Book Review: On Spine of Death

Posted October 9, 2022 by geograph in adult, contemporary, cozy mysteries, review / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: On Spine of DeathOn Spine of Death by Tamara Berry
Series: By the Book Mysteries #2
Published by Poisoned Pen Press on August 26, 2022
Genres: Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths
Pages: 408
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Netgalley

Don't miss the second installment of this gripping and funny bookish cozy mystery series by Tamara Berry! This case isn't just cold, it's practically frozen shut...

In the aftermath of solving their first murder, bestselling author Tess Harrow and her teenage daughter Gertrude have decided to stay in Winthrop permanently. Now that they've made some updates to their cabin in the woods, they're turning to the family hardware store that Tess inherited and converting it into the town's first independent bookstore. But when renovations unearth bones from a cold case and send them toppling--literally--onto Tess's head, the work comes to a grinding halt. With the whole town convinced that her grandfather was a serial killer, Tess has to call in a fellow horror author for reinforcements. Together, they'll come up with a perfect story to make all the clues fit...and solve a mystery more than thirty years in the making.

Narrator: Tess Harrow
Main sleuth(s): Tess and her teen daughter Gertrude
Animals: None that I remember
Location: Winthrop, somewhere in the PNW but I think Oregon
Sub-location: Hardware store turned bookstore
Recipes: No :<
Notes on the puns of the title: Rough, but I like it
Series #: By the Book mysteries 2
Magic?: No
Theme: Horror writers? Being a mom? Being an author?
Copaganda/police involvement: Alright well having a librarian that is also an undercover FBI agent is…. wildly against everything librarians stand for, so, negative two stars for this alone. The cops are kind of jerks in this, so like, add another half-star back, but :/ The main character is maybe possible going to have a Romance with the sheriff, which is also. Bleh.

I really enjoyed large parts of this book — I think Tess and Gertrude are both funny and likable, and the mystery is well-written, but I am Not Enjoying the continual Law Enforcement Presence in them. Cozy mysteries are about the main character disregarding the police and solving the mystery on their own, so I think it’s against the spirit of them to have So Much Copaganda. Also, like, painting police in such a positive light can unduly influence readers into thinking that cops are Actually Like That. Two stars and a half stars, rounded up for NetGalley.

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