After a few months of living with her boyfriend Greg, Jill is still getting used to sharing such close quarters, but she’s got no hesitation about joining him for a weekend at South Cove’s most luxurious resort. While Greg and his college pals celebrate their buddy’s upcoming wedding, Jill intends to pamper herself in style. But when the groom is found floating facedown in the pool, Jill must find the killer fast, or she might not have a boyfriend to come home to any more . . .
Praise for The Tourist Trap Mysteries
“Murder, dirty politics, pirate lore, and a hot police detective: Guidebook to Murder has it all! A cozy lover’s dream come true.” —Susan McBride, author of The Debutante Dropout Mysteries
“Lynn Cahoon has created an absorbing, good fun mystery in Mission to Murder.” —Fresh Fiction
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Whoever wrote the line you can't go home again must have been staying in a luxury hotel at the time. I stretched out on the king-sized bed and sank into its glorious softness. The Castle was less than ten miles away from my house, but we'd checked in for the weekend. Or at least, our host, Levi Walters, had done the checking in. In fact, the tech millionaire had rented the entire place for his bachelor party.
"I'm just staying in bed for the entire weekend," I told Greg as he unpacked his suitcase, hanging up the slacks and dress shirt he'd brought for the formal dinner tonight. Greg was my boyfriend and as of a few months ago, my roommate, too. I still wasn't totally comfortable with the entire couple cohabitation thing, but I did appreciate having him around. Especially when he mowed the yard. "Throw me a book and the room-service menu, and I'll see you when we check out."
He jumped on the bed next to me, his baby-blue eyes sparkling with humor. He brushed back a wayward curl from my face. "No such luck, buttercup. Where I go, you go. At least this weekend. We have to show the upcoming newlyweds what a proper couple acts like. I'm pretty sure Levi works all the time, so Jessica must be alone a lot."
"Sounds a little like us. Except I work as much as you do." At least sometimes. Now, that we were back to full staff at Coffee, Books, and More, my hours had been limited. Which worked great for me since I was way behind on my recreational reading after starting classes a year ago for my master's degree in business.
"No, Levi works more than both of us together. He's always either on the phone or his laptop, even when he's home. Look, I know this weekend will be touchy. I'm not even sure why Levi was so insistent you and I come. I mean, we were close as kids, but that's a long time ago. The last time I came to one of these, I was still married to Sherry. And, well, that weekend blew up in my face."
"Do you want to talk about it?" I rolled over onto my side and pushed a lock of hair out of his eyes.
"Honestly, no. I just want you to be prepared. I'm going to owe you big for this weekend." He glanced at his watch. "We have an hour before the first event. You want to stay here and fool around a little bit or go check out The Castle? We have full access to all the public rooms."
"Brenda must really like Levi. The last time Aunt Jackie tried to get her writers' group an all access pass for an afternoon, Brenda turned her down flat. Aunt Jackie's going to be so jealous." Brenda Morgan was the manager of The Castle, the site of our weekend gathering. The Castle had only a few rooms they rented out and often didn't even open the hotel section. Most weeks, it was a museum only. Brenda had been having trouble with the old buildings and the lack of air conditioning, not to mention a lack of adequate staffing to run a real hotel full time.
I ran my fingers through Greg's sandy-blond hair as I considered the options. Brenda Morgan had been The Castle administrator since her husband, Craig, had been murdered out behind one of the cottages in the complex. I wouldn't have been able to work in the same place where a loved one had died. On the other hand, Brenda and Craig had been separated at the time. Maybe the term, loved one, was out of place here.
Greg watched as I jumped off the bed and slipped on my flip-flops. "So I guess fooling around is off the table?"
"When it comes to making my aunt green with envy, I'll go without for a while." I put my phone in my capris pocket. "Are you ready yet?"
"Can we discuss how long a while is?" Greg sighed and then pushed himself off the bed. "I hope this satisfies your need to one-up Jackie. You two fight like sisters. Maybe you should try being nice."
"Why do I have to be the adult?" Don't get me wrong, I loved Aunt Jackie. Sometimes our relationship got a little tense as she could be overbearing and controlling, but nothing like what had been happening lately. My aunt had been on a holy tear for the last month. She was planning a June wedding to Harrold Snider. Jackie carried around a three-ring binder so she could write down notes as she thought of them. From what I could tell, everyone in the country was being invited. Well, everyone but Josh. He was still a little miffed about the Jackie and Harrold thing. Even though he was now officially dating Mandy Jensen, manager of South Cove's new produce and fruit stand, the man still held a soft spot for my aunt.
