Author: Julia Buckley
Series: A Writer's Apprentice Mystery #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Description: Lena London's literary dreams are coming true—as long as she can avoid any real-life villains...
Camilla Graham’s bestselling suspense novels inspired Lena London to become a writer, so when she lands a job as Camilla’s new assistant, she can’t believe her luck. Not only will she help her idol craft an enchanting new mystery, she’ll get to live rent-free in Camilla’s gorgeous Victorian home in the quaint town of Blue Lake, Indiana.
But Lena’s fortune soon changes for the worse. First, she lands in the center of small town gossip for befriending the local recluse. Then, she stumbles across one thing that a Camilla Graham novel is never without—a dead body, found on her new boss’s lakefront property.
Now Lena must take a page out of one of Camilla’s books to hunt down clues in a real crime that seems to be connected to the novelist’s mysterious estate—before the killer writes them both out of the story for good.
This is the first book I have read by author Julia Buckley and I have to say I thought it was absolutely terrific. It is the first in her new Writer's Apprentice Mystery series and I think this series will definitely be a hit for Ms. Buckley. I have read quite a few first books in new series this year but in my opinion this one is in the top five best.
First off, I thought the premise for the story was unique and fresh. The book itself was well written with a great plot that felt like the homage to Gothic romantic suspense books that it was meant to be. I enjoyed the characters and both mysteries. I was completely engaged throughout the entire story and I hope there are many more adventures for this group of characters in the future.
Lena was a wonderful protagonist. She was independent, smart, warm and eager to meet and work with her idol Camilla Graham. And for her part, Camilla was written as the perfect aging author taking a young writer under her wings. The pair were very well matched and complemented each other perfectly. The secondary characters were also well written and rounded out the cast nicely. Sam West is the dark brooding hero who falls for the slightly younger woman who brings light into to his world. Doug Heller is the cop who wants to protect Lena from the brooding Sam West while trying to solve a murder. I am not a fan of the love triangle in books, so readers will be happy to know that Lena clearly makes her choice and the budding romance issue is resolved by the end of the book.
The mysteries in the story were very well done. They provide another homage to Gothic romantic suspense novels with the twists and turns coupled with the stately old manner that has secrets of its own. The mystery involving the murder is tied up nicely by the end of the book and provides the reason behind much of the excitement throughout the story. As for the mystery of Sam's wife, well our little group of detectives will be working on that one into the next book. I didn't feel as if something was missing when that mystery surrounding Sam's wife was not solved. In fact, I enjoy stories where the secondary mystery runs throughout future books.
In the end, I thought this was a fabulous first in a new series for Julie Buckley. It is a terrific nod to a genre the author clearly loves and she has done a terrific job paying homage. In addition, the book is engaging with a pace that will keep the reader turning pages and a story that is full of well written characters and intriguing mysteries.