Halloween is coming to Tinker’s Cove, Maine, and local reporter Lucy Stone is covering the town’s annual Giant Pumpkin Fest for the Pennysaver. There’s the pumpkin-boat regatta, the children’s Halloween party, the pumpkin weigh-in…even a contest where home-built catapults hurl pumpkins at an old Dodge! But not everything goes quite as planned…Lucy’s getting very annoyed that her husband Bill and his friend Evan have been working seemingly nonstop on their potentially prize-winning pumpkin catapult. But when the day of the big contest arrives, Evan is nowhere to be found…until a catapulted pumpkin busts open the trunk of the Dodge. Amid the pumpkin gore is a very deceased Evan, bashed in the head and placed in the trunk by someone long before the contest started.
Bill is on the hook for the Halloween homicide—he was the last one to see Evan—so Lucy knows she’s got some serious sleuthing to do. The crime’s trail seems to always circle back to Country Cousins, the town’s once-quaint general store that’s now become a big Internet player. Though the store’s founder, Old Sam Miller, is long gone, his son Tom and grandson Trey now run the hugely successful company. But whispered rumors say things aren’t going well, and Lucy finds that this case may have something to do with an unsolved, decades-old Miller family mystery…
With each new lead pointing her in a different direction, Lucy sees that time is quickly running out. If she wants to spook the real killer, she’ll have to step into an old ghost story…
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 25th 2015 by Kensington
Two stars: A cozy that lacks the cozy, and it suffers from a fast almost abrupt ending.
As the leaves start to blush with Fall colors, Lucy finds herself increasingly busy. She is looking after her four year old grandson for a couple of months, she is busy as ever at her job, and she is now supposed to help with the Giant Pumpkin Fest. The town is holding its first Giant Pumpkin Fest in hopes of luring in tourists. Unfortunately, someone in the town doesn't seem to want the Pumpkin Fest. Someone is vandalizing large pumpkins and some of the displays. Not to mention doing everything they can to cause trouble. Then a body turns up at one of the events, and it seems like the event will be derailed. Who is trying to prevent the Great Pumpkin Fest and why?
- Even though this wasn't the best fit for me as far as cozy mysteries go, one thing that I appreciated was that I was able to jump in with this the twenty second book in the series with no issues. This reads as a stand alone, and I had no trouble at all. I always like a series where you can go in an pick up a book at any point and enjoy it.
- Another selling point for this cozy series is the main character, Lucy. If you read cozy mysteries, you know that often times the main characters is an average woman with no experience in detective or law enforcement work, yet they almost always manage to solve the case ahead of local law. Lucy is a bit more realistic because she is a reporter for the town's small paper, so she is used to doing investigative work. She is able to help solve the case because she is digging up information for a story. I also like that she is an average woman trying to balance a career, family and everything else life throws at her She is easy to relate to and genuine.
- I also appreciated that this book refrains from a ridiculous romance. Cozy mysteries often have love triangles or a romance that is ongoing and full of stumbles. Lucy has been happily married for over twenty years with a family. Yes, things aren't always perfect when it comes to her marriage, but she is happy.
- I liked the small town setting of Tinker Cove, Maine. I thought the author did a great job portraying the Fall season in the little town.
- The overall mystery was interesting, even if it was a bit dark at times and the end was hurried. It clicked together and made sense at the end. No cliffhangers or unanswered questions.
And The Not So Much:
- For me, this book lacked the cozy that I love in a cozy mystery. I liked the small town setting and the fall season, but the book lacked the feel good that I enjoy in a cozy mystery. I was hoping for a fun Great Pumpkin Festival with lots of delicious baked goods and events, but the Festival was a bit glossed over, and what was presented was ruined by a saboteur. Even the children's party was a mess. I missed all the yummy food and the amicable small town. There were too many characters that were not so nice, and some of the scenes were dark, especially those that flashed back to 1979.
- The book has several scenes that take place in 1979. They follow a young woman trapped in a horrifying marriage where she is being abused and kept under lock and key. I didn't like these cut away scenes because not only were they distracting but they were dark. I could have done without them, and the impact on the story wasn't that important.
- The story line was too scattered and needed to be tightened up. It seemed to take on too many things at once, and then everything culminates to a rather abrupt finish. Everything is revealed hurriedly in the final chapter and I thought it was too much. I didn't care for the way it ended and I wish the author had taken more time with the story lines.
The Candy Corn Murder was a book I picked up hoping for a fun, cozy fall read, but what I got was a book that lacked the cozy aspect, a hurried mystery with a lot of scattered story lines, and a darker aspect of the story that didn't tie in well to the story and it was distracting. I did like the main character and that I was able to jump into the series this far out without any issues. Overall, I was disappointed in this book, and I would recommend it only for long time fans or for those who want to take a chance and check this out at the library.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.