A Literal Mess (Allie Cobb Mystery #1)
The first book in a new series featuring Allie Cobb brings the New York literary agent back to her Hoosier home town where a mysterious death keeps everyone on spoiler alert . . .  Allie Cobb left home for the literary circles of Manhattan to make her name out from under the shadow of her legendary father. Now his death brings her and her rescue cat Ursula back to the southern Indiana town of Rushing Creek, population: 3,216. But a tragic new chapter hits the presses when the body of her father’s hard-drinking, #1 bestselling client is found under the historic town bridge. The local police suspect foul play and their prime candidate for murder is the author’s daughter—Allie’s longtime friend.   Determined to clear her bestie, Allie goes into fact-checking amateur detective mode while trying to ignore the usual rumormongers. Those with means, motive, and opportunity include the vic’s ex-wife, his rejected girlfriend, the mayor, and a rival agent trying to mooch clients. With a rugged genealogist distracting her and the imminent Fall Festival about to send tourists descending on their once-peaceful hamlet, Allie needs to stay alive long enough to get a read on a killer ready to close the book on a new victim: Allie . . .

A Literal Mess (Allie Cobb Mystery #1) Details

TitleA Literal Mess (Allie Cobb Mystery #1)
Author
ReleaseJan 8th, 2019
PublisherLyrical Underground
Rating
GenreMystery, Cozy Mystery

A Literal Mess (Allie Cobb Mystery #1) Review

  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    A Literal Mess by J.C. Kenney is the first book of the new cozy Allie Cobb Mystery series. As with most cozy mystery series the mystery within this first book is solved at the end without leaving a cliffhanger so one can read as a standalone or continue onward for another mystery in book two.Allie Cobb was definitely her father’s daughter as she followed his footsteps into a career as a literary agent. Fresh out of college and trying to make a name for herself Allie chose to begin her career in A Literal Mess by J.C. Kenney is the first book of the new cozy Allie Cobb Mystery series. As with most cozy mystery series the mystery within this first book is solved at the end without leaving a cliffhanger so one can read as a standalone or continue onward for another mystery in book two.Allie Cobb was definitely her father’s daughter as she followed his footsteps into a career as a literary agent. Fresh out of college and trying to make a name for herself Allie chose to begin her career in the big city of New York. However, Allie’s father had taken ill and now has passed on so she is returning to her hometown of Rushing Creek in southern Indiana to attend the funeral and close out her father’s business.After her father’s funeral Allie fully intended on catching up with old friends and family but before she can even get settled Allie hears from her best friend Sloane that her own father had been found murdered. Determined to help her best friend Allie promises Sloane she will do whatever she can to help track down the killer and bring closure to her.Now, in my opinion A Literal Mess started off a little more depressing than I would like for a cozy read since generally I like going into these for the light hearted, humorous nature of the stories. However, as one might guess since I’m giving this one 4 stars I did end up really liking the characters and the mystery. It might help that this one is set in my home state so it’s always fun to hear of areas that I’m actually familiar with too but in the end I’ll definitely look forward to seeing what happens in the second book of the series.I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
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  • Juli
    January 1, 1970
    A Literal Mess is the first book in the new Allie Cobb Mystery series. In this series debut, Allie returns home to Rushing Creek, IN following the death of her father. Coming back to Indiana after living in New York is a bit of culture shock for her, but Allie is determined to help her mother close out her father's literary agency. Turns out someone else is interested in closing out her dad's former clients. Author Thornwell Winchester is found floating face down in the water under a bridge soon A Literal Mess is the first book in the new Allie Cobb Mystery series. In this series debut, Allie returns home to Rushing Creek, IN following the death of her father. Coming back to Indiana after living in New York is a bit of culture shock for her, but Allie is determined to help her mother close out her father's literary agency. Turns out someone else is interested in closing out her dad's former clients. Author Thornwell Winchester is found floating face down in the water under a bridge soon after Allie arrives in town. When her BFF and also the murdered author's daughter is declared a main suspect in the case, Allie is determined to prove that Sloane is innocent. Someone brave enough to be a literary agent in New York can ferret out a killer...right?I will definitely be reading more of this new series. I like the concept, the literary agency background theme, the characters....it was just a pleasant cozy experience. I read a lot of cozies because they are my go-to for brain palate cleansing in between heavier horror, thriller/suspense or action fiction. I love it when I find a new series that is a bit different from all the other cozies I have read. This is the first cozy series I've read with a literary agent background theme. I like it! The mystery moves along at a nice pace. Even though this is the first book in a new series, the plot isn't slowed down by too much character introduction and development. The story flows nicely and doesn't bog itself down, while still introducing the characters and setting. I like Allie as a main character. She is intelligent with just the right amount of feisty. All in all, a great start to a new cozy mystery series! This is Author J.C. Kenney's debut novel! I'm definitely in line for his next book! It won't be a long wait. Book 2 in this series, A Genuine Fix, will be released in July 2019. **I voluntarily read an advanced readers copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
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  • Gail C.
