I am super delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for A Literal Mess by J C Kenney on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.
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A Literal Mess (An Allie Cobb Mystery)
1st in Series
Lyrical Underground (January 8, 2019)
Print Length: 196 pages
The first book in a new series featuring Allie Cobb brings the New York literary agent back to her Hoosier home town where a mysterious death keeps everyone on spoiler alert . . .
Allie Cobb left home for the literary circles of Manhattan to make her name out from under the shadow of her legendary father. Now his death brings her and her rescue cat Ursula back to the southern Indiana town of Rushing Creek, population: 3,216. But a tragic new chapter hits the presses when the body of her father’s hard-drinking, #1 bestselling client is found under the historic town bridge. The local police suspect foul play and their prime candidate for murder is the author’s daughter—Allie’s longtime friend.
Determined to clear her bestie, Allie goes into fact-checking amateur detective mode while trying to ignore the usual rumormongers. Those with means, motive, and opportunity include the vic’s ex-wife, his rejected girlfriend, the mayor, and a rival agent trying to mooch clients. With a rugged genealogist distracting her and the imminent Fall Festival about to send tourists descending on their once-peaceful hamlet, Allie needs to stay alive long enough to get a read on a killer ready to close the book on a new victim: Allie . . .
Yes! A cozy with a NYC literary agent as the protagonist, groomed as a solid book lover promoter by her beloved father! Her father, a literary agent and her mentor with a large contingent of strong clients, has passed away without Allie Cobb being able to return to Rushing Creek, Indiana prior to his passing. She is overwhelmed with emotion, fighting guilt at not being home in time, and nauseated at the thought of facing her siblings and mother who was in attendance those last painful months.
But he’d left her a powerful legacy, that love of books. Books, authors, their editors and agents. And it’s an intricate network of people with whom Allie must now work to help shut down her father’s agency, as she’d promised her mother. She is heartbroken, and the story begins with strong emotions, planting a sentimental tie between the characters who one by one gently intrude in the grieving process as they are fleshed. Her best friend, Sloane Winchester, lends her shoulder to cry on, but before Allie can get through the funeral for her own father, Sloane’s father is found–murdered.
First, you have to understand that it’s a small town in Indiana. A very small town. Anyone from a small town knows that everyone knows everyone and their business. The Police Chief happens to be her sister’s ex. Growing up, she was never terribly close to her older sister, Rachel, who now has twin boys and the boy’s father appeared to be a bully. Allie, however, has several things going for her. First, she has made a name for herself in the literary world of New York, can stand on her own, and she “short persons syndrome.” Oh, and also, she enjoys the fine art of kickboxing. Her sister’s ex doesn’t scare her. But she has promised Sloane she would help to solve her father’s murder and in for a penny, in for a pound. (Sorry, old clichés are a no-no, I’m aware of that, but couldn’t help myself.)
Whether this is a female protagonist that exhibits aggressive tendencies due to being crafted by a male author, or it’s a subtle expression of her implied New York background and stature, this little lady is no shrinking violet when facing the suspects on her list. She is an in your face, “did you kill Thornwell” kind of gal. She is purposeful and methodical as she works through the possible suspects and there are a few twists and red herrings, leaving no down time. Working with a Police Chief who is slightly beyond his element is pushing disbelief, but is explained plausibly. Then she goes back to her mother’s home and dissolves into her grief and doubt and leans heavily on Ursi, her kitty, for moral support. Both Ursula and Sammy, Brent’s golden retriever, add a welcoming and lightening animal contribution to the well-plotted storyline.
Loved the author’s characterization of the mid-west rural Indiana location and the people preparing for the “fall leaf peeping” festival, the chocolate shop, the winery. Allie feels that tug, the nostalgia for the community feeling (something she was missing in New York), and Brent, the shy guy in the library installing a genealogy center. The question is tearing at her, New York is waiting, but…
I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley for this blog tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read this debut from the author and the first in his series. It’s a thoroughly engaging beginning and I can’t wait to see where he takes these characters. Book 2 in the series, A Genuine Fix, is due to release on July, 2019. Recommended as a unique and enjoyable cozy platform, easy escapist fun.
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Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five of Five Stars
J.C. Kenney grew up in a household filled with books by legends Agatha Christie and Lilian Jackson Braun, among many others, so it was no surprise when he found himself writing mystery stories. When he’s not writing, you can find him following IndyCar racing or listening to music. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife, two sons, and a cat who is the inspiration for Ursula in the Allie Cobb Mysteries.
Website – https://www.jckenney.com;
Twitter – https://twitter.com/JCKenney1;
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JCKenney1;
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/JCKenney;
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/j.c.kenney/
Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!
January 9 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
January 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
January 9 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW
January 10 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW
January 10 – Carstairs Considers – REVIEW
January 10 – CelticLady Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
January 11 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW
January 11 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
January 11 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
January 12 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 12 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
January 12 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
January 13 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
January 13 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
January 13 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!
©2019 V Williams