Review Killer Jam by Karen MacInerney

When Houston reporter Lucy Resnick cashes in her retirement to buy her grandmother’s farm in Buttercup, Texas, she’s looking forward to a simple life as a homesteader. But Lucy has barely finished putting up her first batch of Killer Dewberry Jam when an oil exploration truck rolls up to the farm and announces plans to replace her broccoli patch with an oil derrick. Two days later, Nettie Kocurek, the woman who ordered the drilling, turns up dead at the Founders’ Day Festival with a bratwurst skewer through her heart and one of Lucy’s jam jars beside her…and the sheriff fingers Lucy as the prime suspect.

Horrified, Lucy begins to talk to Nettie’s neighbors, but the more she gets to know the townspeople, the more she realizes she’s not the only one who had a beef with Nettie. Can she clear her name, or will her dream life turn into a nightmare?

Killer Jam by Karen MacInerney. A Dewberry Farm mystery, book 1. Kindle edition, 274 pages, published by Thomas & Mercer July 2015. Read as a part of the April 2019 group read for the GoodReads Cozy Mystery Corner group.

I’m not much of a farm person and that whole lifestyle is just really not my cup of tea at all. Because of that, I think, I had some difficulty really getting in to this book. On a farm you have a routine that is repeated every single day. In this book, I felt like I learned way more about what Lucy had to do on the farm then I really cared to know. I really didn’t need to see her milk the cow for the 5th time or watch her pick berries yet again. I mean… we all know you have farm chores, it doesn’t mean we want to sit through them. I don’t know. I can’t tell if the book really did repeat that much or if I just didn’t like farm life so it was a little too much information for me? Whichever it is, it made the book very slow to start. For me, things didn’t really pick up until a second side mystery about a long lost newspaper article and lockbox appeared. I was hooked more by that mystery then the mystery of who killed Nettie in the present day.

Something else that bothered me in this book is that the clues were also very repetitious. Like, Lucy would learn a clue from a neighbor. Then, in the next chapter or two, someone else tells her the exact same clue with almost no new info. And Lucy just sits there not saying or thinking anything about hearing a repeated fact, she acted like it was brand new to her. It really got frustrating and it left me feeling like the author didn’t have enough clues to spread around so she did this as filler instead. :/

I know that clueless / slow cops are a staple in cozy mysteries… I mean, if the cops were quick AND good at their job, we wouldn’t need the amateur sleuths to begin with. So I totally get the need for a cop who can’t figure it out. Ok, but, the lead cop of this series, sheriff Rooster, is a horrible character. He beats his wife, he doesn’t do his job at all, and he refuses to look in to clues. He is a terrible person and a terrible cop. How he stays the sheriff is beyond me. Yes, I know they explained it in the book, but I just don’t buy it. I couldn’t stand this guy, and not in a I-love-to-hate-him sort of way either, more like I-hope-a-giant-truck-falls-from-the-sky-and-crushes-him sort of way. He was such a pain in the butt and uber frustrating. I know we aren’t supposed to like him, but come on! It felt waaaayyy too over the top, like the author was trying to hard to make the cop stupid.

The book was entertaining enough to finish but not really entertaining enough to make me want to read the rest of the series. Killer Jam was a quick read, but at the same time it felt very slow going through it. The killer was way too obvious. It wasn’t a terrible book. I did enjoy all the antics of Chuck the dog and Daisy the cow. They had fun personalities. There also seems to be a slight paranormal element in the plot, and that was surprising and interesting to read. Sometimes there were themes that felt pretty dark for a cozy. Not only did the sheriff Rooster beat his wife, but we also had a side story of one of Lucy’s friends having an ex-husband who beat her. He even showed up and repeatedly hit Lucy, her friend and kicked Lucy’s dog! Geez. Something I did like though, is that throughout the book Lucy and her friends made mouth watering food and interesting craft items. The food sounded SO good and I was pleased to see that in the back of the book there were recipes for most of the food as well as the jam and candles that Lucy kept working in the novel. I mean, I’m way too lazy to make any of it, but the recipes looked easy to follow and simple to make.

Killer Jam was ok. Not terrible, but not amazing. I was entertained enough to continue reading the book, but not entertained enough to go get the next book in the series. Some of the plot points and characters just didn’t really sit well with me and I found it more grating then endearing. I think if you are someone who enjoys homesteading or farming, you might be more interested in this series then I was? I did enjoy the animals as well as the slight paranormal side side plot and the yummy food.


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