    January 1, 1970
    A Literal Mess by J. C. Kenney is the first in a new series featuring Allie Cobb, up and coming literary agent and, at least in this book, detective extraordinaire. This introductory novel offers the promise of a delightful cast of characters and a small town that could serve as an advertisement for anyone who is considering leaving the anonymity of a big city for a smaller town with the promise of a richer, more connected group of friends and acquaintances. Of course, in the novel, there is a A Literal Mess by J. C. Kenney is the first in a new series featuring Allie Cobb, up and coming literary agent and, at least in this book, detective extraordinaire. This introductory novel offers the promise of a delightful cast of characters and a small town that could serve as an advertisement for anyone who is considering leaving the anonymity of a big city for a smaller town with the promise of a richer, more connected group of friends and acquaintances. Of course, in the novel, there is a murder thrown in for good measure that gives Allie and her friends an opportunity to see justice served. There are enough people who are less likeable to give depth and add a touch of reality to the fictional town of Rushing Creek, Indiana. Plus, the description of the area makes it such that you might consider a trip to Indiana to welcome in the turning of the leaves, which is something I’ve never considered when thinking of Indiana. The mystery itself is not hard to solve. There are some excellent clues as well as some well-placed red herrings although it isn’t obvious that the author is trying to lead you down the garden path. In the classic style of a cozy mystery, there is little emphasis on the murder itself and more time spent on developing a reason for Allie to investigate. She and the sheriff, who is her former brother-in-law reach an unspoken truce in an agreement to put the bad feelings generated by his divorce from Allie’s sister aside in order to solve the murder. In addition to a protagonist who is easy to like, there are some likeable secondary characters including Allie’s best friend Sloane and her brother Luke. It is totally within the realm of possibility that these, as well as a few others, may be fixtures in future books and, if so, will provide a good opportunity to give more texture to Allie’s life and the setting in which she finds herself. This isn’t a particularly deep book, nor is it filled with tension and suspense. Rather, it is the kind of book that will appeal to the individual who wants to spend some time reading as a way to relax. It would be a good beach or vacation read, one that could be put down and picked up as other activities dictate.
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  • Mark Baker
    January 1, 1970
    Allie Cobb has returned home to Rushing Creek, Indiana for her father's funeral. While his death wasn't a surprise, it has still hit her hard. She's not prepared for tragedy to strike her small town a second time when the body of Thornwell Winchester is found. He was one of Allie's father's literary clients, and also the father of Allie's best friend, Sloane. When Sloane becomes the police's chief suspect, Allie steps in to find out the truth. Can she do it?This book is more serious in tone than Allie Cobb has returned home to Rushing Creek, Indiana for her father's funeral. While his death wasn't a surprise, it has still hit her hard. She's not prepared for tragedy to strike her small town a second time when the body of Thornwell Winchester is found. He was one of Allie's father's literary clients, and also the father of Allie's best friend, Sloane. When Sloane becomes the police's chief suspect, Allie steps in to find out the truth. Can she do it?This book is more serious in tone than many of the cozies I read, but given what brings Allie home, that is completely appropriate. I never found that overwhelming, and the book doesn't dwell on it. After all, this is a mystery, and it isn't long before we are off meeting Thornwell and the potential suspects. I was intrigued by the red herrings and enjoyed the twists as we headed toward the logical climax. The suspects are strong, but I was really impressed with the series regulars. They have pasts and baggage that brought them to the page fully formed. I'm interested to see how that dynamic plays out as the series progresses.NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.
