A Trip with Trouble
reviewed by Pam Guynn
Diane Kelly brings plenty of mystery, atmosphere, and secrets to the second book in her Mountain Lodge cozy mystery series, A Trip with Trouble. It features 50-year-old Misty Murphy who has recently signed her divorce papers and purchased a mountain lodge in the Blue Ridge Mountains in northwestern North Carolina.
A women’s motorcycle club, Dangerous Curves, has rented the entire lodge for the week to enjoy rides, hikes, and companionship during the fall season. However, things don’t go well when the last rider in their group fails to show up at an overlook during one of their rides. Cell phone service is spotty at best and there’s no response to the handheld radio. What has happened? Misty is determined to help them.
The story is mainly told from Misty’s point of view, but there are a few chapters interspersed with thoughts from her cat, Baroness Blizzard also known as Yeti. While Yeti’s chapters aren’t necessary, they provide some humor and I enjoyed them. Misty is independent, resourceful, organized, and good with people. She quickly starts to make friends. Rocky, the handyman, Brynn, her assistant, and diner owner Patty play pivotal roles as secondary characters and the club guests are a mixed group of personalities with secrets to lend a sense of realism.
The setting was perfect for this novel and Ms. Kelly does a great job of transporting readers to the mountains of North Carolina. The winding roads, the fall color, the scenic views, and even the southern foods were authentic. There are several plot twists along the way along with plenty of suspects. The dialogue and pacing were on target. The characters and humor enhance it with both relatable characters like Misty and Rocky along with some obnoxious ones and a bit of everything else in between. I also liked the fact that Misty worked with the police rather than hiding her sleuthing activities. However, it seemed like the deputy shared more information with her than he should.
I was immediately drawn into Misty’s life and enjoyed the unraveling of the mystery and the development of friendships. The story captivated me from the beginning with a good plot, great world-building details, and characters that are emotionally rich. The novel shines a light on death, relationships, friendship, family, life’s curveballs, and a bit of romance.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, which was suspenseful, engaging, and atmospheric. In all three of the books I have read by this author, I had a connection with the writing style that I found relatable, vivid, and irresistible. I can’t wait to find out what happens during the next book in the series. I recommend this to those that like cozy mysteries with a more mature main character.
St. Martin’s Press – St. Martin’s Paperbacks and Diane Kelly 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 expected to be October 25, 2022.