Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hijack in Abstract, by Larissa Reinhart

I read a really good book recently, y'all — Hijack in Abstract, by Larissa Reinhart, Book 3 in the Cherry Tucker Mysteries Let me tell you a little about it.

Synopsis, from the author's website
With a classical series sold and a portrait commissioned, Cherry Tucker’s art career is in Georgia overdrive. But when the sheriff asks Cherry to draw a composite sketch of a hijacker, her life takes a hairpin as the composite leads to a related murder, her local card-sharking buddy Max Avtaikin becomes bear bait and her nemesis labels the classical series “pervert art.”
Cherry’s jamming gears between trailer parks, Atlanta mansions, and trucker bars searching for the hijacker who left a widow and orphan destitute. While she seeks to help the misfortunate and save her local reputation, Cherry’s hammer down attitude has her facing the headlights of an oncoming killer.

Hijack in Abstract is an outstanding addition to the Cherry Tucker Mystery series.  {To read my Five-Kitty reviews of Book 1, Portrait of a Dead Guy, click here, and of Book 2, Still Life in Brunswick Stew, click here.}  Author Larissa Reinhart's third book in the series is the best yet, and highly recommended.  Where else can one read about Dixie Cakes, goat breeding, mysterious chauffeurs, Visa cards and "pervert art" in the same book?  

Here are just some of the many reasons that I recommend Hijack in Abstract and the Cherry Tucker Mysteries.      

Hijack in Abstract has a great opening paragraph: 
There are many places you don't want to be at zero dark thirty, but I've got a personal top three.  One is the ER.  Second is a police station.  The third is your ex-boyfriend's bedroom.

Where is she?  Based on Cherry's previous history, she could be in any of these four (she has two ex-boyfriends) places.    Read the book, to find out. 

As promised in my Brunswick Stew review, here are more examples (with evidence, in quotes from Hijack in Abstract) of why I like Cherry and enjoy the Cherry Tucker Mysteries so much.
  • Cherry's sleuthing skills —
...I can gain information as good as any cop just through my local gossip network. I call myself inquisitive and creative. He calls me nosy and harebrained.

  • Her loyalty and commitment to her friends — 
"I can't turn my back on a friend."
"I know that all too well," said Luke. "I think the exact words were, 'I'd break the law to help a friend.' "

We'd been friends since kindergarten after I slugged Brandy Cosgrove who had stolen her Beanie Babies dolphin.  I'd received my first suspension and a friend for life. 

  • Her sense of humor —
"Miss Cherry Tucker, hello," said the new voice.  "I have found you."
Considering the voice was somewhere in metro-Atlanta and I was sitting in my truck in mid-west Georgia, I didn't follow.  "Were we playing hide and seek?"  

The heavy wooden door swung open, I stepped aside and stifled a maniacal giggle.  "Gold paneling with brass trim.  This is a first for me." 

  • Her fashion sense (mentioned in a previous review also) — 
I had my own line of Cherry Tucker clothing, mostly pieces from Walmart retrofitted with bling, dye, and a pair of scissors.  

  • Her honesty about her own faults —
"Wow.  I'm kind of speechless.  Which, if you knew me, you would find remarkable."

Sometimes I forget to tell myself to stop yammering.

I really needed to see if there was surgery for removing stupid from my DNA.

"My pride will be my undoing?" I hedged.  "On the contrary, I think it's more an issue with being stubborn.  Or my mouth.  I've got a lot of flaws to choose from."

  • The way Cherry describes colors so artistically, using names of artists' pigments —
brown ochre curls [hair]
transparent oxide-red lake [hair highlights]
every shade of pink from ruby lake to vermilion extra [someone blushing]
Venetian red [fingernails]
Gray and perylene black [camo tank top]
king's blue deep or blue light.  Maybe phthalo blue... [eye color]
dioxazine mauve glow [of twilight]
Payne's gray [eye color]

  • Her loyalty to flag and country (her tact, not so much) —
"I can't read your stupid file.  It's in cryptic."
"Cyrillic," shouted Max.  "You are the stupid."
"Forgive me for not knowing your foreign language, foreigner," I yelled.  "I'm American and you're in America."

I think that any fan of cozy mysteries will enjoy Hijack in Abstract by Larissa Reinhart, especially a fan who likes a heroine who is a little bit (a lot?) sassy and spunky.  For mystery fans new to cozies, this is a great series to begin with.  Hijack in Abstract has earned Five out of Five Kitties!