I feel betrayed and thoroughly jerked around.
This book committed one of the worst offenses to me as a reader. It ended on an absolute terrible note after a rather significant tug of war that looked like it was going to end okay. So with that, I'm going to write a no-holds-barred review and just get everything out of my system.
So, spoilers ya'll.
I praised Mattie so highly in my last review. And this book just friggin' called me liar and then set my pants on fire.
Right off the bat, Mattie ticks me off by trading tit-for-tat with a nobody character, Ryan writes:
"I know that saying nothing at this point will be taking the high road. However, Catherine has managed to hit one of my sensitive buttons, so I go crawling in the mud, instead."
Oh, this irked me. The problem is that Mattie crawls in the mud a couple of times in the book, but never when it really should have been done. Why she lets every WOMAN get under her skin while never standing up for herself with any of the men is beyond me. You know who you should be crawling in the mud with, Mattie? David! Why not say something biting and clever to the cheater and his new fling? And along the lines of saying how you feel in a big way, why can't you have a conversation with Hurley of real consequence? Why can't you stand up to yourself to Izzy instead of being shamed by ONE night of reckless drinking and gambling that really only harmed yourself?
And while I'm on THAT subject...
What the holy heck in bottle is with the gambling schtick?! This literally made me cringe. I cannot buy that this super puzzler solver that is Mattie Winston could some how think that the solution to her money problem is by spending thousands of dollars gambling - and not just after 1 or 2 devastating nights of loss, but 3. I really like Mattie's character as someone who can screw up but still be lovable, but there isn't anything lovable about being willfully stupid.
Speaking of stupid. What is with every stupid woman in this book brazenly propositioning Hurley? Is this supposed to be part of the funny? I found it as far from FunnyLand as possible, like way over in It-Hurts-My-Heartdom. In this book alone Mattie deals with Candy, Tonya and that evil sucker punch at the end when really the point could have been made with any ONE of the three - the point being that Mattie would rather dig out her heart with a spoon than be a spectator to a new romance in Hurley's life.
But that ending?!
O-M-G. It's like climbing to the top of the mountain and in the middle of celebrating how glorious life is, your guide pushes you over the side and points and laughs while you tumble all the way down to the bottom.
What? This isn't a romance? Oh, that's right. It's a cozy mystery. I almost forgot because the book was so busy throwing pieces of my sanity into the wood chipper.
As for the mystery. Well, it was just okay. It seems like two different homicides would be enough to keep it interesting, but I had the farmer pegged shortly after his post, and as for the other guy? I could barely bother because we took some weird detour into the twilight zone with a conference trip from hell that diluted the whole mystery and by the end I just skimmed through villian's big reveal because I was like, WHO CARES, HURLEY'S BOINKING TONYA AND I NEED A BEN & JERRY'S TOO!
With all that out of my system, I still downloaded the next book within 5 minutes of finishing this one. It would have been more like 5 seconds after finishing this one, but I was trying to really exercise restraint and show the book who's boss. Unfortunately, I read a spoiler accidentally that is two books from now and I just want to get there and I have no self control.
But seriously? Band aids don't fix bullet holes Annelise Ryan, I'm on to your tactics now.