ARC Review: Candy Corn Murder by Leslie Meier (Lucy Stone #22)

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Original Title: Candy Corn Murder

Year Published: 2015

Published by:  Kensington (an arc was kindly provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review)

Number of Pages: 304

First Sentence: Where do you think you’re going?

Goodreads Rating: 2/5

Plot:

Halloween is coming to Tinker’s Cove, Maine, and local reporter Lucy Stone is covering the town’s annual Giant Pumpkin Fest for thePennysaver. 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…

My thoughts:

This book was probably supposed to be a sort of cozy mystery story, but it wasn’t. I just felt like the characters were silly and if I had lived in Tinkers Cove I wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes without murdering someone. No, it’s true. The characters were just silly and annoying, and Lucy wasn’t much better. I got really annoyed with several of the things she chose to do, and wanted to have a serious chat with her about respect and how to be an actual good person/mother.

Yes, I know that small towns can get really overinvested in everything the community get involved in but seriously, this was too much. They seriously treated a smashed pumpkin as a freaking murder, and it wasn’t cute, it was just weird. In fact, until the final part of the book, the worst “murder” was that of a pumpkin. It was not cute, it was just ridiculous.

The plot itself also got hidden in all the small things about Lucy’s life and the events in the little town, things that actually felt irrelevant. I don’t need to know that you stopped by the store to shop every third page, nor everything the character did during a day. It just got really frustrating to read after a while.

The only upside of this story was the flashbacks that were interwoven into the story. They hinted at a good mystery, but it fell flat with what happened in the “present” day. The ending was actually surprising and I couldn’t guess who the culprit was before it was revealed. So that was also something good.

Had the characters been better and the portrayal of a small town not as silly (it almost felt like a bad parody) it could have been a good book. Now it just fell flat on it’s face.

Do I recommend it? 

No, not really. Unless you read the rest of the series and loved it, then by all means, go ahead and read it.

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