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Murder is a Family Business

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Just because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark and handsome, is that any reason to kill him? The reluctant and quirky PI, Lee Alvarez doesn't think so. But the 34-year old Latina, WASP and 100% detective has her work cut out for her when the man is murdered on her watch. Of all the nerve. Set in the present, Murder is a Family Business is the Just because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark and handsome, is that any reason to kill him? The reluctant and quirky PI, Lee Alvarez doesn't think so. But the 34-year old Latina, WASP and 100% detective has her work cut out for her when the man is murdered on her watch. Of all the nerve. Set in the present, Murder is a Family Business is the first in a series of humorous mysteries revolving around Lee Alvarez, and rest of the Alvarez Family, detectives all. Seemingly light and frothy on the surface, the novel nevertheless explores familial love, the good, the bad and the annoying. Completing the family is Lee's Never-Had-A-Bad-Hair-Day aristocratic mother, Lila; computer genius brother, Richard; beloved uncle "Tio;" and her energetic orange and white cat, Tugger. When this group is not solving murders, they run Discretionary Inquiries, a successful Silicon Valley agency that normally deals with the theft of computer software. The love, humor and camaraderie shared within this family are what set this series apart from others.


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Just because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark and handsome, is that any reason to kill him? The reluctant and quirky PI, Lee Alvarez doesn't think so. But the 34-year old Latina, WASP and 100% detective has her work cut out for her when the man is murdered on her watch. Of all the nerve. Set in the present, Murder is a Family Business is the Just because a man cheats on his wife and makes Danny DeVito look tall, dark and handsome, is that any reason to kill him? The reluctant and quirky PI, Lee Alvarez doesn't think so. But the 34-year old Latina, WASP and 100% detective has her work cut out for her when the man is murdered on her watch. Of all the nerve. Set in the present, Murder is a Family Business is the first in a series of humorous mysteries revolving around Lee Alvarez, and rest of the Alvarez Family, detectives all. Seemingly light and frothy on the surface, the novel nevertheless explores familial love, the good, the bad and the annoying. Completing the family is Lee's Never-Had-A-Bad-Hair-Day aristocratic mother, Lila; computer genius brother, Richard; beloved uncle "Tio;" and her energetic orange and white cat, Tugger. When this group is not solving murders, they run Discretionary Inquiries, a successful Silicon Valley agency that normally deals with the theft of computer software. The love, humor and camaraderie shared within this family are what set this series apart from others.

