Jack of Hearts

Finally, a cozy mystery series with a male lead character. Jack of Hearts, by Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Christopher Greyson, is a cozy mystery that’s not quite as cozy as usual. This was a quick, easy read with an intriguing mystery, some good laughs, and just a little romance that kept me turning pages on my e-reader late into the night. Jack of Hearts, published August 14, 2017, is the 10th book in this wildly popular series. I will definitely be reading the whole series.
Jack Stratton, a former police officer, and his almost-fiance, Alice, along with Jack’s huge police dog, Lady, have flown to visit his parents in their small Florida retirement community. Expecting a relaxing vacation in the sunshine state, they quickly learn the timing of the visit is perfect for Jack to assist in solving a neighborhood crime spree — and having Lady along is a big plus.
The crime events reveal one more method used to  scam retirees, but not to get their life savings. This one had an administrative employee connected to drug dealers and a small-time thief. The residents have named him The Orange Blossom Cove Bandit.
Along with a compelling story, Greyson introduces important topics such as the reason soldiers seem standoffish. When Jack has a close call he realizes the trauma experienced by soldiers seeing their friends and fellow soldiers die in combat, and reminds them at a deep level how fragile life is. He understands that becoming romantically involved with someone can mean emotional devastation if something happens to that person.
Through his characters, Greyson also touched on public health issues such as Jack’s father’s heart disease and the leathery appearance human skin takes on after too much exposure to the sun. As a public health educator, I find this method of disseminating information in every way possible to be brilliant. Kudos to Greyson for subtly slipping this into his narrative.
I loved this book. Cozy mystery lovers everywhere will love it, too.
What Makes This Book Reviewer Grumpy?
  • Greyson’s comments about retirement communities were a bit off the mark. Not everyone in these communities is elderly; many are active, healthy adults. Jack mentioned old men in bathrobes, and old women in hairnets gathering in front of one home after a break-in. Does anyone other than restaurant kitchen staff wear hairnets?  Also, Jack’s father told him that one never knows whether a neighbor will be exiting his home alive — for today’s active adult communities, that’s a bit of a stretch.
  • Also, the usual split infinitives, and improper word usage, for example:  loan vs. lend.

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