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Book Review: Running on Empty by Sandra Balzo

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Summary: The first in a new series by the author of the ‘Maggy Thorsen’ mysteries  – Life on Sutherton’s Main Street has always been inexplicably hazardous. Like the student who bet he could paddle a beer-filled ice chest across the lake. And lost. Not to mention the occasional tourist who wandered into the mountains, never to wander back out. But the day Daisy Griggs siphoned three pints of blood from poor Mrs Bradenham seemed to set a new standard. Now more and more people are dying and unless Daisy’s daughter can figure out why, her mother may be next.

My Thoughts: We start the story with AnnaLise, who is a reporter, getting a phone call that her mother has drained Mrs Bradenham of blood (only 3 or 4 pints). She rushes back home to find her mother having spells where she goes back to her youth and forgets the present. During this time people begin to show up dead and it’s not drunk tourists, it’s the locals. This is when the book started to pick up for me. Trying to figure out what three seemingly random people have to do with each other and why someone would want them dead. I liked the characters in this small tourist town, many had their own eccentric traits that made them enjoyable to read about. The setting of the small town made all the gossipy, everyone knows whats going on right after it happens believable in a way a big city would not have. The fact that AnnaLise is a reporter explains her need to be in the middle of everything and dig up things that may have been better left hidden.

Overall: My original concern that this was a chick lit book was put to rest once the story started going forward. It was easy to get caught up in the goings on of this small southern tourist town. This was the first time I had read one of Ms Balzo’s books and I look forward to reading more.


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