Greg leaned down and kissed me. "Because you love your aunt."
Well, he had me there. Even at her worst, she was still my aunt and my only living relative. I opened the door and stepped into the hall. "I'm still going to post these pictures on my Facebook page. I just won't tag her."
"Maybe she'll be too busy looking at seating charts for the reception to notice. I could call and give Harrold a heads up to try to keep her away." He checked his pocket for the room key, then pulled the door closed behind us.
"You're a little OCD with checking if you have the key. You know that right?" Moving toward the elevator, I linked my arm with his.
"Who always locks herself out of our hotel room when she goes for ice?" He pushed the down button and the ancient elevator motor whirled to life.
"No one remembers to take their keys when they get ice." I shot him a dirty look and then hesitantly stepped inside the elevator. "Besides, you're usually in the room when I leave."
"The last two times you locked yourself out, I was taking a shower. Luckily I heard your frantic knocks." He pressed the lobby button and the doors slid shut with a bang.
"I wasn't frantic. There were just people in the hallway and I was in my pajamas." I looked up at the lights that showed us slowing making our way down the three floors. "Maybe we should take the stairs. I'm not sure this elevator is going to last the weekend."
"Izzy works on these things and he says it's safe." Izzy was one of Greg's friends and lived in Bakerstown. From the way Greg quoted him, Izzy knew everything about anything mechanical. As we stepped out into the lobby, a cool breeze flowed gently through the room. Greg picked up a flyer from a side table. "Do you want a tour pamphlet?"
"Sure." I studied the map on the flyer and pointed to a spot to our left. "Let's start in the dining hall. I hear they have tapestries from the Middle Ages."
We found the room and as I walked inside, a sense of peace filled me. The place was stunning. If Levi was planning on hosting a dinner party in the room, he could invite all of the residents of South Cove and still have room for relatives and friends of the bride and groom. I pointed to the tapestry with the castle scene. "I saw that in a history book when I was in high school. I didn't realize it was owned by The Castle."
"There are a lot of antiquities housed here in The Castle." A man spoke up behind us. "The original owner had boatloads of art and architecture shipped over when he visited Europe. He'd find old churches being torn down and take every last choir pew and piece of stained glass. He rescued this stuff and now everyone wants it back."
I turned and looked at the elderly man watching us. He was doing the comb-over hairdo. I don't know why men think we can't tell they're bald if there's a few strands covering the top. I introduced myself and Greg, trying not to look at the top of his head. "I'm very interested in The Castle's history. Are you a trustee for the place?"
He barked out a laugh as he shook our hands. "Not on your life. I'm John Anderson. I'm kind of a museum guide. I work for Brenda. Those trustee farts are all Wall Street types with their eyes only on the money. I swear, they'd take this place apart and sell it off, piece by piece, if they could figure out a way to break the trust."
"It's amazing. I don't know why anyone would change a thing." A female voice cut through the tension.
We turned toward the newcomers and I saw Greg's eyes light up. He stepped toward the man and woman who had just entered the room.
"Levi! Hey man, thanks for inviting us." He walked over and gave the taller man a bro hug. "I can't believe you finally found someone to put up with you."
"I could say the same thing about you, times two. Of course, I told you the first one wouldn't work out when I stood up for you at that Vegas chapel. Didn't we have to wait for Elvis to get done with his drive through couple?" Levi Walker slapped Greg on the back. "You should have listened to me and run that night."
"You're right there." Greg turned toward me. "Levi, this is Jill Gardner. Jill, meet my best friend since seventh grade. Even if the guy doesn't call, email or visit me unless one of us is getting hitched."
"Jill, so nice to meet you. Greg has told me so much about you. And Jim had nice things to say too." He came over and gave me a quick hug. "This is the love of my life, Jessica soon–to-be Walker."
The woman came up and held out a hand. "Jessica Cole. I haven't decided on if I'm taking Levi's last name or not. It feels so archaic, like I'm property."
"Jill Gardner. So nice to meet you." I took a step toward Greg who pulled me into a hug. "Are you originally European? I can't place the accent."
