Blind Fish Don’t Talk (Julia Fairchild #1), by PJ Peterson

Eight stars

While I do enjoying thinking while I read, there are time when a cozy mystery works well to relax a busy brain. I was given an ARC for the latest PJ Peterson novel in the Julia Fairchild series, but thought it best to start at the beginning for some context. Peterson presents a great tale of a young doctor on vacation in the Caribbean who stumbles upon a dead scuba diver. While many are sure it was an accident, Dr. Julia Fairchild is not entirely convinced and works for most of her vacation investigating it, repeatedly putting herself in harm’s way. A quick read and highly entertaining, I will certainly be devouring the rest of the series in short order.

Dr. Julia Fairchild has her heart set on a romantic getaway with her new boyfriend, the elusive Tony. His delayed arrival leaves Julia to spend some time in the Caribbean alone. While she hopes to lap up the waves and work on her tan, things go awry from the start when the woman set to collect her at the airport does not show. Still, there’s nothing that will ruin this getaway and Julia hopes to get things going as soon as she settles in.

Tasked with meeting one of Tony’s friends to deliver a package, Julia tries to locate Linda Townsend. No one has seen her and she’s not answering her calls. Only slightly worried, as it was Linda who was to collect her at the airport, Julia continues looking. It’s only when she and a newfound friend go scuba diving that they locate Linda’s body. What looks to have been a faulty air tank does not sit right with the fair doctor and Julia continues her sleuthing. Nothing seems to make sense and yet no one else wants to really push for answers.

While she does balance her time investigating with some sun, Julia refuses to give up on the investigation. As Tony is repeatedly delayed, Julia finds herself seeking answers and receives unknown threats in the form of corny poems left on her rental car. Linda Townsend seems innocent on the surface, but Dr. Julia Fairchild is sure there is more to the story. While the threats increase, so does Julia’s determination to find answers, even if it costs her everything. A great debut to this series by PJ Peterson!

While some would say I have eclectic tastes when it comes to books, one things remains constant; the writing must pull me in. I found myself captivated with the story PJ Peterson told from the opening chapter, liking the lighter fare she had to offer. The details were constant and the plot development never lagged. I got just what I was expecting, as well as more when I could not stop turning pages well into the night. I am eager to see what the coming books will offer, with the author having sent me an ARC of her latest in the series.

Dr. Julia Fairchild works well as a protagonist. Her passion for answers parallels her medical career, though she is not one to forget having a little fun. While her backstory is minimal, save a little discussion about meeting Tony, I can hope that this will be addressed more in the coming novels. Julia’s character develops well throughout the piece, as she mingles with many of the men on the island, even allowing herself a little scandal here and there. I am eager to see how the character evolves throughout the series and will forge onwards.

It’s the sign of a great read when I can devour a book in just over a day (darn that my life and work get in the way!). PJ Peterson offers up just what she promises, a cozy mystery with all the intrigue of a great winter or beach read. The narrative flows well and gains speed when needed, offering the reader some momentum as they progress. The plot has a few twists and works well as it comes to a climax. Strong characters and well-described settings help make this a novel with just enough depth, while not trying to reach for heights it cannot promise. If I can make it through the rest of the series with the same ease, I will have the mental relief I seek from a busy week ahead.

Kudos, Madam Peterson, for a great series debut. I cannot wait to tackle more and see what Dr. Julia Fairchild finds as she continues her amateur sleuthing.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: