Despite appearances, February Fever is not the second book in Jess Lourey’s “Murder by Month” series, but the tenth. Lourey perversely started this series in May, and now has finally rolled around to February. And despite its obvious teen appeal, this is the first time this blog has gotten around to reviewing a book in the series, which started back in 2006. So if you’ve got teens dying for their next cozy mystery series, this is a great one to offer, since there are already ten books for teens to sink their teeth into.
LOUREY, Jess. February Fever: A Murder-By-Month Mystery. 252p. Midnight Ink. Feb. 2015. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9780738742144.
Private Eye-in-Training Mira James is headed west from her tiny hometown in Minnesota ostensibly to attend the Private Investigator’s Conference in Portland, but mostly to see her boyfriend Johnny who has recently moved there. Mira is not enchanted by the fact that her octogenarian sex-crazed sidekick Mrs. Berns has booked them for “the Valentine Train—a vehicle that encourages singles to “meet and mingle”—but is pushed into going and is joined by her good friend, the ever-cheerful, pot-smoking Jed. The “Valentine Train” answers Mrs. Bern’s desires, but the trip increases Mira’s anxiety. It is late February and a murder has occurred each month for the past nine months. Her newly found skills as a P.I. are indeed put to the test as a young woman, accompanied by her husband and child, is murdered in the room next to hers. Another P.I. and a reality TV show detective onboard join Mira in the search for the killer. Snow-trapped in a train stuck in the Rockies, there are many suspects to consider. Mira must determine who can be trusted and who is adding to the many deadly twists and turns this case takes on. Readers will love the protagonist and the earthy, witty, and quirky partners upon whom she relies. While teens do not need to read the previous nine mysteries, getting Mira’s full story would add depth to this one. VERDICT Fans of cozy mysteries will enjoy this young, sassy detective and her motley crew.—Connie Williams, Petaluma High School, CA