Friday, December 16, 2016

Book Review: A Cup of Murder (A Roasted Love Cozy Mystery Book 1) by Cam Larson

A break from the gut-wrenching tales

Generally, I read books with a fair amount of tension – anything from murders to end-of-the-world kind of stuff.  But occasionally, I like to give my stomach a break from the constant stream of acid and read a cozy mystery.  A Cup of Murder is one such book.  It is the story of Laila Rook, the barista at Roasted Love coffeehouse, who investigates the murder of the owner of a rival shop when her boss, Jacob, becomes the prime suspect.

True to the cozy mystery genre, A Cup of Murder places the emphasis on untangling competing theories about a crime, while minimizing violence and sex.  And so, it’s a relaxing, easy afternoon or weekend read.  The characters are generally well developed, although not complex.  The pacing is good.  Laila moves from suspect to suspect, theory to theory at a rate that generally holds your interest.  There were a number of other reviews that mentioned grammatical errors, and while I am not oversensitive to this issue – and commit my fair share of these blunders – I was not distracted from the story by grammar, making me wonder if these comments were based on a previous edition.

With the emphasis on mystery, rather than visceral stimulation or gut-retching gore, a cozy mystery needs to weave believable conflicting theories, or a story like this one becomes just coffee with cronies while they play detective.  In this regard, I believe A Cup of Murder could have done more.  Putting Jacob in the role of the prime suspect seemed a bit of a forced fit from the start.  And several of the alternative suspects were a bit of a stretch as well, which left the actual murderer.  In general, it seemed somewhat predictable. 

So, if you are a fan of the cozy mystery genre and don’t necessarily want your own deductive skills challenged too much, you’ll find A Cup of Murder a nice, comfortable read.  And you can save your antacids for the next read.

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