4 out of 4 stars
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Bad Karma by Debi Chestnut is an engaging murder mystery that follows young, freelance IT professional Zoey Callaway as she attempts to unravel the mystery behind her Uncle Felix's sudden death. After moving into her uncle's house, which Felix left her in his will, Zoey uncovers some files that give insight into the murder cases her uncle was working on around the time he was found dead. She also finds a note that affirms suspicions of foul play. This leads Zoey on a quest to figure out what happened to Felix and to close the case before another girl is murdered.
I give this book 4 out of 4 stars. The story is well-edited with limited errors, and it kept my attention. Even though the suspect list was limited, I wasn't confident I knew who did it until the final pages. Chestnut kept my interest with twists and turns and left me following the potential persons of interest until the end.
My favorite aspect of this story is that Zoey was undeterred in the face of what seemed to be life-threatening danger. She is a strong female lead and was able to support herself and figure out ways to ensure her safety instead of running to find a man to help. After a few scares where it became apparent someone was invading her home, her ingenuity to borrow her neighbor's dog and install a new alarm system likely helped save her life.
Zoey had repeated interactions with her stalker (and ultimately the killer), including multiple home invasions, but she was mostly undeterred. After receiving a text from the stalker following her, Zoey simply says, "It took everything I had not to react - I wouldn't give this creep the satisfaction." For the most part, she was able to control her feelings of fear to continue investigating the case in Felix's memory and was incredibly strong and inspiring in doing so.
While Zoey is a strong lead, it also felt at times like the local police were incompetent to the point that it wasn't believable, which was my least favorite part of the book. Zoey took some steps to dig into the case that any practical person might have done. But as a reader, I struggled to believe that she was the one single-handedly solving the case while numerous individuals from the local police force were assigned to the case too.
I recommend this book to readers who enjoy light murder mysteries that aren't overly scary or gory. The read is fast and easy, making it a good option for young and older readers alike.
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