A Sampling of the Reviews from Readers
“Credible and driven, Florida Homicide Detective Claudia Hershey is everything a crime solver should be.”
“A beguiling mystery from the dark side of the deep south.”
— Patrick Lynch, bestselling author of Carriers and Omega
A Word of Caution
I’ve read a number of murder mysteries lately, many self-published and available online. This is, by far, the best. It’s a thriller from cover to cover – excellent character development, lots of intrigue, a cliff-hanger with a classic surprise ending. Compared to the others I’ve read, this one tops them all.
Two features set this novel above the others: The writer’s style and the principle character, Detective Claudia Hershey.
Laura Belgrave brings much more to the table than a murder mystery with twists and turns; she brings a tasteful writing style that gives dignity to the way her characters interact with others, coworkers as well as suspects. They use proper grammar without sounding stilted. There is some profanity, but precious little. They listen, as well as speak, and divulge their feelings, as well as their thoughts. Where there’s romance, it’s handled delicately.
Detective Hershey, being a woman, is unique among the other murder mysteries, and that’s a plus. She’s physically strong, mentally superior and emotionally equipped to balance a demanding job with her role as a single mother of a 14-year-old daughter. She holds her own among the men, but allows the reader to know her feelings of inadequacy, indecision, guilt and fear. In a word, she’s comfortable in her own skin and not afraid to be honest to self.
I recommend In the Spirit of Murder with only one word of caution: It’s the first of a series of three Claudia Hershey murder mysteries. By the time you reach the middle of the book, you’ll already be ordering the next two. –Philip W. Mclarty
Good Writing = Good Reading
Belgrave is definitely a good writer. I rarely rate a contemporary mystery five stars, but as I considered the criteria: plot, characters, ease of dialogue., etc, this author scored high on each. I look forward to reading her other books. –NB
Simply very good trio of books
Thoroughly enjoyed reading every sentence of these three books. I loved reading about small town life in internal Florida. Will be looking forward to book four. –Gapch296
Laura’s writing style is as non-“robot” sounding as Nora Roberts, I certainly appreciated that! I guess the words ‘buy’ and ‘bought’ have been replaced by “purchase”, I’m just too old to understand it I guess. I’m looking forward to reading Laura’s next book! –Charles Beall
In the Spirit of Murder (Book #1 in the Claudia Hershey Mystery series
A Five Star Murder Mystery! A very nice job of concealing the culprit until the end! I am a new fan! –BY65
It’s a must read page turner…
I ordered this book for two reasons 1) I’m a murder mystery fan, 2) it was free. Like many free ebooks, the story-lines may be good, but the writing style or editing is lacking. That is definitely not the case with In the Spirit of Murder. From the moment I started reading, I wanted to know more. The characters are interesting and have depth, the story line is intriguing and with some twists thrown in, its a recipe for a good murder mystery. Kudos to Ms. Belgrave. Your book was so good I purchased the second book in the series. –J. Mercer, Amazon Customer
What an incredible story. Once I started this book I found I just couldn’t put it down. Full of suspense and mystery. If you’re looking for sex scenes, and foul language, this book is not for you. A nice, clean story. I highly recommend to all readers. –B. Ashton
I loved this book!
I loved this book. It’s a murder mystery and it has a great plot. The thriller scenes kept me glued to it. It has wonderful, warm humor and genuine human interactions. The writing is just superb, a joy to read. I’m so happy to have found this series and this author. –Anita Lewis
Enjoyed this work — the protagonist is tough but likably flawed, the interaction with her teenage daughter is well done, and the plot moved along at a good clip.
