Author: Lynn Cahoon
Genre(s): Mystery| Cozy| Romance
Page length: 320 pages
Publication date: August 20, 2016
Author's website: http://www.lynncahoon.com/
A new series from the author of the Tourist Trap Mysteries!
Former English professor Cat Latimer is back in Colorado, hosting writers’ retreats in the big blue Victorian she’s inherited, much to her surprise, from none other than her carousing ex-husband! Now it’s an authors’ getaway—but Cat won’t let anyone get away with murder…
The bed-and-breakfast is open for business, and bestselling author Tom Cook is among its first guests. Cat doesn’t know why he came all the way from New York, but she’s glad to have him among the quirkier—and far less famous—attendees.
Cat’s high school sweetheart Seth, who’s fixing up the weathered home, brings on mixed emotions for Cat…some of them a little overpowering. But it’s her uncle, the local police chief, whom she’ll call for help when there’s a surprise ending for Tom Cook in his cozy guest room. Will a killer have the last word on the new life Cat has barely begun? Goodreads
My Review: A Story to Kill is a promising, though flawed, start to a brand new cozy series. I loved the premise of the protagonist being a writer who runs a writer’s retreat; as with any good cozy, I could live vicariously through the characters since I fantasize about getting away from it all (maybe in a cabin in the woods, or a beautiful, small seaside town) and putting in some serious writing time, something I definitely lack in my day-to-day life. That being said, I had some serious issues with the plot and writing.
First of all, I love a good bit of romance as much as the next girl, but if a novel is billed as a mystery (which this one is), the romance has to be well-done, subtle, and ride backseat to the main plot, which is solving the murder. For a protagonist who is a grown woman and (at least) in her 30s, the “romance” just stank of teenage hormones and wistful lusting. Literally every time her childhood sweetheart showed up in a scene, she would opine on how sexy he was, then (literally and figuratively) push him away. And when people would point out his obvious feelings for her, she would basically huff, deny everything, and stomp away. She might as well have proclaimed that Seth (her childhood sweetheart) had cooties and she didn’t want to be near him for fear of catching said cooties. After I finished the story, I took the time to look up the author’s bio and, surprise surprise, she’s released quite a few romance novels as well. Either keep your genres separate, or practice the art of subtlety.
Another issue was that the mystery was laughably easy to solve. The author introduced an interesting cast of characters, but when the big reveal happened, it was like, “…that was it? Yeah, figured that out over a hundred pages ago.” That being said, the motive and the mystery within that mystery were quite interesting.
Speaking of mysteries within mysteries, the enigma of Cat’s cad of an ex-husband is woven throughout the book and, for me, it slowed things down a bit. The fact that it ends with a slight cliffhanger as an obvious lead-in to the rest of the series isn’t bad (because what’s dangled in front of us is really quite intriguing), but I got bored with that subplot fairly early on, and it didn’t pick up until (literally) the very ending.
I know this review is coming off as very negative, but honestly, I don’t regret reading it and not once was I tempted to not finish it (which is something I’ve had to do with some of my NetGalley picks. The Assassin Game, I’m looking at you). Though flawed, there’s plenty of potential for the rest of the series, and while certain parts annoyed me, I was definitely entertained. I plan on picking up the second book in the series in the hopes that these issues will be addressed.