Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"An Axe To Grind" by F.M. Meredith

Who ever thought reading about a decapitated corpse couldn’t be funny hasn’t read, “An Axe To Grind, A Dark Oak Mystery” by F.M. Meredith.

No, it’s not a comedy and the murder isn’t funny. I’m guessing F.M. Meredith didn’t write this to focus on the comic side.

However, author F.M. Meredith has found a way to write a gripping murder mystery while including enough light-hearted moments that the book isn’t dark and ominous. The story centers around the death of Kenneth Buchelo. When his decapitated body is found by the paperboy, detectives of the Rocky Bluff Police Department are called in. As Detectives Doug Mulligan and Frank Marshall begin their investigation, they find Buchelo lived in a fantasy world constantly telling lies about his life. In addition, they discover he’s a stalker.

While working on the case, Detective Mulligan is also trying to work on wedding plans with his fiancée Stacey Wilbur, a Vice Detective. The main obstacle in the plans is Mulligan’s house guest, Officer Gordon Butler.

Herein lies the fun part of this book. The old saying, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I won’t have any luck at all” applies to Officer Butler. The man seems to have the worst luck and it’s never his fault. Some of the situations he gets into, you can’t help but laugh.

There are several minor stories going on in the background at the same time as the investigation, but the author ties them all together nicely. There are no lose ends nor rocky transitions from one case to the murder and back again.

The focus on the murder will keep you on the edge of your seat. There are quite a few prime suspects who have a motive for killing Buchelo including two family members of the girl he was stalking. In addition, there are several other people that make you suspect they might have motive too.

The plot is fast pace with just enough suspense to keep you guessing. The characters are likable and by the end of the book you’re wondering what case the detectives will be working on next.

“An Axe To Grind” is the sixth book in the Rocky Bluff Police Department series. This is a stand alone book that doesn’t have to be read in order. There are references to earlier incidents from the previous books, but the reader isn’t left in the dark if they haven’t read them. The references are just enough to peak your interest to make you want to read the other books.

Author F.M. Meredith has created a great group of officers in the Rocky Bluff P.D. They’ll make you feel safe and secure as they solve their latest murder mystery.

One final note. I don’t know if F.M. Meredith meant to have a humorous side to her story or not. If not, I hope this doesn’t offend her. I haven’t seen the book mentioned as a cozy or light-hearted mystery anywhere.

However, to me the humor is a part of it. It by no means takes away from the murder mystery. To me it enhances the story. Be sure to pick up a copy and read it yourself. See what you think and let me know.

An Axe to Grind, A Dark Oak Mystery * Oak Tree Press * @2010 * ISBN: 978-1-892343-78-9 * Paperback *  178 pages

FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the author in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.


  1. Mason - Thanks for sharing this review : ). I always like it when a murder mystery has a bit of humor to it. It takes skill to integrate humor into a dark story, and when authors can do that, I think that's great.

  2. Oh how I love mysteries. This totally jumped out at me as it's my favorite thing about a mystery. "The plot is fast pace with just enough suspense to keep you guessing." I also love humor- big time. Putting the two together well-I'll stay home from work.

    You are the best at reviewing books!!

  3. I like the idea of bringing some humor to murder mystery. In the right dose and vein, what a great stamp to put on the genre. Kudos to the author!

  4. Thanks for the terrific review, Mason. I've had the pleasure of meeting the author, at the PSWA (Public Safety Writers Association) conference last June in Las Vegas. F.M. Meredith is one of the hardest working authors I've ever met. She is truly an inspiration to all authors.
    An Axe to Grind sounds simply marvelous!

  5. Great review - and the book does sound good. You're really good at this, Mason.

  6. Your review has peaked my interest in this book. Adding it to my growing list of books I want to read.

    I love reading mysteries that combine humor...makes for a good read.

  7. This was a great review, thank you! I love writing about Gordon Butler. I've heard about real Gordon Butlers on police departments and thought he'd be a fun character to include in my Rocky Bluff P.D. mysteries.

    Again, thank you. I loved this review.


  8. I like the idea of having humor to bring down the tension just enough so the author can rev it back up.

    Loved the review.

    Straight From Hel

  9. I haven't heard of this series, until now, but it sounds like fun. Thanks for introducing me to it!

  10. Thanks for the fabulous review of Marilyn's latest Rocky Bluff P.D. book. Gordon Butler is fast becoming my favorite character.

    I started this series three books ago, and picked up the previous installments this year so that I can learn more about these characters.

    I'm glad you enjoyed An Axe to Grind.

  11. Margot, I agree it takes skill to combine humor and murder in a book and make it work.

    Teresa, thanks. This is a fast-pace book. It was hard to put down, just one more paragraph or just one more page and 30 minutes later I'd still be reading.

    Joanne, the humor does help keep the murder from being so dark.

    Kathleen, I can see where she would be an inspiration to others.

    Karen, thanks for the kind words. It is a great book.

    Dru, I think you'll enjoy this book. There's just enough humor to make everything real.

    Marilyn, thank you so much. I'm touched that you like the review. Gordon Butler does add his own personal charm to this book.

    Helen, you are so right. It does help rev the plot from one situation to another and back.

    Janel, I think you'll enjoy this series. I'm looking forward to reading the rest.

    Cheryl, I can see why Gordon is a favorite character. He's great. Thanks for this opportunity.

  12. I'm glad I've found your blog. This book sounds terrific and I'll watch for your updates on Facebook!

  13. I prefer cozy mysteries and this sounds like one I might like--I am working on writing one that has some of these elements--not sure if I can manage the humor though. Wish I could--it's not really my forte--maybe I should study this to see how it's done. Sounds fun.

  14. Thanks folks, I've certainly enjoyed all your comments.

    Marilyn a.k.a. F.M. Meredith


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