Fields Where They Lay is a Junior Bender Mystery (#6). The main character, Bender, is a thief turned investigator, which gives the story a different twist. This time he's been hired (actually forced) to work for a member of the Russian mob. This person is part owner of a shopping mall that has had a sharp rise in the amount of shoplifting it is experiencing. Bender is supposed to figure out what is going on but not tell anyone what he is doing.
The mall is on its last leg. Many shops are closed and the rest are doing poorly. During his investigation, one of the shopkeepers, a dear sweet older lady, is murdered. Bender resolves to find the killer -- whether he finds the shoplifters or not.
The investigation is interesting and takes some unusual turns. All is not what it seems, which is great. The people who Bender rely on for assistance, while maybe a bit shady, are full of personality. Bender has issues going on in his personal life that also add a bit of tension.
During the investigation, Bender relies on the mall Santa, who is Jewish, to help him understand more about the working environment. Santa ends up telling his own Christmas story from World War II. While I liked this story, I really disliked how it pulled the reader out of the main storyline. I found it very disruptive and unnecessary.
Fields Where They Lay is appropriate for mystery fans of all ages, including teens. The ending is surprising and satisfying. It also is a great setup for Bender's next mystery. I'll be on the look out for it.
Published by Soho Crime, October 25, 2016
eARC obtained from NetGalley
Back to Annette's Book Spot Homepage Copyright © 2016 Annette's Book Spot. All Rights Reserved