Series: Maine Clambake #3
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Challenges: Cruisin' Through the Cozies | May 2015 Clean Sweep ARC Challenge | NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge |
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | OmniLit* | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.
Blurb from goodreads:
The busy summer tourist season is winding down in Busman's Harbor, Maine, but Julia Snowden senses trouble simmering for the Snowden Family Clambake Company. Shifty David Thwing - the "Mussel King" of upscale seafood restaurants - is sniffing around town for a new location. But serving iffy clams turns out to be the least of his troubles....
When Thwing is found sleeping with the fishes beneath a local lobsterman's boat, the police quickly finger Julia's brother-in-law, Sonny, as the one who cooked up the crime. Sure, everyone knows Sonny despised the Mussel King...but Julia believes he's innocent. Proving it won't be easy, though. It seems there's a lot more than murder on the menu, and Julia needs to act fast....
Includes traditional Maine clambake recipes!
I'd seen this series on some blogs I follow and thought it sounded interesting. Then the publisher sent me an egalley as a thank you for reviewing a different cozy mystery by them. I hadn't read the first two books but this one mostly worked as a stand-alone. Although Ross did a good job of weaving in back story, there were times when I was confused or wished I had read an earlier book. Overall though it worked as a stand-alone but I do think it would best appreciated if you read the series in order. Some of the relationships and certain events have clearly progressed during the series.
"Musseled Out" was darker and grittier than I expected, tackling subjects such as drug abuse, unemployment, a poor economy, infidelity, miscarriage, etc. Secrets are revealed, relationships change, and actions have consequences. I enjoyed learning more about lobstering. I rarely eat lobster but I do enjoy seafood and getting a look at the realities of what lobster men go through made appreciate my delights all the more. Ross doesn't whitewash the difficulties of the lobstering life, small town life, or the challenges of a seasonal economy. While this is a cozy, it's not light and fluffy.
The mystery itself kept me guessing; I had no idea who was responsible and even the why kept me guessing. I knew who I didn't want it to be, which says something about how invested I got in the story. The plot was a bit convoluted but did make sense and was quite realistic. The story is more character and plot driven than action driven but there's some action towards the end. The characters themselves were well developed, with flaws and strengths, and believable quirks. I appreciated the amount of growth we saw in the story and that even secondary characters were fleshed-out. The story did get dry at times and Julia was wishy-washy, particularly about her job in New York. I wasn't convinced about her motivation for staying on Maine versus returning to New York but perhaps if I'd read the earlier books I'd have been more convinced. This is definitely a series that builds on previous events.
There were parts of the story that were too convenient and as I said, occasionally it was dry, but I liked it and still have the first two books on my wish list. I definitely want to read more.