30 review for Murder is a Family Business

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    Liana Alvarez, private investigator for the family owned and run company Discretionary Inquiries, was wet, cold and miserable. She was in the storm without shelter while she was staking out the warehouse – her mother and head of DI, Lila, had specifically requested Lee do this stake out even though the company normally handled software issues. The person she was to keep an eye out for was the husband of Lila’s long-time friend and she wanted it kept quiet. But when Lee discovered the body of her Liana Alvarez, private investigator for the family owned and run company Discretionary Inquiries, was wet, cold and miserable. She was in the storm without shelter while she was staking out the warehouse – her mother and head of DI, Lila, had specifically requested Lee do this stake out even though the company normally handled software issues. The person she was to keep an eye out for was the husband of Lila’s long-time friend and she wanted it kept quiet. But when Lee discovered the body of her person of interest, her shock was immense… Richard, Lee’s brother and the computer genius of the company was involved in the search for clues – Lee’s curious nature meant she couldn’t leave it to the police and Richard had everything he needed at his fingertips. The new kitten which Lee had named Tugger was being cared for during Lee’s working days by her favourite person, Tio who had just moved to be with the family after losing his wife. But that curious nature of Lee’s was headed toward catastrophe – the danger she had no idea she was heading into was just around the corner. There was much more to this murder than the Alvarez family realised – would they be safe? Or would there be more bodies on the horizon? Murder is a Family Business by Heather Haven is the first in The Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series and it was great! With laugh out loud moments, it was a highly entertaining read which was fast paced while I tried to figure out who the “baddie” was. Family love and loyalty was the dominant feature in this novel and it’s one I recommend highly. I love the cover as well :)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I've slowly managed to collect most (if not all) the books in the The Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series as they pop up as Kindle freebies so I figured it was about time I actually read one of them. And...it was okay. There is a lot of potential here. The main character is a 34-year-old Latina who owns part of a business and usually solves white collar crime. Strong family dynamics, cute kitten, and a potentially sexy love interest all check the boxes for a good cozy mystery series. It is just. I've slowly managed to collect most (if not all) the books in the The Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series as they pop up as Kindle freebies so I figured it was about time I actually read one of them. And...it was okay. There is a lot of potential here. The main character is a 34-year-old Latina who owns part of a business and usually solves white collar crime. Strong family dynamics, cute kitten, and a potentially sexy love interest all check the boxes for a good cozy mystery series. It is just...none of them fit smoothly together. Scenes feel disjointed. At the 30% mark our heroine suddenly announces she's got a closet full of designer clothes and we're thrown into a litany of how rich she is and how she casually donates name brands to women's shelters. The next scene involves her at work and the reader is plunged into an oddly detailed account of how she listens to voice messages, responds to e-mails, and schedules lunch with her mother. (Though we never actually see her DO work.) She spends about as much time (if not more) trying to figure out what to name the stray cat she picked up as she does trying to solve the murder. None of the details actually push the murder plot very far and all the random tangents left me bored. We literally get a play by play every time she buys a new toy for her cat, or calls her uncle, or thinks about buying new shoes. I think the details are supposed to humanize the heroine, but it mostly made her come across as a vaguely irritating snob who only buys her jewelry hand-made in Mexico. The murderer is painfully obvious immediately and nothing really changes. The only interesting twist involves the love interest...(view spoiler)[and we all know Cozy Mystery Love Interests May Be Misunderstood But Never Evil. (hide spoiler)] At any rate, I might give the sequel a chance to win my heart because this is rough enough that I could see the author improving with time. But unless things drastically improve, I'll also probably pass if I see another freebie come up in the series.

  3. 4 out of 5

    P. Zoro

    The Alvarez family is involved in Discretionary Investigations, but definitely not of the nature Mrs. Wyler has hired them for. She suspects her husband is having an affair and sets them on his trail. They are only doing this because she is a family friend. But what begins as an investigation of a gallivanting husband turns into a life threatening adventure for Liana where murder, human trafficking, greed and obsessions are revealed as we try to find out who committed the ultimate crime of killi The Alvarez family is involved in Discretionary Investigations, but definitely not of the nature Mrs. Wyler has hired them for. She suspects her husband is having an affair and sets them on his trail. They are only doing this because she is a family friend. But what begins as an investigation of a gallivanting husband turns into a life threatening adventure for Liana where murder, human trafficking, greed and obsessions are revealed as we try to find out who committed the ultimate crime of killing Mr. Portor Wyler. The story is well written and interesting. I got lost in descriptions in some places where I felt the pace had slackened. But overall, I liked the way the writer kept me busy wondering who could have killed the man and the exposition of the culprit right at the end was a clever twist. I would recommend the book to all lovers of mystery, investigations and excellent writing.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lin Holmes

    Whenever a kitty graces the cover of a book, I am drawn like metal shavings to a magnet. Would, I found myself wondering, the story peak with the cover? No, actually it is a high octane ride for Lee Alvarez. Sent by her upper-crusty Mom and CEO of their family's Detective agency to...gulp...spy on a cheating hubby...in the middle of virtually nowhere...Sorry I know there are those among us who don't think an abandoned warehouse is nowhere, but not me...she is so not happy. Her happy'o'meter sinks Whenever a kitty graces the cover of a book, I am drawn like metal shavings to a magnet. Would, I found myself wondering, the story peak with the cover? No, actually it is a high octane ride for Lee Alvarez. Sent by her upper-crusty Mom and CEO of their family's Detective agency to...gulp...spy on a cheating hubby...in the middle of virtually nowhere...Sorry I know there are those among us who don't think an abandoned warehouse is nowhere, but not me...she is so not happy. Her happy'o'meter sinks even lower when instinct tells her she needs to check on the level of inaction going on when the car of her watchee is still there. Murder. Right under her attentive...okay, from a distance, eye? No way was she going to let this go. Murder Is a Family Business is one of those books you want to end so you can find out whodunnit, but once it's done can't help wanting more. Luckily this is book ONE of a series and Book two is now out and I am just itching to have a free evening to immerse myself in the amazing world of Lee and her newly acquired fellow sleuth and purring side-kick Tugger.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tara Chevrestt

