Why I Read It: I needed a cozy mystery – and there was a snake on the cover.
Where I Got It: Review copy from the author (thanks!)
Who I Recommend This To: Folks who enjoy a strong female lead, field geology, and a twisted mystery would enjoy this book.
Publisher: Midnight Ink (2013)
Length: 242 pages
Series: Book 1 of The Cleo Cooper Mysteries
Cleo Cooper is a divorced 45-year old mother of 2 (both adults now). She is also a field geologist and an independent business woman. And she has taken the time to learn how to use more than one handgun (a skill I recommend to most adults). In North Carolina, Cleo believes she may have found a mammoth underground granite mountain, which is unusual for the area, but would be a multi-million dollar mine. However, Cleo needs tests to confirm her suspicions, and her potential granite mine is located on private property. Cleo has done all the proper ground work with the legal owner, Gladys. However, Galdys’s adult children, who are not employed and live at home, have been running interference left and right. One too many convenient accidents and a body later, Cleo starts to suspect someone if playing hard to shut down her efforts.
When I finished this book, I let out a deep sigh, blinked, and immediately looked around for the next Cleo Cooper mystery. Alas, there is not one. Yet. Though I have heard there is potentially another in the making. Lee Mims, take all the time you need to do your craft. I can wait for excellence. Simply, I thoroughly enjoyed this cozy mystery and I want more. This book didn’t try to outreach itself and kept the story line simple, fun, and engaging. One of the main things I appreciated about it was the protagonist Cleo. She knows what she wants and goes for it, in business, in recreation, and in bed.
If I have to chat about the faults of this book, which were few and minor and didn’t detract from my enjoyment, then I will. There are 2 handguns used by Cleo in this book, a Beretta and a Glock. However, she used some slang (baby 9) and I occasionally thought she was talking about the Glock and then later thought she was referring to the Beretta. So, if you are a handgun aficionado this discrepancy would probably stand out for you like it did for me. Also, there is one scene where our heroine shoots in a darkened house at someone she believes is a bad guy, which folks might question for all sorts of safety reasons – you can’t really tell if there is a third party or not in the house and shooting gives away your position quite well. And that’s all I got for flaws. Yep.
I liked the use of wildlife, nature, and a pet dog throughout the book to give the main characters depth. The minor conflict between Cleo and her ex-husband (he wants her back, the kids want her to go back to him) was intriguing; Cleo is quite good at setting her boundaries and still having a friendly, even friendly with benefits, relationship with her ex-husband. Cleo also has a snarky sense of humor – in particular there was a certain 9 inch joke during a boat chase that had me groaning and laughing at the same time. All in all, I am looking forward to the sequel coming out and seeing what other trouble Cleo can get into and out of. And I nearly forgot about the frogmore stew! I bet some of you wish I had – hehe!
What I Liked: The pace of the story was perfect for a cozy mystery; Cleo is an awesome protagonist for real-world folks who want a break from teen heroes with endless powers; Playing hide and seek with Gladys throughout the book was amusing; Cleo’s sense of humor had me laughing to myself, gaining odd looks from strangers; there’s field geology and a snake!
What I Disliked: I wasn’t always positive which handgun Cleo had in use; Cleo shoots into a darkened house which is something most people trained in handgun safety would be extremely reluctant to do.
I received my copy of the book through JKS Communications as part of a blog tour. If you would like to see more reviews, interviews (including my own), guest posts, and giveaway, check HERE for the schedule.