Synopsis from Goodreads: Trouble seems to follow Buzz Miller, and this time it finds her outside the town of White Bass Lake, Wisconsin, where the dead body of a neighbor woman turns up stashed under her mother’s house! The retired detective is reluctantly roped into finding out “who dunnit.”
In order to snag the bad guy, Buzz, along with her Biology teacher sister Mag, “The Maggot” Miller, have only to find the murderer by following the trail of a dead horse, uncovering the illegal importation of rare plants, breaking up an international drug trafficking ring, uncovering a designer drug lab, and avoid being bumped off by the bad guys.
Simple enough, right? That is, until her mom’s wacky “Geriatric S.W.A.T. Team” cronies turn the crime scene into a neighborhood barbeque and Buzz’s 160 pound Newfoundland chews up most of her initial investigation!
After a shoot out at the Not-So-OK-Corral, Buzz has to explain to Sheriff Green why his only solid suspect was now pushing up daisies while lying dead in the petunias!
Source: Author for a fair and honest review
My Rating: 5/5 stars
My Review: Let’s just call a spade a spade: I’m a funny person and I know funny when I see, hear, or read it. I also hate being told something is funny and/or good and it turns out not to be. I was told Gale Borger’s Totally Buzzed was quite funny and no one lied to me about this! The first Miller Sister’s Mystery, Totally Buzzed is an excellent read that is both funny and very cleverly written.
As a reader I’m generally looking for solid and interesting characters, witty in a book, right? Borger delivers on all fronts! Totally Buzzed opens with two chapters of introduction: the introduction of the Miller clan and the introduction of the dead body that sets up the entire novel. There were several moments in these first two chapters that I laughed out loud. In many ways, these two inspired introductory chapters set the tone for the entire novel. Here’s the skinny: news travels fast in a small town and before the Miller sister’s know it, the entire town is gathered (with food) at the Miller’s to check out the dead lady. From this point forward, Borger weaves a fascinating tale of murder, champion horses, exotic plants, drug running, and a little romance on the side. All of which features two of the four Miller sisters, Buzz (DUH) and Maggie.
While it may seem like none of these elements really go together, Borger makes them work in an interesting and convincing fashion; nothing feels forced or out of place. It helps immensely that Borger knows how to write good dialogue: the story moves forward through the dialogue and the interaction between the characters rather than the author simply explaining everything. Each and every character, both major and minor, has distinct characteristics and personalities that the reader can really grab on too. With the exception of the bad guys, there is really not a character in the book that is not likable or the very least interesting. Again, to beat a dead horse, this is accomplished through the author’s ability to write good dialogue.
Where Borger really grabbed my attention was in her attention to detail and how she presents that detail. Very often authors fail to realize that their readers are not experts in every field imaginable; their failure lies in the fact that they try to inundate the reader with details that are complicated and, to be frank, boring. Borger does not fall into this trap! She easily and simply explains the details of the case so that the reader is intrigued rather than put off. By novel’s end, the reader has learned a little something about police work and forensic botany – both of which are punctuated by scenes of humor and budding (HA!) romance.
The Bottom Line: Totally Buzzed is a very entertaining and satisfying read. None of my questions about the characters or the plot were left unanswered and the ending was absolutely perfect. There wasn’t a rush to the end to tie everything up in four pages. In fact, Borger took her time with a wonderfully paced unraveling of events that explained everything.