Book Review: Diners, Dives and Dead Ends

Posted March 30th, 2013 by in book review / 0 comments


Title: Diners, Dives and Dead Ends (Rose Strickland Mystery #1)
Author: Terri L. Austin
Publisher: Henery Press
Version Read: ebook (retail)
Publication Date: July 12, 2012
Categories: cozy-mystery, crime, mystery,

Summary (Goodreads): As a struggling waitress and part-time college student, Rose Strickland’s life is stalled in the slow lane. But when her close friend, Axton, disappears, Rose suddenly finds herself serving up more than hot coffee and flapjacks. Now she’s hashing it out with sexy bad guys and scrambling to find clues in a race to save Axton before his time runs out. With her anime-loving bestie, her septuagenarian boss, and pair of IT wise men along for the ride, Rose discovers political corruption, illegal gambling, and shady corporations. She’s gone from zero to sixty and quickly learns when you’re speeding down the fast lane, it’s easy to crash and burn.

I needed a brief change of pace from all my supernatural reading so I switched to the cozy mystery genre. Diners, Dives and Dead Ends is a good read, with an interesting mystery to discover.

Rose Strickland’s life is somewhat of a hot-mess. Her high society mother essentially kicked her out after she refused to go back to the exclusive all-girls college her parents had sent her to. Now she works as a waitress and attends community college, much to her mother’s utter disdain. The two major perks in her life are her nephew Scotty, and her friend Axton. So when Ax goes missing under suspicious circumstances, she is determined to find him.

The mystery was well plotted and it was a change from all the murders you most often find in a cozy mystery. The whole thing was well thought-out and it was interesting to follow the clues and connect the dots as Rose did throughout the book.

I enjoyed the secondary characters of Roxy, Scotty and Ma. They added a fun flavour to the story – Ma is the group grandmother/mother, even bringing biscuits and hot chocolate with her on their adventures. Roxy is the sort of girl who does whatever she wants and doesn’t really care who like or dislikes her, especially as she is rather Anime-obsessed and seems to dress like the girls in Anime. Scotty, being a 5 year old, is cute. He added a nice family element to the book without overwhelming it.

I thought Axton was kind of generic though – a sci-fi obessesed porn-loving stoner whose ‘geekiness’ felt a little bit like the author was checking them off a list of geek-qualities as opposed to being a genuine geek. Hard to tell with someone who smokes that much pot though, and who we don’t really meet until later in the book. I wasn’t a huge fan of Jacks either, who I felt was mostly just a pushover, and likes to use her sister as a free baby-sitting service. Also the lawyer guy, Dave was kind of pretentious and a bit too over-bearing for me.

Something that I felt didn’t work in the books favour was that parts of it felt too long. There was a lot of play-by-play which dragged in some spots and a few conversations that could easily have been edited out/shortened without losing the plot. We didn’t need to know each time Rose was filling in every character about what had happened. Coming in from their reactions to the catch-up would have been more efficient (and more effective) in some parts.

Some of the by-play with all of the guys was a bit much too, I mean, I understand Rose is an attractive girl but how was every guy she met almost instantly in lust or in very deep like with her? It got a bit old. Not every guy a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl meets is going to be all-over her like ants on a picnic. Guys have differing tastes too.

Those last few points are probably why I didn’t give the book I higher rating, however I am eager to read the second one – it sounds good, and I did enjoy this one.

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