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CRIME & PUNCTUATION (DEADLY EDITS, #1) BY KAITLYN DUNNETT: BOOK REVIEW

by Andra W, May 30, 2018

Title: Crime & Punctuation

Series: Deadly Edits

By:   Kaitlyn Dunnett

ISBN: 1496712552 (ISBN13: 9781496712554)

Author’s Website: http://www.kaitlyndunnett.com/

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra

Summary: 

After splurging to buy her childhood home in the Catskills, recently widowed Mikki Lincoln emerges from retirement as a freelance editor. With her ability to spot details that others fail to see, it’s not long before Mikki earns clients–and realizes that the village of Lenape Hollow isn’t the thriving tourist destination it was decades ago. Not with a murderer on the loose.

When perky novice writer Tiffany Scott knocks at her door holding a towering manuscript, Mikki expects another debut novel plagued by typos and sloppy prose. Instead, she finds a murder mystery ripped from the headlines of Lenape Hollow’s not-too-distant past. The opening scene is a graphic page-turner, but it sends a real chill down Mikki’s spine after the young author turns up dead just like the victim in her story.

Mikki refuses to believe that Tiffany’s death was accidental, and suspicions of foul play solidify as she uncovers a strange inconsistency in the manuscript and a possible motive in the notes. Then there’s Tiffany’s grandmother and husband, who aren’t exactly on friendly terms over the local area’s planned rejuvenation efforts.

Unable to convince police that they are focused on the wrong suspect, Mikki must rely on her keen eyes to catch the truth hidden in Lenape Hollow. As she gets closer to cracking the case, only one person takes Mikki’s investigation seriously–the cunning killer who will do anything to make this chapter of her life come to a very abrupt ending. (Goodreads)

Review:

Crime & Punctuation is the first book in the new series Deadly Edits, and my first encounter with the author Kaitlyn Dunnett. This cozy hit all the right spots… murder, small town feel, engaging protagonist, many possible suspects.

Mikki Lincoln is a sixty-eight-year-old widow with a seven-year-old calico named Calpurnia (Cal for short). Mikki is once again living in her childhood home (following a 51-year absence), a hundred-and-ten-year-old, three-story house in Lenape Hollow in much need of renovations and updating.  Out of necessity, Mikki has nurtured a post retirement business – editing manuscripts – to help pay for all the renovations that are necessary for this neglected home. This is a naturally good fit as Mikki’s background is a a language arts teacher.

Tiffany Scott knocks on Mikki’s door, then introduces herself and indicates that she got Mikki’s name and address from her search on the internet while she was looking for an editor. Discussions ensue and before you know it, Mikki has another client…and a decent sized editorial job. Tiffany has written a murder mystery set in the early 1900’s.

“I am not an expert in the time period,” I warned her. “It’s your responsibility to make sure the details are right.”

” I’ve done tons of research,” she assured me.

I began to read. My eyes widened as an exceedingly graphic description of a murder unfolded. The writing was… vivid.

I love words, and Tiffany had chosen hers well in these first passages. She’d also avoided making any grammar or usage errors, something that would have jerked my right out of the story.

With this introduction to the novel, Mikki takes on Tiffany as a client. Then the fun begins.  Shortly thereafter, Tiffany is found dead – in a similar fashion to the murdered individual in her book…hmmm… something seems odd to Mikki and thus the sleuthing begins. Many red herrings were put in the reader’s way – making the journey interesting, albeit at times a bit slow.

I was a bit worried about Mikki as it seemed there were many people out to harm her! With Mikki being a senior citizen, I did have my concerns about her being able to stay out of harms way. With people breaking in and trying to run her off the road…it was just plain nerve racking at times to read. Luckily Mikki is quick on her feet and a wee bit agile But there were certainly enough “bad” guys around!

I really enjoyed Mikki reconnecting with local residents. It amazed me how they could just pick up their friendships after nearly five decades of being apart. A number of side stories with her old pals which added some much needed depth to the story. I did find the depth of description of the town a bit lacking. I did not get a really good sense of the layout and spirit of the town, though this may well have something to do with the fact that there was a major project being proposed by Mongaup Valley Ventures.

I quite enjoyed the love/hate relationship Mikki had with Ronnie North, Tiffany’s grandmother. They have a history and let me just say this made their interactions interesting.

What I liked was that the murderer was hiding in plain sight and I did not put two and two together until very close to the actual reveal. Just the way I like my cozy mysteries. And of course – one cannot help to love Calpurnia’s attitude – so like a spoiled cat and not a very successful guard cat either! Though we all know, cats have a mind of their own and as far as guarding, well that is just wishful thinking on the human’s part, if I do say so myself.

A final note – I LOVED the book cover. Very clever. It certainly caught my eye.

I look forward to continuing on with this series, though I do hope the action and intensity pick up a bit for book #2, should there be one. I think I will add one of Kaitlyn’s other series to my reading wish list as this was my first interaction with her writing – and I did find the style easy to read and enjoyable.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*

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