SOMETHING SHADY AT SUNSHINE HAVEN by Kris Bock
SERIES: The Accidental Detective #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Tule Publishing
RELEASE DATE: April 7, 2022
She’s pursued the most dangerous news stories around the world. But can she survive going home?
Injured in a bombing, war correspondent Kate Tessler returns to her hometown in Arizona to recover. For the first time in her life, she’s starting to feel her age of nearly fifty despite living like a teenager again: staying in her childhood bedroom with only a cat for company, trying to understand why her sister resents her so much, and running into people who still refer to her as Kitty. The hardest part? Seeing her once-sharp and witty mother stuck in an Alzheimer’s unit.
When an old friend asks her to investigate suspicious deaths at the nursing home, Kate limps into action. Is a self-appointed “Angel of Mercy” killing patients to end their suffering? Are family members hastening their inheritance? Is an employee extorting money and removing the witnesses? Kate uses her journalism skills to track clues, but the puzzle pieces simply won’t fit.
If Kate can’t uncover the truth quickly, her mother could be next on the killer’s list.
Poor Kate. After being injured in a bombing while working overseas as a war correspondent, she’s come home to Arizona to recuperate – but her homecoming hasn’t exactly been restful yet. Unless you count dodging cars that try to run her down, diving out of the way of bullets, and racing against time to save nursing home patients – including her mother – from a possible murderer ‘restful’.
I really liked getting to know Kate. She has a subtle sense of humor, enough that I know we would get along famously if she was an actual person and not a fictional character. She also has a good heart, smart intuition, and a dogged determination to succeed, whether it’s at her job or her ‘accidental investigation’ or her recovery from the bomb-related injuries. She’s also an awful lot like many women – juggling career and family, concerned about her aging parents, navigating a tense relationship with her sister, and wondering how 50 is looming ever closer. I loved this ‘every woman’ side of her, making it easy for readers to relate to (and like) Kate even if her specific circumstances don’t apply to them.
The mystery has several cozy mystery elements, but it also at times feels a little like suspense too. That’s not a complaint in the least – I loved it! The quirkiness and small town feel of a cozy mystery paired with heart-in-your-throat moments of danger and life-threatening action keeps the pace varied at just the right tempo. There were several suspects that made sense, and even though I had it correctly narrowed down there were enough twists and turns and false leads that I wasn’t entirely sure, nor was I entirely right. The plot more than held my attention, and there’s even a very subtle hint of romance potential as the series continues.
Bottom Line: A great start to a new series, Something Shady at Sunshine Haven by Kris Bock has a little something for everyone. Emotionally-layered family dynamics, a delightful middle-aged protagonist turned accidental detective (love that series title!), an eclectic crew of supporting sleuths, and even a bit of romantic possibilities for future books. I really liked Kate – she was relatable no matter where you are in life, but especially for those who have aging parents, complicated sibling relationships, and/or sudden life changes. The mystery was nicely plotted and kept me turning the pages, and I appreciated how Kate’s background as a war correspondent (and the fact that her mother is a patient at Sunshine Haven) made it logical for her to poke around and investigate. Readers will enjoy this new cozy mystery and eagerly wait for more sleuthing with Kate and the Coffee Shop Irregulars!
(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: 4 stars / loved it!
Reviewer’s Note: Reviewers may want to be aware that there are occasional (very few) minor curse words scattered throughout this novel and a couple of mentions of more adult topics. It is definitely a clean read nonetheless.
Kris Bock writes novels of mystery, suspense, and romance, many with outdoor adventures and Southwestern landscapes. Get a free Accidental Detective short story and bonus material when you sign up for her newsletter. You’ll also get a free 30-page sweet romance set in the world of the Furrever Friends cat café and a printable copy of the recipes mentioned in the cat café novels
Kris is also writing a series with her brother, scriptwriter Douglas J Eboch, who wrote the original screenplay for the movie Sweet Home Alabama. Follow the crazy antics of Melanie, Jake, and their friends a decade before the events of the movie. Sign up for our romantic comedy newsletter and get Felony Melanie Destroys the Moonshiner’s Cabin. Or find the books on Amazon US or All E-book retailers
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What about you? What makes you want to read Something Shady at Sunshine Haven by Kris Bock?