Lily Bard is back in her fifth mystery in Shakespeare's Counselor. Lily is a woman with a complicated past, to put it mildly, and is determined to overcome her problems on her own. However, when she awakens in the middle of the night and finds that she is trying to strangle her lover, Jack Leeds, she decides that he may have a point when he suggests that she needs some outside assistance.
As coincidence has it, Jack discovers a flier outside of the store that announces a rape-counseling group for women right in little-ole Shakespeare. Lily is less than enthusiastic about sharing details of the experience that shattered her life, but promises Jack that she will give it a try. As it turns out, Lily discovers that she is getting more problems instead of help when she goes to her group meeting and finds a woman dead, killed in a bone-chilling fashion and deliberately left on display with a twisted message. It appears that Shakespeare's counselor, Tamsin Lynd, has more than few secrets of her own. But who could be so obsessed with Tamsin that they follow her from town to town, making threatening phone calls, leaving messages and dead animals on her porch and now killing for her?
This 5th book in the Lily Bard mystery series was absolutely riveting. Lily came a long way in book #4, but she really seems to be coming into her own in this book. She and Jack, her boyfriend, are still a hot item, but their relationship is still undefined. Charlaine Harris introduces some more characters who reside in Shakespeare that are absolutely hilarious and are well-worth getting to know. I can hardly wait for the next book in the series to come out! Charlaine Harris has created one of my absolute favorite mystery series in the Shakespeare/Lily Bard tales. Highly recommended for anyone and everyone!
This report prepared by Debbie
Lily Bard has alwas been one of the most interesting sleuths in mystery fiction. Having survived a horrendous assault, she moved to Shakespeare, Arkansas and attempted to get her life together. She has supported herself as a housecleaner and become a martial arts expert. At this time in the series, she had recently married Jack, a P.I. with a complicated past of his own and is an appentice in his business. She has also joined a rape and stalking survivor group led by an oddly secretive counselor who seem to be having stalking problem of her own. When Lily discovers a dead body in the group meeting room, she begins to be suspicious of the counselor herself. Lily is still very interesting, but this entry seems to be unfocused, unable to decide whether it is a whodunit or a novel about the effects of rape and stalking.
This report prepared by Linda Sourpuss
St. Martin's, Nov 2001, 22.95, 240 pp.
Following a gang raping and a media feeding frenzy, Lily moves to Shakespeare, Arkansas accepting work as a cleaning woman. The small town has had several homicides and usually Lily is found in the middle of the investigation. She does not expect to ever have a normal relationship ever again until Lily meets private investigator Jack, who convinces the scarred woman that she is beautiful inside and out.
Jack and Lily marry, but she still suffers nightmares from that brutal attack and enters group therapy under the auspices of Tamsin Lynd. The therapist has some problems caused by a stalker who actually kills one of her patients. A reporter who wants to do a story about Tamsin is also murdered. Lily and Jack decide to take down the stalker though it places them in danger from a homicidal maniac.
SHAKESPEARE'S COUNSELOR is the best work in this fine series because the audience empathetically feels the healing of Lily predominantly due to her bond with he beloved Jack. The mystery is loaded with red herrings that hide the villain in plain sight so that the audience is stunned when the culprit is revealed. The vulnerable facet of Lily's personality emerges turning her more likable and less of an object of pity. This strengthens a strong character and turns a wonderful series into a powerhouse.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner