Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Guaranteed to Bleed
Guaranteed to Bleed is the second Country Club Murders book by Julie Mulhern. I was a big fan of her first book The Deep End, so I've been looking forward to this one a lot. It did not disappoint. This one is set a few months after the first one. Ellison and her daughter Grace have returned from Europe and are adjusting to life when a new crisis presents itself. Ellison is at a football game and literally stumbles over a body- a boy has been shot. Just before he dies he asks Ellison to tell a girl that he loved her. But who is the girl? Her daughter and her friends know the boy, but no one knows why he was killed. Or do they?
Ellison is soon enmeshed in a mystery involving the boy, the girl he loved, and the country club set that she is a part of. Just like in the first book, there are lots of secrets and lies here- and a lot of humor as well. Ellison is a joy to read, she has been through a rough patch in her life and is now a single mother- and her life gets complicated again when murder once more intrudes. Detective Jones reappears on the scene to investigate the murder, and Hunter Tafft is also in the picture- the high powered attorney who her mother tries to set her up with. Problem is, Ellison is attracted to both men, for very different reasons. Life is not getting any easier for her!
The book takes a dark turn as we find out more about the boys death and the reason why he was killed, and faced with some tough decisions. No matter what she chooses, someone may get hurt. I enjoyed this aspect of the story- just like real life, things are sometimes messy and there are no easy answers. This combined with the 70's references (this is set in 1974) made this a great read for me. I like Ellison's internal voice and her musings frequently made me laugh. And the author does a great job with evoking the culture of the country club set, as well as the spirit of the times.
My parents belonged to a country club when I was a kid, and I remember the Sunday brunches, the view of the golf course, and the socializing. Reading these books brings that back to me, and I think Julie Mulhern captures that brilliantly. Ellison is a great character and I look forward to seeing who- Detective Jones or Hunter Tafft- wins her heart. If either of them do. And I wouldn't mind seeing more of her overbearing mother and her gossipy, sometimes nasty country club friends either. It's all great fun. Compulsively readable.