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Search tags: Guidebook-to-Murder-(A-Tourist-Trap-Mystery)
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review 2014-04-17 17:18
Guidebook to Murder by Lynn Cahoon
Guidebook To Murder - Lynn Cahoon

Jill Gardner has left behind the fast paced life as a lawyer and a marriage gone south to settle South Cove, California and open a book store Coffee, Books, and More. Things maybe slow at the shop but they are peaceful until, a sudden call from her dear friend, Miss Emily, things quickly go downhill. Miss Emily is receiving threats to kick her out of her home, Jill thinking to find out more about this and check on her friend find herself in devastated when she finds her friend dead. Dealing with the lost Jill has much more on her shoulders when Miss. Emily has named her, her heir, inheriting everything along with alot of trouble. Because Jill starts receiving her own threats along with pressure from the city and an outside builder wanting the house and the confirmation that Miss.Emily was killed. Now it's a race to find the killer before Jill is next on the list.

I was quickly wrapped up in the story from page one. A owner of a bookstore, come on what's not to love? The overall trouble I had with the book was the MC Jill. She had ALOT to deal with and as a human being who has lost a dear friend it's portrayed very natural. The trouble was at times Jill showed no backbone toward certain characters when in others she would stand her ground. I wanted her to speak up and really show some gumption. I also think that was the beauty of it all was Jill was a complete human in her actions and thoughts and knew when to push and back off.
Along the ride Jill has some backup in her friend Amy and Detective Greg King aka the love interest to help her as she starts to gather clues.
The mystery was very well paced with Jill digging into Emily's past with alot of surprises on the path with the killer being somewhat of a surprise in itself- only goes to show one don't judge a book by it's cover.

A great start to a series. I'm truly looking forward to the next book in this series!

 

ARC courtesy of NetGalley

 

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review 2014-03-17 09:14
Guidebook To Murder
Guidebook To Murder - Lynn Cahoon

I received a free copy from the publisher via Netgalley, thank you!

 

A very short review: This book wasn't for me.

 

A bit longer review: Guidebook To Murder is the first book in a new series Tourist Trap Mysteries. I'd call it a cozy mystery, but I have to admit after reading this novel, it's not my genre. It felt like Midsummer Murders covered in a sugar coat. It annoyed me. 

 

I like my mysteries or thrillers or whatever you like to call them to be more realistic, less cozy (someone has been murdered after all) and -if possible- with less personal drama from the main character. Jill has fled the big city and has now this bookshop annex café selling Books, Coffee and More. Her best friend ends up dead, (she's murdered) and -quite literally- the list of suspects and motives is endless! It was as if no one did NOT have some reason to kill her.

 

Jill immediately decides she will find the culprit herself, I mean what is the police for anyway? She's also being stalked/protected by a police officer, and she reminds us about every second page that he is married. Just in case we forgot.

Why does she have to go investigate all by herself? It's an irritation I often find in a book, why don't they just leave it for the police, it's their work! (And then they are surprised their lives are in danger because they wanted to investigate).

 

Some other weird things happened. Jill inherits Miss Emily's house, and she moves in before the poor old lady is even buried! That seems a bit odd to me...

And while people go missing, it is only natural the only thing you can think of is the police guy being married.

 

I guess there are a lot of people who enjoy this kind of books, and I really think they will enjoy Guidebook to Murder too. And in case you were wondering, no Guidebook to Murder is actually given in this book...

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review 2014-03-06 23:03
Guidebook to Murder (Tourist Trap Mystery, #1)
Guidebook To Murder - Lynn Cahoon

First in a new series, Guidebook to Murder shows promise, but started off a bit wobbly at the beginning for me.

 

Jill has left behind a bad marriage and her career as a family law attorney to open a bookstore/coffee shop in the little tourist town of South Cove.  A local friend, Miss Emily, is fighting the town council and a developer, trying to keep her house; she's let the house get run-down though, and the mayor is threatening to condemn it as a way to get ahold of her property to build condo's.  When Jill stops in to check on her, she finds Miss Emily dead.  Grieving the loss of her first friend in South Cove, Jill finds out she inherits everything and that it's not a small sum, in spite of outward appearances.  But someone really wants her out of the house and is quite ambivalent about whether it's by her own two feet or in a body bag.

 

So, the characters.  I think I like Jill.  It's hard to say because from the beginning (the death happens quickly in the story), Jill is overwhelmed: by sadness, by her inheritance, by what she's learning about her friend Miss Emily and the life she led, by trying to keep her business afloat and at the same time, do what's necessary to keep Miss Emily's house (now her own) from being condemned.  The author does a great job portraying Jill as a woman trying to keep it all together without making her a martyr.  The loss of Miss Emily was emotionally written and I got a bit teary - which I hate but was still done well and with a thankfully light touch.  Jill has another close friend, Amy, who I think will be very likeable, but while she plays a part in the plot, we don't see much of her at all to get to know her.  Jill's Aunt Jackie comes to help, and while she started off a bit pushy and unlikeable to me, she become more likeable as the story progressed.

 

This next bit is a tiny bit spoiler-ish - not to the plot, but to the character development and I mention it because it's the one area I just did not understand and why this read was a 3.5 star and not a 4.  The romantic interest is Detective Greg King.  Blond, blue-eyed, beautiful, he seems to be quite interested in Jill and Jill is pretty damn interested in him.  But then she meets his brother, who mentions Greg's wife.  So, Jill decides he's off-limits. But he spends all his time with her and it's obvious to anyone reading the book he's not just there to protect her against death threats.  Jill's ready to give in several times and here I say kudos! to the author for making Jill a human being instead of a saint.  Is it right to contemplate kissing another woman's husband?  No.  Does that mean it never happens to good people?  No.  I like that Jill is written to be subject to moral dilemmas.  But here's what I don't understand:  she NEVER says anything to him about being married!  She acts like it would be insulting to him or embarrassing to her to say "Hey! You're brother mentioned you have a wife.  What's up with that?"  This goes on for most of the book and it drives me nuts.

 

As for the murder plot, I have to say, the plotting of cozy mysteries has really taken a turn for the better lately, or maybe I've just been lucky.  After a streak of books where I had the murderer correctly pegged in each one, I've been reading some excellently planned murders recently.  This one is no exception.  Miss Emily had a much broader life that Jill knew and it's garnered a varied list of suspects from dissatisfied heirs, to the mayor, to the possibility of treasure hunters.  There's a bit of everything here and ultimately, the murderer was a surprise.  A detail or two of the plot were a bit unrealistic, but nothing that ruined the enjoyment of the story overall.

 

By about halfway through the book I was hooked and stayed up to the wee hours of the morning to finish it - always a good sign of an enjoyable book, and I'll be on the look-out for the next one.

 

I received this ARC from NetGalley and Kensington in exchange for an honest review.

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