Title: Diners, Dives & Dead Ends
Series: Rose Strickland Mystery, Book 1
Author: Terri L. Austin
Published: July 12th 2012 by Henery Press
Edition: ebook, 235 pages
Age group: Adult
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Rose Strickland, 24 years old, comes from a rich and snobby family. Her mother is controlling pretty much every aspect of her husband’s and her two daughters’ lives. While the older sister Jacqueline is more than happy to oblige, to follow whatever life path her mother chooses for her, Rose is not that passive. She doesn’t want to go to the college her parents paid for, but prefers to find something different, something to appeal to her interests.
But such kind of disobedience is not something her mother cares to tolerate. It’s either all or nothing. So since the age of 18 Rose has been cut off from her parents’ financial support and maintains a very cold and strained relationship with them. Jacqueline is the only one to stay in contact with Rose, and she actually tries to restore peace within the family.
To be able to pay for her studies and apartment, Rose works as a waitress at Ma’s Diner, but her financial situation is really bad, which by her mother is considered a shame for the family.
But in terms of friendship, Rose doesn’t lack anything. She’s in good relationship with the whole staff at the Diner, particularly with fellow waitress Roxy and her boss Ma (who’s, by the way, is about 80 years old, but totally lively and energetic). Another one of Rose’s best friends is Axton, whom she’s known since school, with their families sharing the same social circle. But they became really closer 5 years ago, when both came to the Huntingford City College.
Rose and Axton don’t really have much in common, though, especially with Axton being a fan of sci-fi movies and fantasy books and consuming weed on regular basis. But it was him who helped Rose overcome the most hardest periods in her life, when she only learned how to live independently.
Axton almost always acts weird (some of it may be the pot influence), but one morning he stumbles into Rose’s workplace, all nervous and secretive, asks her to keep his backpack, and then disappears. Rose is very worried about him and after police turns out to be useless and Rose being threatened by some mysterious man to stay away from this case, she starts her own investigation. What she finds out, though is both unexpected and highly dangerous.
The story is not something I read very often, but it is the statistics I plan to change. First of all, following my New Year’s resolution to read more different genres, and, secondly, judging by this particular book, cozy mystery is a really enjoyable read. So there definitely will be more books like this on my reading list.
‘Diners, Dives & Dead Ends’ is a winning combination of mystery, adventure, humor and a hint at possible romance. The main heroine Rosalyn Strickland is no pushover, she’s independent, brave and loyal. She’s not the one to let anybody control her or her decisions, if she sets her mind on something, there’s no stopping her. It’s very rare to find such a heroine in a book now, so this one was like a breath of fresh air.
Rose’s determination to save her friend Axton is both admirable and very brave. I may have been wondering why these two actually became friends in the first place. They just seem top opposite to me. Rose is just this good girl, who works hard to make something of her life, and Axton is kind of problematic. Yes, they helped each other in some tough moments of life, but what was the actual starting point for the friendship? Besides, if they were such good friends, couldn’t Rose have already influenced Axton about his way of life? Especially if Axton already had several pot possession misdemeanors.
Another thing that kept my eyes constantly rolling was the fact that seemingly every other guy Rose meets throughout the book immediately had the hots for her. I counted 5 guys pining over her! Seems too much to me and kind of reminded me of some lame YA romance books!
Rose’s investigation of Axton’s disappearance was very adventurous and humorous. There were some really unexpected plot twists, but I liked the way Rose conducted herself. Rose’s sidekicks Roxy and Ma are very independent and passionate characters, I liked them just as much as I liked Rose. They are funny, impulsive and entertaining.
And can I just say how much I liked Sullivan? Yes, he is the bad guy here, but he was really mysterious and when he saved Rose in the end, I just knew there’s something going on between these two.
Hope the next installment will turn out just as great, I’m definitely reading it next week. And I would recommend this book to anyone who loves easy-reading and fun stories, with a really intriguing plot and good well developed characters.