Reviews for Murder in Plane Sight

A deftly crafted mystery with more plot twists and turns that a carnival roller coaster, “Murder in Plane Sight” showcases author Julie Holmes’ originality and impressive narrative storytelling skills as a novelist. An inherently riveting read made all the more plausible given the corporate corruption surrounding the Boeing 737 in the world today, “Murder in Plane Sight” will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Contemporary Murder/Suspense collections.

~ Midwest Book Review–Wisconsin Bookwatch: September 2019

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“… Ms. Holmes crafts a taut, suspenseful mystery with just the right amount of romance, murder, and mayhem. Sierra is a complicated, likeable woman, a fully formed character who is interesting to follow, and Detective Moore is a good counterpart. Most impressive is the author’s ability to convey lots of technical and procedural details clearly and without slowing down the action. Her depiction of a Minnesota winter will leave the reader feeling chilly. …this is a tight and very enjoyable mystery.”

~ InD’tale Magazine, July-August 2019

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“Dedicated mystery/crime readers know that the character at the center of the story is as important as “who dun it” and Julie Holmes gives us an unusual and interesting protagonist in her debut, “Murder in Plane Sight.” … Holmes’ writing is brisk and she keeps the action moving with clues such as a piece of jewelry left at the scene. She tells the reader just enough information about Sierra’s job without becoming bogged down in too much technical stuff. And unlike some stories about women in male-dominated fields, Sierra is treated with respect by her co-workers, except for one jerk. (And there is always a jerk, isn’t there?) The book’s cover says “A Sierra Bauer Mystery,” so we can assume this is the first in a series.

At heart this is a “cozy,” a mystery sub-genre that used to be characterized by an amateur sleuth becoming involved in murder in a bucolic setting. Now we have a protagonist/sleuth who does everything from “changing starter/generators to rigging engine control units to troubleshooting electrical problems. Even the occasional riveting job and fuel valve change added variety that kept things interesting.””

~ Mary Ann Grossman, St Paul Pioneer Press, July 27, 2019

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Julie Holmes hits all the right entertainment notes in this debut novel introducing protagonist Sierra Bauer. Bauer is an airplane mechanic at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, and as such she’s meticulous, smart, scrappy, and tenacious—perfect qualities when solving crimes and handling the male-centric world of airplane mechanics. She also doesn’t like people leaving dead bodies around for her to clean up. Murder In Plane Sight is a roller-coaster for Bauer and readers who will enjoy the suspenseful action, tender moments, and the heart-pounding cliffhangers that had this reader turning pages rather swiftly. A tragic backstory contributes to the jeopardy for Bauer. The author has created Bauer’s perfect partner for solving crimes, too, in the character of Detective Quinn Moore—a professional with a passel of secrets and pain in his background. Moore gets plenty of scenes from his point-of-view, a technique that adds to the momentum in this novel. The pairing of Moore and Bauer—and the excellent writing craft—amount to one heck of a great novel debut.

New suspense author Julie Holmes has me hooked.

~ Christine DeSmet, mystery author, writing coach, and writing retreat director, University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Studies

I’ve been waiting for Ms. Holmes debut novel and wasn’t disappointed! I love a good mystery, but along with that, there was romance and a strong female character. Sierra being an airline mechanic was fascinating and I enjoyed learning some of the details of what goes into keeping a plane flying. Those elements really brought Sierra to life for me, along with the burdens she carried from her past. The detective, Quinn, who was investigating the murder, was flawed from a past relationship. His determination to find the truth, even with his attraction to Sierra, made for an interesting internal conflict. I liked the chemistry between Sierra and Quinn, but I kept hoping they would take better care of themselves–sleep more. To find out what would happen next, I’d stay up way past my bedtime and end up being just as tired as the characters. I look forward to the next book in this series and recommend this new author.

~ D. L. Finn, author of The Button, and This Second Chance

In this strong debut novel, Julie Holmes introduces us to Sierra Bauer, an airline mechanic who uncovers the body of the woman she blames form her brother’s death. The author is clearly knowledgable of the airline industry, and also knows how to twist a good mystery into an intricately-layered plot. There are multiple characters, multiple motives, a shady stalker, and a dedicated cop who finds himself falling for Sierra while protecting her. Both Quinn and Sierra are excellent characters and their romance serves to further enhance the mystery.

