Cover Image: The Body From The Past

The Body From The Past

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Member Reviews

This is book five of the Jazzi Zanders series. Jazzi has promised her handsome husband, Ansel, that she won’t become involved in any more murder investigations. That all changes when Jazzi, Jerrod and Ansel are doing a walk through of their most current flip purchase. They discover a teenage girl's bedroom that clearly hasn't been touched in years. Dust covers the pink canopy bed, clothes still hang in the closet, and a hope chest remains full of journals and memorabilia. They've stumbled on a shrine to a dead girl.

They learn Jessica was killed in the middle of her high school graduation party. The murderer was never identified, but the brother-in-law of Jazzi’s friend, who went to school with Jessica, was suspected and never lived it down. He implores Jazzi to review the cold case and finally prove him innocent.

I love this series and this was another hit!!
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Jazzy, Ansel and Jerod are still flipping quality houses. Their newest presents a mystery as they are working on it . A cold case murder of a young girl and Jazzy just can't let it go. She feels compelled to see if she can catch what the detectives on the case missed.
  With the support of her friends and those of the dead girl, she comes across information the detectives hadn't been able to, but unfortunately, there are more deaths from the killer desperate to keep his secret.
  The information she's able to provide to the police now working the case helps them close it.
  This mystery has romance, humor and family, good strong values in some, dysfunction in others as well as strong friendships.
   I requested and received a NetGalley ARC to peruse and offer my opinion just as freely.
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Unlike most in the series this one spends a lot of time in the rehab and home. Not much going on with relationships. Go to rehab, work, eat, work, home, eat, work on the basement with a little investigating in between. Moved slowly and the new characters didn’t have dimension
Thank you netgalley and the publisher for this arc
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The Body from the Past by Judi Lynn
Book #5: Jazzi Zanders Mystery Series
Source: NetGalley and Lyrical Underground
Rating: 4/5 stars

Jazzi Zanders has promised everyone, including her sweet husband that she will absolutely, positively stop getting involved in solving murders!  With nothing but good intentions, Jazzi, Ansel, and Jerod make their way towards their latest project, a wonderful English cottagesque home they are flipping for resale.  Though the work is going to be intense and difficult, at least this time, Jazzi hasn’t run across a dead body somewhere in the house.  

Unfortunately, Jazzi doesn’t have to literally trip over a dead body to become involved in a case.  When she and Ansel’s good friends call to ask about the new house they’re working on, they also reveal a chilling story that has haunted the small town for years!  Though Ansel doesn’t want Jazzi to become involved, he is also kind and caring and finds it hard to refuse helping their friends. According to their friends, on the night of their graduation party, a young girl, Jessica fell to her death from the second-floor balcony of her own home.  While the town gossips have been vicious in their tongue-wagging, the police have never been able to close the case.  

With the case having been cold for so many years and out of her detective friend’s jurisdiction, Jazzi isn’t sure what she’s going to be able to discover that the police haven’t.  Like Ansel, Jazzi is kind and wants to see her friend’s suffering end.  With the help of the young girl’s diaries, Jazzi is able to piece together the story of a bright, outgoing young girl who was constantly hounded and belittled by her father.  Her brother was seemingly quite protective of her and her mother often tried to defend her daughter, but Jessica’s home life wasn’t great, and she was looking forward to leaving home after graduation.  

Each diary entry gives Jazzi more insight and the name of another person she needs to speak with.  Thankfully, Jessica had a core group of friends loyal to her and willing to do anything to help bring justice to their friend.  Jessica’s friends help Jazzi understand more about Jessica’s life and, most importantly, the night their friend plunged to her death.  As always, not every encounter is pleasant and Jazzi quickly discovers a few truly horrible humans who care nothing for the loss of Jessica or what her loss has done to others.  Marking suspects off the list is proving harder than expected considering the coldness of the case.  That is, until fresh bodies start dropping!

