Dead Birds Don't Sing is a promising start for an entertaining new mystery series that
could quickly become a must-read. Brenda M. Boldin has created a host of interesting characters, among them the steamy guitar-playing
detective Cole Armstrong, the experienced and family-oriented detective Lieutenant Anthony Morello, the mean, cold-blooded Beau Rogers, the formidable Helen Shelby, and the spunky and clever main character, Alex Masters.
Alex Masters is trying to lead a straight life. The former prostitute and heroin addict wants nothing more than to stay out of trouble and keep her nose clean. She has a decent job at a typing school and a promising lead on a job as a singer in a nightclub. While dropping off a deposit for her boss at the local bank, her world comes crashing down when she falls victim to a shooting in a bank heist. All that she has worked hard to build up begins to unravel. Detective Armstrong and his partner are sure she is withholding information from them as they begin their investigation. Their suspicion of her involvement in the robbery mounts as they begin to dig into her past and connect her to at least one of the bank robbers, the vengeful Beau. Detective Armstrong is the first to voice his suspicions of Alex's possible guilt,
and the other detectives on the investigative team follow suit. He is determined to get to the bottom of the case. Alex realizes that she is the only one who can prove her own innocence and reclaim her reputation, so she ventures back to her old hunting ground in search for the truth. The cards are against her from the beginning, and it is only a matter of time before the situation comes to a head.
The chemistry between Alex and Cole is intense. The two characters come head-to-head several times throughout the book, Alex in her stubbornness and Cole in his determination. Neither character completely trusts the other, and for good reason.
Although the novel comes across as a light mystery that will no doubt bring a smile to many readers' faces, there are some deeper undertones that the author subtlely blends into the story, including organized crime, corruption, drug abuse, prostitution, violence, Alex's past and that of some of the other characters. The author balances the dark with the light in such a way as to create a novel that makes for easy reading. Alex comes across as a strong, no-nonsense woman,
yet there is a vulnerable side to her as well. She may be hardened because of
her experience, but she is still naive in some ways.
The story moves quickly as events unfold, and while the mystery itself is relatively easy to figure out early on, just reading how the characters get to that final point and seeing what possible more trouble can come their way is enough to keep the reader turning the pages at top speed. The Alex Masters series is definitely one worth following.