    There's a lot to like about this story. You got a 34 year old strong Latina woman, Lee Alvarez with a closet full of designer clothes, a classic car, and a kitten named Tugger (cause he tugs on your heartstrings.) Plus, this chick is a P.I. and part owner of an elite investigative company that specializes in computer and technology and theft and.. stuff. That stuff rarely includes stake outs on cheating husbands, but because of a special request from a friend of the family, Lee finds herself on There's a lot to like about this story. You got a 34 year old strong Latina woman, Lee Alvarez with a closet full of designer clothes, a classic car, and a kitten named Tugger (cause he tugs on your heartstrings.) Plus, this chick is a P.I. and part owner of an elite investigative company that specializes in computer and technology and theft and.. stuff. That stuff rarely includes stake outs on cheating husbands, but because of a special request from a friend of the family, Lee finds herself on one and the cheating husband being spied upon winds up dead. No, she didn't do it.. But events that follow have others thinking she did.. To read full review, please click the link: http://wwwbookbabe.blogspot.com/2011/...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Scot

    A light quick read targeting female readers who want to indulge fantasies of being rich enough to keep $10,000 in your trunk just in case you need it as well as rescuing stray kittens and also like to read a lot of details about shopping or fashion selections. I read it for the Bay area setting. Characters' conversations aren't always realistic and characters tend to be shallow stereotypes--doting uncle, no-nonsense businesswoman mom, computer nerd brother. The heroine is supposed to be a quirky A light quick read targeting female readers who want to indulge fantasies of being rich enough to keep $10,000 in your trunk just in case you need it as well as rescuing stray kittens and also like to read a lot of details about shopping or fashion selections. I read it for the Bay area setting. Characters' conversations aren't always realistic and characters tend to be shallow stereotypes--doting uncle, no-nonsense businesswoman mom, computer nerd brother. The heroine is supposed to be a quirky because she is half hot blooded Latina and half old money aristocracy from San Francisco. She lives and works in Palo Alto.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joy Stricklin

    Enjoyable Really enjoyed the book. “Lee” was a fun character that I wanted to warn about her decisions before she took action.

  8. 4 out of 5

    The Project

    I don’t know that I would really call Murder is a Family Business a romance. It’s really more of a detective story, but that certainly didn’t stop it from being fabulous. I’m actually pretty excited to read the next couple of books in the series (book two is due in May and book three is in the process of being written). This was a nice change from all of the romance I’ve been reading lately. I fell in love with this book within the first few pages. Family plays a huge part in the plot, and what I don’t know that I would really call Murder is a Family Business a romance. It’s really more of a detective story, but that certainly didn’t stop it from being fabulous. I’m actually pretty excited to read the next couple of books in the series (book two is due in May and book three is in the process of being written). This was a nice change from all of the romance I’ve been reading lately. I fell in love with this book within the first few pages. Family plays a huge part in the plot, and what a family it is. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much – the characters are very reminiscent of my own family, at least personality wise. So here’s the gist of the story: the Alvarez family runs a private detective agency, focusing on crimes of software piracy. They are asked by a family friend to investigate her husband, and so they branch out from their typical case load. The story is told from the point of view of Lee, the Alvarez daughter, who has a tendency to jump into things without necessarily thinking of the consequences. Her internal monologues are like something straight out of an episode of Gilmore Girls (one of my favorite shows ever, so please, take that as a compliment). Even at the more serious moments in the book, Lee would think something that would have me laughing. Like I said, the Alvarez family makes up the cast of characters. There’s Lila, the 100% WASP, would fit in perfectly on a New England estate, mother, who somehow manages to maintain her composure, hairstyle, and keep her pearls in place even in the face of danger. Then there’s Richard, the slightly eccentric computer genius, who would probably live in his mother’s basement if he didn’t have a trust fund. And finally there’s the lovable uncle, Tio Mateo. Throw in an overprotective police detective, a few illegal Chinese immigrants, a colorful diner waitress, and a girl whose taste in hats makes Lady Gaga’s fashion choices seem mainstream, and you’ve got yourself quite the adventure. For me, this was a great book. The writing was clever and I couldn’t stop laughing. This is the perfect beach book. And I’m actually pretty excited that the second book in the series comes out just as I’m planning to head to the beach in May. I can’t wait to see the antics of the Alvarez family continue. --Laura, The One Hundred Romances Project

