3 out of 5 stars.
I would like to thank Kensington Books for a free ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.
What an entertaining little cosy crime story to curl up with! It was well-paced, had some great characters and was set in a fantastic surrounding. Plus it contained a good dose of red herrings to keep the reader distracted until the end. I do hate it when I suss whodunit before the halfway mark in a book. Definitely not the case with ‘Death crashes the party’!
Okay, I wanted to start with some positives as I really did enjoy this book and was entertained every time I got to pick it up… but please brace for the constructive criticism. Being an author myself I know this is like pulling a band aid at times!
Firstly, and this has nothing to do with the author or her talent, but the version of the ARC I read was formatted badly. And I am a bit of a formatting diva. I can live with typos and the like as it’s an ARC (and life isn’t perfect and neither is my own writing). But the new paragraphs mid-sentence, half a chapter in italics, half in standard font and then back again to italics… it started to get to me and in the end got to my score on this book. I’m saying this as some of the reason for not giving another star and apologising for it! I know ARCs are not perfect… but I did find this one barely readable at times so, sorry for being a diva about it. Something for the publisher to look at when offering ARC in the future? Ensure the ARC isn’t too mangled?
Secondly, this book did seem to suffer from ‘first book of the series’ jitters. Meaning it wasn’t as smooth and crease free as it could be. It hasn’t quite found its voice and pace and all in all is still a little green around the edges. It’s common and that’s okay, a lot of first books in a series I read start like this and then become a series I simply cannot get enough of and am pacing the floor waiting for the next one to be released. But ‘first book jitters’ is the other reason I couldn’t bring myself to giving the 4th star. But I do want to emphasis I DID enjoy ‘Death crashes the party’ and would look out for ‘It’s your party, die if you want to’ come October!
Okay, that’s me done being the big, bad critic. This is a fun cosy crime set in modern day times in the south of the USA. It’s fun, well-paced and has its moments. Maybe not tongue in cheek and sarcastic enough for me… but then again not all cosy crimes must be that way!
Would I recommend this book to others? Yes I would. A big yes. I would warn of my qualms with ‘first book jitters’ but also emphasise the potential I see in the series so that anyone wanting to get into this series really should start with book one. I wouldn’t mention the formatting though. Pretty sure that’s all been sorted out in the final edit and it’s now perfect. 🙂
Would I buy this book for myself? I would be tempted to… but might wait until I’d read another book or so in the series. Most cosy crimes on my bookshelves (physical or virtual) tend to start out as library books and, once I get into the series and get addicted, they then graduate to books I own. For now this is in the library zone… but do see the potential to it immigrating to the ‘home shelves’ once I get into the series more.
In summary: Fun, easy cosy crime with just the right mix of intrigue mystery, friendship, humour and long suffering husbands who know the right doughnuts to buy to say sorry with. A good start to what I hope to be a fab new series!
Until next time,