If you like computer-generated investigations, this won’t work for you: there are no cell phones and there’s not a computer in sight. I have to say, I nostalgically enjoyed that. –VoraciousReader
I loved this book
A movie based on this book is sure to be a huge hit. I loved this book. It kept me guessing for quite a while but there’s more to the book than a Who-Don-It. A female detective coming from the city to the Florida swamp lands with her teen age daughter makes the book very interesting. The book has a great plot along with interesting characters. –Nana
I am looking forward to reading more books in the Claudia Hershey series. Claudia Hershey is a single mom to a young teenager, a police detective who wanted to get away from the big city, and a single woman beginning to date again. Claudia is not perfect. She is flawed like the rest of us. She wants to have a good relationship with her daughter and she wants to excel at her job. Unfortunately, a woman is murdered on Halloween, and being the only detective on a murder case doesn’t leave much time to be a mother. All of the characters were developed well enough that I cared about what happened to them and I want to read more of these books. –Appleseed2005
In the Spirit of Murder by Laura Belgrave
I received this book in exchange of a honest opinion.
Well written, characters developed so real, I felt a part of the story! Enough twists and turns to keep me glued to the book, building the climactic ending, one I didn’t see coming.I loved the main characters, felt like my old friends. Claudia, a new detective, in a new town with her teen daughter, encounters a gruesome murder of a medium. When another one occurs its gotten more intense. In this turmoil she’s facing a problems of a resentful typical teen causing her to have to battle at home and on the job. There’s the basic of the story, one that is a well paced, just scary enough. Read and enjoy! –Karin Whitehead
WORTH THE READ
A really great series. The main character is not “super-human”, she’s down to earth. The Sheriff is a real portrait of a good ol’ boy. They are a team and all of them take down the bad guys. This is refreshing because many of the books I read where a female is the lead detective or FBI agent, she’s the only one who uncovers all the clues, gets beat to a pulp, and still manages to single-handedly bring in the killer. Loved this series. It does need editing (grammar) but I can overlook that for a great read. –MECI
A Spirited Mystery
Belgrave’s murder mystery series is off to a roaring start in In the Spirit of Murder, with a twisting plot, believable characters, and few suspects. The most obvious suspect for the Chief of Police seems too convenient to his new detective and she must fight him, other cops, the media, and even witnesses to uncover the real culprit. Lots of missteps and false assumptions cloud the waters, but the female detective does hook her murderer, risking her life in the process. –Linda L Labin, PhD
Very well written mystery
This mystery was very well written, kept my interest. Started it today, finished it today. It was very believable. A little scary, but a good mystery is supposed to be. A group of interesting, colorful characters that work. I’m already looking forward to the next book in this series. Mystery, intrigue, murder, a little romance – it has it all. AND it’s just good reading. –PWA
Persistence by Detective
Detective Claudia Hershey moved from Cleveland to a small community in Florida to spend time with Robin her daughter. The sheriff’s department that she is assigned to doesn’t have much criminal action, so as a detective she might have more family time. But wouldn’t you know it a murder of a lady takes place and she is assigned the case.
She doesn’t get much help from the force, especially the chief who hired her, that along with problems with daughter puts her on edge. More murders but persistence from her brings the force together.
Great murder mystery even if I did figure out the killer. If you like suspense and mystery this is a book for you! –H.R. Greene, Jr.
Time Well Spent!
I stumbled upon this author while using Amazon’s related reads function and took a chance. I’m really choosy about the authors I invest in and, WOW, was I glad I chose this author. Seriously, give this series a shot. You’ll be glad you did.
Big-city detective, Claudia Hershey, moves with her teenage daughter to Indian Run, a small town in Florida, and becomes gainfully employed amongst the good-ol’ boys in the Indian Run precinct. It doesn’t take long before she gains the respect of her peers and even her reluctant boss, Chief Suggs.
As she investigates the death of a psychic on Halloween Night, the killer is a lot closer than Claudia thinks. Will she lose her daughter before she can stop him?
Claudia is a very believable character – She’s realistically written with real-life challenges between her semi-rebellious teenage daughter who’s gotten in with the wrong crowd, to her tentative love life, to her continual need to prove herself at work – the reader can actually relate to her and the other characters.
