Saturday, July 26, 2014

January Thaw


Recently I participated in the 41st Midwest Writer's Workshop and had an intensive session with the author of this series. In preparation, I decided to read one of her books in the series and this is the first one that was available at my local library. I believe that this is book 9 of the Murder a Month series that Jess Lourey is writing, but I did not realize that at the time that I read this.

With regards to the novel, I was a little disappointed in it. Maybe if I had started with the first one I would have seen the character growing, etc. For me, I thought that the main character was a little static. She was far less interesting to me than her cohort in crime Mrs. Berns. That old broad was fun and I couldn't help but laugh whenever to came onto the page. Definitely a scene stealer, at least for me. Also, her main character Mira and her boyfriend seemed almost like stock characters in a way. They were way too familiar and were felt type-casted. I would have liked to have had the characters have an idiosyncrasy of some kind that would have made them more interesting.

What I thought that Lourey did well was setting development. You knew that it was Minnesota and that it was in the winter. Sometimes while I was reading the skin on my arm would break out in goose bumps in empathy for the characters in the book. Battle Lake, since it is a real place, helped ground the book a little as well and made it easier to imagine what the little town looked like and how the people there behaved.

Some things that I had issue with was that the murderer wasn't really a secret and there were quite a few clichés strung throughout. For me, I need to be challenged when trying to figure out who the villain or murderer is. In this book, it seemed like Lourey didn't try to give any red herrings. I knew who it was rather quickly. The other thing is that even if you change a single word in a clichéd phrase, it is still a clichéd phrase. There was too much of that throughout.

In terms of the Midwest Writer's Workshop, I thought the intensive session with her was wonderful. She is extremely nice with a great sense of humor. In those few hours I learned more about the writing process than most of the writing classes I have taken. What I took away from it was not matter what, stay focused and don't give up on getting published. Even if you get 400 rejections, it may be accepted on the 401st, query.

If you like a cozy type mystery set in the Midwest, then this one is for you. If you need a mystery with a little more mystery and lot more action, then this probably isn't the one for you.

Rating 3 out 5

I borrowed this book from my local library; I was not paid to do a review of this book. The image is taken from Good Reads.

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