Twenty Eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank.

UnknownBook One in the Rose Gardner Mysteries.

ebook, 395 pages

Published June 30th 2011 by Denise Grover Swank

Rose Gardner sticks out like a sore thumb in her small Southern town. Her mother tells her that she is demon possessed because she has visions, and doesn’t seem to love her a whole lot. Rather, she just bosses her around and forces her strict religious views upon her. Rose’s visions are always pointless and beyond her control. Like the neighbours dog getting loose, or the fact that a stranger’s daughter is sneaking out at night to see her boyfriend. What’s more, Rose cannot help but blurt out the contents of her visions once she’s had one – everyone in town thinks that she is weird.

One day while working at the DMV, Rose has a new sort of vision when encountering a strange customer. She sees herself on her couch – dead. Freaked out, she promptly faints. The next day at home, she snaps and has a very public fight with her mother before going for a long afternoon out at the library. Inspired by her sudden courage in standing up to Momma (not to mention the possibility of her death happening sooner rather than later), Rose writes out a list of twenty eight things that she wants to do – she’s twenty four years old and has hardly done any living, after all! When she finally returns home, she is shocked to find Momma lying on the couch, dead. And now Rose is the police’s main suspect.

Her next door neighbour, Joe, is also a bit of an outcast. He’s new to the town, with no deep family roots, which makes him an outcast. He and Rose only speak for the first time on the night that she discovers her mother’s body. But afterwards, he keeps hanging around – he puts a deadlock on her door among other things – and even offers to help Rose with her list. But the attraction between them is growing, and for some reason Joe insists that they can’t do anything about it – yet. Why is he acting so strange? Plus, Momma’s killer is still out there, and Rose keeps finding herself deeper in trouble – it’s only a matter of time before the police arrest her, or someone murders her.

I really enjoyed this book, probably for the same reason I enjoyed all the Sookie Stackhouse books – there’s a good Southern atmosphere. Also, I really like humorous mysteries – a year or so ago I went on a real bender with them. I must have bought the first book to about eight series, but I still haven’t read them all!

Rose is great – you can’t help but like her. She’s twenty four and, in a lot of ways, still a child. She’s just beginning to break out and become her own woman. It doesn’t look good for her innocence – being a prime murder suspect and suddenly changing everything about herself – and that’s partly the reason that she keeps getting in more trouble.

The romance aspect was really good to begin with and then cooled off a little bit for me. But there were other aspects to consider by that point, so that’s fine. The mystery was good, I think. Because it wasn’t too much in focus all the time, I wasn’t actively trying to figure it all out, hence when it came together I hadn’t already guessed it all. Some of it was perhaps a bit obvious, but there you go.

All in all, I quite liked this one. If you enjoy humorous mysteries, books set in the South, and the new adult genre, then you’ll probably like it too.

My rating: 3.5/5

Goodreads rating: 4.02/5

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