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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Practical Sins for Cold Climates

Practical Sins for Cold Climates - Shelly Costa

Well, for a book for which I spent the first third thinking 'what the hell?' this one ended up being pretty good really.

 

Val is an editor tasked with getting a reclusive author in the northern lakes of Canada to sign with her for his next (presumably) blockbuster book.  Her arrival in the small town coincides with issues between miners, environmentalists, loggers and tourists coming to a head and the atmosphere is... combustible.  Her guide's wife's death 2 years previously worries Val too because her author looks like an awful good suspect for the murder...

 

The first obstacle, and really, the only obstacle to overcome in the beginning of this book is the writing.  The style is terse and while it isn't fragmented, it leaves the reader with fragmented images and bits of information.  There are zero information dumps here; either of the showing or telling sort.  And the writing does nothing to put you into the MC's head and then there are the alternate POV's that aren't always identified so you might not even know who's head you're in.

 

I could see how this book might have a high DNF rate.

 

But there is something engaging about it from the first, I just can't quite put my finger on what it is.  But by about halfway I was totally gripped by the book and didn't want to put it down.  Either I got used to the writing or Costa found a better flow. The author might not want you in her character's head, but she definitely wants you in the middle of the Northern Canadian lakes and forests; at one point I could almost smell the muck.

 

There's a romance brewing but it's a super-sonically slow one as Val is not a well-adjusted personality (although she is angst free, which is a nice change) and neither really is her romantic interest.  The author has me very intrigued and eager to see how she brings these two forward.

 

The mystery ending was really, really good.  I didn't see that coming and it was deliciously plotted.  

 

I'm still not sure about the style, but I'm definitely in for the next book to see where Val goes from here.