by Alexis Morgan
Series: Abby McCree Mystery #1
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Several decades ago, when I started reading cozies, they were actually good; well written and well plotted puzzles that didn’t involve the grimy underbelly of society or graphic violence (the gory kind).
They’re still puzzles that don’t involve the grimy underbelly of society or graphic violence (the gory kind), but somewhere along the way – about a decade ago – publishers turned them into a commodity to be standardised; they created a formula for maximum efficiency and higher returns via quantity. And they seemed to have completely done away with quality.
This is starting to piss me off, because as much as I enjoy a good vintage cozy/traditional mystery, sometimes I want a good cozy/traditional set in my own time, and I’m dammed if I can find one anymore (and by this, I mean new series, not the good ones that have lasted).
I thought Death by Committee had potential at the beginning, but by the halfway mark it became clear that the author (or her editor) was falling into the standard equation, and not only following formula in plotting, because sometimes there’s no escaping those tropes that work, but following a worn out formula for her characters too. The current fad seems to be a middle aged woman riding heard on a band of hyperactive seniors. Sophie Kelly makes this work with her series, but Morgan does not. The seniors were flat and took advantage of the MC. The MC’s righteous indignation failed to feel righteous, and the MC’s romantic interest failed to seem like anyone other than someone with a mood disorder.
The highlight of the book was the MC’s mastiff-mix, Zeke.
Editing was subpar, with several dropped time-lines (a memorable one is where the MC and her romantic interest make plans to meet for dinner that night and it never happens – the entire scene just disappeared).
It’s morning here as I write this, and I’m not a morning person, so let me just say this: it wasn’t a bad book. It just wan’t a good one, either.