“Never be ashamed to be a woman,” and I wasn’t. Not now. Or ever.
There was a day I sat browsing through Netgalley, and I ended up requesting an absurd amount of cozy mystery galleys. A shot of Murder is the last in that group that I could actually read (one I couldn’t….always make sure there aren’t 20 other books in the series before you check it out.) So thank you to Netgalley and Midnight Ink for a copy of this book in exchange for a review.
Also some content warnings: murder, attempted rape
A Shot of Murder
By J.A. Kazimer
Published: June 2019
Read: July 2019
Format: ebook galley
Genre: cozy mystery
Page Count: 303 pages
Rating: 2/5 Moose
Charlotte “Charms” Lucky returns home from LA when her grandfather Jack has a heart attack. The small town of Gett, FL is definitely the opposite of big shot LA, but it does have something that LA doesn’t: the whiskey making business.
It’s a brief return, just to help Jack get back on his feet. Charlotte will help run the business, but it’s all in good hands as they have the best distiller in the business. Until he turns up dead. With the competition breathing down her neck to try and buy out the business, and her old time rival back in town as well, Charlotte now needs to clear her family name and save her grandfather from jail.
Charlotte Lucky – “Charms” returning home from LA to take care of her grandfather after he has a heart attack.
Jack Lucky – Charlotte’s grandfather, who raised her after her parents died. Also the owner of Lucky Whiskey
Brodie Gett – honorably discharged from the army and former adversary of Charlotte
Rue Gett – 80 year old grandmother of Brodie and Danny. She’s the owner of Gett Whiskey
Danny Gett – town’s sheriff
Rants, Raves, and Reviews
I don’t pretend to think writing cozy mysteries are easy or anything. Mysteries need to make sense, with clues thrown through out the book and a reasonable solution. In some ways, this book had a good plot: two families have been competing for the best whiskey for 200 years. Lucky’s distillery is having some money issues, and Gett’s is sniffing around to potentially buy them out. Also maybe Charms and Brodie are super into each other and don’t quite realize it. Or at least she doesn’t.
That’s about where the fun stops. I don’t know enough about the author, but I don’t get the impression she’s lived in a small town in the south. Now granted, I lived in a town in the midsouth that wasn’t quite as small as this, but still ridiculously small enough that everyone knows everyone’s business. So I am not going to act like I know everything, but this doesn’t feel like someone who understands small town life.
By the end of this book you know super well:
- Charlotte painted the water tower and oh boy does everyone hate her for it (it is mentioned 26 times.)
- Getts are the worst.
- Maybe gators are the worst. (gators are mentioned 34 times)
- Brodie Gett is actually the worst according to Charlotte.
- Hey did you know that this town is small and redneck-ish?
- And also super white for South Florida?
- Our main character is/was an actress and did a small role on NCIS and an STD commercial. Will she go back to LA?
- Lucky is the best whiskey and it must be mentioned every time whiskey is mentioned
Seriously, this book suffers from being way too repetitive. And just poorly constructed. Everyone is so angry at this woman who, as a teenager, changed the water tower from saying “Gett” to “Getting Lucky.” NO ONE holds a grudge that long without a reason. Was it brand new? Did it cost them some best small town in America award? No. It’s just something that happened, and apparently nothing else has happened in the last ten years that is even close to that bad.
This town is on the poorer side, with less than 1,000 people. Yet it doesn’t seem that whiskey is what’s keeping the town a float: in other words, this isn’t a town that solely exists because of the two distilleries. Well, okay, it probably should be, but it isn’t quite presented that way.
My other major issue with this book is that at one point Charlotte was almost raped by a guy named Boone Daniels. Not the pioneer Daniel Boone, of course. Brodie Gett, who we are constantly told was a terrible person, saved her and beat up Boone. And then apparently she was distraught because he didn’t try to kiss her? AFTER A GUY ATTEMPTED TO RAPE HER? A guy that’s still in town, who is only met with kind of mild contempt from most people.
That night Brodie had kindly drove me home, lecturing me on the evils of all guys. Besides himself, of course. For the barest of seconds, I thought for sure he’d try and kiss me. But he didn’t leaving me oddly disappointed.
I’m sorry, but, no. I am to the point that if there is a rape story in a book, it needs to have a point. It needs to carry weight. It needs to not be able to be replaced by something else tragic without changing the story. It also shouldn’t have the person who almost gets raped disappointed because her hero didn’t try to kiss her. Christ that was a slap in the face.
Overall this reads like a decent third draft that needed a good beta reader to firmly tell the author “hey. Here’s a few issues we’ve got.”
It is a fine cozy mystery, but I can recommend so many better ones. Ones that don’t feel repetitive or have such an easy plot to solve. Ones that don’t quite insult all of Florida and southerners. (Only we Southerners can do that.)
All in all, I will probably potentially give the second book a read to see if things improve, but I don’t know if I actively recommend this one.
Also, it weirds me out when the main character in books refers to their chest by her actual measurements, multiple times.