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lonnie

    This was a step above a cozy mystery, with more action then you usually get in those books. It was sharp and funny, and I really enjoyed it. Can’t wait to see what the Alvarez family is drawn into next time!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    The fact that the title is capitalized wrong does not get this book off to a good start. Other than that it is somewhat better edited than the other book in the series that I read and doesn't have the fatal flaw. But I just didn't like it all that much. It doesn't have that mystery feel to it despite having the dead body. The main character acts like an idiot on more than one occasion and I really didn't like her very much. For all her claims not to care about the fancy clothes, she seems far to The fact that the title is capitalized wrong does not get this book off to a good start. Other than that it is somewhat better edited than the other book in the series that I read and doesn't have the fatal flaw. But I just didn't like it all that much. It doesn't have that mystery feel to it despite having the dead body. The main character acts like an idiot on more than one occasion and I really didn't like her very much. For all her claims not to care about the fancy clothes, she seems far too obsessed with the clothing details and uses terminology that doesn't match the attempted characterization. I also found the solution ridiculously obvious and much of her "detection" was coincidence. (view spoiler)[And what was Grace doing at the warehouse the day after the murder when no one else was there? It makes no sense really. The author needed her there so she could be detected, but there is no logical reason for her presence! (hide spoiler)]

  11. 5 out of 5

    J. Ewbank

    This book by Haven is a pleasant read. The heroine is someone you would really like to know because her life is so interesting. Plot and characters come together nicely in this book. Enjoy. J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the Isms" "Wesley's Wars" and "To Whom It May Concern"

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tulay

    Not my kind of mystery. Murder, how rich they are and lots of Spanish. Funny, some parts tense. Relationship between mother and daughter written well, most people will relate to it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    April

    2.75 stars Mildly entertaining read of a wealthy family in the PI business. This book focuses on the eldest, Liana. Lee tries to act like she's down-to-earth but knows fashion and repeatedly grieves for a pair of ruined boots. That doesn't mean she or the others aren't likeable ... they just aren't characters that immediately grab your attention but might over time. I figured out the culprit as soon as the snippet of evidence was introduced so am surprised it took Lee as long as it did for everyt 2.75 stars Mildly entertaining read of a wealthy family in the PI business. This book focuses on the eldest, Liana. Lee tries to act like she's down-to-earth but knows fashion and repeatedly grieves for a pair of ruined boots. That doesn't mean she or the others aren't likeable ... they just aren't characters that immediately grab your attention but might over time. I figured out the culprit as soon as the snippet of evidence was introduced so am surprised it took Lee as long as it did for everything to click. Hopefully she will get better as the series progresses.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jen Lynn

    This book wasn't horrible... it just wasn't good either. There was too much about clothing, being rich, etc for my taste. That could have been toned down a lot and still could have made its point. The story line itself was too far fetched and didn't make much sense. I wasn't a fan of the characters. I guess the only thing that I liked was that it kept my interest long enough to finish it, and it was an easy read. I'll skip the rest of the series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cat

    Enjoyable cozy mystery with an interesting twist on the genre--the heroine is a professional investigator, but usually investigates white-collar crime rather than violent.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cheri Davis

    Great resource ead Funny Fast paced. Couldn't put it down. Great characters. Really enjoyed. My new favorite author. Lots of twists and turns

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Good book You people should just read this book yourselves and write your own review on this novel yourself and I really enjoyed reading this book very much so. Shelley MA

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary Dixon

    Clever whodunit The whole family is clever and witty, the subject is important and modern, what more could be wanted? Read this page turner soon.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dinnl

    3.5 stars. I enjoyed the story and the heroine. The clue to the killer was seen by the reader long before the heroine caught on.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Judy Boegler

    Murder is a family affair It kept me interested to the end. Though I knew who the killer was half way through the book, I still wanted to know what happened.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dianne Lovato

    Terrific I see a great series ahead. The people are believable and interesting. Look forward to reading more. Love the descriptions of the clothes.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Peggy

