Killer Party
Lynn Cahoon     

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: A Tourist Trap Mystery
Book: 9

For a gang of old college buddies, the quaint resort town of South Cove, California, is the perfect spot for a no-holds-barred bachelor party. But for Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books and More—this stag party is going to be murder . . .

After a few months of living with her boyfriend Greg, Jill is still getting used to sharing such close quarters, but she’s got no hesitation about joining him for a weekend at South Cove’s most luxurious resort. While Greg and his college pals celebrate their buddy’s upcoming wedding, Jill intends to pamper herself in style. But when the groom is found floating facedown in the pool, Jill must find the killer fast, or she might not have a boyfriend to come home to any more . . .

Jill Gardner takes a break from her duties as owner of Coffee, Books and More to attend a weekend party with her boyfriend Greg King and his friends. Greg's good friend Levi Walters, now a wealthy tech entrepreneur, is getting married and has rented out an entire South Cove, California resort for his pre-wedding celebration. The bachelor party begins and the alcohol flows for Greg and his friends while Jill and the women relax by the pool. Before the celebration really gets into high gear, the party is over when Levi is found dead in the pool. Greg is a detective, but isn't assigned to the investigation, so it's up to Jill to do the sleuthing and uncover a killer.

This is the ninth book in the Tourist Trap series. I've read some, but not all of the prior books, but it's not hard for new or casual readers to catch up with the main characters. This book also introduces several new characters, including a new shop owner. Most of Greg's friends are immature and their attitudes toward women are stuck in the fifties, so hopefully they won’t be spending much time South Cove in the future. However, putting everyone together at the resort makes a great set-up for a murder mystery and the fact that the victim is often a jerk provides plenty of motives and suspects.

Jill’s boyfriend, Greg, is likeable. However, it's frustrating when stonewalls Jill instead of providing her information that would help solve the murder, especially when he had encouraged Jill to investigate Levi's death. Jill is a thorough investigator both with and without Greg's help, and I enjoy reading how she puts together clues to solve the murder. I also enjoy the scenes of her at work running her shop and interacting with her staff. She and Greg's relationship has progressed from the earlier books and it is fun to read about them getting used to living together. Some aspects of the case seem to come out of left field, but I still find this to be an entertaining cozy. In the few books I've read, Jill's Aunt Jackie has never been my favorite character and she is especially annoying in this book as she goes overboard in the planning of her wedding. Those plans end on a cliffhanger which I assume will be addressed in the next book. I don’t really care for that technique of creating interest in the next book, but at least all aspects of Levi's murder are wrapped up by the end.

~ Christine