Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Book Review: May Day by Jess Lourey (Mira James #1)

Stars: 2 out of 5
Pros: Decent mystery
Cons: Weak characters, humor doesn’t work
The Bottom Line:
Dead boyfriend’s body
Lying in the library
Wanted to like it

Wasn’t What I Was Expecting

I’ve heard about Jess Lourey’s Mira James Mysteries for years.  And they’ve been on my radar as something I thought I’d enjoy just as long.  I don’t even know how long ago I bought May Day, and I have several other entries in the series in ebook.  So, it was with anticipation that I sat down to read this book.  You can understand why I am disappointed I didn’t enjoy it more.

Mira’s life in Minneapolis is falling apart, so when a chance comes up to be an assistant librarian and part time reporter in the small town of Battle Lake, Minnesota, she jumps at the chance.  She’s not expecting her love life to be super active there, but then she meets Jeff, and it is love at first sight.  At least it is for a week until she finds his dead body in the middle of the library one morning when she goes to open it.  Worried that she is a jinx, Mira decides to figure out what happened.  The fact that she can turn it into an article for the paper is an added bonus.  Will she figure out what happened?

The book starts right out with Mira finding Jeff’s body.  So far, so good, right?  The problem is, I felt a little off balance since I really didn’t have much context to who anyone was.  The book then does one of my least favorite things – going back in time to give us the background we need to understand what has already happened.  That made me struggle with the first quarter of the book until we got back to the action.  Yes, we needed some of that background to understand what happened, but it could have been given to us better.

Once we really got into the mystery, it was interesting.  I was confused by who might have done it until Mira figured it out, and there were enough twists to keep me entertained.

The characters were more types than true characters.  There are hints to some depth, but they feel like they are there more to be humorous instead of be true characters.

And I think that was part of my problem with the novel.  Instead of being funny, I felt like it was trying hard to be funny.  And when something is saying “Look at me, I’m funny,” I often don’t find it that funny.

Furthermore, some of the humor was supposed to come from some sexual situations that Mira found herself in and her thoughts about her love life.  This is most definitely not a cozy, but I wasn’t expecting that content in the book.  Those scenes felt forced, unfunny, and very jarring to me.  Instead of being funny, they were raunchy, and I didn’t appreciate them.

The book originally came out in 2006, so some of the technology is dated.  Keep that in mind if you pick up the book, and you’ll be fine.

I wish I had liked May Day more.  I’d be more tempted to give the series a second shot if I had the second book already, but since the books I have are later in the series, I may just move on.

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