By LISA HANEBERG
Series: A Spy Shop Mystery
Publisher: Written Pursuits Press
Pages: 364 pages
Pub Date: March 13th, 2021
Categories: Women Sleuths / Cozy Mystery / Private Investigator / Humor
Rodent Roger, a popular Galveston Island exterminator, goes missing the day after he tells private investigator and spy shop owner Xena Cali about a concerning uptick in green iguana sightings on the island. They’re crapping in people’s boats and falling from trees. Are the lizards swimming over from Florida to escape the pythons, or is it something more nefarious? Can Xena help untangle the mess before the raucous reptiles take over Galveston?
Ultima Penelope Roger is a best-selling writer of romance novels. The Lizard Liquidators have set up shop on Galveston Island. Herpetologist Quintana Flores, PhD, works on a bizarre cruise ship that sails out of the Port of Galveston. Sasha Barlow is a driven junior reporter who’ll do anything to get the story. Ned “The Pelican Man” Quinn writes a column about bird necropsies. Captain Ethan Slaughter is the head of the Major Crimes team at the Galveston Police Department. Xena and her team will have to partner with and/or battle this cast of characters and others to solve what becomes a disturbing murder investigation.
Stiff Lizard is the third full-length book in the Spy Shop Mystery series. If you like fast-paced crime novels, clever satire, and gritty beach towns, then you’ll love Lisa Haneberg’s humorous and contemporary cozy caper.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:
“Lisa Haneberg has a wicked sense of humor. She can also write a fast-moving, totally original mystery.” — Alan Rinzler
Lisa Haneberg’s newest entry in the Spy Shop Mystery Series lives up to its predecessors. A good number of laughs, lots of intrigue, a bit of titillation, lots of interesting information, and lots of mystery make for a good read.” – Verified purchaser from Amazon
In theatre when the player speaks directly to the audience that’s called “breaking the fourth wall.” It’s not done often, but when it happens it can be quite effective, especially in a comedy or melodrama.
Making that kind of direct connection between author and reader is called “author intrusion.” Or “authorial intrusion,” pronounced with an upper-crust British accent would make one glance around to spy King Arthur.
But I digress.
In Stiff Lizard, the narrator, Xena, frequently speaks to the reader, most of the time to clarify a point or give the meaning of a word that might not be familiar to the reader. She also offers a quick aside like when she makes a humorous comment about the name of the captain of the cruise ship who is known as “Ant.” Zena asks the reader if we, too, wouldn’t think that Rodent Roger would also laugh about the name.
I liked Xena and her team, especially Dora who was willing to go the extra mile for her boss, including doing an under-cover gig on the cruise ship to ferret out the gigilo. But then, who wouldn’t want a free cruise? And the gigilo? He was considered quite handsome. An added bonus to the free trip?
The humor was good throughout, although at times I thought it went a bit too far into campy, making it hard for me to take the investigation into what happened to Rodent Roger seriously. I really wanted to know. And I wanted to know the truth about his wife. And I wanted to know about the Lizard Liquidators. And, of course, I wanted to know how and why Galveston Island was being overrun with Iguanas. Big nasty, pooping everywhere, Iguanas.
So I kept reading.
If you like a quick, fun read with an interesting cast of characters, try Stiff Lizard. You won’t be disappointed, and you’ll get a free guide to some of the best places to visit if you take a trip to Galveston Island.
Lisa Haneberg loves to explore Galveston Island’s gritty back streets, stellar seafood joints, magnificent natural areas, and all points in between. In addition to the Spy Shop Mysteries, she’s a blogger, and has authored over a dozen nonfiction books. She earned an MFA degree from Goddard College and a BS in Behavioral Sciences from the University of Maryland.
Before writing crime fiction, she was a seasoned human resources professional with a strange attraction to gnarly internal investigations. She lives with her husband and dog in Lexington, Kentucky. Lisa once owned a home on Galveston Island and is a frequent visitor.
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