My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Parts of the book might have been three star but there were so many instances of the protagonist being TSTL (too stupid to live) and way too many cookie cutter flat characters. I know I’ve read others in this series but not sure I liked them very much either. Kelly is not a very patient person which comes up a the end when she decides the cops are going too slowly (at least this book has my favored situation in a cozy, the amateur on good terms with the police). And oh for those who don’t like their cozies with swears, there are a few in this. I will probably spoil a few things because they play into why I rated this low. I’ll put up warnings.
Kelly, accountant and knitter (who five books in on a knitting series is still stuck on scarf) has been suffering vandalism at her home which might be linked to similar situations across town. She introduces a young college student Tracy to Mimi who teaches dyeing because Tracy has an interest in it and is a chemistry student. In fact she’s taking ‘only two classes because it’s all she can afford’ (the same thing Kelly’s ranch hand, Bobby said word for word and I thought this had to be a clue because that’s so not how college works. It’s not that common to do it piecemeal and you’d never get thru a chemistry degree that way. It would literally take twice the time, it’s why we have loans. Yes yes I know not everyone can/wants to get a loan).
Before long, Tracy is dead in Mimi’s shop’s basement and Carl, Kelly’s rottweiler is nearly killed. It becomes clear that Kelly’s ranch in the canyon might be why Kelly’s been targeted as at least two previous owners had similar mishaps. Then Kelly is nearly killed (does everyone HAVE to do the omg my brakes have been cut on a mountainside, I’m going to crash thing? There is an emergency brake in your car. This is literally what it’s for) and everyone wants her to sell the property so she puts it up for sale cheap to hopefully lure out the person behind the attacks. Her realtor friend, Jennifer, thinks ‘gothboy’ is behind it and sorry, I’m having trouble seeing anyone working in real estate in full goth dress (having been goth). It’s like oh let’s pick out a marginalized group and cast them as the villains again (thank you NCIS for showing goths and D&D playing geeks in a positive light, you’ll never know how much that means).
Needless to say this works, Kelly then does something incredibly stupid and should have died. Frankly she barely does any sleuthing herself (as she broke her ankle in that car crash) and there are far too many characters in this sitting around eating, talking and knitting. Literally there are three major scenes where there are nearly a dozen people eating and teasing each other about how much they eat. One of them might have been nice, three it’s so repetitive it’s not funny.
Kelly annoyed me so many times in this. For one, she owns a large dog with devastating bite/grip strength and has done nothing to train Carl. He runs off, he steals food, he listens to no one. This is incredibly irresponsible behavior for her and finally Rosa (another knitter? A knit shop employee? I have no idea because I don’t remember the previous books and the characters are so thinly fleshed out I can’t tell most of them apart) says I train dogs and quickly teaches Carl (and no I’m not saying Rottweilers are dangerous but any dog can be if not trained. I love rotties and would be sad to see one in this condition training wise).
Then she seems to think being an athlete means she should heal bones faster, being so very proud of herself for getting down to just one crutch in just a few weeks and figures the cast comes off in only 6. the foot doctor in me is cringing. that’s not how bone healing works.
I don’t see me running out to get another of these. They aren’t that great and the editors really should have said ‘wow, this ending is stupid. Rewrite it.’ It made Kelly truly TSTL. So let me spoil the ending a bit (without naming the villain but still). Take that as your cue to bail if you don’t want to see it.
So Kelly knows (or thinks she does) who is behind the attacks on her in order to get the ranch so when our villain calls and says they’ll be away from the ranch, she goes up there without telling anyone (even though she’s supposed to be at home with her busted ankle, not driving) not even the cop, Burt, (who she also didn’t tell she accidentally called the villain after finding the victim’s phone). So hoping to get evidence Kelly goes alone and naturally the villain is there waiting for her. Frankly I was rooting for the villain because this was so stupid she deserved whatever she got. And at the end, she still sells the ranch at a loss after literally bitching the entire book about not having enough money. She shrugs and says we’ll find it somewhere. Okay I could see selling it because of bad memories but why not put it up at the real retail price? Well she is stupid….
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