Sierra is particularly strong, having to overcome obstacles in a field dominated by men. She is focused and determined, but she also harbors shadows in her past, that resurface to haunt her. Holmes does a fabulous job of tying up all the loose ends when the conclusion rolls around, while weaving in several surprises along the way. An excellent start to a new series.

~ Mae Clair, author of the Point Pleasant trilogy

I love romance and I love mystery. How could I not be happy with a book that delivers both?

In this debut novel by Julie Holmes, we meet Sierra Bauer, a talented airplane mechanic in a male-dominated world. This character is multi-faceted and complex. Not only is her career an unconventional choice, she has a dark and tragic backstory that makes the reader really feel for her. Then her past and present collide in the form of a murder mystery that jeopardizes her future.

Detective Quinn Moore is tasked with investigating the murder, and Sierra’s name keeps coming up at every turn. His gut tells him she didn’t do it, but can he trust his instincts when his heart seems to have an opinion of its own? He has his own sad backstory that tortures him, and that made him irresistible to me. Apparently to Sierra, too.

I’m not sure if I tore through the pages so fast because I wanted the answer to the mystery or because I wanted to see if they got together. I won’t reveal the answer to either, but I assure you the characters aren’t the only reason read this novel. The plot is an intricately-woven thrill, and the author did a fantastic job of making airplane maintenance understandable to this layperson—and how it fits into the mystery was exciting to watch unfold.

Kudos to the author for soaring sky-high in her debut work.

~ Staci Troilo, author of the Medici Protectorate

Sierra Bauer is an aircraft mechanic who finds a dead woman while servicing a plane’s engine. The body is curled in a tight spot appropriately called the hell hole. The victim is someone Sierra knew, and they have some bad history. Quinn Moore is the detective on the case, and everywhere he turns, Sierra comes up as a suspect. The attraction between the two is immediate, but neither is ready for a relationship. Not to mention, it complicates the investigation.

The chemistry between Sierra and Quinn felt authentic, and I liked the way Quinn struggled with his feelings and his duty to his job. Both characters are 3-dimensional, consistent, and emotionally complex. I enjoyed the push and pull between them as they worked to solve the case. I found the secondary characters equally realistic and compelling. Dialog was natural and each character had a distinct personality.

Holmes did a great job with the details of aircraft repair and the behind-the-scenes workings of an airport. Her knowledge was key in building the book’s sense of authenticity, and I completely fell for it. Action was great and the pace was fantastic throughout. This page-turner is cohesive, well-plotted, and wrapped up nicely in the end. Murder in Plane Sight has a satisfying blend of mystery, thriller, and romance, and I highly recommend it.

~ D. Wallace Peach, author of The Rose Shield tetralogy

Julie Holmes debut novel, Murder in Plane Sight (Camel Pr 2019) is a high octane story of murder in the little-known world of airplane maintenance. Twenty-five-year-old Sierra Bauer is petite, beautiful, and highly respected at what is usually considered the male job of airplane repair and maintenance: “Sierra, the only female A& P on Range Airline’s payroll, earned their respect by working her ass off in a male-dominated field.”

She’s happy working in a man’s world and cuts herself no slack for the work’s physical demands or technical requirements. She finds the challenge a good respite from a violent boyfriend now in jail, a brother killed just when he was trying to put his life back together, and her complete lack of a boyfriend she can trust. Her predictable safe life becomes complicated when a murdered ‘rampie’ (a person who works ramps at an airport) she holds at least partially responsible for the death of her brother is found dead in a plane she is tasked with repairing. The mutual attraction between her and Quinn Moore, the detective from the MSP Airport Police Department assigned to the murder is complicated when she becomes one of the top suspects, forcing her to figure out not only why she wouldn’t have done it but what the technical clues–only obvious to someone familiar with planes–mean. As if this isn’t enough, Sierra’s ex-boyfriend has been released from prison with a chip on his shoulder and a burning need to get even with her for how she treated him.

This is an engaging romantic murder mystery that deftly blends a growing love interest into a tantalizing murder mystery. I’ve never been involved the world of airplane maintenance and the author clearly knows exactly what she’s talking about.

“…how to pull the fucking prop nose cone. I’d like to see her work on a Fokker prop. You need a six-foot torque wrench to tighten the nut on a Fokker…”

The story is well-paced, the plot deftly developed, and the characters engaging. It’s hard to imagine this is Holmes first novel. I’m glad it’s a series because I’m looking for the next.

