Title: Southernmost Murder
Author: C.S. Poe
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: January 9, 2017
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Kristin
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Aubrey Grant lives in the tropical paradise of Old Town, Key West, has a cute cottage, a sweet moped, and a great job managing the historical property of a former sea captain. With his soon-to-be-boyfriend, hotshot FBI agent Jun Tanaka, visiting for a little R&R, not even Aubrey’s narcolepsy can put a damper on their vacation plans.
But a skeleton in a closet of the Smith Family Historical Home throws a wrench into the works. Despite Aubrey and Jun’s attempts to enjoy some time together, the skeleton’s identity drags them into a mystery with origins over a century in the past. They uncover a tale of long-lost treasure, the pirate king it belonged to, and a modern-day murderer who will stop at nothing to find the hidden riches. If a killer on the loose isn’t enough to keep Aubrey out of the mess, it seems even the restless spirit of Captain Smith is warning him away.
The unlikely partnership of a special agent and historian may be exactly what it takes to crack this mystery wide-open and finally put an old Key West tragedy to rest. But while Aubrey tracks down the X that marks the spot, one wrong move could be his last.<
Given that the outside temps have been below zero for the second week in a row (not kidding!), a hot romantic story set in the Florida Keys certainly helped keep things warm. This was also my last book/first book of the year read, and what a great way to end/start the next reading cycle!
This is a splendid little cozy mystery, one that I honestly, couldn’t put down. I adored Aubrey; he’s feisty, honest about his narcolepsy, passionate about his research and totally endearing. The story is written from his point of view, so the reader only sees Jun from Aubrey’s side of things. Granted, it’s an awesome side, but Jun remains a bit of an enigma.
The mystery is pure fun – a skeleton falls out of the closet and then disappears, a man is murdered, there’s a missing map, and Aubrey and Jun are caught in the thick of it. Or rather, Aubrey is in the thick of it and Jun is trying to keep him safe.
And this is where my one tiny complaint comes in, and this is my quirk when reading any cozie mystery. The protagonist goes by themselves to investigate! No! No! No! This is like watching the horror movie and the kids open the door – the guy with the chainsaw is going to be behind it! Don’t open the door! Alas, 98% of the time the protagonist (dear Aubrey in this case) makes the inevitable stupid decision to investigate something by himself and ends up in a world of trouble. Surprise…Aubrey ended up in a world of trouble. Le sigh.
Still, the strength of this book is in the characters and setting. I LOVED reading about Key West, some of the local slang was a hoot, and the “history” was quite enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed how the author handled Aubrey’s narcolepsy, what he could and couldn’t do, how he handled it, and how he was forthright with Jun about his condition. The cataplexy was an interesting side-affect I was unaware of and I thought the author handled it well.
Ultimately, if you’ve read the Snow and Winter books, you will enjoy this latest book by C.S. Poe. If you HAVEN’T read C.S. Poe yet, you are in for a delightful treat!