A Literal Mess
By J. C. Kenney
Allie Cobb Series #1
Lyrical Underground, 2019
The first book in a new series featuring Allie Cobb brings the New York literary agent back to her Hoosier home town where a mysterious death keeps everyone on spoiler alert . . .
Allie Cobb left home for the literary circles of Manhattan to make her name out from under the shadow of her legendary father. Now his death brings her and her rescue cat Ursula back to the southern Indiana town of Rushing Creek, population: 3,216. But a tragic new chapter hits the presses when the body of her father’s hard-drinking, #1 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. Those with means, motive, and opportunity include the vic’s ex-wife, his rejected girlfriend, the mayor, and a rival agent trying to mooch clients. With a rugged genealogist distracting her and the imminent Fall Festival about to send tourists descending on their once-peaceful hamlet, Allie needs to stay alive long enough to get a read on a killer ready to close the book on a new victim: Allie . . .
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When the story entertains, it’s fun to discover a new series and new-to-me author – and that’s exactly what I found in A Literal Mess by J. C. Kenney. The story is well written and involves some interesting family dynamics. The small-town setting of Rushing Creek, Indiana had a comfortable, cozy feel to it and I loved the idea of Allie Cobb returning home, even if it was for her father’s funeral.
At the heart of the story is Allie, a very likeable leading lady who is loyal to her family and friends. And she has the essential qualities that make a good amateur detective; she’s intelligent, methodical, has an eye for details, and is a good listener. Readers will love that the “family business” is book related, with Allie carrying on her dad’s legacy as a literary agent.
A Literal Mess begins a new series, and there’s a good blend between establishing the series foundation through setting and characters, and then the mystery plot itself. The murder victim was a successful author, both client and friend to Allie’s dad – and also the father of her best friend, Sloane.
Sloane’s relationship with her father had been
problematic at best and borderline abusive at worst.
A Literal Mess is an entertaining cozy mystery, the only negative being some mild profanity.
I received a copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
J.C. Kenney grew up in a household filled with books by legends Agatha Christie and Lilian Jackson Braun, among many others, so it was no surprise when he found himself writing mystery stories. When he’s not writing, you can find him following IndyCar racing or listening to music.
He lives in Indianapolis with his wife, two sons, and a cat who is the inspiration for Ursula in the .
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