Ms. Belgrave writes so well, you can almost feel the hot, Florida mugginess in the room with you – hear the distant rumble of thunder, and sense the ever-appraising and hard-to-please stare of her boss on your back.
Give this series a try and in exchange you’ll receive hours of quality reading entertainment. –B. K. Walker
Mothers & daughters
I enjoyed Stilts and her teenage daughter. It gives me hope to see a writer picturing the agony and difficulties between mothers and daughters with compassion for both sides. –Kindle Customer
Next…..ready for book II
At first, I thought this was going to be one of the little mystery books, just a light, fun read. Well, I was wrong, detective Claudia Hershey is a strong character with a dry sense of humor, she’s relocated to a small town but handles big murders! Also, I hope her new romance keeps evolving along with her daughter. –CrissiB
LOVE stories about women in jobs that rise above and beyond their male counterparts and prove them wrong because they are too full of themselves and behind the times in their way of thinking a woman is quite capable. This heroine not only juggles being a top notch detective who solves the case but a mom too. The story keeps you wondering who the truly bad guy is. You won’t want to put the book down. –Napkitty
Great new series!
This is not your every day police procedural. Claudia Hershey is not just a hot house flower thrust into a new environment. She is analytical in her approach to the murders in her new home. She is also a concerned parent trying to raise a daughter who is unhappy about her new home. The murders add a new twist to this relationship. You will enjoy this book! –E. L. Davis
Very good mystery
Claudia Hershey, a burned out police from the Midwest ends up in a podunk backwaters Florida town, Indian Run. She and a motley crew of colleagues, try to solve the murder of a medium. In between trying to solve this murder, a few more take place and there is a suspect that seems obvious, but there are a few twists and turns that make for interesting reading. –raven w
A good read
How nice, the main character is not young and gorgeous, just a regular, middle aged smart woman. I figured out who the murderer was before the detective, but I usually do. But, at least I could work with clues, the answer didn’t come out of left field. I hate when authors don’t give you all the facts, you don’t have a real chance of solving it. –Kindle Customer
In the Spirit of Murder
From the beginning, this story grabs your interest. The writer keeps you guessing as the characters are introduced. With each murder the plot thickens, keeps you more interested. Enjoy and see if you can guess the murderer. –Kindle Customer
The story flowed in a good manner … It didn’t jump around so you would have had to go back pages and see what you missed…I also liked the bits of humor thrown in amongst the more serious tones…I definitely would read more books by this author. Thanks for the wonderful time I had reading this book Laura!! –jonna mcdonald
Excited to find a new character that seems real enough. Good plot just needs a few more “could be suspects” so the mystery would last a little longer. I would recommend this book. –Amazon Customer Jan’s
Review of: In the Spirit of Murder
This author spares no details and makes you feel as if you are the main character. I’m recommending it to all mystery lovers. –Kindle Customer
Detective Claudia Hersey is outstanding. She is an experienced detective who moves to a small town in central Florida. Immediately she is in the middle of a murder investigation with an inexperienced police force. I liked the writing and all of the characters. You will enjoy this no nonsense female detective. –TexasGolfer
The story pulled me in. I enjoyed the characters. I would read more from This author. Definitely not a boring story and different enough to keep you returning to complete. –suezbull
In the Spirit of Murder
This book was spellbinding and suspenseful. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys mysteries. The book is very good reading. –Lynette Creekkiller
In the Spirit of Murder
Fasten your seat belts, you’re going on one heck of a journey! You have mediums, murder, good ole boy attitude, and a typical Mom, with a WAY too typical teenager. Great read. Recommend it highly. –martha cruz
Very good book, the suspense kept me on my toes until the end. The characters and the plot were excellent, everything fell into place as a good story should. Couldn’t stop reading it, had to finish it. Highly recommended… –Chris
A great story that kept me wondering where it would go next. I love the Claudia Hershey character and how she is written. I appreciate the way the story ended with an actual ending instead of making me wait for the sequel! –N Benn
A GOOD READ!
