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Dead in a Dumpster by B. L. Blair
Publisher: B. L. Blair
Publication Date: September 21, 2014
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
TBT Review Date: December 28, 2015
When Leah Norwood finds the body of Isabel Meeks in the dumpster behind her store, she can't believe the police consider her a suspect. Sure, she didn't liked Isabel, but then again, neither did anyone else. Isabel had a condescending attitude and a bad reputation. As manager of the antique store, Patina, she had made a lot of enemies. There is Patina's assistant manager, the handsome and charming Trent. Isabel was blackmailing him. There is Patina's owner, the aloof and influential Anthony Thorpe. Isabel was smuggling drugs through his store. And there is the entire drug dealing Cantono family. Isabel had lost a box containing heroin from one of their shipments. That is just to name a few and didn't even include the stranger who was seen arguing with Isabel just hours before her death. The police have too many suspects and too many soft alibis. Leah needs to prove to the sexy new chief of police that she had nothing to do with Isabel's death. Leah loves a good mystery. Can she find the killer before the police arrest her for murder?
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.
I am not someone who tries to solve the mystery the whole time I’m reading a mystery novel. I also don’t read a lot of mysteries, of course. This one was an enjoyable and quick read. I didn’t feel like the answer to the mystery was super obvious (at least not any more obvious than other possible answers) nor did I think it was too far-fetched. Maybe a little, but not too much. Living in a historic suburb very similar to Reed Hill, I could definitely relate to the tight knit community of business owners and how they all look out for each other.
I had a little trouble with the protagonist’s behavior and brazen choices she made trying to solve the mystery. It seemed unlikely at first that someone would go to the extent she was going to solve a crime that the police were actively working on (and kept warning her away from). The author did attempt to explain her behavior - a love of mystery novels and a personal connection to the victim and case. I think the behavior seemed particularly odd to me because, as I already mentioned, I don’t read a lot of mysteries. Since this was the first in the series, I realize that the author had to start building her heroine and the community around her.
There is a romance angle but it was secondary to the mystery. It set up well for some fun interactions for Leah in future novels of the series. There is a pending love triangle - I’m not a huge fan of love triangles so it will be interesting to see how B.L. Blair handles it in Dead in the Park (Book 2) and going forward.
2017 Update: I have since started reading a lot more cozy mysteries. I still don't try to guess whodunnits early though.