Release Date: Oct 6, 2020
Series: Jane Doe Book Club
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Author Website: Kate Young
Lyla Moody is a receptionist at her uncle’s private investigation firm in the small town of Sweet Mountain, Georgia. She enjoys her book club which discusses both fictional and real crimes. LIfe is good until her best friend Melanie goes on vacation and her cousin starts dating Lyla’s ex-boyfriend. Things get even worse when the dead body of one of her club members is found in a suitcase on her doorstop. The suitcase belongs to Melanie who just returned to town and now Lyla must put her knowledge of true crime to use and clear her friend’s name.
This book has a really interesting premise and Lyla reminded me of a cross between Charlaine Harris’s Aurora Teagarden and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum. The book is a little more graphic than a typical cozy mystery, but has some of the elements including a spunky main character with a pushy mom, a small Southern town, and a friend who is falsely accused of murder. Unfortunately for most of the book, those elements just don’t come together for me. I like Lila and how independent she is, but couldn’t connect with too many of the other characters to make the book enjoyable. If there had been more scenes with the club members interacting, it may have given me a chance to get to know some of the other characters in more depth. It starts out slow, but does pick up as the story gets moving.
The mystery is a little darker and more complex than in some cozies. It is suspenseful and I could never have guessed the identity of the actual killer. I enjoy the real books that are sometimes mentioned in the story. The threatening text messages Lyla receives add some excitement as well. Lyla has the potential to be a good investigator and the series does have potential. The story doesn’t always flow smoothly so I was sometimes confused about what was going on. There are some things left in the air at the end to create interest in subsequent books. I like the premise and I like how well Lyla and her grandmother get along. I’m not sure I will keep following the series, but I think the book may appeal to those who usually read thrillers and are looking for a bit of a traditional mystery mixed in with the suspense element.