Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing? Things are normal here. I’m still writing every day. Huzzah! But we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here because it’s the last Wednesday of the month. You know what that means! It’s book review time. For the beginning of the year, I decided to go for something comfortable. A cozy mystery. Against the Currant is the first in Olivia Matthews’s new Spice Isle Bakery mysteries. It was released yesterday (the 24th) by St. Martin’s Press. As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for access to an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it.
Against the Currant follows Lyndsay Murray as she and her family open a bakery in Little Caribbean (Brooklyn, NY). As if opening a business isn’t stressful enough, throw in a rival bakery owner who threatens to shut them down them gets himself murdered the very next day. Lynds is now the main suspect of a murder! Luckily, she and her meddlesome family are on the case despite her protests that she’s just trying to find more likely suspects, not the actual murderer. There’s a hot detective for a potential love interest as well. What could go wrong?
The plot is standard, but a little on the weak side. One mild argument does not a murderer make, especially when there are a plethora of other suspects with much better motives. The detectives in this book are the stupidest people ever. They only focus on Lyndsay and they don’t listen when far better leads are given to them. I mean, I’m okay with nosy people solving cases (it’s why I read cozies), but I hate it when the cops are this dumb. There were plenty of red herrings they could’ve followed that would’ve been fine, but they stuck with the flimsiest one. That was annoying. And I really hope the detective doesn’t end up being the love interest. He’s a dick. Just don’t. Also, there was a character who showed up twice pretty early on for absolutely no reason. All he did was start stuff, which any established character could have done, then he completely disappeared. What was that about?
I liked the characters, though there were a lot of them. While I understand the desire to introduce all of the family (and extended family) at once, all of the names were overwhelming and I couldn’t keep them straight. On top of them, there were two detectives, five or six suspects, and three or four extras. It was a lot for one book. But I liked the ones I could remember. Lyndsay, Dev, Reena, the grandma, and parents. All great with a lot of potential. The murderer was pretty easy to pick out, but a couple of the red herring characters were great and would’ve been just as plausible. Mostly, I think the characters are good and have the potential for growth if the series continues.
As far as the writing goes, it’s a bit repetitive, especially early on. Like, I heard you the first three times. Move on. And there were some tics that kept showing up in multiple characters. If it’s one character doing it, I write it off as a character tic, but if multiple characters do it, it’s probably the author’s go-to reaction when they don’t know what else to use (mine is shrugging or nodding). Lots of kissing teeth, which took me far too long to figure out since I didn’t Google it, but I learned a new phrase, so that was cool. Stuff like that. But it was a quick read nonetheless.
Ultimately, I was kind of meh about Against the Currant. If I catch the next book in the series, I’ll check it out to see if anything changes, but if I miss it, no big deal.
Overall, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. If you’re into cozy mysteries set in bakeries, go ahead and try it. There are some recipes included if you’re into that kind of thing too.