Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Book Review: Cozy Up to Murder by Colin Conway (Cozy Up #2)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Owen, good plot, fun
Cons: Stretched credibility quite a bit
The Bottom Line:
Character on run
Once again caught in murder
Entertaining; flawed



Murder is Not Music to Owen’s Ears

Last year, I read the first book in the Cozy Up series.  While I found parts of it hard to swallow, I was intrigued enough that I knew I wanted to find out what happened next to the main character, so I picked up Cozy Up to Murder.  I had much the same response I did to the first book.

Our hero is a man in hiding.  It started out that the Feds were just hiding him from his old motorcycle gang after he testified against them in exchange for a reduced sentence.  But now he needs to hide out from the east coast mob as well.  So he’s been given a new name, Owen Hunter, and set up as the owner of a used music store in the coastal California town of Costa Buena.

Owen is determined to make good on his second second chance, but he quickly begins running afoul of the locals.  After run ins with several of his new neighbors, the owner of the rival music store turns up dead.  The local detective thinks that Owen makes a wonderful suspect, but Owen can’t let that happen for fear that his true identity will get out.  Can he solve the murder and keep his identity secret?

This is a cozy with an edge.  It’s not quite as edgy as the first book in the series, but this is still not a typical cozy.

Part of that is the lack of recurring characters.  While Owen (under a different name) was in the previous book, the majority of the cast here weren’t.  A couple of agents also reappear, but they are minor supporting players.  I miss some of the characters we got to know in that first book.  Owen does, too, which makes me feel a little better.

Owen himself is a draw to this series.  He’s a well-developed character who is trying to change his ways despite the circumstances he constantly finds himself in.  I really like him.

The citizens of Costa Buena are quite colorful.  One minute they are amusing, the next they are causing us to wonder just what they might be hiding.  In other words, they make wonderful suspects in the mystery.

And there is much in the mystery to keep us guessing.  I wasn’t sure how everything would be resolved until I reached the end.  The climax was a bit rushed, but it worked and wrapped up the story nicely while also setting up the next installment in the series.

Like with the first, I found parts of the book to be unrealistic.  Owen’s involvement in the witness protection program, for starters, feels more fictional than reality.  While the citizens were colorful, at times they felt a bit like cliches.  Maybe I’m more sensitive to that because I live in California, and I saw some stereotypical characteristics in them.  It’s a book where I have to turn off some of my logic to enjoy.

And yet I do.  It really helps that I like Owen and want him to find a way to succeed in his new life despite the obstacles he finds himself facing.

This was a very fast read.  I read it easily in two days when most books take me three days to read.

Despite the flaws, I did enjoy Cozy Up to Murder.  I know this book isn’t for everyone, but I’m glad I picked it up.

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