The Bottom Line:  I didn’t quite love this Jazzi book as much as the previous four, BUT I did very much appreciate the novel approach taken in this book.  It isn’t often that Jazzi doesn’t have a fresh body and crime scene to deal with and while I liked the novelty of it this time, I sure hope it doesn’t become a standard part of this series.  With that bit out of the way, I was, once again happy with the other aspects of this book.  Jazzi and Ansel’s circle is widening with every book and it really does enhance to spirit of friendship and community that has been a part of the entire series.  Of course, there is also loads of good food, dialogue, and evolution among all the characters, old and new alike.  I find these books to be solid, well-crafted reads that are populated with people I like to revisit regularly.  For my money, that’s exactly the kind of book I want to continue reading.
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Much to Jazzi’s relief, this mystery doesn’t revolve around a found body. Instead, it’s about a locked room they find in a house they’re flipping. The house is in Merlot, a different one than they usually work in, so they don’t know the previous owners and history. They open the room and discover the untouched bedroom of a teenaged girl from years before. They contact the owners from that time but they don’t want any of it because their daughter, Jessica, died tragically after falling from the balcony during her valedictorian party. Whoever pushed her was never caught, and her mother couldn’t stay in a town where she may be looking a murderer in the face without knowing.

Jazzi takes Jessica’s trunk and diaries to read out of curiosity. Then her friend Leesa and her husband ask her to investigate because his brother was blamed as a suspect (he was in the kitchen with someone else so he had an alibi, but the small town gossip was so bad that he left). There is much less interaction with Gaff in this one though he comes over to eat lunch with them and get updates.  It’s been over a decade but is there enough evidence to find out who pushed Jessica?

The mystery has such a tinge of sadness to it at Jessica’s lost potential, particularly because Jazzi finds out how her friends and classmates have changed since high school. The rest of the book is her and Ansel updating their basement so it’s very construction and food heavy as per usual. 

It is frustrating to see the same outdated language in this book, it really needs to be caught in the editorial process. People in their 20s don’t say fanny, and outside of the US, particularly in the UK, fanny has a very different meaning. There’s also a throwaway line about how an abortion made someone infertile, which is very, very rare and would be the result of a botched operation, not a byproduct of the process. This also should have been caught in editing, it was very easy to debunk from legitimate medical sources. I also caught discrepancies between tile descriptions for the kitchen. All of these things seriously detract from what is otherwise an engaging mystery.
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While working on their next house flip, Jazzi finds a locked bedroom that belonged to the original owners’ daughter.  It turns out the girl died at her graduation party, having been pushed from the balcony off her bedroom.  The room and it’s furnishings were left untouched just as the young girl left it.  Sadly the case was never solved.

As a Jazzi reads through the girls journals she becomes determined to find justice for the young girl.  As Jazzi reads on, she finds that so many were jealous of the girl and some in her own family seemed to hate her.  Teaming up with her favorite detective, this cold case heats up and the murderer seems to have struck again.  They’re determined to not let the case turn cold again, but at what cost?

I love old houses and bringing them back to life.  Add in a solid whodunit and this series delivers a satisfying read each and every time.  Recipes from Jazzi’s kitchen are included as well.
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House flipping cozy mystery.  The latest house flip leads to a room that has been closed off for years. When they open it, they find out the previous resident of the room fell off a balcony. Her murder unsolved.
House flippers Jazzi can't help but want to find out who killed this bright young girl. They have a town full of suspects to choose from.
My first in the series I will have to go back and read previous books.
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Jazzi, Ansel and Jerod are back again in The Body from the Past.
When the trio begin to renovate their newest acquisition, Jazzi discovers a room that has been closed off for years.
Opening that door is like opening Pandora’s Box. What seems to be a young girl’s hope chest is filled with memories and mementos of a short life. Jazzi feels awful that her family doesn’t want her belongings, so she takes them home with her. To Jazzi it feels wrong to throw the belongings in the trash. Jazzi’s curiosity gets the best of her, and as she looks through the hope chest, secrets, lies, and betrayals are discovered.

I couldn’t put this book down. I love the feeling I get when I lose myself in this particular series.
Jazzi and Ansel make a great couple and I can’t wait to see what happens next with them.
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