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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
The Czech Book: A Rainee Allen mystery by Lauren B Grossman is an engaging mystery with well-written characters and a plot that moves fast. Rainee Allen is in Prague for her friend Shelley’s wedding when a bomb blast takes place, leaving Shelley terribly wounded just before her wedding. Before Shelley passes out, she gives a little black book to Rainee and says something that Rainee can’t remember. But a lot has happened that has left everyone baffled, including the unresolved theft of the Bohemian Crown Jewels just a few days before the bomb blast. Rainee must determine if there is a connection between the theft and the bomb blast and establish if her friend, Shelley, has been the target of the bomb blast. Most importantly, she must decode the message in the little black book and unravel the mystery before it is too late.
Lauren B Grossman writes complex characters and imbues them with strong humanity while crafting their personalities. Rainee is one of the most remarkable characters and readers immediately feel drawn to her curiosity and devotion to her friends. Another character that I couldn’t stop following is Oto and his role in this mystery is irreplaceable. The writing is perfect and Grossman excels in descriptive prose, always finding the right words to capture a moment, an emotion, an action, and the atmosphere. The imagery is strong, and from the first page, the author’s ability to create vivid images in the reader’s mind is clear. The mystery is introduced right off the bat with the explosive opening, a premise that leaves readers with many questions and compels them to seek answers. There are no breaks as readers follow the story, moved by the persistent suspense and the superior storytelling craft. The Czech Book will keep you guessing through every page, following every step of a likable protagonist as she seeks answers. I will be looking out for more of this author’s work.