Tuesday, January 26, 2016

REVIEW: Freezer I'll Shoot

Freezer I'll Shoot
Author: Victoria Hamilton
Publisher: Berkley Publishing
Genre: Mystery
293 pages

I decided to take a break from my TBR pile and read a cozy mystery by an author that was new to me. Victoria Hamilton was the featured cozy author on a Goodreads group I joined, so I decided to give her Vintage Kitchen Mystery Series a try. My local library didn't have the first book, but they did have the third book in the series. So I checked it out and spent a pleasant afternoon reading.

The book was an enjoyable, quick read. Nothing fancy. It follows the usual formula....easy, quick read; a murder without spurting blood; and the good guys win at the end. The book was well written and the story was interesting and engaging. My only problem with it was the characters. The main character, Jaymie, has a very pushy mother. She's 30+ years old and does nothing to stand up for herself. I found the main character to be aggravatingly wishy-washy. She allows herself to be controlled by a manipulative mother, and by her boyfriend's mother as well. And often, she puts her foot in her mouth and acts like an embarrassed child rather than an adult. I found it difficult to like her. The two mothers in the story were insufferable stereotypes and made me roll my eyes on several occasions. For instance, the main character loves to collect vintage kitchen items -- hence the series title Vintage Kitchen mysteries -- but her mother (who has for some reason moved back in with her daughter in their family home)  hates the vintage items, constantly berating her for junking up her house with them. Now what 30 year old woman wouldn't stand up and say....but mom...this is my home and if I wish to have antiques, I'm going to have them...?? 

The plot also uses a tired staple of cozy mysteries: The love triangle. In this case, it's a potential love triangle. Jaymie is torn between two polar opposite men -- the multimillionaire she's dating and the brooding, physically attactive cop that she barely knows. I found that storyline to be a bit tiresome. It was a bit much when the brooder showed up in a suit out of nowhere looking very GQ, mistaking the boyfriend's mother for Jaymie's mother. He told the woman how wonderful Jaymie was, realized his mistake...then just walked off?  Bit contrived there? 

So, I did find the characters to be stereotyped, a bit old-hat and annoying at times. But, cozy mysteries are meant to be quick formula reads filled with kitsch. This one kept my attention to the end, even though the characters made me roll my eyes and mutter to myself many times. 

It did not bother me, but some cozy readers will not like the use of curse words in the book. There were several times characters used profanities. I didn't have a problem with it, but some readers might. 

The book also included a vintage recipe for a layered sandwich loaf. Jaymie made a sandwich roll in the book....sliced bread with 3 different kinds of sandwich filler, frosted over with creme cheese that had been dyed pink with food coloring. While I have seen meals like that in retro cookbooks, it did not sound appetizing at all. In the 50's they also made gelatin with meat and vegetables in it. Gag. Some things retro need to be left in the past -- for me, this sandwich loaf concept is one of them. I would have much rather had a recipe for the tarts mentioned elsewhere in the book. 

All in all, the book was an enjoyable read. But I don't like the characters, and find the plot to be a bit too stereotypical for me. I don't plan to read any more books in this series. 

Victoria Hamilton is a pseudonym for Donna Lea Simpson, who also writes under the name Amanda Cooper.  As Hamilton she has another cozy series, the Merry Muffin Mysteries. The Teapot Collector Series is written as Amanda Cooper. Simpson writes romance and mystery novels. Check out her website: www.donnaleasimpson.com .   I will try a book in one of her other cozy series and see if I like those characters better. For me the problem wasn't the writing.....I just didn't like the characters. 

Rating: 6/10
Some mild violence, not graphic. Mild, occasional use of profanity. 
Ages: 12 and up. 

No comments:

Post a Comment