My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Where There’s a Will is the second book in Amy K. Rognlie’s ‘Short Creek Mystery Series.’ Who wouldn’t enjoy a book about a missing will and a town called Short Creek? I stumbled upon this author and her series via a cozy mystery group I belong to. Although I won the second book, the author was kind of enough to also send the first book, so I could catch up. I wrote that review last week, which means today I’m ready for the second one. Kudos to Rognlie for creating a Christian cozy mystery series with diversity and a focus on living a better life through faith.
In this book, Callie gets a call in the wee hours of the morning from her aunt noting that a friend is in trouble. When Callie checks on the friend, she’s okay. But she’s not the next day! As the story progresses, we learn about a missing family, a ruthless real estate agent, a couple of cases of hidden identities, and a much sought after will. Who inherits? Who really knows what happened years ago when the family disappeared? Who is in cahoots with whom to find the proverbial gold at the end of this rainbow? The mystery is strong, almost too strong! It took a lot to keep track of of few merging story-lines, but I like the complexity.
Rognlie has created a wonderful setting with a very strong religious theme. If you enjoy mysteries but also reading bible verses, learning how to be a better / kinder person, relying on Jesus to help protect and support you, and share prayers, this is the book for you. The author weaves together a collection of Short Creek inhabitants who rely on their religious beliefs to get them through each day, even when it includes murder. Just like other cozies with themes, you need to have an interest in Christianity and prayer to fully understand and absorb this book. It goes to show how faith can help people get through a tough situation.
I haven’t read many books in this sub-genre / theme, but it seems to be a good example of it. The characters are well-drawn and the writing is good. It should find a great audience. Thanks for sharing it!
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.
3 of 5 stars to A.H. Gabhart‘s Murder at the Courthouse, the first in the “Hidden Springs” cozy mystery series. I downloaded this free e-book for Kindle and read it on my iPad. While the story was clever and interesting, it wasn’t as appealing as I’d hoped.
Michael Keane leaves his position on the Columbus police force when he realizes he doesn’t want to watch people suffer in the city. Orphaned at 15, he’s seen enough death and returns home to his peaceful and quiet town of Hidden Springs, Kentucky, where nothing ever happens. Unfortunately, as he’s drinking his morning coffee at the town’s police office and courthouse, he discovers a dead body sitting at the entrance. As he investigates all the key players in the town to see which gossip may have seen it happen, he quickly finds no one knew the stranger. But as he recalls the death of his parents, and helps another young kid find his own parents, the whole story comes together. In the end, Mike finds the culprit with the young kid’s help but his little town will never be the same again.
If you like very slow-paced cozy mysteries set in a religious and judgmental town, then this book’s for you! It wasn’t for me. Too much talk about prayer saving the town (not that I don’t believe, but it was just hammered into the text way too often), too repetitive (retold the same facts to at least one new town person each chapter), too many theories and characters to keep track of (at least 10 townspeople who “may” have had a motive)… overall, it fell a bit disorganized and should have been at least 60 pages shorter.
On the positive side, the story had some merit and new plot lines. There were a few likable characters. And the connections between all the stories was a nice culmination.
It’s not an awful book, but it will take a non-traditional cozy reader who wants to just hear the same things over and over again to stick with it. I’ll probably pass on the rest of the series, but don’t let me steer you in the wrong direction. I’m sure there’s an audience for it — just not me!