This is a good mystery series where the characters blend together to tell a riveting story. Looking forward to reading the entire series. –Kindle Reader
Thrilling murder mystery
This book has all the factors of an amazing murder mystery: Thrilling, chilling, creepy and toss in a touch of humor. Not sure when this was written, because no use of cell phones or computers. Great writing. –dke2
Well-written page turner. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend. I would definitely read more books by this author. Always great to find a good suspense writer! –Kanta Bosniak
At first I wasn’t sure if I would continue but I was glad I did. A slow start but got me reading until I finished the book. –Nancy D
Good Small Town Murder Mystery
Small town Murder mystery involving Psychics. Someone is killing all the famous ones in town. It’s up to the new detective from Cleveland who doesn’t exactly fit in yet to figure out who is the bad guy before more people are killed. –Angeltobe
It was hard to put this book down, just wanted more. Love Claudia’s character and poor Mr. Suggs, not sure what to make of her. Great read and will read the rest of the series! –Melodi
Small town life wasn’t what Claudia was hoping for. A crazy murderer was on the loose and the police had very few clues to Follow. But soon pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place. It took her daughter being kidnapped to finally put the case to rest—-with the help of an alligator! –Mary Anne Johnson
Good police procedural. Big city cop moves to small town with her teen daughter.
I liked the protagonist and that had the culture shock of working in a small town after being accustomed to a big city. Numerous suspects and several plots going on.. I would read more in the series. –Cynthia Nickerson
In the Spirit of Murder BY LAURA BELGRAVE
This book was quite a thriller. Trying to figure out who the murderer was took a little longer. The characters were very real. –Lefty
Best of the best
This is the best book I have read in a while. Truly exciting and extremely well written. I have already ordered the next book and hope to see Claudia Hershey movies soon. –CJ Earl
The spirit of murder
I enjoyed reading this novel very much. It keeps the reader engaged and thinking who done it. I recommend it to anyone interested in a real thriller. –Stephen Green
Quietly Dead Breathes New Life
If you’ve read Book 1, In the Spirit of Murder, you’re in for a treat: Quietly Dead is better!
After solving multiple murders and single-handedly apprehending a perpetrator, Detective Claudia Hershey has gained traction among the other officers, including the ever-recalcitrant Chief Mac Suggs. Interpersonal relationships mature. The officers are more trusting of Claudia. There’s a relaxed, friendly banter around the station.
The plot starts with two murders, back to back, and quickly grows into a cast of likely suspects. It keeps you in suspense to the very end. Just when you think you?ve got it figured out, it eludes you and spins off in another direction. I?m not about to tell you how it ends; except to say, it?ll blow you away.
Laura Belgrave has a unique gift for writing. Her style is tough, but delicate. She softens the harsh realities of law enforcement with grace and dignity; she smooths over the rough edges of human nature by giving her most unsavory characters due respect.