    Moving story line The book was well written with a story line that was well developed. The hooks and turns were well done and the whodunit was pretty well woven in.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kim Ramelli

    Just fun and very frank cozy mystery

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pati

    A bit too wordy. Needed some editing but the story was good.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Liz Whelan

    Loved the Book. Lots of Intrigues & Love within a Family. I recommend this Series. Loved the Book. Lots of Intrigues & Love within a Family. I recommend this Series.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rizello

    I started the book but couldn't finish. There just wasn't anything gripping or likeable about the characters that kept me going.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Isaac (Ike) Standifird

    Great story written with too much attention to froth.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Christine Hayes

    was good.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Ok, so I bought the box set, but am writing the reviews separately. This is my first book by the author and I have to admit, I really liked Lee and team. The family dynamics were definitely odd, but they were also loyal. Lee has always felt closer to her father, with her brother Richard being their mom's favorite, but she also knew that her mom loves her. However, Lila was also her boss and when it came to work, she ran a tight ship. In this first book, Lee is not working her typical tech case. A Ok, so I bought the box set, but am writing the reviews separately. This is my first book by the author and I have to admit, I really liked Lee and team. The family dynamics were definitely odd, but they were also loyal. Lee has always felt closer to her father, with her brother Richard being their mom's favorite, but she also knew that her mom loves her. However, Lila was also her boss and when it came to work, she ran a tight ship. In this first book, Lee is not working her typical tech case. As a favor to a friend, Lila has Lee trailing the husband of an old friend which results in her spending the evening outside, in a storm, getting drenched while said husband is murdered in the warehouse Lee happens to be watching. Lee's only potential suspect for the murder is the woman she sees leaving the building, a talented dancer, or ballerina. Something Lee had aspired to, but was never quite good enough to pursue career-wise. Turns out the husband wasn't a stand up guy, and was involved in some pretty shady business. One where Lee almost finds herself following in his footsteps and dead.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    In Murder is a Family Business, Liana "Lee" Alvarez is a 34-year-old half-Latina and half-WASP private investigator. When the man she was following turns up dead, she sets out to find his killer while trying to convince the police that she had nothing to do with the crime. She's not alone in her tasks. There's also her mother, Lila, who's the CEO of Discretionary Inquiries Inc. and as feisty as they come and her slightly geeky and eccentric brother, Richard, who's employed by the company as the In Murder is a Family Business, Liana "Lee" Alvarez is a 34-year-old half-Latina and half-WASP private investigator. When the man she was following turns up dead, she sets out to find his killer while trying to convince the police that she had nothing to do with the crime. She's not alone in her tasks. There's also her mother, Lila, who's the CEO of Discretionary Inquiries Inc. and as feisty as they come and her slightly geeky and eccentric brother, Richard, who's employed by the company as the technical guy to help her out. Lee's lovable uncle Tio, an adorable kitten named Tugger and a handful of police officers round out the cast of characters. I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun read with lots of humorous scenes. The mystery was pretty good and the characters were memorable. Haven does a lot of scene setting in this book as it's the first in a new series. She also spends lots of time introducing the characters and their relationships allowing the reader to get to know the characters really well. As far as the mystery goes, she kept me guessing right until the very end as to who the murder was. As I said above the characters in the book are memorable. Liana/Lee is such a great character. She's not your typical PI either. She does her job while remaining glamorous in her high-priced wardrobe. For me, Tio and Tugger stole every scene they were in. Tio showed great compassion for both Liana and Tugger. I'd love to have him as my uncle. I also enjoyed reading about Lila, Liana's mother. She was feisty and fun to read about. The only thing that bothered me about the book was the format in which I read it. The PDF format didn't enlarge well on my Sony Reader. The misaligned format threw off my reading rhythm. The book is quite short (183 pages), however it still took be awhile to read it awhile to read it because of this. Recommended. I'd love to read the next book in the series. For more information about this book or to purchase it, please visit the MuseItUp website. The book can also be purchased from Amazon.com. For more information about the author and her book, please visit Heather's website or her her blog. For more information about the virtual book tour, please visit the Pump Up Your Book website. I'd like to thank Cheryl at Pump Up Your Book for this review copy. Murder is a Family Business by Heather Haven, MuseItUp Publishing, ©2011. ISBN 9780986587597(eBook), 183p.

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