A Literal Mess
Allie Cobb Mystery #1
By J.C. Kenney
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Allie Cobb left home for the literary circles of Manhattan to make her name out from under the shadow of her legendary father. Now his death brings her and her rescue cat Ursula back to the southern Indiana town of Rushing Creek, population: 3,216. But a tragic new chapter hits the presses when the body of her father’s hard-drinking, #1 bestselling client is found under the historic town bridge. The local police suspect foul play and their prime candidate for murder is the author’s daughter—Allie’s longtime friend.
Determined to clear her bestie, Allie goes into fact-checking amateur detective mode while trying to ignore the usual rumormongers. Those with means, motive, and opportunity include the vic’s ex-wife, his rejected girlfriend, the mayor, and a rival agent trying to mooch clients. With a rugged genealogist distracting her and the imminent Fall Festival about to send tourists descending on their once-peaceful hamlet, Allie needs to stay alive long enough to get a read on a killer ready to close the book on a new victim: Allie . . . . (Goodreads)
A Literal Mess gets the Allie Cobb Mystery Series off to a good start. With the requisite small town setting and plucky protagonist, it is a satisfying cozy read.
Literary agent Allie finds herself back home in Indiana when her father passes away. Aside from grieving and honoring her father, Allie had promised to settle his business affairs with his own agency. She is soon pulled into investigative mode when her father’s friend/client is found dead. Thornwell Winchester was a successful author, but alcoholism made a wreck of his personal life so it was no surprise when his death is ruled a homicide. With Thornwell’s daughter, and Allie’s best friend, Sloane named the prime suspect, Allie does all she can to find the real killer.
Author Kenney does a good job of introducing all of the characters without bogging down the narrative. Allie is engaging, smart and level headed, and her occupation is interesting and not your average cozy sleuth’s job. This makes the whole story seem fresh. I also appreciate that the standard “romance gone wrong with the protagonist starting over” setup is not employed here. Her family provides a nice backdrop for the action. The supportive characters are appealing, and I particularly like genealogist Brent Reynolds and look forward to reading more about him.
The writing style is breezy even though there is grief and danger to be found within the pages. The pace of the book is good, and I am glad that the ending is not rushed. The mystery is well executed with plenty of suspects, motives, and clues. Despite having pegged whodunit from pretty early in the tale, it is great fun to follow alongside Allie as she figures it all out.
I enjoyed A Literal Mess and will definitely read more in the series as books become available. I recommend it to any cozy mystery fan.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*