Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Book Review: Cozy Up to Trouble by Colin Conway (Cozy Up #4)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Entertaining, well plotted mystery; humor
Cons: Paper thin characters
The Bottom Line:
Senior apartments
Locked in with a murderer
Light but amusing

Trouble in a High Rise

As much as I do enjoy my cozies, I like pushing the boundaries every so often.  One of those series that pushes the boundaries a little is the Cozy Up series.  I enjoy the books for what they are, and Cozy Up to Trouble, the fourth, was no exception.

The main way the series pushes boundaries is the main character.  We follow Beau Smith, a former enforcer for a motorcycle gang.  However, he’s reformed (okay, semi-reformed) and in the witness protection program.  The problem is, he can’t seem to stay under the radar no matter how much he tries, and his past always seems to be right behind him.  This book finds him in his fourth location with his fourth identity.

This time, he’s landed in a senior apartment building on the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago.  While he isn’t old enough to be a resident, under his new cover identity, Skeeter Dursky, he has gotten a job as the assistant maintenance man in the building.  With seventeen floors of residents, there is plenty of work to do.

However, on Skeeter’s third day on the job, someone from his past walks into the building just before the building’s best-known resident, a best-selling author, is killed in his apartment.  The police quickly come and lock down the building.  The press are camped outside.  And Skeeter once again finds himself playing detective to solve the crime.  Can he figure out what happened?

If you are new to the series, this is a good book to jump in.  We don’t get lots of backstory on Beau/Skeeter; instead, the book focuses mainly on the story taking place here.  Even better, since Skeeter’s presence in Witness Protection isn’t played up like it has been, my nagging suspicions that this isn’t the way the program really works isn’t much of a factor.

Since Skeeter is the only returning character, the book does take a little time to introduce us to the new cast before the body turns up.  This time was also used to set up some suspects and possible motives.  There is a lot going on in this book, and that helps keep us distracted as we go along.  The climax, when we get there, is completely logical given the clues we’ve picked up along the way.

The characters are pretty thin.  Obviously, that is the case for the background characters, but even the suspects felt like they could have been developed a little better.  Heck, Skeeter feels a little flat, as well.

Earlier, I mentioned that you could jump in here since little of the backstory comes into play here.  However, I feel like you’d need the background of the earlier books to care about Beau/Skeeter.  Those earlier books really let us get to know him a little better.  This one felt shorter than the others (not sure if it really was or not), but the result is the book doesn’t allow us much time to get to watch him develop as a character.

I do enjoy the humor of the series.  It mocks cozies in a gentle way, and as a fan, I’m certainly in on the joke.  Some of the characters are wacky in their own right, as well.

The Cozy Up series isn’t the strongest, but it is amusing for a quickly read.  If you are interested, watch for the series to be on sale before you plunk down any money.  If you’ve enjoyed the earlier books, you’ll find yourself enjoying Cozy Up to Trouble.

Want background?  Here are the rest of the Copy Up mysteries.


  1. Terrific review. Sometimes light and amusing is all I need in a book

  2. I'm not sure this one is for me. I do love a quick light read and don't mind paper thin characters sometimes but I feel like I have a bunch of series like that I'm trying to catch up on.

  3. I still haven't started this series. It sounds fun though.


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