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  • Kristina
    January 1, 1970
    A Literal Mess by J.C. Kenney is debut book in An Allie Cobb Mystery series. Allie Cobb is awakened during the night by a phone call from her brother, Luke. Her father has passed away from pancreatic cancer, and Allie quickly heads home to Rushing Creek, Indiana. The day after her father’s funeral, Sloane Winchester (her best friend) arrives at the Cobb house in distress. Her father and famous author, Thornwell Winchester was found dead under the Rushing Creek Bridge. It is a shame that someone A Literal Mess by J.C. Kenney is debut book in An Allie Cobb Mystery series. Allie Cobb is awakened during the night by a phone call from her brother, Luke. Her father has passed away from pancreatic cancer, and Allie quickly heads home to Rushing Creek, Indiana. The day after her father’s funeral, Sloane Winchester (her best friend) arrives at the Cobb house in distress. Her father and famous author, Thornwell Winchester was found dead under the Rushing Creek Bridge. It is a shame that someone killed him just when Thornwell was turning his life around. Police Chief Matt Roberson (and Allie’s ex-brother-in-law) has Sloane at the top of the suspect list which puts Allie into investigator mode. The mayor is pushing Roberson to quickly close the case before the Fall Festival begins and the leaf peepers arrive in town. Allie is not about to let Sloane get railroaded for a crime she did not commit. Allie uses her deductive skills and keen eye for detail to work on clearing her friend. There are various suspects including Thornwell’s ex-girlfriend, a local literary agent and the mayor. The killer is not happy with Allie’s sleuthing and attacks her to warn her off the case. Allie is not to be dissuaded and redoubles her efforts to identify the murderer. When not sleuthing, Allie is keeping up-to-date on literary clients in New York, catching up with her family and friends, and working to close her father’s agency as he requested. Allie also meets local genealogist, Brent Reynolds who proves to be a distraction along with the delicious hot chocolate served up at Creekside Chocolates. Can Allie locate the killer before she becomes his next victim?A Literal Mess takes us to the small town of Rushing Creek, Indiana where Allie Cobb grew up with her parents and two siblings. Allie went away to college and then moved to New York City to have a career as a literary agent. She wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps who ran his own literary agency out of their home. I enjoyed the descriptions of the cozy town which has a new chocolate shop that I would love to visit. There are a variety of characters for readers to like and dislike. The disagreeable residents are perfect murder suspects especially Mayor Larry Cannon (I am not sure how this man got elected). The mystery was interesting with red herrings, multiple suspects and good clues. Readers should have no problem solving the crime long before Allie confronts the killer. I was surprised that Chief Matt Roberson asks for Allie’s assistance on the case and hands over case details plus video footage. I found it be farfetched, but it does aid Allie’s investigation. I was happy that the case was completely wrapped up at the end of the book. There is some repetition of information and inconsistencies. Allie has a boyfriend, Lance who at one point she states they have been dating a year and later says a couple of months. I found A Literal Mess to be nicely written with various pacing. I found the story to drag throughout the middle, but it does pick up again later in the story (could have used more action). I like that the author set the stage for this book and the series by describing the town and various residents. There is a cute tortoiseshell cat named Ursula plus a sweet dog named Sammy who takes a shine to Allie. A Literal Mess is a light cozy mystery with a quaint small town, friendship, a close family, adorable animals, enticing chocolates and a mystery for readers to solve. I am curious to see what trouble Allie gets into next time. I am giving A Literal Mess 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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  • Yvonne
    January 1, 1970
    Allie Cobb is doing well for herself in New York City as a literary agent. She’s a chip off the old block since her father is a top literary agent in her small hometown of Rushing Creek, Indiana. When her father becomes ill and passes away, Allie heads home with her cat Ursula to close down her father’s company. She, also, plans to spend some quality time with her mother, brother, sister and her best friend Sloane.Tragedy hits the small town when Sloane’s father is found dead. He was also one of Allie Cobb is doing well for herself in New York City as a literary agent. She’s a chip off the old block since her father is a top literary agent in her small hometown of Rushing Creek, Indiana. When her father becomes ill and passes away, Allie heads home with her cat Ursula to close down her father’s company. She, also, plans to spend some quality time with her mother, brother, sister and her best friend Sloane.Tragedy hits the small town when Sloane’s father is found dead. He was also one of her father’s best friends and client. All eyes turn towards Sloane who is the prime suspect. There is no way Allie believes her BFF did the crime and she intends to prove it. It doesn’t take long before Allie discovers the man had quite a few enemies including the town’s mayor and the handsome new guy in town.I love new cozy mystery series and this one is off to an excellent start. Often in new series the first book feels stiff as we are introduced to the characters, but not in this one. The characters are written well and are filled with so much personality that I felt as if I knew them immediately. Allie is a great amateur sleuth who never backs down, even in the face of danger.The resolution of the mystery took me by surprise, but it all wrapped up well. I finished this one quickly and I’m looking forward to meeting up with Allie in future books. Even her family grabbed my interest. I already miss Allie and Rushing Creek. FTC Disclosure: I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • JoAn
    January 1, 1970
    A Literal Mess by J.C. Kenney was a good beginning to this new cozy series.Allie Cobb is a literary agent in New York City. She left home after graduation from high school so that she could make a name for herself in the world of publishing. She's come home to Rushing Creek, IN for her father's funeral. She is heartbroken as she didn't get to say goodbye but determined to make it up to her family for being gone for so long. The murder of her father's client and her best friend's father has Allie A Literal Mess by J.C. Kenney was a good beginning to this new cozy series.Allie Cobb is a literary agent in New York City. She left home after graduation from high school so that she could make a name for herself in the world of publishing. She's come home to Rushing Creek, IN for her father's funeral. She is heartbroken as she didn't get to say goodbye but determined to make it up to her family for being gone for so long. The murder of her father's client and her best friend's father has Allie reeling. She promises to find the culprit and return her small town to it's peaceful setting.Mr. Kenney has done a good job of fleshing out all of the characters in this book. I liked Allie and admired her strength as she doggedly pursued answers to her questions. The secondary characters added more depth to the story and to Allie as they see her differently than she sees herself. A quickly paced plot, several suspects, twists and turns that kept me guessing until the reveal. I won a copy of this book from a Kensington giveaway on Goodreads. All of the above opinions are my own.
