cover image Antiques Chop: A Trash ’n’ Treasures Mystery

Antiques Chop: A Trash ’n’ Treasures Mystery

Barbara Allan. Kensington, $24 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7582-6362-9

In Allan’s cozy seventh Trash ’n’ Treasures mystery (after 2012’s Antiques Disposal), antique-selling mother-and-daughter team Vivian and Brandy Bourne seek fame as the stars of a reality TV show set in an old Serenity, Iowa, house, which was the site of an unsolved axe murder when Vivian was a child. When Brandy’s son, Jake, finds the show’s producer dead in what looks like a copycat axe murder, Brandy and Vivian investigate on the sly. The characters, both primary and secondary, shine with brassy humor, and series fans will applaud Vivian’s reach toward TV fame. But the use of metafictional editorial asides, such as instructions to characters to stop arguing, fall into the realm of silly gimmick while highlighting the fact that the narrative could indeed do without some of the weaker jokes and asides. Allan is the pseudonym of Barbara and Max Allan Collins. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary Agency. (May)