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Death of a Jester (A Branigan Powers Mystery #3)

Title:  Death of a Jester (A Branigan Powers Mystery #3)

Author:  Deb Richardson-Moore

Pages:  286

Year:  2018

Publisher:  Lion Fiction

My rating is 3 out of 5 stars.

First off, I want to make clear that I don’t consider a 3-star review as a negative review as some sites categorize.  I consider it to be an average rating.  I would rate this a 3.5-star rating, but most sites don’t allow for half-star ratings.

Branigan Powers has received her assignment to cover a clown sighting, with the clown trying to lure young children into the woods with candy.  The clown has made more than one appearance, but so far has been unsuccessful in his attempts to take a child.  Some think the clowns are a hoax or the people reporting them are making up the story.  Soon, a child does fall prey to a clown and is kidnapped.  He is taken from a homeless family, so what is the clown’s purpose in taking him?  There will be no payment of ransom as the family has no money.  Branigan is on the case and has the help of Malachi, a homeless veteran, to help her.  Malachi lives in the same area as the family who lost the child.  He overhears a conversation that gets him thinking.  He does some investigating on his own, but can he find the culprit?

Meanwhile, Branigan is having to deal with her two cousins returning to town.  They bring baggage in the form of a stalker for one cousin and Branigan’s first serious boyfriend, who ended up marrying her cousin while Branigan was away at college.  Branigan has been gun shy of relationships since and having to see this man again is something she wants to avoid at all cost.  Then, a clown is found murdered, but no sign of the little boy.  Where can he be?  Why was the clown killed?  Who killed him?

I really enjoyed the second book in this series, so I was excited when book three was released.  However, this plot just didn’t work for me.  I didn’t think the theater connection to the homeless crowd and clown sightings worked.  I also didn’t like that Branigan and Chester’s relationship included sleeping together without being married.  There was also a lot of social drinking in this story.  No one was getting drunk, but it stood out to me in this story especially with Malachi’s trouble with alcohol.  I did like delving deeper into Malachi’s history and getting to know him better.  I do applaud the author’s spotlight on the plight of the homeless and giving the myriad of reasons why someone becomes homeless.  I definitely learned some things about people in that situation that I didn’t know before and for that I am grateful to the author.  This book is certainly worth reading, but for me it wasn’t her best.  I will continue to read this series if more books are in the works.
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