Friday, August 16, 2019

Curses, Boiled Again! (A Lobster Shack Mystery #1)

Author:  Shari Randall
Genre:   Mystery

Mass Market Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781250116703
St. Martin's Publishing
290 Pages
$7.99; $7.99 Amazon
January 30, 2018


Allie Larkin was living her dream as a ballet dancer when a bad fall put her out of business.  Now she's back home in Mystic Bay to heal a broken ankle while also helping her Aunt Gully get her Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack off the ground.  Nothing would help Gully more than winning the local food festival's Best Lobster Roll contest.  The competition is sure to be killer - especially after one of the contest judges dies after eating a roll from one of Gully's biggest rivals.

Soon, all eyes fall on Gully as the prime suspect.  Allie may only have one good leg to stand on, but she's not going to let her aunt go down for a crime she never could have cooked up.  Can Allie, along with her devoted crew of friends, family, and customers, find a way to trap the killer and claw herself out of this hard-boiled murder case?


Allie Larkin is a ballerina who injured her ankle and has gone back home to Mystic Bay to heal.  She's also going to spend time helping her aunt with the Lazy Mermaid Lobster Shack, along with her older sister Lorel.  Her aunt has been asked to submit her lobster rolls in a contest being held to find the best one.  But when the judges all keel over after eating the first contestant's entry, and one of them dies, Allie decides to see if she can ferret out a killer before the fallout puts her aunt out of business before she even really begins...

Well, I really wanted to like this book because it had a different premise - Allie didn't run home penniless needing to start over because her relationship broke up, she actually has a job as a ballerina.  But, unfortunately, it started to fall apart almost immediately.

Lorel is a harridan.  (I was going to use the "B" word, but don't want to offend those who don't like cussing.)  Verity was right when she called her cold.  Lorel has all the warmth of a reptile, and no personality otherwise.  It's never said whether Aunt Gully bought the Mermaid herself or if Lorel and Allie contributed, but if Lorel didn't invest any cash, then why does she care if people take time to grieve for the dead instead of pushing Gully to continue in a contest that might not continue anyway?  I didn't get her interest in the restaurant unless she's actually paid into it (or maybe I just didn't read far enough, because her personality completely turned me off from the book).  She's just not a likable person, and you need that.

Then, Allie is a dancer, but rarely spends any time practicing while she's healing.  She does know that dancers practice every day, right?  It's a job, and you have to do it if you want to stay on top of your game.  She's also probably making a decent salary, so why would she spend her time working at the shack - on her injured foot instead of trying to heal?  I once broke my foot, and I was laid up for weeks and not walking well enough in a boot for a long time.  I certainly wouldn't be in a job that had me putting pressure on the foot - which I imagine this would do.

Since Allie also mentions that the house she grew up in is just a couple of blocks away, I wondered why she'd rather stay at her aunt's house (where there was no barre to practice) and share a room with Lorel instead of going back to her own home.  That didn't make sense.  Who would rather share a small room than have their own?  Especially when the homes are that close?    But even Aunt Gully is annoying.  Who wants to be around someone who can't sing yet won't stop?  No thanks.  I like my eardrums.

At one point the book was getting past boring, so I gave up and went to the back to find out 'whodunit' and why.  The ending.  Ho hum.  I've put it in a spoiler so as not to ruin it for anyone, but it just wasn't believable to me.  Not at all.  Please be aware that the spoiler does contain parts of the ending, including the murderer, so do not read it if you have not read the book!

While I find it unfortunate, there just wasn't any real conflict, and I wasn't enthralled with this book, so won't be reading any more in the series.

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