"Jessica's family is from Germany and we just came back from a tour of Europe. I told her that she was picking up the local flavor." Levi beamed with pride at his fiancée.
"That must be it." Greg shot me a questioning look, but I ignored him.
Holding out the map of the building, I asked. "We were just starting our tour of The Castle. Do you want to join us?"
Her smile was wide, with too-white teeth. I hadn't been expecting someone so beautiful. Especially since Greg talked about Levi as the ultimate computer nerd. I guess I'd thought his fiancée would be more geek goddess rather than beauty queen. Her black hair glistened in the room's dim light.
"I'd love to —" Jessica started to say, but Levi shook his head.
"Sorry dear, we have to go to the room. The lawyer's calling in a few minutes with the last changes on the pre-nuptial agreement. It's just a formality, but my company's insisting on it so if anything happens to me, the business has a clear right of succession plan." Levi winked at me. "I wanted to elope and just surprise the shareholders with a mailing announcing: He put a ring on it. But Jessica wanted the big production."
She grinned at me. "I've been dreaming of this day since I was five and my Barbie had to marry Ken at least three times a day. No one wants to just elope."
Well, I didn't. Especially now that I knew that Greg and his first wife, Sherry, had tied the knot in Vegas. But I thought it was a great idea for some people. Aunt Jackie should have just eloped. The wedding would already be over and she could have sent out announcements. But no. "I'm sure the wedding will be lovely."
"It better be, for all it's costing me." Levi slapped Greg on the back. "Don't think you're getting out of doing shots tonight. That's why I rented the whole place. No one has to drive anywhere and take a chance of getting pulled over for a DUI."
"I appreciate your concern. My night deputy watches the roads pretty carefully out here. He'd love to nail me on an infraction." Greg looked to me for confirmation.
"Really, we need to go, but tonight. We'll get caught up tonight." He put his hand on Jessica's back and led her out of the room. "Nice to meet you, Jill."
And then they were gone. Sometime during the last few minutes, John had also disappeared. I looked around the too-large empty room. "Wow, he kind of fills up a place, doesn't he?"
"Levi's always been over the top. Think geek with actor attitude. Of course, none of the girls saw his good side, just the class clown and a too-smart-for-his-own-good kid." He stared out the doorway where they'd just disappeared. "I hope this Jessica has Levi's best interests at heart."
I stood on tippy-toes and gave him a kiss on the cheek.
"What is that for?" He turned his attention away from the door.
I shrugged. "You're a good guy. You worry about everyone and everything. It's part of your charm."
He put his arm around me as we walked through the room. "Just wait until you meet the rest of the guys. We were tight in school. We were the nerdy kids who read Tolkien and wanted real light sabers for our birthdays."
"I'm looking forward to it."
I really wasn't. Greg's brother, Jim, barely tolerated me after my dating Greg made it impossible for Jim to hold on to his fantasy of Greg and his ex-wife, Sherry, getting back together. Who knows what camp these guys would join. And from what Levi said, Jim was still in touch with at least him. I looked down at the map. "There's supposed to be a great hall through this door. Ready to go see how the rich folk relaxed back in the day?"
"Sure." He followed me through the next doorway. He scanned the room the way he always did when we entered a new house or room in a store. He was always looking for the worst rather than let it sneak up on us. Toby did the same thing. They called it being hyper-vigilant, according to a book I'd read. Cops were cops even when they weren't in uniform.
We spent most of the rest of the afternoon wandering through the display rooms. For the place being so big, there wasn't a speck of dust anywhere. Brenda must keep a tight rein on her cleaning staff. We stood waiting for the elevator, when the doors opened and Jessica walked out in a too-small white bikini.
"Hey, again. You guys still down here?" She nodded to the French doors leading to the back pool area. "I'm heading out for a swim before dinner. Do you want to join me?"
Greg looked at me. I don't think he trusted his voice. Whatever accent I'd thought I'd heard had been replaced with the voice of a sultry stripper. I leaned closer to Greg, letting her step around us. "Maybe. I'm not sure we brought suits." It was a total lie. I'd bought us both new suits just for the weekend.
She turned her head back to us and laughed. "Darling, we have the entire place to ourselves. Suits are totally optional."
