Review: A Death in Door County by Annelise Ryan

A Wisconsin bookstore owner and cryptozoologist is asked to investigate a series of deaths that just might be proof of a fabled lake monster in this first installment of a new mystery series by USA Today bestselling author Annelise Ryan.

Morgan Carter, owner of the Odds and Ends bookstore in Door County, Wisconsin, has a hobby. When she’s not tending the store, she’s hunting cryptids–creatures whose existence is rumored, but never proven to be real. It’s a hobby that cost her parents their lives, but one she’ll never give up on.

So when a number of bodies turn up on the shores of Lake Michigan with injuries that look like bites from a giant unknown animal, police chief Jon Flanders turns to Morgan for help. A skeptic at heart, Morgan can’t turn down the opportunity to find proof of an entity whose existence she can’t definitively rule out. She and her beloved rescue dog, Newt, journey to the Death’s Door strait to hunt for a homicidal monster in the lake–but if they’re not careful, they just might be its next victims.

A Death in Door County by Annelise Ryan. Book # 1 in A Monster Hunter Mystery Series. Published in 2022 by Berkley (Prime Crime). Hardback edition, 326 pages.

There is a lot to love about A Death in Door County. This was a fun start to a new cozy mystery series. 🙂 ❤ I was unfamiliar with this author, but wanted to give the book a try. The plot blurb sounded riiiiiiiiiight up my alley!!

I loved a lot of everything in this book. The weird bookstore main setting is perfect!! Can I live here, please??

I also love the cast of characters. Everyone is so fun! Quirky personalities, kind, and all around just good people!!Did I mention there is a good boi too?? Too cute! His name is Newt!! They are all characters I’m dying to know more about.

The main character, Morgan, has a very interesting mystery in her backstory. Creative twist on the sucky ex / “why I’m damaged in my love life ” romantic trope. It does a good job of hooking your curiosity and wanting to find out what will happen in the future.

However….. there are a few things I didn’t really love. 😦

So, I’m not really sure how I feel about said main character, Morgan. :/ She is kinda UBER frustrating! She goes on and on and ON about having to be soooooooo careful in life because of her dangerous past relationship, yet she acts SO. DUMB. ALL THE. TIME!!!!!!! Seriously!!! She is a smart person, so why act so stupid when her safety is at stake??? Especially when we see her act SMART on her safety at other times!! 😡 UGH!! It made zero sense how inconsistent her actions are. Either play everything safe or be reckless all the time. There is no middle ground with Morgan. Her actions swing from one extreme to the other too willy nilly!!

I also was not a huge fan of the way the cryptids and cryptozoology is explained / talked about by the author. Ok, first- I get that not everyone reading the book will know what those things are, so I get having to explain it. Ok, fine. BUT, the explanation felt…. I don’t know. Something just rubbed me the wrong way about it. 😮 Like, it felt OVERLY explained, maybe, in not a great way… you know?

Speaking of overly stated stuff…. it got a little bit annoying at how many times Morgan talked about not being ready for new romantic relationship. AGH! We know!! We got it the first 10 times you brought it up!! Shut up already!! -.- It was mentioned so much it felt like it could be a drinking game!! 😮 Stop being us over the head on your love life problems. We remember when you mentioned it before, yo! >.<

A Death in Door County has such a fun plot though. It moves fast. I did enjoy unraveling the mystery. The people are just great. Loved them. And the doggo. A few annoying bumps in the road, but it wasn’t TOO bad….. as long as it was just set up for book 1 and doesn’t dwell too much on the same stuff in book 2!! I don’t mind reading book 2 to find out. 🙂


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