Julie Anne Lindsey

Books: Mystery

Geek Girl Mysteries: A Geek Girl’s Guide to Murder (2015), A Geek Girl’s Guide to Arsenic (2016), A Geek Girl’s Guide to Justice (2016)

Patience Price Mysteries: Murder by the Seaside (2013)

A Cider Shop Mystery: Apple Cider Slaying (2019)

Patience Price Mysteries

Murder by the Seaside (2013)

Patience Price liked her job working HR for the FBI, but when she’s let go, she decides to move back home to Chincoteague Island to put her counseling degree to work.

But the day she moves back, her ex-boyfriend is accused of murder and trouble like the island has never seen before is occurring every single day.

Especially when her ex’s mom wants her to prove him innocent.

"I was never angry he went to college. I was mad he lied to me. One minute we had plans for a life together, the next minute he’s playing ball in Florida. I never saw it coming. He duped me. It won’t happen again."

This is a cozy that is quite silly.

Mom put an emphasis on nice underwear. One never knew when one might wind up in an emergency room. No one wanted to be there wearing tatty underpants.

There are also two possible romantic interests for Patience, which was less my thing, especially since I didn’t much care for her ex.

Plus was that Patience has delightful parents and her friend Claire was wonderful and supportive–as were many of the people on the island who knew her as a teenager.

The mystery was so-so. Patience was an act-without-thinking-things-through type of heroine, which isn’t especially my favorite.

So, it was fine. I didn’t like it anywhere NEAR as much as her later Geek Girl series, but it was a pleasant enough escape.

Publisher: Carina Press

January 2020 | Rating: 6.5/10

Geek Girl Mysteries

A Geek Girl’s Guide to Murder (2015)

Mia Connors is the IT person for the Horseshoe Falls community. So she’s taken aback when it’s discovered that someone has been sending messages to their residents that are supposedly from her system, and causing problems. To make things worse, their regular security guy is out on leave, and his temporary replacement things there’s something wrong with Mia.

Then there’s her sister, Bree.

Tell me one thing, Mia. Why don’t you ever tell me things? What’s the point in having a twin if we live two separate lives?

I really like that Mia is self-sufficient and also aware of her limitations.

I’m just trying to figure out what’s happening, and body language and eye contact, and all those things most people get a bead on, kind of elude me, so if you could just state your intentions, that would be amazing.

She’s also stubborn and amusing.

Neighborhood Watch signs and fluorescent yellow plastic men holding orange "Children at Play" flags freaked me out. I imagined being cuffed over the hood of my car for doing twenty-seven in a twenty-five while angry mothers beat me for endangering their children. Who was the Neighborhood Watch anyway? Residents? Rental cops? Could they carry guns? Taser me? Organized civilians scared the bejesus out of me. Those sorts of groups were always formed by power-hungry commoners with angry hearts, except Friends of the Library. I stood behind those ladies.

The mystery is fine. Someone is killed. Mia is seen as a potential suspect and wants to prove her innocence. I’m not quite sure how I feel about the solution. I guessed who the culprit was, but the why was… odd.

But my interest in the story was less the mystery than discovering more about Mia, who is a bit of a contradiction in her self-assuredness and watching her weight and the other bits of being a modern woman.

Are you upset because your brother is outside and knows you stayed here last night?"

He snarled. "Aren’t you?"

I made a show of checking my watch. "Nope. It says here this isn’t 1955 anymore, and I’m a grown-ass woman."

Although there were romantic overtones between Mia and Jake, was just as pleased that served mostly just to confuse Mia and was not a major part of the story.

One quibble. Two of the main male characters were Nate and Jake and in my mind I kept confusing them. That’s probably an issue with the way my brain processes things, but the names felt super similar to me so I kept getting them confused.

A fun and enjoyable story.

Publisher: Carina Press

May 2019 | Rating: 7.5/10

A Geek Girl’s Guide to Arsenic (2016)

A Geek Girls Guide to ArsenicThree months ago, Mia Connors was suspected or murder (and internet malfeasance) and proving her innocence led to unfortunate consequences and an interest in the agent who was investigating her.

Now one of her fellow Rennies has died at her feet, and it’s laid suspicion upon her grandmother’s company, so Mia is going to find out who really did it–even if now Federal Marshal Jake Archer is adamantly opposed.

First, a nit to pick.

The medics stopped CPR right after they got here.

I don’t think that’s right. But only because I remembered reading something written by an EMT. So I looked it up.

Criteria for determination of death in the field by EMTs or paramedics in LA County are stipulated by the Los Angeles County EMS Agency. These include absence of respirations, cardiac activity and neurologic reflexes, in addition to one or more of the following conditions: decapitation; massive crush injury; penetrating or blunt injury with evisceration of the heart, lung or brain; decomposition; incineration; blunt traumatic arrests without organized ECG activity or with extrication times exceeding 15 minutes; drowning victims, when it’s reasonably assumed that submersion has been greater than one hour; rigor mortis; or post-mortem lividity. In addition, paramedics may determine death in the field for patients found in asystole whose estimated time from collapse to initiation of CPR by bystanders or EMS exceeds 10 minutes.

(Disposition of the Deceased: How to determine patient status & prevent futile transports)

That is totally a nit. I’m just mentioning it for reference.

Now onto the story. I adore Mia.

I nodded in full acceptance. "Whatever. It’s my circus. They’re my monkeys."

"I don’t understand hipsters and their dull, underenthused lifestyle."

I’d always admired the faeries, unafraid of showing their figures like that. Even if I was a size zero in a training bra, I wouldn’t be caught dead in body paint and a few strategically placed leaves. Inhibitions were the building blocks of my life.

