//by Terri Thayer//published 2008//
So I’m always on the lookout for a new cozy mystery series. Cozy mysteries are kind of my favorites… just enough thinking for my reading. :-D So when Wild Goose Chase came up on my library website as “recommended”, I thought I would give it a whirl. Unfortunately, a choppy story, whiny heroine, predictable conclusion, and overall annoying cast of characters left this book at a 2/5, and left me with no particular desire to read any further in the series.
Our story opens at a quilting convention in California. Our heroine, Dewey, (also the narrator) has recently inherited her mother’s quilting shop, and is now facing her first convention as the shop owner. Since Dewey’s mother died very suddenly in a car accident, Dewey is still working through a lot of emotion surrounding her mother’s death (a LOT of emotion). Dewey’s never really been into the whole quilting thing – she works with computers – and isn’t sure if the store is something she wants to carry on, despite the fact that it has been in her family for generations (although it wasn’t originally a quilting store, just a regular store).
Okay, first off, this story was just, honestly, boring. So much of it was about Dewey’s feelings – and she has a lot of feelings. Like, it’s totally understandable that she’s stressed about her mother’s sudden death, and that she thinks about her mother a lot, but her constant angsting about whether or not she should sell the store, whether or not her mother wanted her to carry on with the store, etc., was annoying.
She also has a lot of feelings about the love interest, Buster. Buster is apparently an old family friend, but he drops into the story out of absolutely no where, and then all of a sudden they’re having sex. Like… okay? Even though Dewey explains that they’ve known each other for years and the “sudden” part was just realizing that they want to be more than friends, I, as the reader, had virtually no opportunity to connect them as a couple before they’re already shagging, and it felt sudden and weird, not to mention completely pointless as to the rest of the story. Buster is also a policeman and is connected to the investigation, and the next day, when another murder occurs, suddenly he’s ignoring Dewey and blaming her because he decided to skive off and shag instead of hanging around the quilting show (?????)
The murder itself is completely random, and Dewey is only connected to it by chance, and there’s absolutely no reason for her to care about this murder at all, but she just keeps going along. She has zero connection to the actual investigation, so the whole pursuit of the mystery angle feels awkward – we’re only getting Dewey’s incredibly amateurish view of the whole situation, and have no idea what’s actually going on. The murder only really gets solved because the murderer virtually confesses to Dewey the whole thing – not because Dewey has made any brilliant deductions.
Dewey’s sister-in-law is just a dreadful person, and we have to listen to her and Dewey bicker for the entire book, plus listen to Dewey’s internal monologue on the subject. So boring.
Dewey decides almost immediately that she wants to sell the shop, so she spends most of the book trying to find someone to buy it, then, suddenly, in the end is all like, “No, actually, I love it! I’m going with it!” Nothing about Dewey’s ownership of the store felt natural or made any sense, and her shift from wanting nothing to do with the shop to completely embracing it felt forced and weird.
Okay, I’m concluding with a SERIOUS SPOILER LIKE I AM TELLING YOU WHO THE MURDERER IS so if my amazing review has made you want to dash out and read this book STOP READING NOW OR YOU WILL KNOW THE ANSWER although I figured out the answer pretty early on because it’s painfully obvious, except I kept thinking, That can’t really be it because there are so many reasons that it doesn’t actually make sense for this person to be the murderer. I genuinely rolled my eyes in pain when the murderer was revealed. Here’s the deal: Dewey is going to visit the murder victim in her hotel room. In the hallway, Dewey meets the murder victim’s friend/coworker, Myra. Myra is bringing the victim lunch. Myra doesn’t want Dewey to bother the victim; Dewey basically forces her way into the room, and they find the victim dead. Myra is overwrought. She drops the tray. She throws up. She sits in the bathroom and is sick while they’re waiting for the police. Myra is also the murderer. If Myra is the murderer, why is she coming back to the hotel room with a tray all alone? Why would she want to be the person to “discover” the murder if she is the one who committed it? This makes no sense to me. You would think she’d be thrilled to have Dewey along as a witness to the fact that the victim was already dead. If Myra committed the murder, why does the sight of it suddenly make her violently ill? And those are just the reasons from the actual scene of the crime that made it not make sense. Basically, Myra’s entire motivation makes no sense.
So yeah. This book had its moments where the dialogue was good, and the writing was fine, but overall I was not impressed. I didn’t really like anyone, and their motivations seemed completely arbitrary to me. Dewey and Buster’s relationship made no sense. Buster’s complete abandonment of Dewey and blaming her for his slackery made me feel like he was a total jerk, not someone I wanted to see the heroine with. Dewey’s family is scattered and unsupportive, and her sister-in-law – gah! I really wanted to like Wild Goose Chase, because cozy mysteries can be so much fun, but it just didn’t do anything for me. 2/5.