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  • Fred
    January 1, 1970
    A Literal Mess is the first book in the An Allie Cobb Mystery series.I find that sometimes with the first book of a new series the author will weigh the reader down with an excess of backstory. But, J. C. Kenney, for me, provided just enough information on the community of Rushing Creek and it’s interesting residents. Allie Cobb, a literary agent, has come back to Rushing Creek for her father’s funeral and to help close down her father’s literary agency. After the funeral family and friends gath A Literal Mess is the first book in the An Allie Cobb Mystery series.I find that sometimes with the first book of a new series the author will weigh the reader down with an excess of backstory. But, J. C. Kenney, for me, provided just enough information on the community of Rushing Creek and it’s interesting residents. Allie Cobb, a literary agent, has come back to Rushing Creek for her father’s funeral and to help close down her father’s literary agency. After the funeral family and friends gathered at the Rushing Creek Public House to celebrate Mr. Cobb’s life. Allie and her best friend, Sloane, were sitting outside by a fire pit when they heard an argument. When they got in a position to see who was arguing they could see that it is Sloane’s father, Thornwell, and Suzette, a literary agent that had worked for Allie’s father and had started her own agency and was trying to get Thornwell to sign on with her. Later in the evening, Thornwell has another confrontation, this time with his research assistant, Daniel Godwin. The next morning Allie learns from her ex-brother-in-law and police chief, Matt Roberson, that Thornwell’s lifeless body in the creek running by the Community Center. Sloane, whose run-ins with her father during his drinking years becomes a person of interest. Allie, not believing that Sloane could kill her own father begins her own investigation. In addition to looking into the arguments Thornwell had that she heard, she also sees Thornwell’s girlfriend, Charlisa Moody, and his ex-wife, Kathryn, maybe what appeared to be a reconciliation had not been going well. She also is learning more about a genealogy researcher at the local library, Brent Reynolds. Reynolds is new Rushing Creek and seems to appear out of nowhere as Allie is investigating.I really enjoyed this new series and felt it was a well-told and plotted story with a very interesting cast of characters.I’m eagerly waiting for the next book in the series to learn more about the quaint town of Rushing Creek and it’s interesting residents.
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  • Book
    January 1, 1970
    Literary agent Allie Cobb is wrapping up the last details of her late father’s business when his biggest client, Thornwell Winchester, is found murdered. Winchester is also the father of Allie’s best friend, Sloane Winchester, initially a suspect in her father’s death.Sloane is extremely upset at her father’s death since he had quit drinking for the last year and was reconciling with her and his ex-wife. Sloane persuades Allie to investigate her dad’s murder which coincides with Allie’s attempts Literary agent Allie Cobb is wrapping up the last details of her late father’s business when his biggest client, Thornwell Winchester, is found murdered. Winchester is also the father of Allie’s best friend, Sloane Winchester, initially a suspect in her father’s death.Sloane is extremely upset at her father’s death since he had quit drinking for the last year and was reconciling with her and his ex-wife. Sloane persuades Allie to investigate her dad’s murder which coincides with Allie’s attempts to find the “secret” project her father and Winchester were working on, according to her father’s records.A few other suspects include Charissa Moody, Winchester’s girlfriend; Suzette, trained as a literary agent by Allie’s dad; and Daniel Godwin, Winchester’s research assistant. Keeping the mystery interesting is the fact that the police chief, Matt Roberson, is Allie’s ex-brother in law and there hasn’t been a murder in Rushing Creek, IN, since he joined the force. The family dynamics of the Cobbs makes a fascinating backdrop for Allie’s sleuthing as well. Her mother is a family practice physician, her sister Rachel owns the Rushing Creek Public House, and her brother Luke works for the city and is Sloane’s alibi for the night her dad was murdered. Complex and multi-layered, A Literal Mess, is an engaging read that augers promise of more intriguing adventures for Allie. J. C. Kenny populates Rushing Creek with warm, authentic characters and realistic relationships. On a final note, Allie’s tortoiseshell cat Ursula (aka Ursi) adds a touch of charm as she wonders through the pages keeping Allie company.
