Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Story to Kill by Lynn Cahoon

I love the mystery community. When we hosted Laura Bradford at the library, Lynn Cahoon came with her. I hadn't read Lynn's books, however after reading A Story to Kill, the first Cat Latimer mystery, I'll be eager to read the sequel. But cozy mystery? Small town traditional mystery, yes. Like Cleo Coyle, though, Cahoon's story has a few elements not usually found in cozies.

Cat Latimer had never expected to move back to Aspen Hills, Colorado, to the house she loved. But, when her ex-husband, Michael, died, he hadn't changed his will, and she inherited the house. Now, she and her best friend, Shauna, are opening the Warm Springs Writer's Retreat near Covington College. Cat's the writer in residence. Shauna is in charge of the kitchen and hospitality, and their first guests are arriving. Best selling thriller writer Tom Cook is among the small group, which thrills everyone. Cat isn't quite as thrilled when she finds him murdered in his room.

Cahoon has the typical cast in a small town mystery. There's the heroine, Cat, and her best friend. Seth Howard is the high school sweetheart, dumped after an argument, but he's now the handyman, always in the house, and always on Cat's mind. Her uncle is the police chief. It's a likable cast, perhaps a little stock in this first book, but the story is definitely a set-up for future books. Cat isn't a stock heroine, though. She's very authentic, a little grouchy at times, definitely feeling unsettled when it comes to her relationship with Seth, and her memories of Michael. And, the killer wasn't a surprise.

Saying all of that, I was drawn to the story and the characters. And, Cahoon does have surprises for the reader. There are a couple mysteries here, and one, involving Cat herself, is left open-ended. The other mystery involves a topic usually not dealt with in cozies. But, to mention more would be to spoil the story.

The writer's retreat bed-and-breakfast is a wonderful set-up for a mystery series. There will be new writers coming into every book, new characters to discover. And, of course, there's the mystery Michael left behind for Cat. A Story to Kill launches an engrossing new series with an appealing setting and a realistic, interesting amateur sleuth.

Lynn Cahoon's website is www.lynncahoon.com

A Story to Kill by Lynn Cahoon. Kensington Books. 2016. ISBN 9781496704351 (paperback), 277p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The author gave me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.

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