Thursday, January 10, 2019

Book Review: A Literal Mess by J. C. Kenney (Allie Cobb #1)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters and mystery
Cons: Allie's relationship with the police is questionable
The Bottom Line:
Author is murdered
And Allie must clear her friend
Serious; so good

Strong Debut

I'm trying to cut down on the review requests I accept this year.  I have so many books I already own that I'm dying to read I need to do something to free up time to get to them.  That's why I went back and forth on A Literal Mess.  Ultimately, I decided to give this new series debut a chance, and I'm really glad I did.

Allie Cobb has returned home to Rushing Creek, Indiana, because her father has died.  He was fighting pancreatic cancer, so the news wasn't a surprise, but she had been close to him.  In fact, her career as a literary agent in New York City is a direct result of his job as a literary agent.

Allie is finding comfort in being around family and friends during her trip home until tragedy strikes again.  The morning after the funeral, someone finds the body of Thornwell Winchester, a best-selling author who was her father's client for his entire career.  Additionally, he was the father of Allie's best friend, Sloane.  When the police begin looking at Sloane as their prime suspect, Allie starts to investigate to clear her friend.  But can she figure out what happened before she has to return to her job?

This book hit me hard right from the start.  We may have just met Allie, but we definitely feel her loss.  No, the book doesn't become dwell on her father’s death needlessly, but it isn't the light, breezy cozy I often pick up.  Nor should it be.  It handles Allie losing her father correctly, and I appreciated the more serious tone the book had.

I also appreciated the fact that Allie and her family and friends come with baggage.  While they are there for each other, their relationships aren't perfect and it gives them some added depth, especially for a series debut.  I am looking forward to seeing how these relationships play out in further books in the series.  The suspects were just as strong and had credible motives for committing the crime.

While the book starts out with the death of Allie's father, it never forgets that this book is really a mystery, and his death isn't supposed to be the focus.  We spend a little time getting to know Thornwell and a couple of the suspects before he turns up dead, and once we do, we meet other suspects.  I enjoyed the mystery, and the red herrings and twists kept me guessing until Allie figured it all out at the end.  I did think her relationship with the police stretched credibility, but I was willing to overlook that since I was enjoying the book.

While A Literal Mess might be more serious in tone, it was definitely well worth reading.  I'm glad I decided to give it a chance.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

I'm reviewing this as part of a blog tour.  To find the other stops, please go to the tour's home page.

And enter the series wide giveaway by using the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for your review on "A Literal Mess" by J. C. Kenney and for being part of the book tour. I always enjoy reading your reviews because they tell you about the book without giving anything away. Can't wait for the opportunity to read this one and have added it to my TBR.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  2. Thanks so much for giving A Literal Mess a try, Mark! I'm so pleased you enjoyed it. I also appreciate you hosting a tour stop today. Have a great day!

  3. I just love your reviews! This is a book I had seen and am happy to say I do want to read it!

  4. Love reading debut novels and adding this one to my wishlist. Thanks for the great review.