Friday, October 27, 2023

Review: Home at NIght by Paula Munier

by Paula Munier
Release Date: October 17, 2023
2023 Minotaur Books
Kindle Edition; 352 Pages
ISBN: 978-1250887894
Audiobook: B0BVKS2BKQ
Genre: Fiction / Mystery / Cozy
Source: Review copy from publisher

3.5 / 5 Stars

There’s something about Grackle Tree Farm that people are willing to kill for―and Mercy needs to figure out what before they move in. A coded letter found on the victim points to a hidden treasure that may be worth a fortune―if it’s real. She and Captain Thrasher conduct a search of the old place―and end up at the wrong end of a Glock. 

Now it’s up to Mercy and Troy and the dogs to track down the masked murderer in a county overflowing with leaf peepers, Halloween revelers, and treasure hunters and bring him to justice before he strikes again and the treasure is lost forever, along with the good name of Grackle Tree Farm….
My Thoughts
Home at Night is the fifth installment of the Mercy & Elvis series, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I haven't actually read the previous books in this series, but lack of previous knowledge of the characters and their goings-on didn't affect my enjoyment of this particular book. I do love it when authors go out of their way to give distinct personalities to animals in their books, and Elvis was no exception; I enjoyed learning about him and his previous life as a military dog, and this may be the reason why I pick up the first book in the series.
The book opens on a rather spooky note and at first, I wondered if I actually picked up a paranormal mystery instead of just a regular cozy mystery, but that was soon set straight.  The mystery itself was quite enjoyable with cryptic notes found in secret hiding spots, codes to decipher in poems,  hidden treasure, and so much more, leading to a mystery involving the previous owners of the house Mercy would like to purchase.  There were a couple of surprising twists and turns and I always enjoy it when the author lulls you into feeling calm and then ups the tension level with something unexpected. The plot itself was rather complex, and being someone who enjoys cryptic codes found in letters and poems, this was right up my alley.  I don't think I've ever outgrown the thrill of reading anything about treasure hunting.  
That being said, there were a lot of coincidences in this book and I am not a fan of the use of them to propel a story forward. When a character just happens to be friends with someone in the past and has spent time with them in the past which helps solve one of the clues in the present, and this scenario is used in this book, I just get irritated.  And Mercy seems to have that one family member who has done everything and been everywhere during the war who just seems to be able to come up with clues to whatever she needs.

The characters themselves were interesting and for the most part, I did enjoy learning more about them. Mercy was facing some major changes in her life and I liked the relationship she had with her husband. Mercy's inner monologue did irk me at times as she was constantly talking to herself about how she has to be careful and not do anything dangerous, and then goes ahead and does something dangerous and almost gets herself killed.  And yes, I rolled my eyes, I couldn't help it.  How many times does one visit the emergency room before you get the message?

Home at Night delves into the themes of greed and betrayal, leading some to commit heinous acts for the pursuit of glory as well as financial bonanza; it shows how far people will go if they are desperate. I also like the secondary story line, even better than the original one, depicting the turtles and the poaching that is happening to our endangered species.  While I did think the author only explored these themes on a superficial level, the overall story was still fun and engaging.