Jade O'Reilly and the Mysterious Musician

Jade O'Reilly and the Mysterious Musician - Tamara Ward Solid 3-3.5Solid is a good descriptive word for what I've read in the Jade O'Reilly series so far. Sometimes Jade irritates me in that she's easily agitated and irritated (especially by her brothers about her ex-fiancee Dale and by her co-worker Mack), but then I remember that Jade is only in her early-to-mid 20s. She's got some growing up to do, and I expect that's what this series is about, too.Jade does seem to learn about herself in this short story - how to put the past aside and move on. She's able to use that new found wisdom as part of solving this case. The "mysterious musician" is a helluva bass player, but he's very young. The name he gave the band he joined in Sweetwater, Brad Harris, isn't his real name. He said he was enrolled in a local veterinary school, but Jade can't find any proof of that. It's a real puzzler, until Jade finally stumbles onto a way to get the piece of information she needs to solve the mystery.In the meantime, Jade is falling for the new Sweetwater PD detective, Keith. It looks like the relationship is progressing slowly - the two actually have a date in this book and share a few kisses and cuddles. Everything is very PG, including language, so it's a safe read for anyone. In fact, these stories seem to be the PG version of Stephanie Plum - there's still some relationship drama, but not nearly the language, sex, or fluffiness that is Stephanie Plum. But there's a whimsical aspect to these books that reminds me somewhat of the Plum series. However, I respect Jade more than Stephanie.The specter of her ex-fiancee Dale Pickles keeps haunting her, though. Not only has her brother Connor hired Dale to work on the other room above their garage, only accessible through Jade's apartment, but someone at her local hangout, The Shack, keeps vandalizing Jade's Jeep. First, a nasty B-word is scratched so heavily into the door that it requires major work, then tires keep mysteriously getting knifed or slashed. Jade knows it has something to do with how the townspeople think she's horrid for calling it off with Dale - most think she's still leading him on - but Jade can't be sure who is causing the damage.Everything wraps up nicely, though.My only nits would be that these stories take awhile to get going. Maybe that's because Jade seems to take some time to get her brain in gear and come up with solutions and angles to solve her mysteries. I can't tell if she's supposed to be processing her own emotional and psychological past so much that she can't see the forest for the trees, or if I'm just an impatient reader.Overall, though, these are good reads. If you're a mystery fan and you like a fairly strong female lead, give Jade O'Reilly a try.