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  • Rhoda Baxter
    January 1, 1970
    Allie Cobb returns to her home town of Rushing Creek, Indiana following the death of her father. She's there to attend the funeral and wind up his literary agency. After that, she's going back to New York.At least, that's the plan.Being the one who went away to pursue a career means that there's a rift between her and her siblings - some of it is in her head, some of it isn't. Coming back to where you grew up is complicated. Then, when her best friend's father is found dead, things get even more Allie Cobb returns to her home town of Rushing Creek, Indiana following the death of her father. She's there to attend the funeral and wind up his literary agency. After that, she's going back to New York.At least, that's the plan.Being the one who went away to pursue a career means that there's a rift between her and her siblings - some of it is in her head, some of it isn't. Coming back to where you grew up is complicated. Then, when her best friend's father is found dead, things get even more tangled. This is a classic cosy mystery, where the story is more about the characters and their community than the murder itself. This is the start of a series and Rushing Creek has plenty of interesting characters to populate the stories. I liked Allie and her family (including the cat). There's an interesting potential love interest (oh yeah!). The mystery was interesting, with a few red herrings and some very interesting suspects. The only quibble was that Allie did that thing where she voluntarily went to confront the murderer by herself, which was silly. Take backup. Always take backup! But it all worked out in the end, so that's okay. This was a lovely, entertaining read. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series already. I got an ARC of this via Netgalley.
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  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    The first book in a new series revolving around Allie Coop, a small-town girl working in NYC as a literary agent. The literary agent, publisher and client is a new one for me in the cozy mystery genre. I enjoyed it. It took me about 40 pages or so to really get into this book, but once I did, I couldn’t put the book down. Most of the characters were well written and developed except for a few of them (such as Lance) but he was such a secondary figure, he could have been eliminated entirely and i The first book in a new series revolving around Allie Coop, a small-town girl working in NYC as a literary agent. The literary agent, publisher and client is a new one for me in the cozy mystery genre. I enjoyed it. It took me about 40 pages or so to really get into this book, but once I did, I couldn’t put the book down. Most of the characters were well written and developed except for a few of them (such as Lance) but he was such a secondary figure, he could have been eliminated entirely and it wouldn’t have mattered. I love books written in small towns with close family connections and this was no exception. I cannot wait for book two in this series. The writing is fresh and fun without the obligatory cussing and sex. I highly recommend.I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. The views given are my own. #ALiteralMess#NetGalley #Kensington
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  • Marie McNary
    January 1, 1970
    I have been looking forward to this book for awhile now – ever since I had the pleasure of sitting down to interview the author at Malice Domestic. I really enjoyed Allie as a protagonist. She was relatable – broken, yet strong. I love that you can see how her deceased father (her hero) continues to shape her life, even after his death. The story was fast-paced and I found myself saying, “just one more page” many times as devoured the book in about 48 hours. A strong cozy mystery debut for JC Ke I have been looking forward to this book for awhile now – ever since I had the pleasure of sitting down to interview the author at Malice Domestic. I really enjoyed Allie as a protagonist. She was relatable – broken, yet strong. I love that you can see how her deceased father (her hero) continues to shape her life, even after his death. The story was fast-paced and I found myself saying, “just one more page” many times as devoured the book in about 48 hours. A strong cozy mystery debut for JC Kenney. I can’t wait to see where he takes Allie next!Complete review can be found here:https://cozyexperience.com/a-literal-...
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  • Doward Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    A fantastic new series with intriguing characters & a twisted murder plot!
  • Connie
    January 1, 1970
    I have a weakness for mysteries with main characters who have jobs working with books in some capacity. Since this story had a main character who is a literary agent and others who are authors, this was definitely at the top of my to-be-read pile.The characterization in this story is well done with lots of little details that were added about the lives of the characters; however, at times I felt the story could have contained a bit more action because the immense amount of narration made the boo I have a weakness for mysteries with main characters who have jobs working with books in some capacity. Since this story had a main character who is a literary agent and others who are authors, this was definitely at the top of my to-be-read pile.The characterization in this story is well done with lots of little details that were added about the lives of the characters; however, at times I felt the story could have contained a bit more action because the immense amount of narration made the book drag in places. The main character, Allie, also did some things that were a bit over the top. One instance is when she went to the winery to call out a woman who said she was the girlfriend of the deceased. Allie’s comments seemed unnecessarily mean since she didn’t have anything to go on except rumors, but then again, that did seem to be an aspect of her personality that fortunately didn’t come up too often. The other thing I found puzzling was when the police chief tells Allie that he would like her to work with him on the investigation, giving her all the information and access to interviews he has so far. I know this is fiction, but that was over the top; I doubt if there is a police chief anywhere who would involve a citizen in an active investigation. After the half way point, the pace picked up and I enjoyed the book more. Overall, I thought it was ok and worthy of a three star rating.