Thursday, May 2, 2019

Book Review: The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan (Jazz Ramsey Mysteries #1)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, plot, writing
Cons: Nothing at all
The Bottom Line:
Unexpected find
Jazz feels compelled to solve crime
Engrossing debut

This Debut Smells Like a Winner

When I stumbled upon Kylie Logan’s books a few years ago, I quickly fell in love with her characters and plotting, so I was excited to see she was starting a new series.  The Scent of Murder is a little different from what I’ve read from her before, and it is well worth reading.

Jazz Ramsey is putting Luther, a cadaver dog in training, through some late-night training at a construction site in her native Cleveland.  She has the owner’s permission to be there, and she has already hidden something for Luther to find.  So, she is surprised when Luther indicates that he’s found something in a completely different location.  Sadly, he has – the body of a young woman covered in tats, piercings, and Goth make up.  Even more surprising, Jazz recognizes the victim as Florie Allen, one of the girls who had graduated just a few years ago from the private all-girls school where Jazz works.  And the tats, piercings, etc. are not at all the Florie that Jazz knew back then.

The detective working the case in an old boyfriend.  Jazz isn’t necessarily happy to see Nick again, but she knows the case is in good hands.  Still, she needs answers herself, and she is driven to try to figure out what Florie was doing in the building and what got her killed.  Will she find the killer?

When I first heard about this book, I thought this was going to be more serious than the previous books I’d read from Kylie, and I was right.  This is not a reason to skip this book; just something to keep in mind when you pick it up.

This may be a debut, but the characters are already clearly formed.  Jazz is sympathetic, and as we get to know her, it is easy to fall in love.  While my allergies have kept me from getting too attached to pets in real life, I quickly fell for Luther as well.  The cadaver dog aspect is a unique hook for a mystery series, and I enjoyed getting to learn a bit more about these dogs.  Jazz is surrounded by a large cast of friends, family, and co-workers, and they are just as real as she is.  We might not get to spend much time with all of them, but we already feel like we know them.  The suspects are just as real.

The plot moved forward at a steady pace.  We actually open with Jazz finding Florie’s body, and as she tries to deal with her emotions, that drives her into the investigation.  I figured out one or two twists early, but others caught me completely off guard.  By the time Jazz figured out who the killer was, I felt all the loose ends had been tied up.

Tying this all together is wonderful writing.  Kylie brings Cleveland and its various neighborhoods to life for us without ever slowing down the story.  I got pulled into this book and always had a hard time returning to my real life when I had to put it down.

I can’t recommend The Scent of Murder highly enough.  This is a compelling debut that will keep you turning pages until you reach the final one.  I will definitely be picking up the Jazz’s second case when it is released.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

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