My Rating: 4 stars
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF
Sometimes the demons of stories take on human faces.
When Poe Baxter and her friend Beattie travel to Lima, Peru, to hunt down a rare collection of Peruvian folktales, the two women find themselves mixed up in a game of deceit that echoes the legend of the chullachaqui. Soon, they’re having trouble telling truth from lie, even when their lives are at stake.
Can Poe and Beattie discern what is real from what is myth before it’s too late?
I received a free copy from the author and am voluntarily reviewing it.
Spines and Slaughter is the fifth book in the Poe Baxter series and I finally feel like I’ve settled into this series. This series has had it’s ups and downs for me, but with this book I finally felt like I knew what to expect and enjoyed the book the way it is. While it has a more spy-like feel than most cozy mysteries, the mysteries are back feeling more cozy than thriller-y like in some of the earlier books and I thought this book had the right blend of these elements. There is again a book or in this case a rare collection of Peruvian folktales they’re looking for, there is a murder mystery and a new country they visit.
I really enjoyed visiting Peru alongside Poe and the rest of the team. I didn’t know a lot about this country and I liked the travel scenes as Poe gets to visit some interesting places and learns more about the people who live there. The Peru setting really came alive here and I thought the way the focus shifted throughout the book worked well. First there is more focus on the collection they’re looking for and some interesting places they visit at the start before the mystery takes center stage later on. I enjoyed this book and the story. The mystery doesn’t progress like a typical cozy mystery and I felt the resolution was a bit sad, but it kept me guessing about who had done it even though I was more invested in the other aspects of the book.
I like reading about Poe and ofcourse her friend Beattie and Beattie’s boyfriend Aaron are there too. Then there is Boone who is dating Poe, although not sure what to make of the romance in this book. There isn’t as much focus on it until later and I can’t really go into details because of spoilers, but I am just not sure what I think about how things developed. The hamster is still absent, so not sure what happened, but I don’t really miss the hamster. I just wish there was a line or explanation about why the hamster is no longer traveling along or maybe it’s because I read these as ARCs. I liked how Hildy and Link, who were introduced in the previous book, were present again. The team is quite large by now and not everyone has equal screen time, but everyone is still present and has their own role, I like how they feel like a team and tackle things together.
To summarize: I feel like I’ve finally settled into this series. This book mixed the various elements well and I thought this book had a comfortable balance for me between the more spy-like aspects and the rest. And the mystery is feeling more cozy than too dangerous. I enjoyed learning more about Peru and I liked there were some fun scenes with Poe visiting certain places and meeting the people there. The mystery only takes center stage later in the book and kept me guessing, even though I was more invested in the other elements. I like Poe and the other side characters, although not everyone is as present in every book. I like how they feel like a team and work together to tackle things. Not sure what to think of the romance, but we’ll see how that goes in the next book. I hope I can enjoy the next book as much as this one as it was a great read.