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    An utter delight, "A Literal Mess" is the epitome of a fun, clever mystery.New York literary agent Allie Cobb returns to her hometown of Rushing Creek, Indiana for her father's funeral. Rarely does a story, let alone a cozy mystery, kick off with such gutwrenching emotion. This might be the first time this genre has made me tear up! Allie is so heartbroken at missing her chance at saying goodbye to her dying father, a fact that haunts her throughout the entire book and gives her character such d An utter delight, "A Literal Mess" is the epitome of a fun, clever mystery.New York literary agent Allie Cobb returns to her hometown of Rushing Creek, Indiana for her father's funeral. Rarely does a story, let alone a cozy mystery, kick off with such gutwrenching emotion. This might be the first time this genre has made me tear up! Allie is so heartbroken at missing her chance at saying goodbye to her dying father, a fact that haunts her throughout the entire book and gives her character such depth.It's always tricky for debut cozies to convincingly sell how a civilian manages to get involved in a police investigation, but author J.C. Kenney does a fine job. Allie's strongwilled, spunky, and dare I say, stubborn personality make her the type of person who doesn't like being told no or underestimated. When her best friend Sloane-an absolutely charming supportive character that I can't wait to learn more about as the series goes on-is under suspicion for the death of a famous author, Allie decides to take matters into her own hands and clear her friend's name. With the help of the police chief, who happens to be Allie's ex-brother-in-law, it's easy to believe that Allie could insert herself into crime solving matters. Her investigation is fun and thorough. She purposefully goes after finding information and doesn't simply stumble into it, like some cozy heroines tend to do.I want to highlight Allie's cat Ursula. I love animals, but don't have any myself, so I sometimes think I'm a bit of stickler when I read about over-the-top relationships between pets and their owners. J.C. Kenney hits a home run in "A Literal Mess." Allie's dependence on Ursi rings incredibly true and is not overdone in the least. Sometimes I think cozies have pets in them for the sake of having pets, but Ursi is a real, believable character who is woven expertly into this tale.Overall, "A Literal Mess" is a wonderful debut novel with a likable, modern heroine. Allie uses her cellphone *gasp* and the Internet to do her research. It's rare to see that in cozies, which tend to still live in the past where technology doesn't seem to exist. J.C. Kenney integrates the 21st century into the traditional cozy mystery genre, and it is so refreshing and fun.I cannot wait to see what's in store for Allie Cobb, both professionally and romantically!
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    Allie Cobb returns from the publishing world of New York City to her hometown of Rushing Creek, Indiana after her beloved father passes away. The morning after her father’s funeral, Allie learns her best friend’s father and important client of Allie’s late father is found murdered. Allie knows her friend Sloane would never kill her father, but Sloane has become the prime suspect of the local chief of police, who happens to be Allie’s former brother-in-law. Allie uses the instincts and organizati Allie Cobb returns from the publishing world of New York City to her hometown of Rushing Creek, Indiana after her beloved father passes away. The morning after her father’s funeral, Allie learns her best friend’s father and important client of Allie’s late father is found murdered. Allie knows her friend Sloane would never kill her father, but Sloane has become the prime suspect of the local chief of police, who happens to be Allie’s former brother-in-law. Allie uses the instincts and organizational skills that make her a great literary agent to try her hand at sleuthing to prove Sloane’s innocence.Most cozy mysteries I’ve read are told in the third person, so I was surprised to see this one is told in the first person. However, Allie’s voice is perfect for telling this lighthearted cozy and I really enjoyed it. Allie is intelligent and loyal, if a little too over-the-top when she becomes angry. I liked her, though, and was rooting for her to find the truth about the murder victim’s death. Although the police have quickly zeroed in on Sloane, Allie learns there are plenty of other suspects and she logically goes through the list to eliminate who she can to figure out who really committed murder. She makes the common cozy heroine mistake of trying to confront the potential killer on her own, but that’s the biggest flaw in the story. The author is especially good at dialogue, which is natural and realistic throughout the book.I like that although Matt, the chief of police, starts out very antagonistic, he isn’t afraid to admit he is in over his head and can use Allie’s help. I like the way they eventually work together and share information to solve the crime. There is also a possible love interest for Allie which has a lot of potential for future books. The ending of this book is satisfying and answers all the outstanding questions while leaving interesting possibilities as the series continues. This is an excellent debut to a new series that I would rate 4.5 stars, and I look forward to seeing Allie solve additional crimes.I received this book from NetGalley, through the courtesy of Lyrical Press. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Hilary (A Wytch's Book Review)
    January 1, 1970
    What a superb start to a new series, sorrow and regret leading to a brilliant story, number two has been pre-ordered so I can read more about the small, yet feisty lady!Allie Cobb plans on heading home to Rushing Creek during the upcoming weekend to see her family, in particular her father who is dying of cancer, a phone call from her brother derails her plans and means she needs to head off sooner rather than later as her father died over night.  When she is home she catches up with her best fr What a superb start to a new series, sorrow and regret leading to a brilliant story, number two has been pre-ordered so I can read more about the small, yet feisty lady!Allie Cobb plans on heading home to Rushing Creek during the upcoming weekend to see her family, in particular her father who is dying of cancer, a phone call from her brother derails her plans and means she needs to head off sooner rather than later as her father died over night.  When she is home she catches up with her best friend, Sloane, and discovers that Sloane's father, who for years has been a riding on the fact that he was a brilliant author but turned into an obnoxious drunk, has cleaned up his act, has started writing again and is mending fences with his divorced wife and with Sloane as well.Sadly on the night of the funeral for Allie's father, Sloane's father is killed and someone is framing Sloane for the act! Now Allie is putting her logical mind to solving this murder and at the same time she is putting aside the dislike she has for the Chief of Police (who was married to Allie's sister but they are now divorced), can Allie (and Matt) solve this before Allie needs to head back to New York? Or will Sloane end up wearing and orange jumpsuit?
