In this murder mystery, Final Critique by J C Andrew, Kira Logan is spending a week in the serene environment of the Hidden Canyon Art Center to teach open-air painting to a group of art students. On page two, and before Kira has even had an opportunity to set up the easel in her classroom, we find out that one of her students, a young man, Jason, has recently spent time in prison for killing someone while driving drunk. Those in town that are resentful have come together in Kira’s class, unbeknownst to her, to try and enact justice on their own terms. Before long, dangerous accidents start happening.
Andrew is very good at developing characterization in their novels. There are many people introduced into this complex story in a short space of time, and there are some quite complicated relationships between several of them. In spite of that, it’s reasonably easy to keep up with who’s who.
Setting the scene for the novel is one of Andrew’s strong points. She does a fantastic job of describing the setting so that you can really visualize the action. With much of the novel taking place outdoors, this is helpful to keep track of where the characters are moving around and how the accidents are occurring. However, I felt that the foreshadowing was sometimes too direct, giving away some parts of the puzzle too easily. I also felt the dialogue came across as unnatural at times, but this could have been part of the characterization of some of the students.
In terms of figuring out the mystery, Andrew does manage to keep you guessing to the end. However, this fast-paced novel has many plot twists, and readers will need to pay attention, or they may miss a critical clue.
Final Critique: A Kira Logan Mystery is a riveting crime mystery novel that will leave readers looking back and examining the clues the author goes for them. What starts off as a simple art class turns into an action-filled race to find the killer and not become the next victim.
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