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The Girl Next Door    by Brad Parks order for
Girl Next Door
by Brad Parks
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2013 (2013)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Girl Next Door is third in Brad Parks' cozy mystery series starring idealistic Newark Eagle-Examiner investigative reporter Carter Ross. This time he manages to dig himself into even deeper trouble than usual!

Browsing through the paper's obituaries (which he finds uplifting), Ross notices one for an Eagle-Examiner employee. Nancy Marino was killed in a hit and run while she was on the job, delivering papers. The reporter decides that Nancy (who was also a shop steward) deserves a tribute from the paper and hardly expects opposition from his bosses.

The plot thickens fast when Nancy's sister Jeanne asserts that it wasn't an accident, that Nancy Marino was murdered. Of course, that catches Ross's attention and he starts looking for people who might have wanted Nancy dead. Unfortunately, one of the first he finds is Eagle-Examiner 'not-so-esteemed publisher' Gary A. Jackman. And he's not the only one.

As always, Ross enlists one of the newspaper's assorted colorful interns in his cause. This time it's huge Lunky who looks like he has 'Neanderthal DNA' but reads Thoreau and Emerson for entertainment. Along the way, Ross is chased by a bear, suspended from the paper for his disrespect of the publisher, arrested for trespassing, and almost killed in another hit and run.

Luckily Carter's gorgeous editor Tina Thompson has his back even when they are at odds - without her and Lunky he would not have survived to file his story. This series continues to be great entertainment!

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