Roundup Crew Mystery, #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Narrator: Caroline Shaffer
Date of Publication: November 3, 2015
Abridged or Unabridged: Unabridged
Length of Production: 8 hrs 21 mins
A rollicking start to a new cozy series featuring a loveable heroine and a colorful band of dog lovers who gather regularly with their pets at their local watering holeThis was my third Caroline Shaffer listen, though with a new series. Caroline remained a fantastic narrator, really nailing the male voices and making sure that every voice was distinct and recognizable. I don't think I would have enjoyed this series nearly as much without her as the narrator. With Caroline in the narrator role, I would check out another new to me author.
With side-splitting humor, an irresistable cast of characters--both human and canine--and an intimate small town setting, Yappy Hour is sure to delight fans of Rita Mae Brown and Diane Kelly. Every Friday night in the idyllic seaside town of Pacific Cove, CA, the Roundup Crew, a group of dog-loving friends, meet at a neighborhood wine bar for Yappy Hour. When Rachel, the owner, mysteriously leaves town and asks her sister, Maggie (who is neither pet friendly nor business savvy), to run the bar in her absence, things get complicated fast. Maggie arrives to open up and finds a body sprawled on the floor, and even worse, an incriminating letter with Rachel’s name on it nearby. On impulse, she hides the letter from the hunky detective, Officer Brad Brooks, who’s dispatched to the scene.
When Rachel is declared the top suspect by the police, Maggie decides to investigate on her own. She reopens the bar and gets to know the members of the Roundup Crew, including chief organizer Yolanda, who never goes anywhere without her signature strappy stilettos or her Chihuahua Beepo. Maggie juggles searching for clues, trying to locate Rachel, and serving up Doggie Daiquiris, Muttguaritas and homemade Arf D’Oeuvres—until another body turns up. The Roundup Crew must step in and save the bar, and it seems the only way to do that will be to solve the mystery and turn Maggie into a dog-lover in this charming, light-hearted cozy.
The story had good points, but the bad points overshadowed the good. The set-up for this book was smart and the clues to the killer were well placed right to the very end. I was convinced it was someone else due to my interpretation of the clues. Unfortunately, this may be why my mind wandered a bit while listening to the story. In-between listening, I didn't have that must-read urge to pick it back up.
Part of this may have been because I had a hard time connecting with Maggie. There was a push for Maggie to have a love interest that felt very forced. Don't even get me started on the lame love triangle. *Blergh* They really just don't do it for me. Another problem I had with the story, was if Maggie visited so much with her uncle as a child, where were her childhood friends? The only people she seemed to know were her uncle and her sister, and the sister was missing for more than 3/4 of the book. Though her Uncle definitely fell on the plus side of the story, being such an interesting character. The story dragged in several places while explanations and info dumps occurred.
Overall, for me, this was a disappointing read. I saw a lot of potential, and there was a great narrator. The execution just fell flat. I think if the author had maybe concentrated on what Maggie was supposed to be so good at, ie the finances, and not strayed into food (multiple long explanations of meals) and drinks and art and romance and clothes, that the story could have been more focused. It almost felt like the author was trying to cram as many themes as she could into the story. Pick one or two and leave it at that. In short, too many themes spoiled the book. I gave this two disappointed stars.
Thanks to Audiobook Jukebox and Blackstone Audio for the opportunity to listen and review the book.