Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and a decent mystery…
Cons: …that is slowed down by sub-plots
The Bottom Line:
Slower paced story
Real characters draw you in
And keep the book fun
Plenty of Danger in
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Just when you think they’ve found all the possible settings for cozy mysteries, a new one pops up. Stone Cold Dead is set in a rock shop in a small
town in the slow January season. While
it wasn’t something I would have gone out of my way to read, I really did enjoy
Morgan Iverson has come to spend two weeks running the family stone shop in the town of
Colorado, while her brother and his wife go on
a two week mission trip to Central America. Or so she thinks. When she arrives, she learns they’ve decided
to move there permanently, leaving her with the decision of what to do with the
But that’s nothing compared to the next morning when she is out on a nearby trail and finds the body of a young woman. She leaves to call for help, but when she returns the body is gone. Will anyone believe she actually saw a body? Was the woman really dead? What happened to her?
So, far, I’ve just discussed the first chapter of the book. Yes, it really does start that quickly, and I was expecting to be in for a wild ride. However, the book slowed down after that into more of the laid back life of a small tourist town during the slow season. When the plot wasn’t moving forward, we saw Morgan making new friends and joining a running group (as a walker). Plus there was time spent trying to figure out the mess that her brother left her in the shop.
Normally, that would be a deal killer for me – too many sub-plots slowing down the mystery. And yet I fell in love with the characters. Morgan is strong and willing to do what needs to be done. Her new best friend Bernie, who runs the bakery in town, is very good as well, not to mention the employees of the store. Even the donkeys were bringing smiles to my face by the end. These were real people, and people I enjoyed spending time with. Being a runner, I found the running scenes lots of fun. In fact, I was nodding my head with a few of them.
I was also initially put off by what I assumed would be a negative attitude toward religion when we saw Morgan’s reaction to her brother’s plans. However, the book quickly balanced that out, and I appreciated how many of the characters were portrayed by the end.
This may be a debut novel, but I did find the writing strong. Never once was I thrown out of the book. In fact, I kept reading at night longer than I should have and suffered for it at work the next day.
Yes, I do feel there were too many sub-plots and that took away from the mystery. But in the end, I did enjoy Stone Cold Dead. If you go in expecting a bit of a slower pace, you’ll enjoy it, too.