Review: A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley

Lena London’s literary dreams are coming true—as long as she can avoid any real-life villains…

Camilla Graham’s bestselling suspense novels inspired Lena London to become a writer, so when she lands a job as Camilla’s new assistant, she can’t believe her luck. Not only will she help her idol craft an enchanting new mystery, she’ll get to live rent-free in Camilla’s gorgeous Victorian home in the quaint town of Blue Lake, Indiana.

But Lena’s fortune soon changes for the worse. First, she lands in the center of small town gossip for befriending the local recluse. Then, she stumbles across one thing that a Camilla Graham novel is never without—a dead body, found on her new boss’s lakefront property.

Now Lena must take a page out of one of Camilla’s books to hunt down clues in a real crime that seems to be connected to the novelist’s mysterious estate—before the killer writes them both out of the story for good…

A Dark and Stormy Murder by Julia Buckley. The first in the Writter’s Apprentice series. Published July 2016 by Berkley Prime Crime. 293 pages. This was the May 2019 group read for the GoodReads group Cozy Mystery Corner.

I had never heard of this series before. That is the reason why I am a member of the Cozy Mystery Corner book club on Goodreads, though. There are so many different cozy series out there, sometimes it’s hard to decide on which one you want to try. Each month this book club gives me two different titles to pick from, and I just go to whichever one my local library has. As a bonus, I really enjoy series about authors or book lovers, so I thought this one sounded a little bit more up my alley then some of the choices in months past.

I love the premise of A Dark and Stormy Murder. Lena loves to read and she gets uber lucky when she lands a job working for -and living with- her favorite all time author! I was SO jealous of Lena! That sounds so epic, I can’t even describe how much fun that would be. I would love to meet one of my favorite authors, let alone hang out with them all the time. ❤ I loved that idea for a series.

I thought the murder mystery actually turned out to be pretty good. There were a lot of red herrings throwing you off the trail and it left you guessing as to who actually could have done the crime. This story had just the right amount of cast. Not a small cast to make it easy to see who the killer is, but not too large of one as to make it hard to remember who is who let alone who the killer is. I was also surprised at what the actual crime (besides the murder) had been about. I did not see that coming and it’s not one you see too frequently in a cozy series. I really enjoyed how unpredictable this book was.

I really liked the love interest. Again, it was not your typical cozy love interest and it was great getting caught off guard like that! He had a side plot mystery all to his own, and we are actually left on a bit of a cliff hanger with his story. I assume that will be the main focus of book number two? It was a pretty good hook. It definitely makes me what to go grab the next book to see what happens next.

I know this is such a small complaint… but something that just killed me was that Lena’s last name is London. And she works for a woman from London. I mean. We are already on a stretch that Lena just so happens to know a friend who lives in the same small town as Lena’s favorite author, and that she gets a job with the author right away… and now, not only that, but Lena’s last name is London and that is where her favorite author is from? I don’t know… just too many coincidences all in a row or something. It just felt too unbelievable to me.

Another small complaint I had with A Dark and Stormy Murder is that there is a story within a story going on in this book. Lena and the author are working on a book together. Well at the start of every chapter, we get a paragraph of that book to read before we actually get to what is going on in the main plot. I really didn’t like that. You only get tidbits of the story they are working on and it’s never really enough to figure out what the hell is actually going on in that story. Like, it just never goes in to too much detail, so by the time I finished the whole book, I wasn’t really sure what had happened in the story they were working on together. Someone took a train, met someone, and then they had to go in to hiding for some reason? *shrug* I didn’t like having to keep up with a second smaller story like that and I never was invested enough with it to remember what was really going on there. Half the time I felt like just skipping the story at the start of each chapter because it was boring.

Other then those two small complaints, this was a fun start to a series. I enjoyed the murder mystery. It really kept you guessing as to who the killer was and what was really going on. A Dark and Stormy Murder was a pretty entertaining read.

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