BOOK REVIEW: Hazardous Duty by Christy Barritt

Buying a gun to kill your wife: $3,000
Hiring Trauma Care to clean afterward: $1,500
Having that same cleaner uncover evidence that frames you: Priceless

On her way to completing a degree in forensic science, Gabby St. Claire drops out of school and starts her own crime scene cleaning business. “Yeah, that’s me,” she says, “a crime scene cleaner. People waiting in line behind me who strike up conversations always regret it.”

When a routine cleaning job uncovers a murder weapon the police overlooked, she realizes that the wrong person is in jail. But the owner of the weapon is a powerful foe . . . and willing to do anything to keep Gabby quiet.

With the help of her new neighbor, Riley Thomas, a man whose life and faith fascinate her, Gabby plays the detective to make sure the right person is put behind bars. Can Riley help her before another murder occurs?

Gabby St. Claire is quite a name to accompany quite a character.  I liked her, partly I think because of her slightly flippant attitude toward life and her ability to recognize her own shortcomings without taking herself too seriously.  You have the interesting neighbors, including Riley, you have the police officer she is constantly butting heads with, and you have a killer who is all about shutting Gabby up...for good.  Gabby's problem is that she has just enough background with forensic science to not know quite enough about a current investigation.  She has enough gumption of how she sees the case to constantly throw herself into the fray.  Which indirectly puts her right back into the real killer's sites.  Every.  Single.  Time.

The story was engaging and I was very entertained by it.  However, I would be remiss if I didn't also share what I saw as shortcomings.  There were a few situations that I felt were just to pat.  It seems like at every turn with every crime someone was being 'setup'.  You would think that every crime committed was always a setup. And it also seems as though at every crime scene in the story the forensic teams missed something so that Gabby could find the 'smokin gun' so to speak.  Though one crime in the story was dropped but I was never told how it really happened which drives me nuts!  And don't tell me it's a series and there's more books.  I don't see the next book going back to a previous story to wrap up the details of one crime that was pushed to the wayside before the bigger crime the story was actually about was solved.

Another thing I struggled with with the faith based part of the story.  And before you yell at me that it's a Christian book and I knew that, it's not that it was a Christian book that I had issue with.  I felt like the attempts to bring faith and God into the story were contrived.  They popped up at weird moments that didn't make a lot of sense to me and it just felt forced.  I think the faith part of the story could have been better integrated.  Just my half a nugget or so on the topic. 

All in all though I really liked the story.  Promise I did.  I would like to read more in this series as well as more by the author.  And plan to do so in the future!

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 Hazardous Duty (Squeaky Clean Mysteries #1)
About Christy Barritt
Christy Barritt is an author, freelance writer and speaker who lives in Virginia. She’s married to her Prince Charming, a man who thinks she’s hilarious–but only when she’s not trying to be. Christy’s a self-proclaimed klutz, an avid music lover who’s known for spontaneously bursting into song, and a road trip aficionado. She’s only won one contest in her life–and her prize was kissing a pig (okay, okay… actually she did win the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery for her book Suspicious Minds also). Her current claim to fame is showing off her mother, who looks just like former First Lady Barbara Bush.
When she’s not working or spending time with her family, she enjoys singing, playing the guitar, and exploring small, unsuspecting towns where people have no idea how accident prone she is.

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