Publishable by Death
post written by Esther Filbrun
Title: Publishable by Death
Author: ACF Bookens
Series: St. Marin’s Cozy Mystery series, book #1
Major Themes: Mysteries, Cozy Mysteries
Synopsis: After starting a bookstore, Harvey is ready for life to quiet down when someone is murdered close to her shop—can they catch the perpetrator in time before others die?
After reading two very heavy books, I was ready for a lighter read. Publishable by Death came along right at that time, and although I haven’t read many “cozy” mysteries—often, the ones I read turn out to be more like thrillers!—this book did live up to the genre! This was still very much a mystery, but it had a sleepy small-town feel to it, along with a lovely bookstore, so I felt at home right away.
Recently moved to St. Marin’s from San Francisco, Harvey is ready for a change of pace and a more peaceful life. She’s just been able to open her dream bookstore—in an old gas station, no less—and is enjoying meeting the people of the town when, unexpectedly, someone is murdered very close to her shop. Can they catch the murderer in time? Will St. Marins ever be safe again?
I enjoyed many parts of this book. It has a lovely, small-town feel to it, and the main character runs a very fun-sounding book shop. She’s just getting to know her new town and ends up meeting a lot of interesting characters—the kind you always meet, no matter where you go, with lots of interesting backstories besides.
There were a few things I didn’t enjoy as much, though; probably the primary one being that this book tried to include all ethnicities and relationship leanings. I agree that racism is a terrible problem in some areas (thankfully, I can’t say I’ve seen a lot of that in the country I live in now, but I know it’s a problem elsewhere), but I don’t feel like it always needs to have a major point made about it. Include the history—that’s great—but don’t make that a driving home point in the book. This book also had a couple of gay guys in it, and a woman wanting to have a sleepover with her boyfriend, both of which I disagree with because I believe the Bible clearly states relationships like that are wrong. Thankfully, that wasn’t a big part of the book—just mentions here and there—but still something I’m not comfortable with. Because of those two issues, I’m not sure I’d be willing to read more from this author.
If you’re looking for a mostly clean, easy-to-read mystery novel, this could be down your alley. For the most part (aside from what I mentioned in the last paragraph), I enjoyed this book. Publishable by Death is perhaps not one of my favorites, but as far as crime fiction goes, it wasn’t as bad as some can be.
I requested a free review copy of this book, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: “Goodness” or some variant is used in ch. 2, 3, 4 (twice), 5 (twice), 6, 10, 11 (twice), and 12. “Oh my word” is used in ch. 2, 4, 7, 9, and 10. “Glory” as an expression is used in ch. 2, 7, and 8. “Gracious” or a variant is used in ch. 3, 4, 8, 10 (twice), and 13. “Cr—” or a variant is used in ch. 6 and 11, and “holy cow” is used in ch. 11. There were also two words ars— and bad— in ch. 7 that I don’t appreciate, and in ch. 11, another word is referenced (two letters, but not spelled out). “Man alive” is used in ch. 11, and there is lying in ch. 13.
People are found dead or others tell stories of people who were murdered in ch. 2, 7, and 10. A knife is found with blood on it in ch. 7, and in the same chapter, a Native American ritual is mentioned. People talk about something the Ku Klux Klan did in ch. 10. A woman dreams about being killed in ch. 12. Women are held at gunpoint in ch. 13, and in the same chapter, there is shooting.
A woman gets divorced in ch. 5, and gay people visit for a while in ch. 5. People drink beer or wine in ch. 6, 7, 9, and 13. There is touching between unmarried people (and some thinking about liking to feel the touch) in ch. 5–9, 12, and 13. A woman wishes for and talks to her boyfriend about having a sleepover, although that doesn’t happen in the story, in ch. 7 and 14, and a man and woman are alone together watching a movie in ch. 8. There is kissing in ch. 7 (twice), 8, 9, and 11 (none of them really described).
Links to buy this book:
Keywords: Cozy Mysteries, Mystery, Romance, North America, Books for Women