My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars
Cliff Hanger is the 5th book in the Maggie McDonald Mystery series written by Mary Feliz and published in 2019. I previously read an earlier book in the series and really enjoyed it. When this one became available through a cozy mystery group I belong to, I decided to pick up the series again and see how a second one turned out. I’m glad I did… between 4 and 4.5 stars for this one.
The series takes place in California, and Maggie is an organizational expert. We have this in common, although for me it’s a hobby and for her it’s a career. This time, she and her teenage boys drive to the coast to help out her best friend’s cousin who needs help organizing a housing complex. Nothing goes right from the moment Maggie arrives. Between a sorta-hang-glider crashing and the cousin being unavailable to deliver on the rental property and other things, Maggie and the boys think about leaving. Then it gets worse. The guy piloting the glider dies from his injuries despite the cops and doctors thinking he’d survive, and the family blames Maggie’s teens for doing something wrong. Unfortunately, as Maggie digs into what happened, she learns it was probably murder.
This is a family mystery, meaning Maggie and the boys do all the sleuthing. I enjoyed that aspect of it, even if i felt at times the boys were put in a bit too much danger, for it being a strange town to them. I also understand that grieving parents might blame anyone for their son’s death, but to take it out on 14-and-16-year-old brothers was definitely too much for me. Both aspects pushed my buttons a bit, but on the flip side, everything else makes you love the family bonding, trust, and intimacy. As a mother, Maggie is pretty cool. As an amateur investigator, she’s very smart.
The format of the books are great. Each chapter has a tip about how to organize your life. Since this book revolves around a vacation, the tips help people figure out how to manage expectations and time while on a trip. The writing is straightforward and clear, no ambiguity or excessive detail. It reads easily and makes for a fun afternoon lounging in a comfy chair. The story focuses on organic farms, drugs, and hang gliders (not exactly gliders but close enough without explaining the differences here). It was interesting and great to learn a lot more about something I don’t have a strong background in. At times, it was a little more than I thought I needed, but then again, it also helped immerse me in the story. After all, who wants a simple tale without enough meat to push our boundaries?
I’m glad I took this one on, as I realized I do enjoy the series a lot. I will be ordering the others next month and getting current on the series by the end of this year. A definite recommend for a well-structured and medium-complex cozy.
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For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic Curveball, Broken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.