Cover Image: The Begonia Killer

The Begonia Killer

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Member Reviews

The plot is quite simple: Molly McGill takes an assignment from an old lady who thinks her next-door neighbour has abducted two young boys.

Molly is taking a PhD in psychiatry and the story is coloured by this. Many of her interactions are quite subtle psychological plays, and this is one of the strengths of the book. Here's one:

"All five sense are intricately linked to cognition. A bite of vanilla sheet cake in an empty bakery tastes different from the same bite taken before a hundred cheering friends and family in your wedding dress. The sight of a geriatric man with a shaggy white beard evokes one reaction when he's wearing rags and another when the same face appears under a red hat with a white pom-pom."

So, when Molly first encounters the suspect, there is a psychological build-up of tension that is nicely managed, with the lingering threat that things will very quickly turn violent. That encounter turns out to be conclusive - though not in the way one would think - and the story picks up from there.

Unfortunately, the story doesn't pick up in a strong way. There are no red herrings, not obvious alternative bad guys. Mostly, it's Molly agonising about whether or not to pursue the case. She does, and ultimately the story goes on to the usual genre punch-up, albeit with a psychological twist.

Somehow, the tension is mostly of the wrong sort. I never seriously doubt who the bad guy is, and I never seriously feel that Molly is in mortal danger. I never get vested in the victims - perhaps because Molly herself doesn't - and the romantic aspect is more distraction than plot.

That said, there are some pithy descriptions:

"Gutters dangled off the roof like spaghetti off a toddler's abandoned plate. A refrigerator and TV were strewn around the dirt yard, both spilling their electronic guts."

... and another...

"[I[ extended my hand for a shake. When Art took it, I felt the disappointment in his touch like damp laundry in the dryer: a whole hour tumbling around for nothing."

All told, The Begonia Killer tries to be too many things: it is by turns humourous, romantic, tense and a detective book. All that could be achieved between two covers, but the book is too short to give space for these themes to breathe. Double the length and bring in an obvious red-herring-bad-guy for the next in the series, and I'd take it off the shelf.
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This book was a disappointment in a lot of ways. For one, there were some glaring spelling/grammar errors. It was published in November of 2020, so these were missed. 

I have not read the other books in the series, but the main character's actions did not reflect the strong, smart character the author wants us to believe she is. She made a lot of really dumb decisions, including apparently being incapable of charging her phone or having a charger on hand. I agree with the other reviewer that the romantic interest aspect was not believable or even necessary.

The story, while incredibly far fetched, moved along well and kept my interest, but I would not be interested in other "McGill Investigates" mysteries.
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I was fascinated by the description of The Begonia Killer, down to "[It's] not your grandparents’ cozy mystery" and the pulpy, edgy cover.

Although it's part of a series, The Begonia Killer is described as a standalone and very much is.

It hit the spot for me: fast-paced, compelling characters and rather than trying to prove the innocence of a suspect, proving why he's guilty.

I don't know I'd read the others in the series as they seem more fantastical and science-fiction based, and whilst I love those genres, I like the idea of knowing Molly McGill exactly how she's portrayed here.

I am voluntarily leaving a review after receiving a digital ARC on Netgalley.
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A cozy murder that is fast paced, centered around a love for gardening and that I can read in one sitting? Sign me up! I loved the Begonia Killer. This was my first time reading a book by Jeff Bond (and is the third in this series) and you can definitely jump right and see enjoy the story the Jeff Bond weaves.

The case that Molly finds herself on can be described kind of like pulling a thread on a sweater, each time she she dug further things got more questionable but her shear curiosity and determination took us to the end to uncover the truth about this cozy little neighbourhood.

With an interesting story, fast moving plot and likeable characters this book has everything you need for your next cozy murder read.
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Jeff Bond’s mystery, The Begonia Killer, is an entertaining, fast paced, and fun mystery. Molly McGill, investigator, is contacted by Martha Dodson who suggests her neighbor is hiding two boys in his upstairs bedroom. Molly agrees to look into the man’s strange behavior. That is until it looks like there might be nothing to the claim. Nonetheless, Kent Kirkland was seen brutally murdering his begonias. So, of course, Molly must investigate by weaseling her way into his home and checking for the missing boys. One zany incident after another cause Molly to stay while Kirkland tries to get her out of the house. This is the first book I've read by Jeff Bond, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll be looking for more.
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If there is one thing I learned after reading this book, is to listen to your instincts. And sometimes it’s best to listen to your boring neighbour when they talk about another suspicious neighbour.

