HH Com 588


Mystery/romance 80,000 words

Judi Westerholme has worked hard at being a cantankerous loner in a small country town. When her brother, a long-time drug addict, is murdered, she figures she’ll ID Andy’s body, bury him and come home. Let the city cops catch whoever killed him.

But she discovers Andy’s been living a whole different life, with a job, a wife and kid, and an expensive house in the suburbs. The wife has gone missing and the kid becomes Judi’s unwanted responsibility.

Since she hasn’t seen Andy for more than three years, there are a lot of questions she can’t answer. The homicide detective, a good-looking young hotshot, seems more interested in her than why Andy was murdered.

All Judi wants is to get the funeral over with and return to her tidy hermit existence. Stories of mafia barons and underworld wars sound ludicrous, until someone invades Andy’s house and tries to kill her. Suddenly, to keep herself and the kid alive, Judi has to find out who Andy’s money really belongs to. Strange clues start turning up - clues that could only have come from Andy. The one person who can help is Hotshot, if she can keep him out of her bed long enough to focus on the case.

This isn't as polished up as I'd like it to be but I like the verve and the energy and the story line. There's not much in the way of plot.

Of course, with a cozy, I'd look for a character who can carry a series and much as Miss Snark loves cantankerous loners, that doesn't bode well for series.


Louise Ure said...

I think cantankerous loners make great series characters. Think Lee Child's Jack Reacher series.

Laura K said...

Hmmm...This sounds like fun, though I am not sure it's really a "cozy." It sounds more like one of those chick-lit/mystery combos I've seen out lately that don't (necessarily) turn into series. If that's its intent, I'd say it sounds perfect.

If this *is* meant to be a cozy, I'm with Miss Snark and I'd like to know a bit about the direction you're going to take in keeping the series alive, especially if she wants to stay in the small town and also be with Hotshot, the big city cop.

I'm a little confused by the first sentence, partially because I am not predisposed to like cantankerous loners (especially if this is going to be a first-person narrative) and partially because I want to know why she has worked hard at being unpleasant. I don't wonder enough to want to read the book, I just wonder enough to find it irritating.

Don't take that to mean I wouldn't want to read the book. It sounds like loads of fun, but that first sentence is off-putting. At least to me.

Anonymous said...

Nonsense, cantankerous loners are awesome. Look at Nero Wolfe.

On the other hand, he *does* have an Archie to do the personal interaction bit.

I liked this.

Katie said...

Maybe cantankerous is the wrong word. It made me think she was 70 years old.

But I like it -- I really like the fact that her brother has been leading a real life and not a druggie one.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen an old movie called "Gloria?" Miss Snark? Well, this has that kind of feel, except it has more conflict thrown in.

I like it!

Anonymous said...

Great title. The kind that will leap off the shelf.

Zappadong said...

I think Miss Snark is wrong (sorry Miss Snark).

I LOVE this one and would probably buy the whole series.

This said, I have to mention that I run - together with other authors - a (very)little publishing company in Germany, and would this hook have landed on my desk, author, I would have danced a little happy frog dance and contacted you immediately.

PS: One of my fellow authors has just landed a big hit in Germany with a cantankerous loner - it's turned into a series :-), with two books out and the third on the way.(www.bottini.de)

Keep going, author.


Inkwolf said...

The world needs more cantankerous loners! :D

writtenwyrdd said...

This sounds promising. I think the subplot of horny cop needs a bit more, so that there is something more at stake than sex or solve the crime. Perhaps she suspects him of being on the mob's payroll? Something, anything, that makes the cop subplot less than a comic element, which is how you present it in this blurb.

I like the last paragraph a lot.

And I would probably pick up a book with this as the backmatter. Good luck.

Crystal Charee said...

Cantankerous loners--Works for Kathy Reichs...

Also, I am cantakerous and a loner, so this is right up my alley. Why do protagonists always have to be bubbly? That's so annoying. Being nearly murdered in a small town should be interesting too--especially with a new nephew in tow.

Inez said...

Solid idea, great title.

I agree with Louise and others that loners can be great characters -- especially if they rarely get to enjoy their solitude. It remains more a dream than a reality.

Good luck!

xiqay said...

All she wants is to get back to her life. So why doesn't she?

If that's what she really wants, she can put the child (now parentless) up for adoption (he's under 3 years old, making him very adoptable). What does she care about her brother's money? She can just let whoever is willing to kill for it have it.

So why is she involved in the mystery?

I'm not buying it.
This would be a no for me.

Good luck.

aries said...

What about Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch? I can't think of a character more cantankerous or lonely, yet there are 12 books or so (and counting!) in the series.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Miss Snark. And thanks also for the other comments. Every little bit helps!