Yes, Mia discovers another dead body, but that’s par for the course for a mystery series, and they note the ridiculous odds of that happening, so I’m ok with that. Yes, Mia gets involved, but the setup of the man dying at their booth and the news report insinuating that her products killed the man gives her a strong reason to discover the murderer even if Jake is opposed.

I really like Mia’s new assistant–probably because I’m Fifi.

"Excellent!" Fifi pulled me into a hug and bounced. "You won’t regret it, I swear. I get a little flighty sometimes, but it’s because I’m so creative, not because I’m not paying attention. I hear everything, and I’m a quick study. I have dual degrees in botany and ecology, and I’m a Juris Doctorate. I’m amazing at research and organization."

I glanced at Nate and stepped out of her embrace. "You’re a lawyer?"

"Oh, no. No. I never took the bar. I don’t practice or anything. I just thought it’d be fun earning the degree, and it was."

I didn’t love how Mia was tied to the murderer–it wasn’t beyond probability, it was just over the top. She had plenty of reason to be looking into the situation–tying it to her was just a bit much.

However, I was super impressed that she got the concussion bits right. "The world shimmied, and I ducked behind a wide oak to vomit." "According to my doctors, a whack on the head like mine could slow me down for weeks."

Mia had shown herself capable of defending herself, and she was smart enough to know she needed to get away, but the concussion kept her from properly defending herself–as would happen in real life.

The mystery was good, even if I didn’t like how Mia was tied into it, and I really love the characters, so I definitely recommend this series.

Publisher: Carina Press

May 2019 | Rating: 8/10

A Geek Girl’s Guide to Justice (2016)

a-geek-girl-s-guide-to-justice-1The third book in the Geek Girl Mysteries finds Mia trying to handle being CIO for her grandmother’s company, co-owner of her favorite game, head of IT for Horseshoe Falls, and organizer of her sister’s baby shower.

Then two problems hit: a friend of her grandmother’s calls out of the blue, and is soon after found dead in the local pond and her grandmother wants to know what happened. Then the mesh Wi-Fi Mia is rolling out to the community has problems, and she’s expected to deal with it.

Along with everything else.

Plus trying to go on a date with Jake, the guy she’s been sort of dating for months.

I really liked this story, and I love Mia.

Why did I do bizarre things? It was as if my body and mouth were sometimes disconnected from my brain.

Even if I’m probably Fifi.

"Breathe, Mia." Fifi pushed onto her feet and headed my way. "What are you most comfortable wearing?"


She traded the pedal pushers in my left hand for a pair of white cuffed and pleated shorts. "Lies."

One of the parts I particularly liked was the day-to-day sexism that Mia dealt with. It’s not that they make an issue of it, it’s just the way things are, like the low-grade background noise any woman in tech has to deal with.

It made it particularly real.

"Why didn’t you come with the right equipment? I told you what I thought had happened when I called."

He smirked. "Most times we follow up on a call like this, the system’s unplugged or in need of a reboot."

Of course he’d assumed I didn’t know what I was talking about. I was a woman. I couldn’t turn it off and back on again without his help.

Although to anyone female working in technology, that final paragraph was unnecessary. We know precisely what’s happening.

I also appreciated that although Nick was one of her best friends and listened to her, even he had the blind-spots guys have.

I scraped away the tiny decals on my pinky nails. "You have no idea how complicated it is to be a woman."

His patronizing face proved my point. "It must be really hard to be so smart, rich and adorable. I’ll bet people mistreat you all the time."

"I’m going to mistreat you in a minute."

The man in front of us coughed to cover a laugh.

It doesn’t make him less kind of less lovable, it’s just the way things are.

I also was fascinated by Mia, and what did and did not pique her interest. For instance, Fifi ends up being one of her best friends, but she has little curiosity as to how she ended up temping and working for her, or about her pretty amazing educational history.

The mystery is fine. As expected, Mia sticks her nose into everything and ends up in danger, which is ridiculous, but I’m willing to let that slide, because it’s such a sweet story, I really adored it.

Publisher: Carina Press

May 2019 | Rating: 8.5/10

A Cider Shop Mystery

Apple Cider Slaying (2019)

Apple Cider SlayingWinona Mae Montgomery was raised by her Granny and Grampy Smythe. Right now she is doing everything she can to help her grandmother save their business: Smythe Orchard, and she has just the plan to do it.

But murder sabotages her attempts to apply for a business loan to open her own cider shop, and when Granny is a suspect in that murder, Winnie decides to take the investigation into her own hands.

I picked this up because it was on sale, and because I really liked her Geek Girl Mysteries (it’s a joy to read) I decided to pick up this book. I start reading, and all of a sudden she says she’s in WV and I’m seeing references to New River Gorge (I’ll take umbrage with her geography, since the New River is not near Winchester VA).

But geography issues aside, I’ll take it, because she did a good job with the feel of a WV town, particularly the sense of community. And the eastern panhandle is definitely full of apple orchards.

OK, I did have another issue, which made the mystery a little confusing, and that is in most of WV, landowners don’t actually own their mineral rights–they only have surface rights. (A legacy of our coal mining heritage, and how we’ve always been screwed by out-of-state companies.) But as this is something an outside would be unlikely to know, and this is a cozy mystery, I’ll let that slide as well.

Why? Because I loved the characters.

And she did casually drop important things.

(T)he baker throws in a bag of pepperoni rolls every ten visits if you complete your punch card.

But mostly the characters. Winnie gets involved for good reasons, and doesn’t do extremely stupid things (although sometimes she makes stupid mistakes, which is normal).

I love how her characters feel real and true, and believe strongly in the things that are important to them.

Having a significant other should make us better versions of ourselves, not worse.

So although it has errors, I’m willing to forgive them since the story was enjoyable.

Publisher: Kensington Books

May 2020 | Rating: 7.5/10