Synopsis: Private Investigator Barb Jackson thought she’d seen it all. But when a last minute shopping excursion leads Barb and her best friend Kelly to a dead Santa Clause beneath the shopping mall Christmas tree, she realizes that not everyone in town is filled with holiday cheer. Jilted lovers, angry elves, and a whole slew of harried shoppers stand between Barb and the truth. But this is one blonde who won’t give up that easily! It’s up to Barb and her friends to find the killer and save Christmas before the Santa Claus Killer claims another victim…
My thoughts: Snow had me at “snow swirled” and this native New Yorker and replanted New York Adjacent (Jersey) chica was all in. Toss in cinnamon buns and I was a goner. GONER!
The Blonde Before Christmas is an amusing, captivating and smoothly designed Barb Jackson Mysteries series kickoff. The mystery is so ornately crafted you tend to forget you are reading a holiday short story.
Snow provides off-the-wall, pulsating and spectacularly established characters. Barb Jackson is courageous, exciting and a smart sleuth in an exceedingly saturated, robustly putrid landscape of wannabe sleuths who are stupid…or shall we smooth some fragile egos and say “less than smart?” No, no, cookie cakes, we will not. How come? Because it is what it is and there are way too many stupid female gumshoes trotting around the mystery-verse that need to get whacked if their maker doesn’t have the balls to end the series, regroup and start anew…or just go away. Snow indisputably imbues the mystery genre with fresh plasma and revitalizing oxygen with The Blonde Before Christmas.
Snow provides a glittering Christmas atmosphere, a plot rife with juicy goodness and a brilliantly penned ta-da whodunit reveal. The Blonde Before Christmas is one of the most powerfully written mysteries to come out of the publishing gate in ages. Kudos to Gemma Halliday for signing on a topnotch winner with Snow to represent her Gemma Halliday Publishing kingdom.
The Blonde Before Christmas is THE BEST holiday short story to be published in eons! When it comes to short stories, Snow is right up there with The Lottery by Shirley Jackson and The Monkey’s Paw by W. W. Jacobs. The Blonde Before Christmas exemplifies Snow has the storytelling chops to remain securely nestled alongside those legendary short story titans.
Review first appeared in Long Island Book Reviews Examiner.
Copyright © 2016 by Diane Morasco