Book Review: Optimal Delusions by Amber Fisher

I didn’t actually mean to read this. I was actually looking for another title. However I got distracted (which is normal for me) and started reading this book. And I really enjoyed it.

This is a cosy paranormal mystery set in the small town of Haven’s End in New York State. The heroine, Temperance Swift, finds out that her husband has not been exactly truthful or faithful and has her whole world fall apart. As the character puts it – “I discovered that my husband was a cheating bastard, so I burned our house down. Allegedly.” She makes a plea deal and heads to rehab.

Temperance finds herself on a farm instead of the fancy rehab place that she thought she would be sent to and sharing a farmhouse with Simon (who calls himself Cupid), Penny (a pathological liar and Oracle) and Colette (a completely forgotten goddess). Her arrival coincides with a murder and she is sucked into solving it.

The mystery is really well handled in my opinion. Everything is there in the run up to the solution but nothing is telegraphed. There are some lovely touches in the twists and turns of the story. The murder is solved during the book but there are still questions. Why is Temperance, an apparently ordinary mortal, able to find this Halfway House? I can see lots of little hints hidden around the story, but I can’t work anything out yet – I love it. There are also hints that there could be a budding romance with Simon, aka Cupid, but it isn’t over done and there is no insta- romance, just a tantalising possibility.

The story is told in the first person, but not in the present tense. The dialogue is crisp, the description is good, the characters are well drawn and individual and the plotting, as mentioned, is excellent. I desperately hope that there will be a sequel and I shall look forward to reading it. This is definitely a recommendation.

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