This cozy mystery with a twist features Odds and Ends bookstore owner and cryptozoologist Morgan Carter and is set in Door County, Wisconsin. This is the first book in the Monster Hunter Mystery series.
When human and animal bodies are found onshore over the course of a few months with unusual bite marks, Washington Island police chief Jon Flanders turns to Morgan for help. While Morgan is a skeptic, the thrill of hunting cryptids (creatures whose existence is rumored, but never proven real) has her accepting the job. She and her dog, Newt, along with Jon, her employees Rita and Devon, and a variety of others embark on a journey to determine who or what the killer is.
Morgan has unusual tastes in items for her shop. It’s not just a mystery bookstore, but contains odd and obscure items too. She has degrees in biology and zoology, with minors in religion and mysticism and loves exploring the plausible existability of mythical creatures. Both she and Jon are likeable characters, but both have some secrets. Morgan also has trust issues that affect new relationships. Both care about others and want to give back to those in need.
This book has a solid plot with some twists and turns, an unusual mystery to solve, and a unique sleuth working with the police. When you add in the search for a potential lake creature from legends and myths, great atmosphere and world-building, lots of suspense, and a bit of romance, you have a winner. The geographical details of the setting added to the atmosphere of the story. My one quibble is that the pace occasionally slowed down.
This novel is creative and exciting, and it will keep readers guessing. High stakes and an all-too-real situation kept me engaged throughout the story. The people in the story came to life and Lake Michigan almost became another character. Themes include friendship, loyalty, trust, betrayal, attraction, greed, domestic abuse, death, grief, helping others, and much more. The author’s note at the end of the book tells how her novel plays with factual history.
Overall, this intriguing mystery has great characters and danger, as well as intense moments and action that kept me turning the pages. Those who enjoy cozy mysteries with unique characters and a subplot of a budding romance will likely enjoy this book, as well as those that enjoy the unusual. This is an excellent start to the series.
Berkley Publishing Group and Annelise Ryan provided a complimentary digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for September 13, 2022.