Book Review: Eighty-Eight Keys by Catherine Lavender

eighteightkets_10032012_oneTitle: Eighty-Eight Keys

Author: Catherine Lavender

Genre: Romance/Suspense

Rating: 4 stars

Leah is a young woman who is trying to break free from a strict religious background and pursue her dream as a pianist in the world of show business. While trying to find her independence her heart is held captive by Jason Rowe a local basketball star who established an organization to help troubled youth. When Jason is found murdered in his home, Leah is determined to get answers from a closed investigation. During her state of emotional turmoil, Leah finds comfort not only in the melody of her music, but in the arms of a married man named Calvin. With her dreams at her fingertips, Leah is tangled in a web of lies and deceit. Despite the fear of learning the truth, Leah has to realize that only the truth can set her free.

A dead lover, with a trail of broken hearts…
A married man, with a double-life…
A dream chaser, with a killer at her heels…
A piano, with eighty-eight keys…

As a lifelong mystery lover, I’m always in the mood for some romantic suspense, so I was eager to start reading Eighty-Eight Keys. The book definitely doesn’t disappoint, both in the romance and the suspense department.

Main character Leah is struggling to cope with Jason’s death. She loved him with all her heart. Now he’s gone, and his murderer still hasn’t been found. But Leah’s life is a tad more complicated than that, as was Jason’s. Jason had to stay with Rosa, a woman he didn’t love, but the mother of his child. If he ran away from her, Rosa would take his son and run. So he was tied to the woman, and unable to be with Leah. This broke Leah’s heart, but now she’s finally realized that she has to pick up the pieces and move on. She meets Calvin and starts dating him, oblivious to the fact that he’s married. When she finds out, she has to make a choice: will she continue dating him, going against everything her parents every taught her, or will she move on and work on herself first? It’s always been her dream to play the piano, and now is the ultimate moment to make that happen. But with Jason’s killer on the loose, more urgent matters might need her attention, especially when she gets attacked herself…

This book was a lot more complicated than it let on, and I liked it. The character dynamics were interesting as well. I liked Leah, although she’d never be my favorite heroine. She seemed like a normal person struggling with several issues. I also liked most of the secondary characters, especially Quincy and Leah’s upstairs neighbor, Ms. Jacobi. I didn’t like Calvin though. He’s a giant toad, and that’s putting it nicely. Especially toward the end I wanted to kick him down the stairs or something. He has no dignity or respect for others, and I kept on wishing Marla would just dump him and get it over with. He’s the kind of person who can never make up his mind. Gah. I hated him.

It took me a while to find out who was behind the murders, and it was a pleasant surprise. Usually I’m quite good at catching the culprit early on, but it was a well-hidden secret here. The pacing was rather slow, but it suited the genre. Murder mysteries don’t have to be fast-paced or thrilling like well, thrillers. I like it when they take their time to get to the solution. I liked the plot, the settings, and the writing itself, although I wasn’t impressed with the editing. There were a lot of run-on sentences, awkward phrasing, and even grammar issues that distracted me from reading.

I received a review copy from Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

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