Today we are participating in another Great Escapes Free Book Tour, taking us to Portland, Oregon.
Title: First Degree Mudder (A Pacific Northwest Mystery)
4th book in the series
Author: Kate Dyer-Seeley
Publisher: Kensington (November 29, 2016). Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Source: ARC as participant in the free blog tour.
E-Book ASIN: B01CMGS41G
When a mud marathon champion bites the dust, Meg Reed has to go the distance to make sure a killer comes clean . . .
Back home in Portland, Oregon, Meg is ready to take her career as an outdoor writer for Extreme magazine to the next level. Lesser journalists sling mud—Meg plans to run through it. To train hard for Mud, Sweat & Beers, an extreme 5K mud run, she’s signed on with the Mind Over Mudder team, run by ten-time mud marathon champ—and former drill sergeant—Billy the Tank. But when Meg finds her tenacious trainer dead in the locker room, she has a sinking feeling someone may have been pushed too far. Digging through the hidden secrets at Mind Over Mudder is a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. Meg will have to tread carefully, though—or she may soon be running for her life . . .
This was an entertaining read, and brings the reader into the Portland scene. It doesn't hurt that since it's summer, Portland is a pretty nice place during the book! Meg is a well-drawn character, and though her best friends, Jill and Matt, aren't closely involved in this mystery, it is clear that they are important in the series. In fact, their presence in this book seems to be more about what may come in the next one than anything to do with this murder (not saying they don't belong--not everyone in an amateur sleuth's life must be involved in the case, and part of the point of cozy mysteries is our connection with the sleuth's life).
All that said, I had a couple of issues with this one. For one thing, the book opens with a very long flash-forward to finding the body. That wasn't a huge problem (though it was slightly confused for a bit, when the story jumped back without warning to set up the event). It was a larger problem that when the story reached that point again, we had the whole thing again. Only it's not exactly the same. A few details are different, and it bothered me more than it probably should have. Of greater concern was that the mystery didn't really quite gel for me. Some of the red herrings were well constructed, and Meg does work her way close to the root of it all. But the final solution is just kind of handed her.
Kvetching aside, though, the book was a fun and fast read, and the author has a nice sense of humor. A few jabs at the Portland "scene" gave me a chuckle (the pretentious coffee shop maybe got a guffaw), and since I visited Portland a couple of years ago, it was fun to connect the story with real places. (Not that I was dropping in on brew-pubs, since I was there to visit colleges with my son!)
This is a decent entry in the cozy mystery genre, and I'm intrigued enough by Meg and some mysteries surrounding her life to want to read the earlier books in the series. And, of course, the author is fond of punning titles, which always get my attention.
Kate Dyer-Seeley writes the Pacific Northwest Mystery Series for Kensington Publishing, featuring a young journalist, Meg Reed, who bills herself as an intrepid adventurer in order to land a gig writing for Northwest Extreme. Only Meg’s idea of sport is climbing onto the couch without spilling her latte.
Kate lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and son, where you can find her hitting the trail, at an artisan coffee shop, or at her favorite pub. Better yet—at all three.
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FTC Disclosure: I received an ARC of First Degree Mudder from Great Escapes Free Book Tours, and received nothing further from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."