We didn't talk on the elevator ride to our floor. Greg started to say something, but I shook my head, not wanting to be overheard. When we got to the room, I flopped on the bed. "What was that?"
"I'm not sure, but I know I either need to turn in my man card for turning her down or my badge for not arresting her. Levi has himself a firecracker there." He opened the closet and started digging through the suitcase.
"What are you looking for?" I peered at him from my reclining position.
He looked over his shoulder back at me. "Our suits."
I threw the pillow and hit him right on his head.
"Hey, what's that for?" He stood straight and threw the pillow back at me. "Does this mean we're not going swimming?"
My phone rang, which saved me from killing him. He grabbed the remote and turned the television on as he took my place on the bed. Glancing at the caller ID, I saw Coffee, Books, and More's number. There must be a crisis. Mentally, I went through the supply orders I'd completed the first of the week and tried to guess what hadn't come in.
There was silence on the other end of the line.
I looked at the room clock, Aunt Jackie should be on shift. Had she fallen? Heart attack? Was someone robbing the place? I tried to keep the panic out of my voice, "Hello? Aunt Jackie? Is anyone there?"
Greg muted the television. I saw concern on his face as he sat up, ready to spring into action if we needed to leave. My aunt might like to pretend she's young, but in truth, the woman is getting up in years. I'm not sure how old she is exactly as she doesn't celebrate birthdays anymore and she won't let me see her driver's license or her employee file at the shop. But she's been in my life since I could remember. I repeated her name, "Aunt Jackie?"
"Sorry, dear, I dropped an earring." My aunt's voice came on the line and I felt my heart rate slow. She'd dropped an earring?
I bit my lip, not wanting to yell and making eye contact with Greg, I covered the phone and whispered, "Everything's fine."
"Jill, dear, are you there?" Aunt Jackie asked. She didn't like being kept waiting.
I sank down on the chair by the bed. "Yes, I'm here. What's going on?"
"I wanted to talk to you about the wedding reception. I'm thinking of having the florist put small bowls of roses on the tables. You know those little white ones that are so pretty? He says he'll do a mock up for me, but I wanted your opinion before I told him to go ahead."
Excerpted from "Killer Party"
Copyright © 2017 Lynn Cahoon.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The ending has me wanting the next book NOW!!!
Greg takes Jill to Castle for a weekend Batchelor party with four guys from his and wives and fiance. Groom is murdered. Jill solves but mystery is left hanging.
Fairly good book, but I figured out the killer about half-way through. Fantastic cliffhanger ending. Absolutely horrible editing. This is supposed to be a professional job so the should at LEAST spring for a decent proofreader. WAY too many mistakes in punctuation, wording, spelling, and subject-verb agreement. It really detracts from enjoyment of the book. Stephanie Clanahan
What's then coffee and books with a touch of murder
Another visit to South Cove, California finds our protagonist Jill Gardner adjusting to life having recently begun living with her boyfriend, police detective Greg. She had an extremely busy life with her recent life change, juggling college classes, her business and her aunt, who is planning her upcoming nuptials. Even with all she has on her plate, she makes time to spend a weekend at "The Castle" to celebrate the engagement of Greg's best friend as well as meeting all the guys and their wives that Greg grew up with. When the guest of honor, Levi, is found dead floating in the pool, the party quickly becomes a group of people that are all considered suspects. When Greg is taken off the case because he was present at the party, he asks Jill to help him investigate. He feels responsible for Levi's death due to the fact that he was killed in his town. Jill does ask some questions and do some research, but she is careful not to put herself in danger. Will they be able to find the killer without The Castle becoming a victim as well? Will Greg find out that one of his friends is a murderer? I enjoyed this story very much. It was as much about relationships as the mystery itself. What are the implications when an engaged couple has one of them die? Will Greg and Jill be able to survive Greg's previous relationships? What will Greg find out about himself? There is a lot of soul searching going on as this mystery gets solved. The thing that knocked my rating down to 4 stars was the reveal at the end of the book. It seemed to come out of left field although it is explained at that time in the story. There is a bit of a suspenseful cliffhanger at the end involving one of the relationships in the story that I really want to find out what happened. I can't wait to read the next book in the series. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via netgalley.
