Book Review: Dangerous Changes: An Emily Lazzaro Mystery by Joyce T. Strand

I absolutely love when I get sent a thriller/mystery book to review because it is my favourite genre. It just warms my heart how far Joyful Antidotes has come that I am trusted by somebody who has put hours and hours of work into their book to post a fair and honest review of it. So, I wanted to start this review by thanking Joyce T. Strand and Beck Valley Books for taking that chance with me on Dangerous Changes.

Dangerous Changes: An Emily Lazzaro Mystery by Joyce T. Strand focuses on the title character, Emily Lazzaro, as a number of strange events happen around her: she nearly gets run off the road by a maniac driver, a potential client is murdered and an ex-fiancée becomes more obsessive by the day. Will Emily be able to survive long enough to make the fresh start she wanted in her new home?

The book has a dark opening as Emily is almost killed as she drives home. This dark theme runs right through until the very end and many times left me with goosebumps. It riled a whole load of suspicion within me regarding each and every character but I never really was able to figure out the full conclusion on my own. This is the number one feature of a great mystery/thriller for me – not being able to guess the ending.

However, I think the best part of the book, and Strand’s writing, were the characters. I am not going to say that every character was likeable, but they were definitely interesting. Emily was the stand out character to me as I found her a ‘real’ person, one who is most relatable to the reader. She is just an average woman trying to find a job that she likes, make friends in a new town and deal with an overbearing ex. Sound familiar? I also liked that she was a genuinely kind person. For me, such a person doesn’t appear so often in this genre. Usually, dark books are filled with dark characters so this was a refreshing change. Not to say that there weren’t any dark characters. Emily’s ex Ed and his boss Dick really knew how to make my skin crawl.

As well as Emily, brothers Harry and Jackson are the other main characters we are introduced to more or less at the start of the book. Once they appeared, I was hoping to hear more from them and I wasn’t disappointed. Their relationship was sweet and I got some serious Of Mice and Men vibes from them (Jackson looks after Harry since a car crash which left Harry with serious brain damage and their parents dead). I felt their story provided a charming side note to everything else happening in the book.

Overall, in case you haven’t guessed, I really enjoyed this book. It was perfect for keeping the mind ticking over, but not too dark a story it left me with sleepless nights 🙂 I am certainly looking forward to what Strand has to offer next!

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I received this book through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.


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  1. Thank you for taking the time to read and provide a thoughtful review of my newest mystery. I am so pleased that you enjoyed the characters especially — and appreciated their “real-ness.” I want my characters to be relatable but strong enough to work their way through the mystery. And I do hope you enjoy the next one!

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