June 14, 2015

Roast Mortem by Cleo Coyle

So I made the mistake of not realizing this was the 9th book in a series.  I don't blame myself too much.  There was nothing on the cover to indicate it and I just picked it up in the free box at a local bookstore (which should have told me something).  I like cozy mysteries, but this one just didn't have authentic characters or believable dialogue.

Clare Cosi is the manager of a coffee shop and it's more than work, at this point it is her life.  She has a grown daughter, a detective boyfriend, and a coffee buyer ex-husband who she is still on friendly terms with.  When she and her ex-mother in law go to visit a friend to pick up some machinery, they don't expect to get caught in a blast and subsequent fire when his coffee shop goes up in flames.  And Clare doesn't think that it's an accident, she thinks its arson.  Especially when other fires start breaking out and she finds herself in the middle of the mystery.

None of the characters in this had authentic voices.  Maybe it's because I haven't read the others, but calling your ex-mother in law "Madame" (and every other character calling her that too, was just plain weird to me).  Then you have the chief firefighter using a bazillion pck up lines as well and it just seems unbelievable.  And that's how a lot of the conversations went in the first half of the book.  Thankfully it seemed to tone out a bit as the book went on and the dialogue sounded how people actually talk in real life.  Although he didn't stop hitting on her despite being told to leave her alone, not really a great guy.  Add in a somewhat controlling boyfriend (although the author is careful to point out that Clare is not apologizing while she's explaining herself) and I can't say I liked any of the main males in this book.  Clare herself is hard to keep up with as she's very sporadic in her actions.

There were a lot of different mysteries going on in this book.  Like the story of the feud between her boyfriend and the fire chief (convoluted beyond what was necessary and no good reason for not sharing the whole truth).  The arsons, the deaths, and a few other things as well.  And it wasn't a simple story either.  In fact, too much going on and too many players in the game.  Maybe that reflects real life, but it seemed too coincidental to me.  And some of the clues that were really pertinent weren't given until the last few pages so you couldn't really try to solve the mystery ahead of time, which may disappoint some people.  I did enjoy all the descriptions of food in the book though, and appreciated that there were recipes at the end of the book.  To me, that's the best part of the book.  Can never go wrong with tasty food.

Not for me.  I can't say I'll be looking up any others in the series anytime soon.

Roast Mortem
Copyright 2010
350 pages

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