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  • Sandra
    January 1, 1970
    A Literal Mess by J. C. Kenney is a good mystery and a great start of a new series.Allie receives a dreaded call in the middle of the night telling her that her father has died. Devastated she flies back home for a funeral. Several days later one of her father's best friends, and her own best friend's father, prominent writer is found dead. It soon becomes apparent that he was murdered. When Allie's friend asks her to find out the killer she simply can't refuse. With the help of police chief, wh A Literal Mess by J. C. Kenney is a good mystery and a great start of a new series.Allie receives a dreaded call in the middle of the night telling her that her father has died. Devastated she flies back home for a funeral. Several days later one of her father's best friends, and her own best friend's father, prominent writer is found dead. It soon becomes apparent that he was murdered. When Allie's friend asks her to find out the killer she simply can't refuse. With the help of police chief, who happens to be her former brother in law, Allies starts asking question but soon finds out that someone is willing to shut her up for good.I liked basically everything about this book. The fact that Allie and her father are literary agents, to great setting and likable characters. At times animosity between Allie and her brother in law seemed a bit over the top. I also felt that her father's death didn't have as much impact on her as it was implied.The setting, with all falling leaves and beautiful nature was truly inviting. The story had a steady pace with lots of red herrings to keep it interesting. This was a very good first try and I am looking forward to reading second book in the series to see which new mysteries will she uncover and how characters will develop further as I liked them very much.I received an advanced copy from NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review.
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  • Kendrea Parsons
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed A Literal Mess by J.C. Kenney. It was a cozy mystery that I just couldn't put down and finished it quite quickly. I love the main characters, especially Allie Cobb. She's very intelligent and likeable so it's very easy to root for her to be successful in the book. I also like that the author didn't really go out of their way to introduce a romance in the first book. There's a romantic interest, sure, but it's not a main plot point in this book. Sometimes it's good for the female I really enjoyed A Literal Mess by J.C. Kenney. It was a cozy mystery that I just couldn't put down and finished it quite quickly. I love the main characters, especially Allie Cobb. She's very intelligent and likeable so it's very easy to root for her to be successful in the book. I also like that the author didn't really go out of their way to introduce a romance in the first book. There's a romantic interest, sure, but it's not a main plot point in this book. Sometimes it's good for the female character to stand on her own a bit before she's given a romantic partner. As for the killer, I'll admit I suspected them from the beginning, but I still really enjoyed the mystery because there were so many other characters who I also suspected. So, even though I suspected who it turned out to be, it was still a surprise when the killer was revealed. I look forward to the next book in the series to see what happens next for Allie and her family and friends.Note: I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for my fair and honest review.
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  • Homerun2
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsCredible debut effort featuring Allie Cobb, New York literary agent who has returned to her small-town Indiana home for her father's funeral. No sooner has Allie gotten through that ordeal and started re-connecting with family and friends than another death occurs. This time it's her best friend Sloane's famous author father - and it's murder.The chief of police just happens to be Allie's ex-brother-in-law and he admits he's in over his head. He and Sloane convince Allie she can help wi 3.5 starsCredible debut effort featuring Allie Cobb, New York literary agent who has returned to her small-town Indiana home for her father's funeral. No sooner has Allie gotten through that ordeal and started re-connecting with family and friends than another death occurs. This time it's her best friend Sloane's famous author father - and it's murder.The chief of police just happens to be Allie's ex-brother-in-law and he admits he's in over his head. He and Sloane convince Allie she can help with the investigation. There are a few plot inconsistencies and implausibilities, but the characters are likeable and multi-dimensional. This book obviously sets up the series to follow and provides background for further tales. Thanks to the publisher and to Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Dan
    January 1, 1970
    A classic cozy mystery, A LITERAL MESS begins as Allie Cobb returns to her home town in Indiana under tragic circumstances: the loss of a loved one. Allie and her family are immediately sympathetic and likable, and Kenney eases us into the story with a strong protagonist and supporting cast. Of course things kick into gear quickly, as a prominent citizen is murdered, and the town is thrown into turmoil. Kenney hits all the right cozy mystery notes in this solid debut novel, and red herrings and A classic cozy mystery, A LITERAL MESS begins as Allie Cobb returns to her home town in Indiana under tragic circumstances: the loss of a loved one. Allie and her family are immediately sympathetic and likable, and Kenney eases us into the story with a strong protagonist and supporting cast. Of course things kick into gear quickly, as a prominent citizen is murdered, and the town is thrown into turmoil. Kenney hits all the right cozy mystery notes in this solid debut novel, and red herrings and potential romantic interests keep the story moving at an engaging pace.Overall, it's a terrific read, and I'm happy to see that Allie Cobb will be back in a sequel!
