Nine Lives: A Lily Dale Mystery by Wendy Corsi Staub
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Description: After the death of her husband, Bella Jordan and her son need a fresh start. But on their way to visit family in Chicago they stop in Lily Dale, New York and a storm forces them to spend the night.
Brimming with psychics and mediums, Lily Dale is just the kind of quirky little town Bella's husband always talked about settling down in. So, when the local hotel's owner, Leona, passes away, Bella agrees to step in and help temporarily. The longer she and Max stay there, the more Lily Dale starts to feel like home.
But for Bella, finding a home means finding danger, too. Leona was murdered, and it's up to Bella to track down the killer before her sanctuary comes crashing down. (from Goodreads)
Why I Picked This Book: I was intrigued by the Lily Dale connection and this is an author I've been wanting to read.
My Impression: One of the interesting things about being a reader is that I seem to pick up bits and pieces on information on a wide range of subjects. Lily Dale is one of those bits and pieces. Before this book I knew quite a bit about it - or at least about it during its early days - but I have no idea where I picked up any of it. It was fun to see this community come to life through Bella's eyes.
I also enjoyed getting to know Bella, Max, and Chance the Cat. They were likable characters (especially Chance the Cat) and my heart broke for all Max had lost and I could feel Bella's exhaustion seeping through the pages.
This isn't one of those books where the mystery shows up right away but pretty much as soon as Bella lands in Lily Dale it's obvious that something's up. Chance the Cat seems to be able to walk through walls, stuff is disturbed that shouldn't be, and it becomes obvious that things aren't as they appear with Leona's death. This isn't so much an active investigation as an unraveling and Bella realizing that something is really wrong with some help from friends, Odelia and Luther.
It took me a little while to really get pulled into the story but once Bella and Max land in Lily Dale I became more involved. The book is written in present tense (she goes to her car, he runs through the foyer, etc) which is definitely not my favorite and it took me a little longer to be pulled into the story as a result. There were a few times I wanted to reach into the book and shake Bella. I got why she was moving to Chicago but there are a few opportunities offered to her during the course of the book and I wanted her to at least try to make the most of them since living with her mother-in-law sounded so miserable.
I really enjoyed the setting and getting to know the characters. I'm curious to see where the series goes from here.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: I would. I liked the characters she introduced and I enjoyed this book.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Yes, this was an interesting setting with interesting characters and made for an overall enjoyable read.