Friday, February 22, 2013

Book Review: At Wick's End by Tim Myers (Candlemaking Mysteries #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: The characters
Cons: Weak plot
The Bottom Line:
Harrison leads a
Charming cast of characters
Plot a little weak

Great Characters Make This a Memorable Debut

Tim Myers is an uneven author. I find I really enjoy some of his books, and others I don't care for nearly as much. At Wick's End, the first in his Candlemaking Mysteries, definitely falls into the love it category.

20-something Harrison Black is upset to hear about the death of his Great Aunt Belle in an accident at her candle shop, At Wick's End. He's not too surprised when she leaves everything to him, since they are the last in their family. Along with the shop, Harrison has inherited River's Edge, the strip mall of sorts where the shop is located and Belle's apartment on the second story of the building. The will does include the stipulation that Harrison must keep the store open and the building functioning for at least five years or he forfeits everything. Since Harrison was at a dead end in his life, he doesn't mind moving the few miles to run his new business in the least.

Things get off to an anything but smooth start when he's greeted his first morning by a break-in at his great aunt's apartment. Since the place had obviously been searched, he begins to suspect that Belle's death may have been more then an accident and is determined to find out what really happened to her. Thinking it might be one of his tenants, he becomes paranoid that their offers for help are really offers to search again. Add to that a new business he knows nothing about and an employee at the store who he seems to upset regularly and he has his work cut out for him. Can he keep everyone happy and figure out what really happened to his great aunt?

What made this book so intriguing for me? The characters. I found them completely believable and interesting. Harrison leads a great cast. I really identified with him, especially his habit of putting his foot in his mouth. And I was very jealous of his new hobby of kayaking. The tenants quickly became friends as well. And I love the potential love interest.

On the other hand, the plot had a few issues. We know from a prologue the what and the why of Belle's murder. We just don't know the who. As a result, we have to spend part of the book waiting for Harrison to figure out what we already know. And one plot point was fairly obvious early on as well. Still, there were a couple twists I didn't expect, and the ending was completely believable.

With the exception of the third person prologue, the rest of the book is narrated first person. The writing is fine, and the book is short. That translates to a very fast read.

So if you are looking for a fast, light read, consider At Wick's End because it's certainly an enjoyable debut. If only the rest of the series had held to this level.

And if you enjoy this book, here are the rest of the Candlemaking Mysteries in order.

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