HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Antiques Roadkill: A Trash ‘n’ Treasures Mystery
Author: Barbara Allan
Publisher: Kensington, republished 2007
Related website(s): http://www.kensingtonbooks.com (publisher)
Language level: 5
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Adults only
Rating: * 1 star
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Allan, Barbara. Antiques Roadkill: A Trash ‘n’ Treasures Mystery (Published in 2006 by Kensington Books, a division of Kensington Publishing Corp., 850 Third Ave., New York City, NY 10022). After her marriage breaks up, thirty year old Brandy Borne returns from Chicago, IL, with her shih tzu, Sushi, to her small hometown of Serenity, IA, along the banks of Mississippi River to live with her eccentric, widowed mother Vivian. She finds that there is a new antiques shop in Pearl Button Plaza run by Clint Carson who moved to the area recently from Boulder, CO. She also finds that he preys on the sick, elderly, and persons recently losing their spouses by offering them money that is way below the value of their antiques. The unscrupulous antiques dealer has even swindled Vivian, who has a mental disorder, out of the family’s heirlooms. So, when the guest speakers for Vivian’s Red Hat Social Club luncheon from the Antiques Roadshow are unable to come and the crooked dealer is the main speaker, Brandy confronts him.
However, one night Carson is found run over in a country lane. Brandy and her mother become prime murder suspects. Then, as they uncover a few very unsavory Serenity secrets, they themselves become targets for a murderer whose favorite hobby seems to be collecting victims. What is going on here? Who really killed Carson and why? And will Brandy and Vivian survive? We like Antiques Roadshow and have enjoyed the Hallmark “Garage Sale Mysteries,” so when I saw this Book 1 of 13 in the “A Trash ‘n’ Treasures Mystery Series,” I figured that it was a cross between the two (with a little Murder, She Wrote thrown in). Well, yes and no. With a house explosion, a hospital roommate’s death, and an undercover police operation, there is very definitely an interest-grabbing, attention-holding, suspenseful mystery here.
Unfortunately, the story is marred by a lot of foul language—cursing (the “d” and “h” words), profanity, and even vulgarity (Vivian’s favorite swear word is the “s” word, and the “f” word is used as well); and immorality—Brandy’s marriage breaks up because she had an affair with an old flame at a class reunion and when the flame’s wife found out she told Brandy’s husband about it. Of course, this fact becomes important to the plot. “Barbara Allan” is the joint pseudonym for the husband and wife mystery writing team of Max Allan and Barbara Collins. For those who might be interested, each chapter ends with one of Brandy Borne’s tips on antiques. One reviewer called it “fun from start to finish”—but that would be only if your idea of “fun” includes filthy talk and adultery.