Deadly Gamble: The First Charlie Parker Mystery

Rated 4.30/5 based on 10 reviews
Charlie Parker is a reluctant detective. As a partner in RJP Investigations, with her brother Ron, she really only intends to keep up the financial end of the business. He's supposed to be the investigator.

But Stacy North, Charlie's former best friend, shows up and wants help in locating a missing watch, so Charlie agrees to help. When people start dying, Charlie knows she's in deep trouble. More
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About Connie Shelton

Connie Shelton has been writing for more than twenty years and has taught writing (both fiction and nonfiction) since 2001. She is the author of the Charlie Parker mystery series and has been a contributor to several anthologies, including Chicken Soup For the Writer's Soul.

"My husband and I love to do adventures. He flew helicopters for 35 years, a career that I've borrowed from in my Charlie Parker mysteries. We have traveled quite a lot and now divide our time between the American Southwest and a place on the Sea of Cortez. For relaxation I love art -- painting and drawing can completely consume me. I also really enjoy cooking, with whatever ingredients I find in whatever country we are in at the moment. We walk every day and love watching and photographing wildlife."

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Reviews

Review by: Karen Gould on March 27, 2013 :
This is a nicely-paced light read that falls somewhere between the "cozy" and the "detective" mystery novel. Charlie Parker actually is a partner in a detective agency, but she's not really an investigator. She handles the "business" end of the agency - accounting, taxes and other necessary office management - while her brother Ron does the investigating. But when an old friend needs help, with brother Ron out of town, Charlie takes her friend's case and starts investigating on her own.

As some have noted, "Charlie Parker" isn't fully fleshed out in this book. But that's okay with me. This is the start of a "series" novel, and one thing I've learned about series novels is that they work best (for me) when the character is developed over several books. So, although "Charlie" is something of a charcoal sketch in the first book, that sketch is well done enough to satisfy me for a first-in-the-series book. Leaving something for the reader (that would be me!) to learn about Charlie in the next book (and the next, and the next), is what makes each new book engaging. I generally won't read beyond the third book if I don't see some further development in the character. Which is why I just bought the next two! I like "Charlie" a lot, and have high hopes for her future development.

This would be a five star read for its entertainment value, but I had to take off one star for the abrupt and less-than-sufficiently-foreshadowed resolution.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Kevin A. Lyons on March 23, 2013 :
A good, well written, light mystery. It's a fun and easy read -- and there are times when that's just what I need! Charlie -- short for Charlotte -- is a partner in a private investigator business with her brother. He's the P.I. and she's the accountant -- at least, that's the way it's supposed to be. But while her brother's away she gets caught up in a simple job that quickly becomes more complicated and sinister.

I'd like to know more about Charlie. For instance, I don't think her business, essentially a one-man P.I. business, really needs a full time accountant. Does she do any forensic accounting? But I guess (hope?) that's what the rest of the series is for.

Recommended for fans of light or "cozy" mysteries.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Dorothy Koch on Feb. 12, 2013 :
Well written - great characters. I'm sure I'll enjoy more of Charlie's journey into becoming a detective. Very enjoyable light read.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Donna Jaske on March 18, 2012 :
Charlie is a likeable accountant, and Stacy asks her to investigate the loss of her Rolex watch. The investigation quickly turns into a search for a murderer. Charlie’s brother runs an investigation business, but Charlie’s dog helps her more with the sleuthing than he does. It’s written in the first person (I opened the door and saw Stacy. . .) and is a very linear story with almost no surprises along the way. Too soon in the story the reader suspects who the murderer is but has to drag herself through more pages of I did this and I did that. This is an easy read for younger readers, but I don’t think they are the target reader. Give it a try if you want some easy entertainment.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Clyde Wisham on Aug. 08, 2011 :
Charlie Parker Mystery #1 is a good read. It is a little light perhaps (no really evil villains, no all-or-nothing desperate situations, just a good mystery to untangle), but light is good fare too sometimes. I like Charlie Parker and will read more of the series.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Hfpint on March 29, 2011 :
I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: rcmann on May 03, 2010 :
I also downloaded the first three books in this series for free during e-book week. I have read all three and enjoyed them very much.

The mysteries keep the reader involved in the plot; each book was different and did not follow the same set formula.

Charlie is a likeable protaganist who would rather do financial investigative work but finds herself dealing with murders occasionally. I will definitely continue to read the rest in the series.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Mickey330 on March 26, 2010 :
I enjoyed this book. The protagonist, Charlie Parker, is a likeable character and I enjoyed reading about her adventures in her first foray as an investigator (she usually preferes to do the bookkeeping in her and her brother's PI agency). But, when her ex-best-friend needs her help, Charlie steps in. This book is written in the first person and I like that the character is "normal" with no excessive self-analysis, preoccupations, angst or whining. She's just a person doing a [good] job and gets that job done. The plot was Very engrossing and there were sufficient suspects to keep me wondering "whodunit" to the end. It was also a quick read with no parts that bogged down. This is not a new book/series, but it is new to me and I am glad to find another modern detective series.

Thanks to Connie Shelton's participation in e-book week, I downloaded this novel for free. Actually, during e-book week, the first three novels in the series were free, so I downloaded them all and I'm now halfway through the second. There are 10 in all, plus a holiday novella and a new one is coming out this summer.

In fact, I liked this first novel so much that I bought the remaining books as I think I'll continue to enjoy the series. So, great marketing strategy by the author: Offer well-written books for free to try to "hook" a [new] reader. :-) So, based on this first book, I willingly fell for this strategy ... and I think they are well worth the $4.99 Smashwords price.

So, Connie, if you are reading this: Great books and thanks for the gift of the first three books!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Doug Pardee on March 25, 2010 :
This title may be fifteen years old, but other than the absence of cellphones it doesn't really show it. (Gosh, how we've come to depend on those things.)

Well-written and well-edited. A likeable character and a coherent mystery story. You can't really ask for more.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: twinsmom on March 15, 2010 :
I really enjoyed this first installment in Connie Shelton's series. It has good characters, a good plot and is very well written. Charlie Parker is very likable and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Thanks to Connie Shelton for making this title (and the next 2) available for free during Read an e-book week!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

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