When I posted a long-overdue review of the third book in this series, If the Shoe Kills, I promised myself to go back to the beginning and catch up but, as so often happens with best-laid plans, it didn't happen. I still have Guidebook to Murder waiting for me. Sigh... So, does it matter that I had only read #3 before starting this, the 9th book? Not in the least. It helps that I don't generally care about reading mysteries in order but this series has the extra added attraction of a protagonist who owns a bookshop and she's got more than half a brain. It was easy to slide right into this new adventure and adventure it was as Jill jumped right into sleuthing. This time, boyfriend Greg can't do his usual police chief detecting thing since he has to be considered a suspect in the murder of his best friend. Sleuthing, in true Jill style, means enlisting the help of family and friends around town and I really enjoyed seeing these familiar folks plus a few who've come to South Cove since the last time I "visited". There's even a brand new shopkeeper who's causing a bit of mystery of his own and suspicions about who he might really be. Lynn Cahoon has the enviable ability to keep a long-running series fresh but, as I can attest, she manages to make individual books provide just enough backstory to make the reader comfortable without being infodumps. As for the mystery taking place in Killer Party, this is a whodunit in the best sense, with plenty of red herrings keeping me guessing all the way. Fair warning, though---we're left with a bit of a cliffhanger that won't be resolved till the next book is out so write faster, please Ms. Cahoon!
Title: Killer Party - Tourist Trap Mystery Book 9 Author: Lynn Cahoon Publisher: Kensington Books Published: 7-18-2017 Pages: 190 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers and Suspense Sub-Genre: Amateur Sleuths. Cozy Mystery; Women Sleuths, ISBN: 9781601836359 ASIN: B01M9EM56U Reviewed For NetGalley and Kensington Books Reviewer: DelAnne Rating: 4.75 Stars While still in the settling in stage since moving in together, Jill and Greg go away for the weekend to California's The Castle just 10 miles away from their South Cove home continents away form their usual lifestyle. While Jill is planning to pamper herself at the Posh hotel and museum, If she can convince her aunt she is on a mini vacation and to stop calling about her wedding details. Greg is their to celebrate with friends the upcoming nuptials of childhood friend Levi Walker and Jessica Cole. Then Levi is discovered floating in the pool and police determine it was murder. Because of his connection to the victim and the crime Greg is banned from the case. Not one to stand on the sidelines Greg and Jill investigate on their own. Jill learns the group of men are hiding a secret from their childhood. Their is something off about the new Russian Doll Shop owner and what is his connection to Jessica whom he claims not to know, but whom he has been seen talking with. With wedding plans, murder, hidden secrets and suspicious shop owners Greg's & Jill's relaxing fun weekend has flown out the window. Lynn Cahoon lures readers in from the first lines in her books and they don't want to let go. You lose track of time as you become a part of the action taking place. She draws word pictures so that the scene is set. You imagine yourself walking through the rooms at The Castle or down the street in South Cove itself. You smell the flowers and coffee brewing because you are their in your mind. Visit with the eclectic cast of characters, stop at the dinner for the lunch special or shop in the boutiques and bookshop. You'll never want to leave or at least visit often. Each book is fresh experience filled with old friends and one or two new one. The book moves at a quick pace and will delight readers with its twists and turns. This is a series I hope continues for a long time to come. My rating of "Killer Party - Tourist Trap Mystery Book 9" is out of 5 stars.
This was another great story in this appealing series. Greg and Jill finally find time for a weekend together at South Cove's historic mansion, called The Castle. However, the weekend comes with some extras. It turns out one of Greg's oldest friends is a very rich tech genius named Levi. He and Jessica are to be married and the weekend performs both as a reunion and bachelor party for the group of old friends. South Cove's tourist industry Is at the forefront as the Castle has just changed owners again and current manager Brenda hopes it will continue to be a venue for many activities. The mystery and the subplots kept me reading until the very end. Looking forward to the next one!
This was a fun summer read! I love our main characters, Jill & Greg. :) They're likeable and well-rounded. The plot line moved along steadily. I did have an idea of who the killer was but was never sure until it was revealed. All in all, a great addition to the series!
