Fishing for Trouble
Alaskan Diner Mystery, Book #2
By Elizabeth Logan
Author Website: minichino(.)com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Something fishy is going on at a local seafood processing plant, and Charlie Cooke is on the hook to solve the case in this new Alaskan Diner Mystery.
Summer has come to Elkview, Alaska, bringing twenty hours of sunlight every day, not to mention a surge of tourists and seasonal workers. Chef Charlie Cooke is eager for a busy yet relaxing season, but when a young man working a summer job at the local fish processing plant dies moments after walking into the Bear Claw Diner, she’s quickly swept into the investigation.
Soon, through her best friend Annie Jensen, Charlie learns that another student worker at J and M Processing has disappeared, leaving more questions and fewer answers. The near-endless sunlight gives plenty of time to search for clues, but Charlie will have to work with Annie and local reporter Chris Doucette to net the killer before anyone else gets hurt. (Goodreads)
Fishing for Trouble, the sophomore entry in the Alaskan Diner Mystery Series by Elizabeth Logan, is a step above the series debut Mousse and Murder. Alaska details are better woven into the story giving it a better sense of place, and readers get to know the characters a bit better. Of course, there is a murder to solve, and the State Troop’s honorary deputies do their best to unravel the clues even as Charlie faces threats.
When one of the summer employees at the local fish processing plant becomes ill at Charlie’s Bear Claw Diner then dies, Charlie feels invested in solving his murder. When she learns that another worker, Noah, associated with Ethan, the deceased, has gone missing, all eyes turn to J and M Fish Processing for answers. To make matters worse, Charlie’s former fiancé from California is in town representing J and M, and Charlie does all she can to avoid him. Danger mounts for Charlie the closer she gets to finding answers.
I was lukewarm about the first book in the series, but Fishing for Trouble is better. I am able to buy into the Alaskan setting in this entry as it is much more than moose meatloaf this time around. The characters are still rather shallow, but there is some growth. I especially like Chris, local journalist and Charlie’s potential love interest. He morphs from bland sidekick to an interesting man with a military past and spy-like skills. I hope the author lets us learn more to learn about him. Protagonist Charlie is likable enough, but part of the story involves her assuming something about her parents with no real evidence, and this assumption influences far too many of her thoughts and actions. Pet peeve. Also, she does not tell Troop, the state trooper in charge of the investigation, about the perceived threats against her. Stupid.
The premise of the murder mystery is strong, but it is also pretty predictable. It moves along at a relatively good pace, but it is repetitive. There is a great deal of rehashing what they already know over and over again without adding much new each time. The local law department is, as expected, very small and short staffed. This provides a plausible opportunity for Charlie and her friends to get involved and investigate without interfering (as is often the case with amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries). The puzzle is easy to figure out, and the book could have been so much better if there had been a secondary plot to mull over. Charlie spends a lot of time looking at her cat Benny through her camera app, buying toys for him, and spending quality time with him. Don’t get me wrong, I adore pets in cozy mysteries, but this all felt like overblown filler that took away from the mystery.
I hope other cozy readers enjoy Fishing for Trouble much more than me. I still think there is a lot of potential for this series to be original and great reading; I am just not sure it will ever get there.