Lottie Baldwin impulsively moved to Cheyenne, North Dakota after a bad break up to be closer to her old college friend, Janet Larson. Janet stood by her and remained her friend even when the rest of the small town's population shunned her because of her "gift." Lottie had gradually made a place for herself there and did the occasional Tarot reading and other odd job to support herself. She started dating Harlan Erikson, a sheriff's deputy, and, even though he didn't believe in her special powers, Lottie truly felt that she was wearing him down and winning him over. So when Lottie heard that Harry Larson, Janet's husband, was missing, Lottie knew that he would never be coming back. She tried to remain optimistic for Janet's sake, but she wasn't surprised when Harry's body was found days later.
Harlan doggedly pursued all leads to solve the murder, but he got nowhere fast. Lottie decided that it was time for her to step in and disguised herself to interview various people who knew Harry and might have been involved in his death. All clues seemed to point to Harry's construction company and the people involved with the new campus building, but who was the murderer? When Janet's daughter, Laura, was kidnapped, Lottie knew that they had run out of time and that she had to use whatever powers she had to find Laura and the demented man who took her and killed her father.
I started Fatal Fortune with high hopes because I had just finished Dearl's excellent series by the same publisher and there are so many good reviews here, but I was very disappointed. Lottie's talents were not dealt with very much and she seemed more scatterbrained and foolish than anything else. She kept taking very foolish risks and doing things in ways that could not really help the case. Harlan and the sheriff's department couldn't find out anything that Lottie found out right away, just by talking to people, which I find very hard to believe. I also felt that the storyline wasn't laid out very well. The author would start going towards something and then veer off on another topic or throw in some wild new challenge to keep the book going longer. The dialogue between the characters, especially Lottie & Harlan, seemed really sappy and trite. I think that this author has a lot of potential, but this book didn't do anything for me. Try Dearl's excellent Taylor Madison series or any of the Charlaine Harris series if you are looking for some cozy mysteries.
This report prepared by Debbie