My Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MM
Ellery Page, aspiring screenwriter, Scrabble champion and guy-with-worst-luck-in-the-world-when-it-comes-to-dating, is ready to make a change. So when he learns he’s inherited both a failing bookstore and a falling-down mansion in the quaint seaside village of Pirate’s Cove on Buck Island, Rhode Island, it’s full steam ahead!
Sure enough, the village is charming, its residents amusingly eccentric, and widowed police chief Jack Carson is decidedly yummy (though probably as straight as he is stern). However, the bookstore is failing, the mansion is falling down, and there’s that little drawback of finding rival bookseller–and head of the unwelcoming-committee–Trevor Maples dead during the annual Buccaneer Days celebration.
Still, it could be worse. And once Police Chief Carson learns Trevor was killed with the cutlass hanging over the door of Ellery’s bookstore, it is.
I received a free copy from Netgalley and voluntarily reviewed it.
I haven’t read many cozy mysteries with a male main character or a gay male main character as the case here. I liked the sound of this one so I decided to request it from Netgalley. Sadly it’s not quite what I had hoped for. It was a decent enough read, but failed to fully pull me in.
Murder at Pirate’s Cove follows the story of Ellery page who recently moved to Pirate’s Cove, a small town. He inherited a bookshop and house from his late great-great aunt. The story starts after he’s been here for a while. The bookshop isn’t doing as well and the house is falling apart around him. And things sure don’t improve when he becomes the main suspect in a murder case.
The victim of the murder is Trevor, who had an argument with Ellery shortly before he died. To clear his name Ellery tries to figure out who is the real murderer. For some reason the mystery just didn’t grip me. I didn’t really feel like we got to know the victim and frankly I didn’t really care who killed him. There weren’t a lot of clues or reveals or interesting twists along the way. Then at the end there is this frankly awesome twist, but it lacked the impact as there are only a few clues that pointed in that direction and it thus lacked that sense of pieces falling on it’s place for me.
Ellery isn’t as involved in solving the crime as I had hoped and he isn’t as smart either. Most of the involvement of Ellery in the mystery is him talking with the chief, who I think is the love interest in this series and while I liked he talked and shared his ideas with the chief. That was most of what he does, he does talk with a few people, but it felt mostly coincidental. He wasn’t as involved as I liked and I didn’t feel like we got as many clues as I wanted. There were no suspects that I could really cross off the list. And I didn’t feel like I came to understand more about the mystery along the way. It felt like it just muddled along till the big reveal at the end, which by the way is because the killer goes after Ellery instead of them figuring it out. There also was this whole stupid thing with the keys, Ellery’s decisions at the end of the book frankly felt stupid. He didn’t want to be afraid and face his fears and that’s great. But there is a difference between rational and irrational fear and this case his fear was definitely grounded and he should’ve listened to it instead if trying to proof to himself he wasn’t afraid.
I liked Ellery well enough, he was a decent character with a few quirks that made him interesting enough. Like him being a screenwriter, but being bad at acting. Although I would’ve liked to get to know him a bit better, but maybe that will come in the later books. He isn’t really connecting with anyone or going out in his new town yet, although he does have one friend in the shop owner next door and he connect a bit with the chief in this book.
The Pirate cove town was an interesting concept, although it didn’t to live as much as I had hoped and I think the pirate vibe and buccaneer days could’ve been expanded a bit more. I liked the idea of Ellery working in a bookstore, although not sure if I liked the focus on the mystery books, I thought the book and cozy mystery trope reference in the story were a bit too on the nose. As this was a cozy mystery and they had some talks about cozy mystery tropes and who would be the suspect if this was a cozy mystery, you know which this book is. It didn’t really work for me.
To summarize: I liked the concept of this one, but it didn’t fully work out for me. It just fell flat and didn’t grip me. The mystery wasn’t as engaging, the clues didn’t seem to lead anywhere and I wasn’t really invested in figuring out what had happened. There is an awesome twist toward the end, but it lacked the impact it could’ve had for me due to not enough clues or hints that made sense in hindsight. I liked the main character well enough, although he sure does some stupid things. I liked how he shared his ideas and information with the chief, but he wasn’t as involved in the mystery as I would’ve liked. I liked how he had some quirks which made him more interesting, although I would’ve liked to get to know him better. The pirate theme for the town seemed interesting, although there wasn’t as much about it in this book as I would’ve liked. All in all a decent cozy mystery, but it didn’t really grip me and I don’t think I’ll be continuing this series.