Aug 15, 2009

Book Review: Sweet Mary, a Novel by Liz Balmaseda

"Sweet Mary shimmers with authentic Florida heat," says author Carl Hiaasen, right on the glossy front cover of the book. This arrived in the mail and is a new novel I'm looking forward to reading.

The plot revolves around a case of mistaken identity. In this case, a woman with a long name, Dulce Maria "Mary" Guevara, is accused of being a "cocaine queen" and sets out to clear her name by going after the real culprit. This begins a set of adventures in Florida!

The author, Liz Balmaseda, is a Cuban-American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who works for The Palm Beach Post. She knows Florida and her territory. Sweet Mary is her first novel.

Update:I've finished the book, a fairly quick read. I found the plot pretty predictable and the book a "routine" mystery. There are no twists or turns in the story line, no violence per se, and no elaborate endings. A nice mystery that's definitely not a thriller as initial descriptions may have suggested.

Enjoyable, especially for the portrayal of a divorced mother trying to clear her name so she can take care of her son Max while avoiding any new conflicts with her ex-husband Tony and his new wife. Tony tried to get sole custody of Max while Sweet Mary was in jail and even after charges against her as the "cocaine queen" were dropped.

An answer to a plot query from Michael re the plot: Mary set out to prove her innocence so she could regain joint custody of Max and avoid a drawn out custody battle with said ex! A lot of people will find her quite a sympathetic character. Great mom! I do recommend this for a nice summer read!

(Book received from the publisher for my objective review.)

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  1. I have this one too; it does look good.

  2. Harvee, thanks for another good review.

  3. This one is in my TBR also. Sounds interesting.

  4. Diane, Brknhrt, other bloggers:

    Would love to link to your reviews of Sweet Mary when you have them up! Let me know!

    Staci, Tea: thanks for commenting!

  5. Hi Harvee, so are you saying that she avoided conflict with her ex, or only tried to? If she didn't have any run-ins with her ex, that seems like a good source of conflict squandered.

  6. Michael: she had conflict of course. The guy tried to take away the son even after charges against Mary as the "cocaine queen" were dropped. Sweet Mary went along with the program till she could prove her innocence, and thus avoided a long drawn out court battle with said ex! I guess I should have included this in my review! I think I will! Thanks for the suggestion!

  7. Thanks for the extra details, Harvee. When I first read it, I wasn't sure if you were implying that the author was missing out on juicy conflict. But there's definitely plenty of conflict between them - and sounds like there will be a chance for Sweet Mary to get sweet revenge.

  8. Thanks for the review, Harvee, BUT

    I found the plot pretty predictable and the book a "routine" mystery.

    With so little time and so many "A" and "A+" mysteries around, I'll pass on this one.

  9. Charlie: It's a novel that might appeal more to women, I tnink! So I can understand your decision! All depends if you'd enjoy a more complex plot or a mystery with more women's issues!

  10. I'm glad to see someone liked it. This one was just not for me.


I love getting comments and your thoughts...