My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Like the author, I love Deadwood. I visited as often as I could when I lived in SD so I really wanted to love this and I didn't. I'm actually shocked it won an award. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad but it's also not that great and a lot of that has to two with two things. A), Violet Parker, our protagonist has a work place so toxic I have no idea why she doesn't sue or at least speak to her boss about it. The lone man at the realty company she works with demeans her, makes sexual comments and counts down the days to when she'll be gone in full view of the other realtor but no one says a word to the boss (also female) and B), the love triangle, so awkward and so insta-lust/love for both suitors that I sprained something rolling my eyes.
I didn't hate Violet but I didn't love her either. She has yet to sell a house and her job is on the line. She's living with her Aunt Zoe with her twins (She's a single mom), Abby who brings home every stray animal and Layne, her son who's playing amateur archaeologist in the back yard. Thanks to Abby placing a personal ad for her mom, Violet already has more potential (unwanted) dates than she can handle but all four of the potential clients want her too, pretty surprising since she's 'not in good shape' (because of course she's insecure about her weight).
The mystery is several girls matching Abby's looks and age have gone missing. So props to having an unusual reason for the amateur sleuth to be investigating instead of the usual cozy fall back of being suspected of the first murder. While there aren't a whole lot of suspects, the mystery part was good. I liked that.
I just would have liked it a lot more if she wasn't being torn between Wolfgang the jeweler with a house she has to sell but can't because it's 'historic' and in bad shape but she can't get permission to fix it and Doc, the newcomer her best friend and sexually free contractor, Natalie thinks is 'the one' who keeps blowing hot and cold so much with Violet, I'm creeped out. I don't see her attraction. He seems unstable not 'mysterious'.
Neither Violet nor Natalie seem professional (mild spoiler, Natalie falls off a rough because her cowboy boots were slippery, as if she wouldn't know that since she's been fixing things since she was a kid). That bugged me.
So yeah I was bothered by the love triangle and the completely tacked on, awkward sex scene (and I'm not bothered by sex or swears which this cozy has both). I might read another from the library but I wouldn't buy it.
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