This was a quick read, but such a fun one ! It’s the second book in a series I think, but you honestly don’t need to read the other before reading this one.

It was a very easy and quick read, but nevertheless I enjoyed it very much, and I was really excited to know if Martha was right, or just maybe a bit bored. It did keep me on the edge of my seat.

Martha Dodson is hiring Private detective Molly McGill. Martha thinks her neighbour is odd. A little bit too odd. And it doesn’t help that 2 young boys are missing, Martha and Molly quickly discovers that the missing of the 2 boys and the odd neightbour are mate connected.
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This short crime novel from Jeff Bonds was utterly engaging.

Focusing on single mom and private investigator, Molly McGill, a character first introduced in the initial entry in the Third Chance Enterprises series, this fast-paced standalone caper is full of colourful characters and honest humour. And just the right amount of winsome romance.

A master of suspense, Jeff Bonds keeps you on your toes throughout this expeditious adventure, and the bingeable prose allowed me to finish it in a single sitting. And within the span of only a couple hundred pages, Bonds cleverly creates a character so genuine and relatable that it feels as if we've known her for years.

Molly McGill is a protagonist for the ages, and I hope we hear more about this propitious P.I.
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I was attracted to the book by it's cover first and when I read an excerpt for the book tour, I knew I had to read this book.

Molly McGill, our protagonist, is a single mother of two, while running a one-woman investigation business. She clearly needs to take on as many cases as she can handle and so when Martha Dodson comes to her with her concerns about her meticulous garner neighbour, Molly takes on the case despite her initial scepticism. With the police department showing no interest in her target, Molly had hoped for some cooperation from Detective Art Judd, but without it, she needs to find her own way around. With two missing boys' lives on the line, Molly needs to step up her game if she is to solve this case.

The Begonia Killer, as a story turned out to be much more than what I had expected from the cover, blurb and excerpt. I enjoyed getting acquainted with Molly McGill. The author provides us with enough details of both her personal and professional life to be able to really get to know her. As a mother to a 6 year old and a 14 year old, Molly has plenty on her plate. Add her investigative business, that can get downright dangerous, and a curious grandma to the mix, one has to admire Molly's grit. The author has managed to maintain a good pace despite providing so much additional information on Molly's personal situation. It was easy to stay involved and keep turning the pages as there was enough drama and action with a hint of humour in the story. As for the plot, it was quite simple and peppered with enough twists to keep the readers engaged if not guessing. The character development of the antagonist did surprise me quite a bit and certainly one of the more shining qualities of the book.

Though this is the third book in the series, and there is some mention of previous cases/books in this one, I had no trouble understanding the story. So, this can be read as a standalone. I think this book will appeal to cozy mystery enthusiasts. This book has definitely captured my interest enough to want to go back and read the previous books in the series. I would definitely recommend cozy mystery lovers to give this a try as this is quite a quick and entertaining read.
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My Review: I unfortunately didn’t get the opportunity to read the first two books in this series and that was okay! I do however plan to read them. I was not lost at all as this is a standalone book. I absolutely fell in love with Molly McGill! She had me laughing out loud in many parts of the book during her investigation. Martha was a pretty awesome character as well. I feel Bond did an amazing job writing this book. I felt connected to the characters. I could easily visualize them and I could hear their voices in my head. I connected most with Molly as she is a mother and also seems to be pretty impulsive. I loved her “interview” with Kent Kirkland. She is quite the actor! I also really loved that the author ended the book the way he did. There were no unanswered questions.

