Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!

Review: The Big Brush-off by Michael Murphy

Title:   The Big Brush-off by Michael Murphy, A Jake and Laura MysteryThe Big Brush Off

Author: Michael Murphy

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Alibi

Pages: 157

Date of Publication: February 9th, 2016

Rating: 5/5

My Review:

The brilliant writing continues by this highly talented mystery writer! This author has a witty, era appropriate writing style which draws the reader into the time and scenarios, making you feel as though you are there witnessing and partaking in events. There are references to people and events from that time (though not as many as in earlier novels) and it all blends superbly to make this a fantastic murder mystery that keeps you guessing.

In this story, Jake and Laura are married and Laura is proving to be highly successful in Hollywood films whilst Jake’s writing has deteriorated to the point that his publisher is giving him a last chance to produce a new novel worthy of his talent. At the same time, he is reminded of his last case as a Pinkerton Detective, the murder of a teenage girl that remains unsolved. The victim’s mother is terminally ill and hopes Jake will resume his investigations and discover the perpetrator before she dies. When the couple stay in the small town where the murder happened to attend the memorial service in her honour they are greeted with very mixed reactions as many people seem reluctant to discuss the past and discover the murderer in their midst.

The novel has all the angst and turmoil, twists and turns, red herrings, danger and adversity packed into an enthralling, intriguing investigation. As the couple work independently and together, there are other issues, too as their relationship and work both impact on events. With a convoluted, well developed plot and great characters, it is a tumultuous, astounding story which I have no hesitation in highly recommending, a must for anyone who enjoys murder mysteries and thrillers!

Thanks to the author, publishers and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC of this book in exchange for this, an honest review.


The irresistible Jake & Laura return in Michael Murphy’s witty, fast-paced mystery series—perfect for readers of Dorothy Cannell and Christopher Fowler. In The Big Brush-off, the charming and indomitable duo heads to the Midwest to solve a chilling cold case of a young girl’s murder.

Blackie Doyle is dying. That’s what Jake Donovan’s literary agent tells him. Sales are falling, and the rough draft of Jake’s latest Blackie novel doesn’t look promising. Maybe Jake has been distracted by a recent barrage of real-life homicides, or by his marriage to the beautiful up-and-coming actress Laura Wilson, now slated for a part opposite Clark Gable himself. Whatever the reason, Jake decides to return to his roots. Which is why he and Laura hop the next train to the small town in Pennsylvania where Jake once worked as a Pinkerton detective.

Ten years ago, the murder of a teenage girl interrupted life in quiet, God-fearing Hanover. The unsolved case has always gnawed at Jake, and it seems no coincidence that as soon as he starts digging up old ghosts, he’s once again writing like a dervish. Nor is it surprising that some townfolk would rather see the truth stay buried—and maybe even Jake and Laura with it. But the glamorous crime-solving pair refuse to leave before sorting through a bevy of suspects—and at long last nailing the one who almost got away with the not-so-perfect crime.

This book is available from a variety of sources including

amazon.co.uk           amazon.com          barnes and noble

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