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A Toast to Murder
by Allyson K. Abbott
There are suspects galore. The wannabe detective actually gets unwanted official recognition. The setting is interesting—a bar whose owner caters to the Capone Club, an informal crime solving group, by providing a room in the bar for their gatherings. There is a lot to like about this book.
You know what’s coming up next…a medium sized “but.” Yes, I liked the book, but it was not an “I just can’t put this down” mystery despite the fact that lives were hanging in the balance. This is not a case of book bashing because a serial book does not work well as a standalone: A Toast to Murder can stand on its own. The author actually does a good job of bringing the reader up to speed, but it is a constant process and becomes slightly intrusive. Because this mystery seems to occur over several books, it just doesn’t have a comfortable cohesiveness. Another problem I have with the book is that many of the suspects are not fleshed out enough for the reader to invest interest in the probability of their being the criminal. There are two love interests for bar owner Mack, but I had a hard time caring about her relationship with either of them. Perhaps that would be different if I had read previous books in the series.
On the positive side, the main character, Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton, has an interesting neurological disorder called synesthesia. In Mack’s words, “It causes one’s senses to get mixed up or cross-wired so that any sense I experience—smell, for instance—is manifested through a second sense at the same time. For instance, I not only hear people’s voices, I often taste them.” Although this disorder can be stressful for Mack, she has learned to use it to her advantage in solving crimes. The author deserves kudos for her creativity in constructing a plot that would focus on Mack’s skills in this area.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: 1. #5 in Mack’s Bar Mystery Series
2. Bonus section with mixed drink recipes
Publication: July 25, 2017—Kensington Books
They hung around for an hour or two, chatting about the letter writer, speculating about motive, comparing whoever was behind it to Sherlock Holmes’s nemesis, Professor Moriarty. By inference, it meant they were comparing me to Sherlock Holmes, and I had to admit that I found the analogy a little flattering.