Holly Blues

October 5, 2011 - Holly Blues (Susan Wittig Albert). Herb shop owner China Bayles returns for another adventure, this one featuring Sally, the ex-wife of China's husband and mother to his son.

Sally has a history of bringing trouble wherever she goes. One of the big reasons why is that Sally claims to have had an alternate personality named Juanita, who had bad spending habits and bad judgment when it came to men. But, this time, Sally appears to be Sally. She invites herself to stay with China and family in Pecan Springs for the Christmas holiday, but it soon becomes clear that, once again, Sally has brought trouble along with her.

McQuaid, China's husband and Sally's ex, is none too pleased by Sally's visit. He knows her history all too well and, when Sally tries to confide in him, McQuaid turns away. Then, he leaves town for a PI job, leaving China and Sally alone – and, as China soon realizes, in danger.

In this book, Albert departs from her usual storytelling method. Mostly, her stories are told from China's point of view. But, this time, we also get McQuaid's perspective. He and China each uncover vital pieces of information – China from her base in Pecan Springs and McQuaid from a detour he takes from his PI gig. It's nice to finally get to know China's husband a little better.

My one complaint about this book is that we know (or at least have a very strong suspicion) early on who the killer is. So, there's not really a mystery here. Rather, the atmosphere is one of suspense as we wait to find out if China and McQuaid can catch the killer before he strikes again.