~ Jacqui Murray, author of Born in a Treacherous Time, and Survival of the Fittest

Julie Holmes shares a wealth of knowledge from her former job as an aircraft mechanic in this novel, which also addresses the challenges of a female mechanic as she takes her place in a mostly male dominated career choice. Sierra Bauer is a great female character who shows strength, determination, and grit as she addressed past tragedies and present threats to her life. The plot twists in this book were exciting, numerous and it made for a great read!

~ Fay Wallin

Author Julie Holmes’ has created a strong debut novel with Murder in Plane Sight. Sierra Bauer is an airplane mechanic who discovers a body in the “hell hole” of a Dash-8 aircraft. Airport police detective Quinn Moore is sent to investigate.

When Quinn learns the victim’s identity, he discovers Sierra knew the person and blamed her for her brother’s death a year earlier. Against regulations, he brings Sierra into the investigation even though she’s on the suspect list. Hence the amateur sleuth.

However, this is not your typical cozy mystery. The crime, although not “shown” in the book is violent. There is also sex and language that aren’t typically found in cozies.

The storyline is compelling, and if you can get past the technical details of airplane mechanics, the action picks up and brings about a satisfying ending. I suspect we’ll be seeing more of Sierra in future novels.

~ Joan Hall, author of the Driscoll Lake series

A strong debut mystery novel with a unique protagonist and a romance that complicates the investigation. Sierra Bauer is a rare phenomenon–a female airplane mechanic. She finds a body in the wheel well of an airplane she’s servicing. Complications ensue when she finds herself attracted to the investigating airport police detective, Quinn Moore.

Moore is also attracted to Bauer, and it threatens to mess up the investigation due to conflicts of interest. Plus, based on her past history, Moore isn’t convinced Bauer is not the murderer. The author gets into the feelings of Bauer and Moore equally well, showing their doubts, concerns and undeniable attraction to each other.

Pacing is good, plot is solid if slightly predictable since there are only a few “reasonable” suspects, but we care enough about Bauer and Moore that straight ahead plot is not an issue. I’ll be curious to see what Sierra Bauer’s next case turns out to be.

~ Chris Norbury, award-winning author of Straight River, and Castle Danger

Murder In Plane Sight, the debut novel by Minnesota author Julie Holmes, is a suspense-filled mystery with a compelling plot, vivid settings, and appealing characters. Young aircraft mechanic Sierra Bauer opens the book with the proverbial Worst Day Ever, encountering the stalker whose attack, six years earlier, left her emotionally and physically scarred, and then discovering a dead body, stuffed into the service compartment of a plane she’s working on. Sierra joins forces with MSP airport police detective Quinn Moore, their efforts complicated by a growing romantic attraction to each other. Further problems arise from the reappearance of the stalker, more murders and attacks, a meddling FAA representative, a shady aircraft maintenance company, and evidence pointing to Sierra herself as a suspect. Sierra and Quinn’s efforts eventually lead to a surprising and satisfying resolution. Sierra is a strong, resourceful character, and readers will look forward to her reappearance in the next installment in this series.

~ Brian Lutterman, author of the Pen Wilkinson series

Women are capable of great things, and Sierra Bauer is no different. Stick a woman smack dab in the middle of a man’s world and you know things are going to pop. Through Sierra Bauer, Julie Holmes introduces us to her world as a former airline mechanic.

Recovering from an abusive ex-boyfriend, plus her brother’s death from an airplane crash would be a test of the strongest person but add Sierra Bauer finding a dead woman in one of the planes she’s servicing leads to an interesting mystery.

Not only did I like the mystery, but I learned many new things about the fabric of what it takes to keep our airplanes running and in the air. The descriptions the author provide makes it easy for the reader to understand the job of a mechanic and the tricks bad weather can play in their maintenance.

I always feel a book is a success if a writer communicates character traits that pull us into their lives, giving us insight to the underlying reason for their behaviors. Julie Holmes does that.

I gave this book five stars. It has mystery, romance, is well written and gives an accurate portrayal of Minnesota winters. It might make some of you into actually want to experience the mystery of the white stuff too. Or maybe make you a snowbird forever. Thank you for an enjoyable reads.

~ Julie Seedorf, author of the Fuschia, Minnesota Mysteries