☆☆☆☆☆/5 stars from me! I did not want to put this one down!
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This was a funny and fun mystery to read. Molly McGill, investigator is called by a woman who is sure her quirky neighbor has two boys hidden at his house. How does she know this? Because she saw him get angry at his begonias and viciously slaughter them, hacking them to death. Of course Molly has to go meet this guy and gets into house under the ruse of a gardening expert. While she is trying to search she creates more and more incidents that cause her to stay while he is trying to get her out of the house. This was the funniest part and I found myself laughing out loud. This is the first book I've read by Jeff Bond, but will be searching out others by him.
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Even if the synopsis talks about “Anarchy of the Mice” this is the first Jeff Bond book I read. It won’t surely be the last as I loved his style of writing, the storytelling and the quirky characters.
This is not the usual cozy mystery as there’s not a single cozy mystery I read that could somehow relate to this story.
It’s quirky, fast paced and full of twists and turns and I read it in one setting as it’s quite a page turner.
There’s plenty of humor and I laughed a lot reading Grandma antics or some parts of Molly investigation.
Even if it’s the third in a series and there are some references to previous stories it can be read as a stand alone. The references to the previous stories boosted my curiosity and i will surely read them.
Even if it’s a humorous story the mystery is solid and I kept turning pages trying to understand if Kent Kirkland, the supposed villain, was innocent or not and what happened to the boys.
I was kept guessing and I loved the solution.
There’s some romance but it never takes the front seat. It’s nice and sweet.
Molly is an interesting and relatable characters: she was involved in some sort of world-saving adventures but she’s just investiganti (and trying to live her life) in this story. 
A strong woman who feels for other women as she can see the sadness in their life.
The characters are quirky,  fleshed out and likeable and the author did an excellent job at character development.
I would be happy to read other stories featuring Molly, Detective Jud and Grandma (she’s my favorite character)
I loved this story and I strongly recommend it.
Many thanks to Jeff Bond books, Netgalley and Partners in Crime for this digital copy, all opinions are mine
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I was looking forwards to reading a little more about Molly McGill adventures.  Love the interactions with the grandmother and the kids.
This is a quick read.  The book is only 183 pages long. Perfect to get away for a while from our daily live.  I do like Jeff Bond other books "The Winner Maker" and "Blackquest 40" better. They are a bit more serious and more realistic on the other hand when your feel like some light reading  with a bit of humor and lots of twist this book fits the bill.
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This is a mystery with a female private detective looking into a claim by a woman that she thinks two missing boys are being held captive by someone in the neighborhood.  Not quite a cozy but close, it focuses a lot on Molly McGill’s domestic situation and how she balances her P.I. business.  She gets involved in a few crazy stunts but overall a satisfying story.

It quickly becomes obvious from the numerous mentions of other adventures that this is not a stand-alone even if it might not quite be a direct follower in the Third Chance Enterprise series as is indicated.  I haven’t read the others and could understand this quite fine.  I am intrigued by the mentions of the other books that seem pretty wild, world-saving adventures.  Jeff Bond is quite the versatile writer.

I like the pulp fiction type cover but I don’t think it really matches the story inside.  

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Starting a Bond book is an experience full of anticipation. I know there will be an odd plot, crazy adventures and quirky characters. How will he do it this time?

This novel involves one of those nosy neighbors every villain fears. You know, that old lady down the street who who suspects nearly every house she can see contains secrets. Is she crazy or is she the answer to a terrible crime?

I like Molly's dogged determination to see this case to its end, whatever that might be, even as she tries to raise her kids and still earn a living. I like the danger and suspense. I like the quirky characters. Bond has once again provided a novel that is surprising and entertaining, though short.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book through Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours. My comments are an independent and honest review.
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It feels like I've waited forever to read the first Third Chance Enterprises to focus on Molly McGill, a single mom who is also a private investigator. Originally scheduled for November 2020 release, it was worth the wait.

Martha Dodson is certain that her neighbor is responsible for the disappearance of two young boys. Hiring Molly McGill, she presents her reasons for suspecting the man, and Molly goes to work. An interview with police detective Art Judd is disheartening, but Molly keeps investigating.

THE BEGONIA KILLER isn't so much a whodunnit as it is a "did-they-or-did-they-not-do-it." And author Jeff Bond keeps readers guessing as clues are discovered and details revealed.

Fans of the Third Chance Enterprises series have reason to rejoice as well, with the back matter announcement of the fourth book in the series, ASTROPLANE, featuring Quaid Rafferty. I can't wait!

Highly recommended!

