I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
I really liked this one. Allie's synesthesia (a neuropsychological trait in which the stimulation of one sense causes the automatic experience of another sense) adds a fresh twist on the amateur detective and the author combines police procedural into the mix too. Anyone familiar with police investigations might find it hard to suspend disbelief enough to enjoy Allie's working with the police, but my unfamiliarity worked in my favor.
There's a lot going on in this book, arguably too much, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Allie's bar regulars have created a "crime club" and each day has a different theme (murder, vandalism, fraud) with fictitious crimes, puzzles and riddles to solve. I liked this idea, but it might have worked even better had the author used fewer of them (there were at least 3 I can remember).
The author doesn't focus on just one crime in Murder with a Twist. There are two that Allie assists Duncan with, one after the other. I liked this deviation from the common, bog-standard formula of just one crime or multiple crimes that ultimately tie together. Admittedly, the first mystery isn't complicated or drawn-out, but it still shook my expectations up and I appreciated that. The second crime that took up most of the book was excellently crafted and plotted and I liked the ending even more for its lack of TSTL decisions.
This is definitely a cozy, but it's a more mature one than the standard today, with slightly heavier subject matter and much less chipper dialog. Readers who don't like the cutesy cozies might enjoy this one if they're seeking lighter fare than their normal thriller/suspense reads. I am eagerly anticipating the third book.