Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Steamed Open by Barbara Ross

Posted January 12, 2019 by meezcarrie in Barbara Ross, contemporary, cozy mystery, giveaway, mystery/suspense / 4 Comments

about the book

SERIES: A Maine Clambake Mystery #7
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Kensington
RELEASE DATE: December 18, 2018
PAGES: 304

It’s summertime in Busman’s Harbor, Maine, and the clamming is easy—or it was until a mysterious new neighbor blocks access to the beach, cutting off the Snowden Family Clambake’s supply. Julia Snowden is just one of many townspeople angered by Bartholomew Frick’s decision. But which one of them was angry enough to kill?
Beachcombers, lighthouse buffs, and clammers are outraged after Frick puts up a gate in front of his newly inherited mansion. When Julia urges him to reconsider, she’s the last to see him alive—except the person who stabs him in the neck with a clam rake. As she pores through a long list of suspects, Julia meets disgruntled employees, rival heirs, and a pair of tourists determined to visit every lighthouse in America. They all have secrets, and Julia will have to work fast to expose the guilty party—or see this season’s clam harvest dry up for good.

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Other Books In This Series

This was my first read in the Maine Clambake series but it won’t be my last!

A quaint seaside town with some quirky characters and a host of endearing ones, including a couple who is traveling around by RV to sleep in all the lighthouses in the US (wouldn’t that be fun?!?). Julia Snowden is the kind of engaging heroine you’d want as a friend, and the subplot involving her boyfriend added further layers to the plot. I feel like if I’d followed this series from the beginning, Chris’s story would have been even more compelling. Along with that, Lou’s death and the events it set in motion probably would have intrigued me more than they already did if I’d read the series in order. But, that said, this also works really well as a standalone (You’ll just appreciate it better if you’d been reading from the beginning.)

The setting fit the story perfectly, and it’s easy to imagine yourself at the family clambake or meandering around town. The darling cover helps put us in the center of the story too, helping to picture the lighthouse and the beach that become central to the story.  I figured out the killer pretty early on, but that didn’t take away at all from my enjoyment in the book. The writing style is very engaging and makes for a quick read, perfect for cozying up in front of a roaring fire even if the setting is summertime.

Bottom Line: Engaging from start to finish, Steamed Open will have you packing your bags for a trip to Maine’s coastal towns – despite the Cabot-Cove-esque crime rate 😉 Warm and witty writing keeps you moving through the story at a steady pace that’s ideal for a quick weekend read. A couple of subplots tug at the heart, too, making this more than just a “simple” cozy mystery.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / Love it!

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about the author

Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. The first book in the series, Clammed Up was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel, the RT Book Reviews, Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award for Amateur Sleuth and was a finalist for the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She is co-editor/co-publisher of Level Best Books, which produces anthologies of crime stories by New England authors. She writes at her home overlooking the harbor in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. Barbara blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors and Maine Crime Writers. Readers can visit her website at

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is hosted by Great Escape, not RimSP
Follow along with the tour HERE

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4 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Steamed Open by Barbara Ross

  1. Janet Estridge

    When I first saw the title of Barbara’s book, what came to my mind, was an envelope being steamed open.
    Also, the page on FB, I’m All About Books wasn’t found.
    Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.

  2. Kay Garrett

    Thank you for your review on “Steamed Open” by Barbara Ross and for being part of the book tour.

    Love this cover! I’m sure the book is great because this author’s books usually are. Can’t wait for the opportunity to read this book on my TBR list.

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