I’m terribly behind on my reviews, but I couldn’t wait to share this one with you. Recently I received a review request for a Not-Your-Nana’s-Cozy… Heavy Mental by P.J. Morse. The main character – Clancy Parker – is an indie rock guitarist who pays the bills working as a private eye.
I don’t think P.J. realized I’m a total punk at heart — I did go through a long phase of Tsunami Bomb shirts and safety pins (before it was cool again, and long before Chris Carrabba had left Further Seems Forever… mind you…) — and I still enjoy the music, even if I’m no longer active in the scene… and I definitely enjoy wine and bourbon too much to be a straight edger like I was back then.
Yes, I, Meg… the hobby farmer, digital scrapbooker, former missionary, and a small business owner… was a straight edger with an addiction to TGUK, Hey Mercedes, and Saves the Day… just to name a few (ok, so I was a little on the emo side of punk.) Then I met Jeff, and I guess he tamed me.
Enough about me, onto the review!
Clancy Parker is living in San Francisco working as a Private Detective to pay the bills while she waits for her band, the Marquee Idols, to take off… that is, if they ever find a new bass player. Clancy’s socialite mother refers a woman from her social circle to Clancy, and Clancy quickly regrets accepting the case. The woman is an heiress who lost a necklace due for the auction block at Sotheby’s… and she seems to be completely off her rocker. Clancy needs to find it, and fast.
Clancy immerses herself into the client’s life and soon has a long suspect list — the fumbling husband, sexy shrink, a huffy receptionist, and immigrant maids. When lives begin to be threatened, Clancy realizes this is about more than just a missing necklace.
I honestly didn’t have high expectations, Heavy Mental was self published and most of the time I don’t even bother with self published novels because they tend to be littered with problems. But, I’m glad I took the opportunity — and very glad to say my assumptions were wrong! It was very well written — the plot and characters were all well-developed, and P.J. magnificently described the S.F. neighborhoods without detracting from the story. The story was a little slow at first, but I find that to be pretty common in the first books of a new series. P.J. dropped hints throughout the story as to possible solutions, without giving away the true ending. It was masterfully done!
There were a few weak points, but not enough to make me change my mind about this being five stars for me. I do think that this isn’t a typical cozy that diehard cozy fans will enjoy, it definitely is a bit more edgy… definitely different from the typical cozy formula of “single woman finds body, finds a love interest, cooks or bakes a lot of things, stumbles upon the solution and gets the guy.” I’m honestly very sick of the typical cozy — Heavy Mental was a breath of fresh air!
I can’t wait to read the next installment — sounds like Clancy finds herself on a “Rock of Love” type show!
I received a copy of this book for free from the author, which did not influence my opinion.