I love the Tourist Trap Mystery series from Lynn Cahoon, and it just gets better with each new book. Jill is one of my fave amateur sleuths because a) she owns a bookstore, b) she reads books I recognize, and c) she is the kind of person I would want as a friend. She’s witty, kind, and intelligent – and she loves her friends, family, and her golden retriever Emma. The town of South Cove is another favorite element of the series for me, and in Killer Party we meet some new people and revisit familiar faces. Each book works fine as a standalone but you’ll have a better idea of who everyone is and the dynamics in play if you’ve read at least one or two other books in the Tourist Trap Mystery series. Despite the frequent murders and mayhem that seem to fall on South Cove, this is one cozy-mystery town that I would happily visit for a vacation. You’ll find me hanging out in Jill’s coffee shop/bookstore, in case there was any question. The mystery in Killer Party kept me guessing at every turn – as well as a couple of subplots that kept me on my toes. One in particular takes a doozy of a twist at the end of the book, leaving me frantically stalking the interwebs for word on the next book in the series. (Don’t worry, fellow cliffhanger loathers – the main mystery is solved and neatly tucked away.) Bottom Line: I want to be Jill. Perhaps minus the murders she seems to encounter. Ok, so I really just want to own a bookstore. Since that’s not likely to happen, I’m going to continue to live vicariously through her and her adventures in South Cove, California. The characters in Killer Party are layered as well as relatable, and the mystery is well-plotted and nicely paced. If you’re a cozy mystery fan and you haven’t yet discovered the Tourist Trap Mystery series by Lynn Cahoon, you’re really missing out! (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)
This book follows Greg and Jill as they are visiting The Castle for a weekend with Greg's college buddies as Levi is getting ready to get married to Jessica a beautiful Russian. Jill tries to make the best of it as she doesn't know these people too well. When something goes wrong and Levi winds up dead in the pool everyone is shocked and even worse Greg is removed from the case as being too close to the situation but Greg does the unthinkable and asks Jill to investigate the murder. The other college buddies and their wives are unable to leave town until the murder is solved. As Jill digs into the case she learns about things that happened years ago, and learns the latest shop owner a Russian Doll store the little girl initially seems to recognize Jessica but the owner is adament their is no connection. But Jill also discovers the Doll Shop Owner visited Jessica after the death of Levi which makes Jill wonder if they are related. Adding to the bizarre is who sponsored the owner's trip to the USA. This book had so much going for it! Of course Jill is also dealing with her best friend Amy and her Aunt planning their weddings and Jill can't understand why they have to over plan the weddings. Even going so far as offering her aunt the money to elope in Las Vegas. Will Jill figure out who killed Levi? And whether it's connected to the doll shop owner? How any of this pertains to Jessica the almost bride? I love this series so much I have been following it since the first book and Ms. Cahoon is like a fine wine and gets better in every book. This one followed more Greg and his friends and the things they have been up to and doing. I really enjoyed watching as Jill tried to figure out what is going on with the murder of Greg's good friend Levi and his relationship with everyone. Of course the side story was the various weddings that Jill is involved with between Amy and her Aunt Jackie it's a wonder if Jill is gonna drown in all the wedding details, which take a severe turn at the end. Can't wait to see what is next in South Cove!
Greg's old college buddies gather at The Castle for a reunion and include their significant others. Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books, and More; and Greg's girlfriend, is nervous about being the new girl to the group. Little does she know she will soon have more than social niceties to worry about! Cahoon certainly knows how to present the reader with many plausible suspects while hiding the murderer. Yet, the reader doesn't feel cheated, as he/she does get to see the guilty party in action. It's just a "whoops,she fooled me," reaction. Another thing I will say for Cahoon's series,is that the characters are dynamic. There are changes in Aunt Jackie(oh, my goodness,what a bridezilla!!), and Greg and Jill. I also was a great fan of the changes I saw in the employees of the shop. How fun! Also loved the "surprise" relationship! It is my hope that Greg and Jill will decide to make their relationship permanent and their insecurities won't have to be the focal point of the book, when they've already committed to cohabitation. I gratefully received a complimentary copy of the book from NetGalley and the publisher. This in no way affected my review, freely given, or the opinions therein, for which I am solely responsible.
As Jill Gardner; our main character and owner of “Coffee, Books and More”, has elevated her relationship with her boyfriend Greg, she is still trying to get comfortable about living together. Greg wants to “show off” Jill to some of his college buddies and their significant others at a friend’s wedding, Jill wonders if she will fit in. South Cove, California is a small, quaint resort town and a beautiful place to have a wedding or a murder……Jill fits in now! The author has a writing style that is a pleasure to read. Her characters are developed, believable and the overall style is fun and a fast paced read. You might be surprised by the ending!
Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books and More, is just getting used to living with her boyfriend, Greg. They are meeting his college friends at the local resort, The Castle, for a bachelor party. When the groom is found floating in the pool, Jill needs to investigate Greg’s friends to find the culprit before someone else lies dead. I loved this cozy mystery. The plot was exciting and suspenseful, and I was surprised who the culprit was in the end. The setting reminds me of times at the beach, and I could envision a shop like Coffee, Books and More open near the shore. An Advanced Reading Copy was received in exchange for an honest review.
KILLER PARTY is a killer read! How does author Lynn Cahoon continuously write book after book in this series, but always make them feel new, fresh, and intriguing? There are of course other authors who pull it off as well, but Ms. Cahoon truly has the gift for it. Honestly, I don’t care how she does it, because as long as she does, I’ll keep reading them! Book nine (Wow! Already?) in the Tourist Trap Mysteries, KILLER PARTY, is another mind blowing whodunit that had me alternating between smiling, and having my jaw dropped throughout the entire book. There was so much going on in this story at any given time, and that made it very hard for me to put it down! It has been really interesting to see how series lead, Jill Gardner and Greg King have grown throughout their relationship. Now living together, they seem to be on the right track for a very happy future. As for Lynn and her Aunt Jackie, I sometimes wonder how their relationship will be in upcoming books. I know they love each other, but I can’t help but feel author Cahoon has something unexpected on the way for those two. Hmmm. Each time I finish a book in the Tourist Trap Mysteries, I’m both sad and excited. Sad of course because the book is over. And excited because I know a new one is out there on it’s to us! Hopefully we don’t have to wait too long! Do you hear me, Lynn? ;-)
Lynn Cahoon is at the top of her game with this latest offering in the Tourist Trap Mystery series! It is refreshing to return to Jill’s ocean side home in South Cove, California, as she prepares to go to The Castle. This museum with a highly-valued collection of art and antiquities also includes a limited number of upscale rooms with full-service elegant dining. This is the first time Jill has been invited to take part in the getaway planned by Levi, her boyfriend’s best friend since 7th grade. Levi is a tech millionaire; he and his fiancé Jessica have leased The Castle for a bachelor party weekend with his long-time four friends and their wives and/ or girlfriends. Jill is understandably nervous to meet this group of Greg’s friends as they have been a closed group. Well, almost closed. Mikey, one of the five guys, is bringing his fifth wife, Allison, who later learns the connection between this group and Mikey’s first four wives. The group seems to rotate around Levi and his opinions. The first night of the party, one of the five friends has a loud confrontation with Levi, threatening to kill him for something he will not get away with, something the rest are not privy to. In the wee hours, Greg and Jill are awakened to go to the pool. Greg identifies the dead body of Levi in the pool, questionably having drowned from too much to drink. It is later found that Levi was murdered. In Greg’s town and police district. Greg, a police detective, is not allowed to work the murder case due to his connection with Levi and the guys. Greg, for the first time, suggests that Jill, who has helped him solve several murders in South Cove, try to find out who did the deed since his hands have tied. Jill, who researches and asks questions because she loves puzzles and can’t stand to see one unsolved, has her hands full. She owns and works at Coffee, Books & More while her Aunt Jackie manages it, and Jill’s new semester of classes begins. This is only the second novel of this series that I have read, and I am invested in the three-dimensional characters. The author is excellent at defining her characters through dialog and actions, and allowing the reader access to Jill’s internal dialog and concerns. Jill leaves no stone unturned as she learns about each of Greg’s friends and their wives/ girlfriends. She has help from many sides, including new staff member Deek and her BFF, Amy. The plot thickens with each item Jill finds, and the twists and turns make the mystery of who the real bad guy/ gal might be writhe. There are SO many secrets in this group, and it seemed Levi had his hands in aspects of every individual’s lives – secrets kept even from spouses. Secrets from school years that the guys simply refuse to talk about. While many have motive, it doesn’t seem as if anyone in the group would do the deed. The real bad guy/ gal came out of left field, someone I never would have thought of! Resolution of the murder has no loose ends. One thing I like about the novel (along with not being able to solve it) is that the novel doesn’t stop immediately after the bad guy/gal is revealed. My personal preference, though, is that mysteries don’t end with a “cliffhanger”. Overall, I highly recommend Killer Party to those who enjoy well-written cozy mysteries with coffee and book store, female sleuths, and a gorgeous California setting. From a grateful heart: I received this eBook from the publisher and NetGalley, and this is my honest review.
