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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.

SPOILER ALERT!

Words with Fiends (Black Cat Bookshop Mystery #3)

Words With Fiends - Ali Brandon

Let me start by saying I love Hamlet (the cat).  He's, by far, the best part of this book.  He gets lots of play in Words with Fiends and his methods of communication are clever and just ambiguous enough to leave room for interpretation.  The cat whisperer was a bit odd, but it worked in the story line.

 

Otherwise, this was a very average read.  First spoiler:

 

The title gives away the murderer.  Sort of.  It's a dead give away by page 21 that the murderer is one of the people Darla plays Words with Friends against.

(show spoiler)

 

Part of what made it such an average read for me is no fault of the author whatsoever.  I don't have the slightest interest at all in martial arts of any kind.  This book's whole theme is martial arts (Darla's sensei is murdered and she finds him in the dojo), so the story left me cold and ambivalent from the word go.

 

Sadly, the plot was weakened by the obviousness of the murderer. Last spoiler:

 

When an author introduces an unlikeable character who plays no obvious role in the narrative, and has him constantly appearing and making himself unlikeable - yeah, that's a big giant red flag with a neon border flashing for good measure.  The murderer here is introduced early on but he plays no real purpose - it's obvious he's the murderer.

(show spoiler)

 

I've liked Darla, Robert, James and Jake enough to keep reading the series, even though it's not the strongest series in my TBR pile.  (Reece is supposed to be the possible love interest, but he came across like a sexist jackass throughout 90% of this book, so I'm not quite sure how I'm supposed to like him enough to want Darla with him.)  These characters aren't strong enough, however, to carry a weak plot.  As a result, I found myself skimming a lot of the second half of the book in a rush to get to the end, and call it done.

 

This was the book I liked least in this series, so I'll probably pick up the fourth one to see where she goes from here.  But it'll have to be a stronger plot and a nicer Reece.  

 

Hamlet is perfect, just as he is.