Saturday, April 8, 2023

Smoke and Mirrors - Keeper Shelf Review

 Goodreads:  Smoke and Mirrors by Barbara Michaels

Rating: Really Liked It! (4.5 Stars)
Source:   Purchased

Description:  Joining the campaign of a charismatic congresswoman, young Erin Hartsock arrives in Washinton, D.C., filled with idealism and ambition. But her enthusiasm dissolves into terror when the campaign takes a malevolent turn. Someone...something...has begun threatening Erin and her colleagues. First come the strange fires, then a seemingly accidental death. As the election nears, Erin fears that she just may be a murderer's next candidate.

Genre:  Mystery

Why I Picked This Book:  I like to reread my Keeper shelf books periodically to make sure they still deserve their place on the shelf.

My Impression:  It's been awhile since I read this one and I worried that it would be too dated.  The setting is a campaign for a highly contested Senate race with a newcomer against a well known incumbent.  At the beginning of the book Erin is meek and mild and completely uninterested in politics.  

As the book progresses not only does the campaign intensify but Erin begins to gain confidence in herself and look at what she really wants.  I loved the chaotic decidedly unglamorous world of politics and got a giggle or two out of Erin's day to day life juxtaposed with her former roommate Fran's expectations of intrigue and glamour.

But it isn't just the fascinating world of campaign life that keeps this book going.  A series of small fires and unnerving letters have everyone a bit on edge and when coincidence becomes a bit too much to ignore Erin and her friend Nick begin to investigate to find out just what is going on.  The way it all unravels is unexpected and interesting and definitely kept me hooked.  While there are no cell phones or social media this didn't feel in anyway dated.  As well, even though the book involves a political campaign it isn't so much about political beliefs.  Overall, it was a suspenseful read with a fast pace and an entertaining collection of characters.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  Michaels is one of my favorite authors and this book has re-earned its place on my Keeper Shelf.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you like a suspenseful read with strong character growth this is an entertaining read.


  1. I never thought about a keeper shelf! I do have bookos I can't get rid of but they are all over the house in different bookcases or in the closet. Brillant idea.

  2. MIchaels is one of my favorite authors. And it's been so long since I read this one I barely remember it. I need to go grab my copy of it off my shelf and reread it. :D

  3. This sounds really good and if I were ever to read a book by this author I think this is the one I'd choose. Glad it stood the test of time and remains on your Keeper shelf.

  4. I've been wanting to try this author. It looks good.