I received an eARC from the author through NetGalley, for which I thank them. All opinions are mine.
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The third book in the Third Chance Enterprises series is a quick, easy read that I enjoyed. Following a quasi-private investigator as she follows clues/tips given to her by her neighbor about the strange man down the street. 

It all starts with the brutal destruction of Begonias in a garden and tumbles into the case of two missing boys possibly kidnapped by the flower murderer. 

The book was a good cozy mystery that moved a fast pace that I finished in one sitting. Bond created a story that kept me entertained and I enjoyed the overall lightheartedness of the book but also had a good mystery to solve.
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When you're looking for a versatile author who displays expertise in his craft over a variety of genres, the name's Bond... Jeff Bond. To date, Bond has penned a traditional thriller, a techno-terrorism book, a political drama, a global domination plot, a Western mystery, and more. 

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of his work, and this book delivers in spades. This one is perhaps the smallest in scale from his other books, but this is no slight. Afterall, it's really hard to top the stakes of The Anarchy of the Mice or Blackquest 40. 

Jeff has continued his Third Chance Enterprises saga with an entry focused specifically on Molly, the lone female of the trio. In this book, Molly is enlisted by her elderly neighbor to investigate the so-called Begonia Killer, who is suspected of kidnapping some missing boys. Throughout the book, we also learn more about Molly's personal and family life. 

As with all of Jeff's books, he has spun quite the tale. The book is fast-paced and intriguing to read it in a single sitting, but can be stretched out over a few days. I think one thing that is most amazing is that Molly seems like a believable female lead. Male authors often have a hard time writing female characters and Bond definitely does her justice. 

While this book is part of the Third Chance Enterprises series, it can be read as a standalone. However, I highly recommend reading Anarchy of the Mice before this one to fully grasp some of the references. 

Jeff's first book was titled The Winner Maker, and it appears that this title could be applied to the author himself. If you're looking for a good small-town mystery, with some personal touches along the way, look no further than The Begonia Killer... and keep an eye on your neighbors. 

ARC provided by the author. All opinions are my own.
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The Begonia Killer is nominally the third book in the Third Chance Enterprises series, but is more like a spin-off from The Anarchy of The Mice, with Molly now centre stage, as Quaid and Durwood don’t feature here, although they are mentioned. There would also be no problem reading this as a stand-alone. This one is more like a cosy - but without the formulaic plots that normally go with that genre, and has a little romance thrown in - so not my usual cup of tea, but Molly is a very likeable heroine, and I enjoyed this low-key PI mystery. I beta-read this by arrangement with the author.

Molly McGill is a New Jersey-based single mother, just about managing to keep it together raising kids while working as a private investigator, and keeping her opinionated grandmother quiet about her love-life - or lack of. Hired by an elderly woman concerned about the behaviour of her uptight neighbour, Kent Kirkland, Molly is initially sceptical of her client’s suspicion that he is responsible for the disappearance of two local boys, but agrees to look into it anyway. The police aren’t interested in the possible crime - although the hunky lead Detective is certainly interested in Molly - so she determines to find another way to get inside Kirkland’s house. Could this meticulously neat gardener really be a kidnapper?

I’ve read everything that Jeff Bond has published, and each book is from a different genre, so you never quite know what to expect. This one will probably appeal more to female readers - we get plenty about Molly’s domestic circumstances, including her precocious gaming-addict six-year old daughter and awkward early-teen son, an entertaining Bunco party (I had to google what that was!), and her flirtation with the mustachioed lawman. She’s patient but no pushover, and her empathy for her client, the possible victims, their families and the witnesses she interviews make her an appealing protagonist even when she’s making mistakes. I also found myself actually feeling sorry for the villain, which is unusual in a crime story.

This is a quick read, somewhere between a long novella and a short novel, and it’s all told from Molly’s perspective. The cover is the same retro-pulp style as the two previous books in the series, which I’m still unsure about, but I do like the bright pink colour. It’s well written and paced, I thought the dialogue was great, and there was a good amount of humour - especially from Grannie the live-in relationship commentator! There were enough procedural elements to get a feel for Molly’s profession, enough action to keep things entertaining and a satisfying ending. I look forward to continuing this series.

Thanks to Jeff Bond & NetGalley for the ARC which allowed me to give an honest review. The Begonia Killer is published on June 1st.
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