Sometimes I find myself, at the beginning of a year, completely ready to read and so a series binge begins. In part because I got an ARC of a later book in the series. So without further adieu here is my feedback on books 1-3.
Title: Death by Committee
Explicit: No, it’s cozy.
Trigger Warning: Spousal abuse
Summary: After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery–Aunt Sybil’s only known rival is buried in her backyard!
Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder. While navigating a busy social calendar and rediscovering the art of quilting, she launches an investigation of her own to clear Aunt Sybil’s name and catch the true culprit. The incriminating clues roll in, yet Abby can’t help but wonder–can she survive her new responsibilities in Snowberry Creek and still manage to patch together a killer’s deadly pattern without becoming the next victim?
I love a cozy mystery so when I got my ARC of Death by Arts and Crafts, the sixth book in the Abby McCree Mystery Series I just knew I had to get my butt back to the beginning and read them all, and luckily though my library did not have this particular book in stock, Scribd did.Read more: Series Review: Abby McCree Mysteries by Alexis Morgan Part 1
I kind of want to live in Snowberry Creek and join a quilting committee. I could be their embroiderist, if that is even a thing (I don’t know how to quilt but I could learn.) If you read cozy mysteries, or ever had the distinct pleasure of watching Murder, She Wrote you will know that every cozy mystery needs a good backdrop, filled with a cast of characters familiar to those we’ve known throughout our lives all in one place, and this series is no different. Snowberry Creek has it all, for a small town, a diner where the waitresses know your name and potentially your order; a local police force run by a somewhat divisive leader; a group of gossipy old ladies who also help out more than they hurt; a brand new person in town just learning the ropes and their potential romantic lead.
I am not mocking the formula because guess what? It works. And Alexis Morgan colourfully describes the settings, the people and yes, the gossip we’re all dying to hear about.
The victim here actually did surprise me here, as I knew what was likely going to happen and where they would be found, but until they identified them I was in the dark.
All the suspects are likely. Very likely. I had the wrong person pegged for much of the novel, if I’m honest.
The Scene of the Crime
The protagonists backyard is always an interesting place to find a body. What the body was buried in and shrouded in made this one a little bit more interesting.
Abby is comfortable to be around, she’s like an old friend who you’ve known for so long you can tell her reactions and traits well enough they may as well be your own She (like me) has an issue saying no when asked, or pressured into things but she’s determined to clear her Aunt’s name.
Tripp is interesting, and made me scratch my head as he ran hot and cold throughout the first book in the series, but was always there when needed.
Gage is good at what he does, teasing Abby and hoping to keep the town safe, while often beleaguered by his kids.
The background characters keep it interesting, and provide a good amount of detail for the mystery.
Title: Death by Jack-o’-Lantern
Source: Libby (my library)
Trigger Warning: Talk of PTSD
Summary: The small town of Snowberry Creek, Washington, is gearing up for the Halloween Festival, and naturally Abby is on the planning committee. As part of her duties, she’s picking up a pumpkin order from ornery farmer Ronald Minter. But what she finds instead is the farmer in the middle of his corn maze with a knife in his back.
The police suspect a homeless veteran named Kevin Montgomery, who was seen arguing with Minter when the farmer accused him of trespassing and stealing pumpkins. Abby’s tenant Tripp Blackston, a veteran himself who’s been helping Kevin, is sure he’s innocent. Together, Abby and Tripp follow the twists and turns of the case to corner the corn maze killer—before someone else meets a dead end …
Snowberry Creek remains a place I would so like to live and be involved in. I live in a small town lacking small town activities.
In this book you do actually get to meet the victim before they’re offed, so this time it wasn’t exactly a surprise when they turned up. That being said, this victim had a lot of enemies so it was an interesting prospect.
In this book there was a series of suspects to pick from, and some of them seemed more sinister and likely than others, but unlike the first book I didn’t pick my killer until almost the end of the novel.
The Scene of the Crime
Is there a more classic crime scene for fall than a corn maze in the middle of a farm known for it’s pumpkin farming? I think not. I dig the classics.
Abby continues to be unable to say no to anyone who is asking her for a favour, even when the person asking shouldn’t know any better (Tripp). She is still tenacious, but trying to find out who she should be post divorce which means her journey remains largely changing.
Tripp is possibly one of the most stubborn, headstrong and sacrificial characters even when it goes so against his own interests and safety. I could agree to a certain extent with what he decided to do in this book but god, was it frustrating.
Gage is still a character I love who is willing to call people on their BS, while maintaining a pretty good sense of humour.
Kevin is a tragic character, all too familiar to anyone who might know anything about PTSD and veterans and the care they can be given.
Title: Death by Auction
Summary: It’s hard to say no to Tripp Blackston. That’s how Abby found herself on yet another committee, organizing a bachelors’ auction to raise money for Tripp’s veterans group. The former Special Forces soldier is mortified when Abby enlists him to be one of the prizes, but she has a covert plan to bid on him herself. Before she can, she’s foiled by a sniper bid from a gorgeous stranger, who turns out to be Tripp’s ex-wife, Valerie.
Still reeling from the shock that Tripp was married and wondering what his ex is suddenly doing in town, Abby goes looking to pay the auction’s emcee, radio personality Bryce Cadigan. She finds him in the parking lot, dead in his car. Valerie appears to be the last one to have seen Bryce alive, so she’s the cops’ best bid for suspect. When she asks Tripp for help–and lodgings–it’s Abby’s turn to block by inviting Val to stay with her. But did she just open her home to a murderer?
Who doesn’t love a good bachelor auction trope? Or a return home by a semi-famous person? Local boy makes good…and is a little bit slimy.
Bryce is someone I didn’t trust from the moment he was introduced. Never trust someone who can toss a mask on at a moment’s notice, and some of it is slimy? Nope.
I don’t like to lie. I locked onto one suspect and I didn’t let them leave my “sights”. I also realized in this book (and I should’ve realized it earlier) that Zeke, the good boy that he is, is usually able to figure out who did it before any of the humans do.
The Scene of the Crime
Dead, hanging out of a car. Felt like I was watching an episode of CSI or something, and I am not complaining.
Abby – stop saying YES! Just stop. Girl, you were so mad in this and some of it, I’m sorry, was your own fault. Seriously.
Tripp – he shows some serious idiocy in this book, or blindness, or both. Because seriously, some of the stuff he does in this book is so freaking annoying and just ignorant. I still love him but come on, man.
Valerie – I was like, hey I’ll give her a chance because everyone deserves a chance. Honestly at one point I was like yeah just lock her up.
It’s also worth noting that while Tripp did drive me crazy in reading this book that both Abby and Valerie exhibit some true childish, bitter and jealous behavior in this book which I was not a fan of.