Final Demand by Deborah Moggach

This is a page-turner! Very immediate, contemporary and absorbing.

Natalie works in the accounts department of a telecommunications company. She is young, attractive, bored, and short of money. A colleagues’ chance remark on how easy it would be to tamper with the checks she processes plants the seed of a nefarious idea in her mind. Just one minor detail before she can begin…she needs to change her initials. Natalie is a determined young lady and very thorough in her preparations. The details of her scheme are so very plausible.

But, there’s no such thing as the perfect crime. Or the victimless crime. One small oversight on Natalie’s part causes distress in the lives of others….and sadly, tragedy for one family. Wracked by guilt, the victim’s father makes the Final Demand of Natalie. How does this self-absorbed young woman respond?

Downfall by J.A. Jance

Sheriff Joanna Brady is going through a lot in her life. She just solved the murder of her mother and step-father. Now she has to arrange their funerals while solving a double murder. On top of that, Joanna’s pregnant and her oldest daughter is going off to college.

Two women are found dead at the bottom of the locally known Geronimo peak, about a 400 ft climb. As the investigation kicks off, no connections can be found between the women so who was the target and who was in the wrong place at the wrong time? One is a graduate student and the other is a high school teacher, what possible motive would someone have to kill either one?

This is a great addition to the Brady series, set in beautiful Arizona. Having never read any of the others, I found it very easy to read as a standalone. Any background information I needed was provided. I definitely enjoyed the mystery, I didn’t know who it was until the Sheriff Brady figured it out for me! The storyline does include a controversial subject, teacher-student relationships, but it wasn’t graphic.

Curious Minds by Evanovich and Sutton

This is the first in a new series by Evanovich and Sutton. We are introduced to Riley Moon, a recent graduate from Harvard Business and Harvard Law. She has landed her dream job, an analyst at Blane-Grunwald. Unfortunately her mentor, Gunter Grunwald, has gone missing and his brother is acting very strangely about it. Riley is given a new assignment, meet with a very wealthy client and convince him that he needs to visit the bank to discuss his recently inherited millions. However, Emerson Knight has an entirely different idea about what he needs to do. Emerson suspects that the Grunwalds have done something nefarious. Soon he believes that his gold and the Fed’s gold has been replaced with fakes. Moon and Knight set out on a cross country adventure to solve the mystery of Gunter and the gold.

I have to say that Emerson Knight and his quirky behaviour and persona reminded me of Sherlock Holmes. Emerson is extremely smart, doesn’t rely on anyone, has a menagerie of animals living at his estate, has the most unusual friends, and disregards the rules (and laws) when they aren’t convenient for him. He drags Riley into his illegal schemes in order to solve the mystery. A great, easy read. Already a fan of Evanovich, I will definitely be reading the next book in the series to see what sort of hi jinks Moon and Knight get up to.