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  • Annarella
    January 1, 1970
    What a good start for a new series!It's refreshing to read about a heroine that is neither a baker or librarian and is very dedicated to her profession.I loved this book, it was a breath of fresh air and I was hooked since the first pages.The setting was great, I would like to live in this small town so full of beauty and relaxing.The cast of characters is lovely and relatable, I loved the female characters so strong and I loved the pets.The mystery was good, it keep you guessing till the end an What a good start for a new series!It's refreshing to read about a heroine that is neither a baker or librarian and is very dedicated to her profession.I loved this book, it was a breath of fresh air and I was hooked since the first pages.The setting was great, I would like to live in this small town so full of beauty and relaxing.The cast of characters is lovely and relatable, I loved the female characters so strong and I loved the pets.The mystery was good, it keep you guessing till the end and there's any moment of bore.I look forward to reading other instalment in this series.Highly recommended!Many thanks to Kensington Books and Netgalley for this ARC
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  • Barbara Tobey
    January 1, 1970
    Loved it. An entertaining and engaging cozy mystery. Enjoyed being back home again in Indiana. The changes in family relationships were interesting. Granted the involvement with the police chief did stretch reality, but then, I am not looking for reality in my reading. I look forward to reading the next one in this series. Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy via NetGalley.
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  • Anna Fox
    January 1, 1970
    First book in a new series. I have not read this author before but look forward to more in the series. The mystery was interesting. I enjoyed the characters and the town. I look forward to mending relationships and the building of new ones. The only thing I had an issue with was why it took Allie so long to make her last decision. I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review. I look forward to more books in this series so I can visit this town and these characters aga First book in a new series. I have not read this author before but look forward to more in the series. The mystery was interesting. I enjoyed the characters and the town. I look forward to mending relationships and the building of new ones. The only thing I had an issue with was why it took Allie so long to make her last decision. I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review. I look forward to more books in this series so I can visit this town and these characters again.
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  • Kristin Cochran Schadler
    January 1, 1970
    Really fun book. Romance was slow to get started, which was refreshing. Loved the storyline. Killer was a surprise, also.
  • Carmen Slaughter
    January 1, 1970
    Very promising debut! I immediately connected with the protagonist and the supporting characters are engaging. I look forward to the developments with several relationships in the series. There was a sound resolution to the mystery but the author has established an interesting community with lots of material to draw from for future installments.
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  • T Olsen
    January 1, 1970
    This is a fairly standard cozy, but well written and with an OK plot. The characters are also good enough that we will want more.
  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    Allie Cobb followed in her father’s footsteps and became a literary agent. Back home in Indiana for her father’s funeral, she finds herself on the trail of the person who murdered his best friend. A new series with lots of excitement.
  • Laura Reading
    January 1, 1970
    I love discovering new series and getting to know new characters. This one has added appeal as the heroine is a book editor and want to be writer herself.Having moved from her very small home town in Indiana to chase her dream among the bright lights of the big city, New York City, Allie returns home for her father`s funeral.Sadly, the day of the funeral, her best friend`s father is murdered. The relationships between fathers and daughters could not have been more different but it seems that Slo I love discovering new series and getting to know new characters. This one has added appeal as the heroine is a book editor and want to be writer herself.Having moved from her very small home town in Indiana to chase her dream among the bright lights of the big city, New York City, Allie returns home for her father`s funeral.Sadly, the day of the funeral, her best friend`s father is murdered. The relationships between fathers and daughters could not have been more different but it seems that Sloane, the best friend, has more than a few secrets she has kept from Allie over the years.That does not stop Allie from doing all she can to find a killer, despite her turbulent relationship with the resident city chief of police. Leaving no stone unturned, and putting herself in the line of vision, and within reach of a killer, Allie needs to solve this crime before a Fall Festival begins and before her own bereavement leave is over.Fast paced and exciting, with a wonderful cast of people you`ll want to get to know better.Hang on for a wild ride as Allie has to figure out her future and manage to stay alive to have one.
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  • Valerie
    January 1, 1970
    I thought this is a good book. It's interesting, engaging with all the characters, and a different storyline than most cozy mysteries. #ALiteralMess #NetGalley
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