Invisible (Ivy Malone Mystery #1) by Lorena McCourtney
I downloaded this book from Amazon because it was offered for free and I thought I’d give it a whirl. If you’ve got a Kindle you’ll know that the Amazon “free” list is a very dangerous place to explore!!
Some of the books are brilliant and you can tell that the author is trying to break into the industry and become a published author because they are pretty good – perhaps need a bit of editorial guidance but basically good authors with great ideas – but others are authors who are frankly delusional and are self-publishing because no publishing house would touch them with a barge-pole.
Fortunately, this book falls into the former category and is a cracking read. It is the story of a LOL (little old lady) by the name of Ivy Malone, and her investigations into one or two things that seem amiss in her neighbourhood. First of all she decides to stakeout the local cemetery because it was being systematically vandalised and she felt the police weren’t taking the matter seriously enough. Whilst on a stakeout Ivy witnesses something a little untoward (in addition to the vandalism) and her friend’s lodger disappears at the same time, prompting Ivy to do a bit more sleuthing and poking about to get to the bottom of it. Unfortunately, Ivy gets more than she bargained for!
The story unfolds quite nicely and has a plausible (just!) ending, although some of the situations Ivy finds herself in do stretch credibility somewhat. I mean, who knows an old lady who would drive halfway across America to speak to someone and then because there were no motel beds available sleeps in an old Thunderbird?? It was a bit slow to begin with but the scene needed to be set with just exactly who Ivy Malone was and what was happening in the town, so I can forgive that. Once it got going, it was paced really well and the ending was a real page turner (or clicker if you’re on a Kindle!)
The character of Ivy Malone herself is a little bit of a mish-mash of Jessica Fletcher, Miss Marple and the little old lady off the Tweety Bird cartoons with a dash of Wonder Woman thrown in, but I found that I liked her. I cared about her getting hurt and being frightened when her house got broken into, and I couldn’t help feeling that a little romance would have been good for her soul. I couldn’t quite put an age on her though. She was described as “old” but acted more youthfully than me! The book is quite Christian in flavour, and there are quite a lot of Bible references and church-going, but I felt that it was more to describe the character of Ivy herself (middle of the road, middle class, morally upstanding etc) than to be an evangelical message to the reader.
The title “Invisible” refers to the fact that Ivy Malone feels that as a lady of a certain age she is largely invisible to other people. She is overlooked in the police station, she is not seen whilst crossing a car park and is hit by a car, younger people just don’t “see” her. She could be invisible for all the world cares, or so she thinks. It’s a trait that she trades on in her investigations and serves her well, sadly.
All in all a really good read and I will be definitely reading the next book in the series. I don’t even mind paying for it!