I can't believe that this is the ninth book in the Tourist Trap series. I have read and enjoyed all of the books. It is always fun to visit the residents of South Cove, CA especially to see what Jill Gardner is involved in. She has the best job as the owner of Coffee, Books and More. She always has some wonderful sounding sweet treats that her friend Sadie makes to sell in her shop and other places. Her boyfriend and police detective, Greg King, has moved in with Jill and Emma, her golden retriever. At first, she wasn't sure she was ready for that next step but is beginning to enjoy sharing chores and expenses. Weddings are in the air in South Cove as Aunt Jackie and Harrold are to be married the next summer. Aunt Jackie is already hard at work making plans. Jill's BFF, Amy and her boyfriend, Justin just got engaged. As the story begins, Greg and Jill are attending an engagement weekend party for Greg's friend Levi and his bride to be, Jessica. The gathering includes friends from Greg's childhood and their spouses or better halves all set for a fun weekend. With all that going on, there is always a murder and Jill always puts on her sleuth hat to investigate. She can't help it. Greg usually tells her to stay out of it but this time, it strikes close to home and Greg is left out of the investigation and encourages Jill to find out what she can and she always finds out what is going. This is another fun read by Lynn Cahoon. I hope that she continues turning out the Tourist Trap series especially as this one ended in a little cliff hanger. Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for the opportunity to read and give an honest review.
Killer Party by Lynn Cahoon is the ninth book in A Tourist Trap Mystery series. Jill Gardner is packing for a weekend getaway with her boyfriend, Greg King and his friends. Greg’s childhood friend, Levi Walker is getting married, and he is holding a stag party weekend in South Cove at The Castle. Jill is looking forward to enjoying the spa services and escaping Aunt Jackie’s wedding planning while Greg reconnects with his friends. On Saturday, the men go on a boat excursion to “fish” (ingest alcohol) while Jill shows the ladies around South Cove (it seems that Greg “volunteered” Jill for the task). It gives Jill an opportunity to introduce herself to newcomer, Vladimir Petrov who opened a Russian collectibles shop. Early the next morning (around 4 a.m.), Greg and Jill are awakened by Brenda Morgan, manager of The Castle. A dead man has been found in the pool. Greg runs downstairs and discovers it is his friend, Levi. Because of Greg’s close connection with the victim, he is not allowed to investigate the crime. Mayor Baylor asks Bakerstown PD to step in. This does not stop Greg and Jill from conducting their own inquiry into Levi’s murder especially when the detectives focus on Greg. Could one of Greg’s friends committed this homicide? Tag along with Jill on her latest adventure in Killer Party. Killer Party is easy to read, has good writing and has a nice steady pace. Each book in A Tourist Trap Mystery series builds upon the previous (they are not stand alone books). We get to know a little more about the characters and see them change/grow. Killer Party focuses more on the cozy element (food galore, Jill adjusting to living with Greg, Jill out jogging, Emma, shopping, Toby getting over Sasha, Aunt Jackie planning her wedding, Aunt Jackie annoying the employees of the coffee shop, Jill spends a lot of time reading, Jill getting ready for a new class at college, and Aunt Jackie going to the doctor). It is an easy, breezy type of book that is perfect to read while lounging by the pool or at the beach. My rating for Killer Party is 3.5 out of 5 stars. The mystery is made to seem complex. Unfortunately, I identified the killer before Levi (I just knew he would end up belly up) turned up dead in the pool. There are a limited number of suspects (one really stands out). The characters in Killer Party seemed grumpy (especially Aunt Jackie). I liked how Lynn Cahoon found a way to work Cat Latimer into the story (from Ms. Cahoon’s A Cat Latimer Mystery series). I believe, though, that Greg and Jill may be moving too fast. There are still many details they do not know about each other (they really need to talk more). Killer Party ends with a cliffhanger. Readers will have to wait until the next A Tourist Trap Mystery to find out what is going on with Aunt Jackie.
I have read each of the books in this series and have enjoyed each of them. They get better each time. Hooray...