Tess is ready to start over. A messy divorce didn't send her running, but it did push her to start looking out for herself. And boy, is she going to need it! What seemed like a small, quiet town quickly gets stirred up by Tess's arrival when she inadvertently uncovers secrets that may have been better left in the past.
Tess Tremaine is a fun character. She's not twenty, perky, or perfect. She's a realistic character that women will be able to relate to. It was fun to ride along on Tess's adventure. Seeing Goose Pimple through her eyes made the small town experience even more enjoyable. Jackson was an enjoyable character as well. There is some trepidation about whether or not to like him, but that made the possibility for romance between Jackson and Tess even more agonizing.
The romance in particular was great. I was on the fence in the beginning because of small town rumors and gossip, but at the same time I was still kind of rooting for them to be together. It was an enjoyable mix. Even once I was sure about Jackson, there was never a dull moment for them. Every time they got close to admitting their interest for real, something managed to interrupt the moment. I have to agree with Metz on the decision to remove the sex. I read both versions, and nothing was taken away by creating a story even younger mystery readers could enjoy. The romance was good, but the mystery is the main focus.
So, on to the mystery! I love that so much of this story came from true events. It adds a whole other layer to the story knowing that many of these tragedies really happened. The dual timeline was a great way to show what happened in the original story, and what was going on decades later to uncover the secrets. The mystery itself was never solved in real life, but that didn't stop Metz from coming up with a great ending that wrapped everything up. I felt like her ending could have been straight out news clippings as well. Throughout the story the mystery was handled well, also. I was kept guessing about who all was involved for the most part. Some characters I figured were involved because of their general scumminess, but the main players where kept secret very well.
There were only a few areas that gave me trouble, and they were fairly minor. As much as I enjoyed the slang and colloquialisms, at times they were a little too much. During some of the more fast paced sections I didn't want to slow down and interpret. The other issue was with the dual story line. I enjoyed seeing both sides, but I didn't feel like the stories always matched up as well as they could have. Sometimes information was given away in one story line, and then retold in the other. I thought the use of the dual stories could have been put to somewhat better advantage if they had played off one another more. The present day story could have mentioned a secret, and then left the reader hanging until the past timeline picked up, creating more suspense and shock. When certain stories were covered in both it seemed a little repetitive at times.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable book. The mystery was well done with no holes, the characters were relatable and fun, and the romance kept you turning the pages just as much as trying to figure out who was terrorizing Tess did.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, it's a fun read that will have you laughing, then turn around and have you wringing your hands over Tess and Jackson.
Who would I recommend this book to? Mystery readers looking for a cozy, reality based story will enjoy this. Anyone who has lived in a small town will get a kick out of Goose Pimple. Readers looking for a romance that is engaging without being explicit can't go wrong with this book. It's geared more toward women than men, but that doesn't mean male readers wouldn't enjoy it. Older teens could read this book with no problem. It was pretty clean and anything unfamiliar was explained well. There is some discussion of the murder, but it is not graphic or detailed.
Murder and Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction is available now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
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