Editorial Note – I was given a copy of A Literal Mess by J.C. Kenney in return for review.
A Literal Mess by J.C. Kenney is my first-ever cozy mystery read and I very much enjoyed it!
Cozy mysteries is a genre of crime fiction centered around the idea that the average person can make a difference. Hallmarks of cozy mysteries include a murder mystery, an amateur sleuth and small-town charms. It’s no secret that the mystery will be solved and there’s a happily-ever-after ending. It’s safe to say that everyone could use a break from issues in the real world so why not snuggle up with a cozy mystery?
A Literal Mess follows Allie Cobb who left home for the literary circles of Manhattan to make her name out from under the shadow of her legendary father. She returns home to the southern Indiana town of Rushing Creek (population: 3,216) to attend his funeral. However, her return to New York is put on pause when the body of her father’s hard-drinking, bestselling client is found under the historic town bridge. The local police suspect foul play and their prime candidate for murder is the author’s daughter—Allie’s longtime friend. Determined to clear her bestie, Allie goes into fact-checking amateur detective mode while trying to ignore the usual rumormongers.
There’s many characters in this one plus getting to know Allie but I didn’t feel that the story was bogged down by too much background information. It moves along at a good pace and the mystery kept my interest the entire time. Even though Allie is trying to solve a murder, she still has her day job and I really enjoyed the ‘behind the scenes’ look at a literary agent’s work. Plus, as a literary agent, a key skill is an attention to detail. She uses this skill to help solve the murder.
Allie is loyal and feisty, which makes for a good combination when she’s trying to clear her best friend of any wrong doing. There’s also hint of a love interest to come! I’m excited to read how that develops in the next book in the series.
When it comes to the mystery itself, it’s not hard to solve at all. I figured it out early on and I’m sure you will, too. But like a romantic comedy movie, it’s more about the journey not the destination, which includes quirky characters and heartfelt moments. A solid one to read.