Book Review: Framed and Burning, a Cozy Mystery by Lisa Brunette

The Bottom Line: This cozy mystery about a family of psychically gifted amateur sleuths possesses enough magic to keep you hooked from the first page until the last.

When Amazing Grace and her granddaughter travel to Miami for a family visit, they quickly learn that crime never takes a vacatframed-and-burningion. In this second installment of Lisa Brunette’s Dreamslippers series, Grace’s younger brother, Mick, becomes the prime suspect in the fiery death of a fellow artist.

Brunette has cleverly differentiated the dreamslippers from all other amateur sleuths in the genre. Their superpower, if you can call it that, is that they can “slip” into other people’s dreams. Their gift is hereditary, although it seems that in the case of Grace’s daughter, it skipped a generation. Like any good psychic ability, dreamslipping is a difficult power to wield, and even more difficult to control. Maybe that’s why Grace’s rule #1 is not to enter the dreams of fellow dreamslippers. But thankfully, that rule is quickly broken in Framed and Burning, an act that creates the book’s primary tension.

As you might have guessed, dreamslipping can be illuminating, but it’s also fairly unreliable as a source of evidence, and this forces the McCormicks to gumshoe the old fashioned way. The star of the book is undoubtedly Grace, who might be the mystery genre’s first 78-year-old cougar. She’s sharp, witty, tough and also embodied with mojo that draws men to her.

Fans of Denise Grover Swank will find plenty to like here, although Brunette delivers a far more playful read. Will Grace’s younger sib go to the slammer for Donnie’s death? Will she embrace romance there in sunny Florida? Read Framed and Burning to find out.

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Bella Wright

Bella Wright blogs about books, film and media.

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