out. 

The storyline is captivating with many suspects.  It’s a fun escape.  For me, Dottie, Stephanie and Scout stole the show.  I can’t wait to revisit them in the next book.


 FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed a free Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.



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