Title: Déjà Moo (Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum #3) by Kirsten Weiss
Genre: Currently #10266 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publication Date: To be released March 8, 2018
Source: Midnight Ink and NetGalley
Title and Cover: Deja Moo – Inventive title-compelling cover
San Benedetto, a small town near Sacramento in the wine country, erects a Christmas Cow every Christmas and every Christmas the town square cow goes up in flames. Protagonist Maddie Kosloski, owner of the Paranormal Museum, is not a fan–it draws crowds from her shop, which is a tourist draw, so this year she has added historic Christmas bells to her holiday display.
This year will be different. For one thing, her mother is on the Ladies Aid committee coordinating with the local Dairy Association, and they are determined to guard the 30′ flammable cow through the season, the schedule having been laid out. So it is that her mother is playing guard duty when the straw cow is set ablaze. Unfortunately, the other guard is also hit by an arrow and killed.
Full of interesting characters, including a couple thrown in for distraction factor, the novel sets a respectable cozy pace from the beginning. Maddie is single and living in her aunt’s over-garage apartment. Having come in third in the series and my first experience with both the author and the series, I realized there must be history shared in the first two to explain how she comes to own the shop and now has an annoying ex, Mason. While this might work as a stand-alone, might be better to begin with the first in the series.
Descriptions of the shop sound like it would be fun to visit and there is apparently a retail portion of the museum with a variety of fantasy and paranormal paraphernalia. Maddie has a college student, Leo, helping her with sales. The resident black cat was inherited with the space, and adjoins a tea shop through a secret revolving door. Not so secret, really, but very convenient. While she is balancing a new and tentative love interest (local Detective Jason Slate handling the case), she is attacked and Jason wounded. As if this is not bad enough, following another round of sleuthing, another body is found. In the meantime, hysteria is breeding over the perceived curse attached to the cowbells, and while she is a skeptic, must work to dispel the ever-growing panic.
Character-driven, most are well-developed and provide compelling interest throughout the development of the mystery. Detective Hammer (Slate’s partner) almost functions as an antagonist but is included to provide tension (I guess). Maddie is forced to work with her mother as Det. Hammer would love to solve the murders by finding cause with either Maddie or her mother. Of course, it’s up to them to ferret out the real culprit.
The well-plotted mystery unwinds carefully, throwing up twists and turns, and suspicion in several directions. Dialogue is comfortable and realistic, ranging into slightly humorous at times. And so far, so good.
My problem is with the location for this fictional wine country village, having come from that area. VERY difficult to see the lights of Sacramento from any wine country location that doesn’t turn into a furnace in the summer. Sub-zero temps–in the winter? In the valley? In the foothills? Not unless it’s in the Sierra’s–then it’d be very difficult to see the lights of Sacramento. And riding the motorcycle? Guess you could if you were riding all the time (and no ice), but with the wind-chill factor dressed as she was, there’d be no way that time of year. Definitely some stretching beyond belief. Also, I felt a little let down by the climax, which left a few blanks in the explanation.
I was given this uncorrected proof ebook download by Midnight Ink and NetGalley and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. The idea of the paranormal shop totally had my imagination. I would recommend this to any who enjoy a cozy mystery, unique cozy venue, and quirky characters.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars
The Author: (From Amazon/Goodreads Author pages) Kirsten Weiss worked overseas for nearly fourteen years, in the fringes of the former USSR and in South-east Asia. Her experiences abroad sparked an interest in the effects of mysticism and mythology, and how both are woven into our daily lives.
Now based in San Mateo, CA, she writes genre-blending steampunk suspense, urban fantasy, and mystery, blending her experiences and imagination to create a vivid world of magic and mayhem. Kirsten has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer reruns and drinking red wine.
Sign up for Kirsten’s next release email list at www.KirstenWeiss.com and get a free ecopy of The Alchemical Detective and other goodies. Kirsten’s Books include The Quiche and the Dead and The Riga Hayworth Urban Fantasy/Mystery series, and The Sensibility Grey series of steampunk suspense. ©2018 V Williams