A Literal Mess - J.C. Kenney

A Literal Mess

By J.C. Kenney

  • Release Date: 2019-01-08
  • Genre: Women Sleuths
Score: 4.5
From 23 Ratings


The first book in a new series featuring Allie Cobb brings the New York literary agent back to her Hoosier home town where a mysterious death keeps everyone on spoiler alert . . .
Allie Cobb left home for the literary circles of Manhattan to make her name out from under the shadow of her legendary father. Now his death brings her and her rescue cat Ursula back to the southern Indiana town of Rushing Creek, population: 3,216. But a tragic new chapter hits the presses when the body of her father’s hard-drinking, #1 bestselling client is found under the historic town bridge. The local police suspect foul play and their prime candidate for murder is the author’s daughter—Allie’s longtime friend.
Determined to clear her bestie, Allie goes into fact-checking amateur detective mode while trying to ignore the usual rumormongers. Those with means, motive, and opportunity include the vic’s ex-wife, his rejected girlfriend, the mayor, and a rival agent trying to mooch clients. With a rugged genealogist distracting her and the imminent Fall Festival about to send tourists descending on their once-peaceful hamlet, Allie needs to stay alive long enough to get a read on a killer ready to close the book on a new victim: Allie . . .

Amazon/iTunes Reviews

  • Debut of An Allie Cobb Mystery series!

    By Kris Anderson, The Avid Reader
    A Literal Mess by J.C. Kenney is debut book in An Allie Cobb Mystery series. Allie Cobb is awakened during the night by a phone call from her brother, Luke. Her father has passed away from pancreatic cancer, and Allie quickly heads home to Rushing Creek, Indiana. The day after her father’s funeral, Sloane Winchester (her best friend) arrives at the Cobb house in distress. Her father and famous author, Thornwell Winchester was found dead under the Rushing Creek Bridge. It is a shame that someone killed him just when Thornwell was turning his life around. Police Chief Matt Roberson (and Allie’s ex-brother-in-law) has Sloane at the top of the suspect list which puts Allie into investigator mode. The mayor is pushing Roberson to quickly close the case before the Fall Festival begins and the leaf peepers arrive in town. Allie is not about to let Sloane get railroaded for a crime she did not commit. Allie uses her deductive skills and keen eye for detail to work on clearing her friend. There are various suspects including Thornwell’s ex-girlfriend, a local literary agent and the mayor. The killer is not happy with Allie’s sleuthing and attacks her to warn her off the case. Allie is not to be dissuaded and redoubles her efforts to identify the murderer. When not sleuthing, Allie is keeping up-to-date on literary clients in New York, catching up with her family and friends, and working to close her father’s agency as he requested. Allie also meets local genealogist, Brent Reynolds who proves to be a distraction along with the delicious hot chocolate served up at Creekside Chocolates. Can Allie locate the killer before she becomes his next victim? A Literal Mess takes us to the small town of Rushing Creek, Indiana where Allie Cobb grew up with her parents and two siblings. Allie went away to college and then moved to New York City to have a career as a literary agent. She wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps who ran his own literary agency out of their home. I enjoyed the descriptions of the cozy town which has a new chocolate shop that I would love to visit. There are a variety of characters for readers to like and dislike. The disagreeable residents are perfect murder suspects especially Mayor Larry Cannon (I am not sure how this man got elected). The mystery was interesting with red herrings, multiple suspects and good clues. Readers should have no problem solving the crime long before Allie confronts the killer. I was surprised that Chief Matt Roberson asks for Allie’s assistance on the case and hands over case details plus video footage. I found it be farfetched, but it does aid Allie’s investigation. I was happy that the case was completely wrapped up at the end of the book. There is some repetition of information and inconsistencies. Allie has a boyfriend, Lance who at one point she states they have been dating a year and later says a couple of months. I found A Literal Mess to be nicely written with various pacing. I found the story to drag throughout the middle, but it does pick up again later in the story (could have used more action). I like that the author set the stage for this book and the series by describing the town and various residents. There is a cute tortoiseshell cat named Ursula plus a sweet dog named Sammy who takes a shine to Allie. A Literal Mess is a light cozy mystery with a quaint small town, friendship, a close family, adorable animals, enticing chocolates and a mystery for readers to solve. I am curious to see what trouble Allie gets into next time.