I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
Things I didn't like:
- I guessed the murderer at the first clue.
- Weak or unlikeable secondary characters: Her boss is supposed to be creating/running a spa to appeal to the Hollywood set and she practically needs therapy to get dressed in the morning. Her love interest comes across as a prig from the very first interaction, but we're supposed to cheer this budding romance on?!? (She spills coffee on the *outside* of his car - to avoid burning him with it when she trips - and he FREAKS out, rushing to the trunk to fetch towels to make sure the spill is all cleaned up. It's a Volvo.) Her sister acts like an immature teenager throughout most of the book and dates ex-cons and greasy-haired mechanics but Dana, several times throughout the book, envies her sisters' ability to attract men. wtf?? The manager of the spa is written as so hateful and rude that in NO universe is it possible to imagine him not being fired after page 13.
Things I did like:
- GREAT setting; I love the idea of the organic farm/spa and it's a great setting for future mayhem.
- I like the cook, Zennia, and the housekeeper, Heather - they were the only secondary characters that felt genuine and not like caricatures.
- The suspects were all well written characters.
- Dana is a great heroine - she doesn't take anything from anyone and doesn't hesitate to get in someone's face and defend herself, if necessary. There's a hint of humour and snark, which I like.
- The ending was, I thought, really well done. The author avoided the clichéd heroine-doing-something-stupid routine and managed to end the book with Dana doing something I think anyone would think was smart, but still got her into trouble.
Overall, I'm not sure I'll buy the second book, but I'll keep my eye out for it. First books in a cozy series can often be the weakest and I hope to see significant growth in future books.