Series: A Book Group Mystery #1
Format Read: print ARC & eGalley
Source: publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: December 30, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | OmniLit* | Barnes & Noble |
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Blurb from goodreads:
For fans of Anne Canadeo comes a fun and sassy cozy mystery in which one woman must solve the murder of a book group member and untangle a web of secrets hidden by her bookish cohorts.
Hazel Rose never dreamed that the murder mystery book group she and her friend Carlene started would stage a "real "murder.
Nevertheless, on the night when the normally composed Carlene seems unusually angry and rattled, during group discussion she dies after drinking cyanide-spiked tea. Despite a suicide note, Hazel is skeptical; Carlene never seemed suicidal--why else would she make all those plans for her future? Incidentally, Carlene was married to Hazel's ex-husband, and Hazel has always suspected there might be something more to her past than she let on.
How much does anyone really know about Carlene Arness? And did she die by her own hand or someone else's? Hazel begins a search for the truth that produces no shortage of motives, as she unearths a past that Carlene took great pains to hide. And most of those motives belong to the members of her very own book group...
Featuring memorable characters and a wicked sense of humor, "Murder at the Book Group" shows the darker side of a book club where reading isn't about pleasure--it's about payback.
Oh, I wanted to love this book. The cover, the title, and the blurb grabbed me and I eagerly sent off a review request. It took several tries and some crossed wires but I received a copy for review. I did a happy dance when my copies, yes I ended up with several copies arrived. :D
I read a lot of cozy mysteries and have a strong grasp of what to expect. They’re not generally heavy on action and this was no exception. It’s a character driven story, with little action. Unfortunately, I didn’t find Hazel, our heroine, to be interesting enough to carry the story; the dead woman was far more interesting. While Hazel is resourceful, she’s also bland. Being a complete amateur, she made mistakes and didn’t think of steps to take that I’ve come to take for granted. That added a nice touch of realism but also meant the story dragged at times as it meandered and wandered. I did like that Hazel’s an older heroine, in her late forties, early fifties. I don’t see nearly enough of that in books of any genre though there’s been a slow increase.
Hazel has been married multiple times and moved to where she currently lives in hopes of re-connecting with one of her exes. That didn’t work out. The victim in this story is the current wife of her ex, the one she followed. It appears to be suicide but Hazel has doubts as do other members of the book group that she and the dead woman belonged to. Hazel digs into Carlene’s, the dead woman, life and death and uncovers sides to Carlene that she had never dreamed of. The story becomes crazy complicated and I needed a score card to keep track of everyone and all of their connections. It was like a soap opera, with all the secret lives and assorted relationships complete with the slow pace. There are numerous red herrings and dead ends and I kept changing my mind on who was the murderer. The confrontation with the villain was a disappointment; it’s nearly 40 pages long and the villain and co-hort are entirely too obliging about revealing all the details. There was some tension but mostly I kept waiting for it to end. Despite the twists, the story wasn’t gripping and several times I came close to putting the book down and moving on. I don’t expect I’ll read the next one, if there is one.