SERIES: Barrow Bay Mysteries #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
RELEASE DATE: August 13, 2019
Jennifer Ward’s To Do List:
1) Turn in my business partner and his lying, cheating, law-breaking client to the SEC for insider trading.
2) Cooperate with the FBI. Do not kiss – scratch that. Do not yell at Special Agent Nicholas Kelly, the FBI agent leading said investigation.
3) Discover a dead body…
Jennifer Ward, MBA, CPA, and business consultant, likes a nice, orderly lifestyle. Schedules and To Do Lists are what gets her through the day. So when the by-the-numbers fashionista finds her business partner was breaking the law, she turned him in to the SEC. Which brought the FBI to her door, and her ordered world to an end.
But that was three weeks ago. Things couldn’t possibly get worse. Right?
Until Jen discovers her business partner dead in his hotel room. With Nic the handsome FBI agent dogging her every step, Jen must use her skills to discover the truth. Who killed Henry? And will she be next?
Number’s Up is one of those books that I (mostly) enjoyed but is difficult to review. On the one hand I really liked the story and the characters, the romance and the sass. (Sassy characters are my jam.) On the other hand, there were some things that made my reading pace stumble.
Hence, a review in two parts lol
First… Sass + banter + madcap adventures + swoony Special Agent is a formula sure to get my attention. Throw in a mystery to solve and a quirky small town, and you can count me in! I really liked the vibes of the town and the main characters, and I chuckled more than once at the well-meaning meddling in Jen’s love life from several supporting characters. The dialogue was smart and witty, especially pretty much every conversation between Jen & Nic, chemistry sizzling all the while.
Second… several things did, unfortunately, give me pause. For one thing, there’s a significant amount of strong profanity and some innuendo throughout, something uncommon in cozy mysteries and unnecessary in my opinion. The writing would have been even tighter without it. Additionally, this seems to be a spin-off series of a sort and I often felt like I was missing something that would have made more sense if I’d read Lark’s series first. This also made some of the scenes feel a bit disjointed to me, like the author assumed I would know what the characters were referring to, etc. It isn’t a huge problem, but it did slow my reading pace as I tried to decide if I actually had missed something in this book – or in the previous series.
Bottom Line: Number’s Up is fun and witty with plenty of swoony moments as well as opportunities to chuckle. The case is layered and at times complex, and while the culprits may initially seem obvious it’s not as open-and-shut as it appears. The kooky little town and its equally zany hodgepodge of characters are entertaining and very likable, as is the interaction between Jen and Nic. An edgier cozy and the writing could have been tighter in places, but overall an enjoyable read!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 3.5 / Enjoyed it but also some problematic aspects
Reviewer’s Note: Reviewers may want to be aware that there is significant strong profanity/crude language.
Annabelle Hunter is a stay-at-home mom and an avid fan of classic mystery shows and dressage. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, and too many animals.
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