BRIDGET McKENNA – Murder Beach. Diamond, paperback original; 1st printing, December 1993.

   There’s been a recent wave of new female PI’s in recent months, in case you haven’t noticed. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much to distinguish this first case of PI Caley Burke from the ones most of the others have been having.

   She’s divorced, more or less on firendly terms with her ex-husband, has been apprenticed to an older, male PI before trying to crack a case on her own, has red hair, and she’s personally involved in the case before she’s even hired. This time it’s the grandfather of two close friends from high school days who’s been accused of murder, and the cop on the case is someone Caley had an off-and-on romance with about the same time.

   There’s a tricky balance that exists between competent mystery writing and mediocre, and my only other observation is that Bridget McKenna seems to be walking that line with no problem at all.

— Reprinted from Nothing Accompliced #4, November 1993.

[UPDATE] 04-20-17. There were only three books in the Caley Burke series. I read and reviewed the third one, Caught Dead, back in February; you can read my comments here. I liked it better than I seem to have cared for this one, calling it better than average. Someday I may come across a copy of the second book in the series. I almost never read the books in a series in the proper order.