I heartily recommend Quietly Dead. It breathes new life into the genre of murder mysteries. –Philip W. Mclarty
Try it you will like it
I like a book with different setting that start off. Unusual and this one did. I liked the unfolding plot and woman detective. When boo was first introduced i was prepared to not like him, I mean he would not shutout know people like that. But the author took that character and made something useful to the story out of him and I found him an admirable person. I refuse to give away detail so read them for yourself you will not regret reading this you can’t figure what will happen next. To the author keep rolling out excellent books. –comfy fit
I read the prequel and bought the next book. After reading this one I bought the next. I?m not sure why it didn?t get some better reviews but to each his or her own. I enjoyed the character and her thought process. Can?t say whether procedure was correct but I read to escape and this provided that with a story line I wanted to follow. Will review next one in series. –victoria
Great author, great story
Loved the story and characters and had already ordered book 3 when I discovered book 1 and the prequel. This may be an awake all night book fest. I love a good mystery and also appreciate an “it could happen” story line and character lineup. This author has it all and I’m a fan!!! –PLC Cuyahoga Falls
Wonderful! Caught one of the clues early on this …
Wonderful! Caught one of the clues early on this time. 🙂 However, I never expected the interlacing of lives, you know, one from the right side of the tracks, the other the wrong side. Loved Booey’s character, so young and enthusiastic. lol And the way you brought everything together…excellent! On to the next. 😉 –Packer
You cannot help but love Claudia Hershey
You cannot help but love Claudia Hershey, perhaps because it is easy to identify with her. She’s intelligent, and loyal and has nerves of steel and it’s nice to see someone so ballsy share uncertainty and honesty when it comes to her teenaged daughter. –Candise L. Hankins
Totally enjoyable read
This is a first-rate mystery story with lots of fully-developed characters. Life is here with the serious and the humorous. I very much enjoy the absolutely wonderful phrases Belgrave throws in when I least expect it. She is just so enjoyable to read. –Anita Lewis
Really like the characters, good mystery story. I didn’t see the “who done it”, but I should have, the author gave me the clues I needed, which is important to me. I recommend this author. –Kindle Customer
Great cast of characters
Claudia is a hoot. Would hope Author keeps writing with the lieutenant as the main character. Very real and entertaining. I read 2 other books by the Author and I was not disappointed. –Elaine
Review of: Quietly Dead
This book is definitely worth reading if you’re a mystery/cop fan. The Author has done her homework and the story moves along well. –Kindle Customer
Kicking It Up a Notch
Deadly Associations is Book 3 of the Detective Claudia Hershey series. If you?ve read Books 1 and 2, you?re now accustomed to Laura Belgrave’s tasteful style. She?s gracious and considerate of the sensibilities of the reader; for example, describing a murder scene without exploiting the morbidity; a sexual encounter without causing you to wince and think: TMI.
Reading Belgrave, you?ve also grown accustomed to the intricacy of her plots. They?re multidimensional and complex. They keep you in suspense, page after page.
Deadly Associations kicks it up a notch. The perpetrator is killed in the first chapter! But is he the perp or the victim? That?s the question, and Detective Hershey is the only one with the guts to voice it, at least in the early going ? and that, in opposition to her higher ups ? Chief Mac Suggs and Mayor Arthur Lane.
Deadly Associations builds on the characters of Books 1 and 2. You’ve come to know the officers by name and their idiosyncrasies. By now, they’re working together full stride with Claudia, a respected member of the team. Chief Suggs finally concedes what an asset she is and, in rare moments of weakness, throws her a compliment.
Deadly Associations gives us a taste of Claudia’s temperament, as her twin sister, Sydney, shows up unexpectedly – and sparks fly. It also gives us a glimpse of Claudia’s heart, as she catches the eye of Tom Dixon — a tall, ruggedly handsome rancher with a rich baritone voice, curly hair and a sparkle in his eyes. Could he be THE ONE?
As we’ve seen in the previous books of the series, it ain’t over til it’s over. The ending will take you by surprise.
Deadly Associations is a must-read for anyone looking to delve into a first-class murder mystery. It’ll leave you wondering, Will there be a Book 4? One can only hope. –Philip W. Mclarty
Keeps getting better!
If you liked the first two books of this series then you’ll really enjoy this one. If you haven’t read the first two then read them first. Fun stuff, good plot, well developed characters. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. –M. Ferguson
Another great book by Belgrave
Another great story in this series, wonderfully told. The characters are all given depth and the dialog is excellent. I’ve very much enjoyed all three of the books so far in this series. I highly recommend them. –Anita Lewis
A. Very good murder/mystery book. It was very entertaining and intriguing. I have enjoyed this series. I feel it improves with each book…I do wish Claudia would get modern and either fix her vision or wear contacts –E.a.ay
Starts with a bang and keeps right on going. Characters you can get attached to and a great plot. Looking forward to the next book when it comes out. –Nanci Maupin