Monday, May 01, 2023

Blow Up by Ellen Crosby

First Line: I was standing on a hilltop surrounded by twenty-two Corinthian columns that had once graced the US Capitol when Quill Russell finally told me the truth about my husband's death-- or at least he told me part of the story.
Photojournalist Sophie Medina is out jogging with her friend, Father Jack O'Hara, on Capitol Hill when they find the body of Associate Supreme Court Justice Everett Townsend lying in the alley behind his house. Townsend, a diabetic, is barely alive and later dies in the emergency room. 

Townsend's tragic death has unexpected repercussions for Sophie when a young homeless man is murdered. Shortly before his death, the young man told Sophie a shocking story about Townsend that could have a devastating impact on the Supreme Court.

Sophie finds herself running for her life, and the only thing that can possibly save her is a photograph from a series she's been doing on the homeless people of Washington, DC. Will she be able to find it in time?


I loved the first two Sophie Medina mysteries and was disappointed when there were no more, so it's no surprise that I did a little happy dance when I learned about Blow Up. This third in the series certainly does not disappoint.

Sophie is just the sort of protagonist that I like. She's talented, smart, and caring, and has a lot to deal with in Blow Up. She's still grieving over the death of her husband, and she will continue to ask questions until she knows how he died-- no matter how much the CIA tries to stonewall her. Her beloved grandfather, a famous photographer in his own right, recently died and left a will that profoundly shocked his family. Going through his papers and photographs brings even more surprises. 

The mystery involving the death of the Supreme Court justice is strong and compelling, and although it's filled with danger for Sophie, it brings to the fore another reason why I like her so much. As a photojournalist who has covered extremely dangerous and life-threatening situations, she doesn't take unnecessary risks. When she started, her boss enrolled her in a two-week intensive course in hostile environment training, which certainly stands her in good stead. Sophie's life may be threatened in Blow Up, but it's not due to anything stupid that she's done.

After reading both her Sophie Medina series and her Wine Country mysteries, I can only say that Ellen Crosby is one of my favorite writers and deserves to be much better known. Her writing is intelligent and engaging, and not only do I get to enjoy a well-told mystery with a fine cast of characters, I learn things along the way. You can jump right into this series with Blow Up and not be the least bit confused, but don't be surprised if Sophie gets under your skin and you find yourself looking for the other two books in the series, Multiple Exposure and Ghost Image. I'm really looking forward to the next book.

Blow Up by Ellen Crosby
eISBN: 9781448308040c
Severn House © 2023
eBook, 240 pages
Amateur Sleuth, #3 Sophie Medina mystery
Rating: A
Source: Net Galley


  1. I've not read Crosby but she definitely sounds like a writer that I need to get to know.

    1. I think you would enjoy her books, Dorothy.

  2. I do like the layers in this one, Cathy. And yay for a strong female protagonist who's neither a superhero (meaning hard on the credibility) nor overly rash and reckless. Doncha love it when the latest in the series is as good as the others are?

  3. Just the fact that Sophie is a photojournalist intrigues me. It's a job I always kind of wanted.


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