A Killer Romance by Maggie BlackburnA Killer Romance by Maggie Blackburn
Narrator: Christa Lewis
Series: Beach Reads Mystery #3
Published by Dreamscape Media on February 6, 2024
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Length: 7 hrs 53 mins
Pages: 304
Format: Audiobook
Purchase at Bookshop.org or Audible
Add on Goodreads

Love and murder are in the air this Valentine’s day in Maggie Blackburn’s third Beach Reads mystery, perfect for fans of Eva Gates and Miranda James.

When Beach Reads bookshop hosts a Valentine’s Day event, “Romance by the Sea,” bookseller Summer Merriweather has no idea that the guest author is under investigation for her own husband’s murder. When that same author is found dead at the local bed and breakfast, nobody assumes it’s natural causes–there were plenty of people who wanted her dead.

As Summer searches for the truth about the author’s stranger-than-fiction life, Summer finds suspicious indications of shady behavior in the author’s belongings. But the casual sleuthing is quickly derailed when Summer’s friend Glads gets hauled in for the murder, and they launch a full-blown investigation to clear her name.

As Summer and company pick through the scant clues to solve the case, they may find more treachery and heartbreak than they bargained for.

A Killer Romance is the third book in the Beach Read series, but the first I’ve read. Summer Merriweather owns the Beach Reads bookstore which she inherited along with her cottage from her mother, Hildy. A Killer Romance begins with Summer tripping and twisting her ankle. Because of this, she does not even get to meet the guest speaker for the Valentine’s Day Festival before the woman is murdered.

The mystery, the characters, and the dialogue are all good. Summer’s parrot is adorable. For me though, there was just too much talk about the covid pandemic and how life on the island was changed. Also, I understand that Summer was in pain from her ankle, but there was too much emphasis on pain relief pills for me. I just got annoyed. And there were several characters’ reactions that just didn’t feel realistic. And I felt like the whodunnit relied too much on stereotypes.

Overall, I was disappointed. I listened to the audio. The narrator did a good job. It was easy to tell characters apart and she conveyed their emotions well. Listening to it did make its repetitions more noticeable, whereas in print I probably would have skimmed sections.

About Maggie Blackburn

Mollie Cox Bryan writes cozy mysteries with edge and traditional mysteries with heart. She’s the author of several bestselling mystery series, also writing under the pen name Maggie Blackburn. She’s recently released a novella mystery series: The Victoria Town Mysteries. Her books have been selected as finalists for an Agatha Award and a Daphne du Maurier Award and as a Top 10 Beach Reads by Woman’s World. She has also been short-listed for the Virginia Library People’s Choice Award. She makes her home at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley, Va.

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