Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Interesting cast of characters; good mystery
Cons: A tad slow to get going, but strong plot when it does.
The Bottom Line:
Brings us strong new characters
Beary good debut
Missing This Debut Would be Unbearable
Few things bring up the warm fuzzes for most people like teddy bears. So this isn’t a subject you would automatically think of for murder, but maybe it should be. I’m already beginning to think of all the great murder weapons in a stuffed bear factory, and this delightful new series has bearly started with Bearly Departed.
The series is set in the small town of Silver Hollow, Michigan, and centers on the small, family owned Silver Bear Shop and Factory. Sasha Silverman’s parents started the factory based on her grandfather’s design, and she is proud to be carrying on the legacy as the company’s manager.
However, there is Will Taylor, the company’s sale representative. Will has decided that the company would save money by moving production overseas, a drumbeat he’s been making since he started. When he returned unexpectedly from a sales convention and calls a meeting, Sasha fears he’s going to bring up the subject again. Sure enough he does, but he shocks every when he claims that he’s gotten Sasha’s almost retired father to okay the production move. Naturally, the meeting ends with lots of yelling and threats, but Sasha does not expect to find Will dead inside the factory late that night. With the police looking at Sasha’s uncle as a suspect, she decides to dig in and try to find the real killer. But can she do that?
The book takes a little time to get going as we are introduced to the business, characters, and community. However, it doesn’t take us too long to meet Will, and that’s when things get very interesting. Over the course of the investigation, Sasha uncovers secrets about people she thought she knew and even reaches some revelations about her own family, which I really liked. A sub-plot involving her parents also helped keep me engaged. Everything comes together for a logical and suspenseful climax.
As I mentioned, all the characters have layers to them, and that makes them very interesting. What I especially enjoyed was seeing how Sasha reacted to what she was learning about these people she thought she knew. That allowed us to really get to know her. This book sets up some interesting future storylines for her and other series regulars as well as some interesting family dynamics, so I’m anxious to find out what happens to all of them next.
Despite this book being labeled “Shamelessly Adorable” there is a very serious side to the story told here. Oh, don’t worry, it’s still a cozy, but it is a cozy with a bit more gravity to it than some others, and I enjoyed that.
If you are like me, you aren’t necessarily looking for a new series to start, but I recommend you make an exception for Bearly Departed. I’m very interested in learning where the characters go from here, and I am beary confident you will be, too.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.
SECOND NOTE: Yes, it is way too easy to make bear puns, and I’m having too much fun making them.