Clouds in My Coffee by Julie Mulhern
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
For a "cozy mystery" as it's dubbed, this book deals with some pretty un-cozy topics: a death by poison, multiple shootings, a car tampered with, and a fire. There must be another reason it fits that category, maybe the length, the style, or the completely unbelievable plot.
First of all, I did not know that it was number 3 in the series. Having obtained this from a great book deal, $1.99, I didn't check to see what number or even if it was in a series. I had a feeling I was missing some context, especially at the beginning.
The blurb reads, "When Ellison Russell is nearly killed at a benefactors' party, she brushes the incident aside as an unhappy accident. But when her house is fire-bombed, she's shot at, and the person sitting next to her at a gala is poisoned, she must face facts. Someone wants her dead. But why? And can Ellison find the killer before he strikes again? Add in an estranged sister, a visiting aunt with a shocking secret, and a handsome detective staying in her guesthouse, and Ellison might need more than cream in her coffee."
There was some comedy sprinkled in, but the writing became tedious due to the countless similes. For example, she was as angry as... she was as tired as, it was as rough as... over and over and over. It almost felt like it was written by a middle-school student who had just learned about similes and used them excessively. The writing is not particularly sophisticated.
The characters are mostly one-dimensional. They each have one trait that defines them instead of seeing a character grow or change. In addition, Ellison, the main character, continued to refuse police protection although it seemed clear that someone wanted to kill her. There was one mishap after another, but the reader never sees detectives trying to unravel the mystery. It is simply solved at the end.
This book was adequate. It was good for a short read and didn't require serious brain power as the plot unraveled. It's what I would call a "bubble gum" book, and we all need one of those every now and then. 3 stars.
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