I received this book for free from . This review is voluntary. My opinion is not influenced in any way.Kelly's Koffee Shop on November 7, 2014
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Kelly pulled into the harbor parking lot next to the pier and noticed that Amber’s car wasn’t in its usual place and there was no sign of her. She was usually standing at the door of Kelly’s Koffee Shop, waiting for Kelly to open up. Wonder what that’s all about, she thought.
The local residents of Cedar Bay come to Kelly’s Koffee Shop for breakfast, lunch, and lots of gossip. Kelly serves it all up as she works to solve the murder of the high school Homecoming Queen. The townspeople can’t believe what has happened in their sleepy little Oregon seaside town. She identifies five prime suspects, but which one did it?
Follow Kelly, her boxer dog, Rebel, and her boyfriend, Mike, the county sheriff, as they try to determine who the killer is in a murder that’s shocked the town.
Kelly’s Koffee Shop is a mouth-watering cozy mystery with recipes!
People always want to know how I got from not being an author to being an author whose books have been award winning best sellers in a very short time. Besides a lot of luck, here’s how it happened!
I had a library card before I started kindergarten. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a stack of books next to my bed and now there are always a stack of books on my iPad. Quite simply, I love to read, but what a jump between that and actually writing. I think everyone has a book in them, but few of us are fortunate enough to write it. My moment of truth came after my husband recommended that I read “On Writing” by Stephen King. King more or less says “Just Do It.” I did it.
A week later my husband and I were in a boutique hotel for a wedding in Palm Springs, California. The temperature was 107 degrees. The air conditioner was silent and wonderful. I turned to him and said, “Wouldn’t it be something if somebody put a ‘feel-good’ drug in the air conditioner and everyone felt good all the time?” He pointed his finger at me and said, “There’s your book.” And so it was. That was 3½ years ago and now I’ve published three books in the Coyote Series and three in the Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery Series. Who would have thunk??? Not me!
I really enjoyed writing the Coyote Series and it gave me a chance to write about some of the places I’ve been, such as Nepal and Provence, and a little bit about food. I love to eat, I love to cook, I love dogs, and I love mysteries. I wasn’t sure how I could incorporate all of these things in books. I started researching different genres to see where that would be a fit and stumbled across the cozy mystery genre. Since I’d written a lot of mystery in the Coyote Series, it wasn’t that much of a jump to a cozy mystery. In this genre I can fully indulge my love of food and animals – it’s really a win-win situation, plus I get to keep my brain active by figure out the plots for mysteries! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve awakened in the middle of the night with the solution to something I’d been mulling over, trying to figure out a plausible way to have the event happen. Certainly, writers are granted the luxury of some literary license, but I believe there still must be the element of believability or you’re going to lose your audience.
In the Cedar Bay Cozy Mysteries, I’ve been able to create a fictional small Oregon coastal town with a cast of colorful characters. A lot of the action takes place at the coffee shop the protagonist owns, Kelly’s Koffee Shop. Kelly’s an amateur sleuth who can’t help getting into her boyfriend/fiancée/husband’s (he evolves during the series) crime-solving. First Rebel, a boxer dog, and then Lady, a yellow Labrador puppy, help her. The second in the series is Murder at Jade Cove and the third is White Cloud Retreat. I’m presently working on the fourth.
A new series is calling me, probably based in an imaginary small town outside of Palm Springs, California. It definitely will have food and dogs in it and I think the protagonist will be an antique and art appraiser as that’s my background. Lots of people kill for art. I need to write about some of them. Stay tuned and thanks for allowing me to post this!
Kelly’s Koffee Shop by Dianne Harman is the first book in the Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery series. Kelly lives in the little ocean-side town of Cedar Bay and runs a small breakfast and lunch diner. She is dating the sheriff and this leads to her getting a little more involved than she should with cases he is working on. In this first installment of the series, a teenage girl is missing and then found murdered. There are several viable suspects and Kelly is determined to do her part in solving the case. Kelly is a trusted confidant for many of the people in the town, plus she overhears gossip at her diner, so she has a lot of information coming her way that the sheriff may not hear otherwise.
There are several things that I enjoyed about this book. I liked the character of Kelly – she’s a bit older, with grown children, and she seems to give off that soothing motherly vibe. She’s smart and she’s stubborn. She and her dog, Rebel, have a close relationship and he would protect her at all costs. I liked that Kelly’s thoughts were italicized throughout the story. I’ve read some reviews where they found that distracting, but I didn’t mind and it helped me be sure that it was something she was really just thinking rather than saying or doing. The mystery was solid and I didn’t guess the killer until right at the end when Kelly did.
There were a few things about the book that I had trouble with and that prevented me from giving the book a higher rating, though 3 stars is not a bad rating! First, the amount of information that the sheriff provides Kelly with is unbelievable, even for a small town and the fact that they are in a relationship. My degree is in criminal justice, and I’ve worked within that field and the healthcare field, and it just doesn’t seem plausible to me that a sheriff would go to his girlfriend’s house for dinner and giving her pertinent, private details of an ongoing murder investigation. The sheriff also seemed to just take Kelly’s word at things related to the investigation. I definitely understand maybe talking about the case, or Kelly offering her opinion, but I did not feel that the sheriff sharing so much information was appropriate or believable. Another thing I had trouble with was the vast pool of suspects. It seemed like there were so many and it just wrapped up rather quickly at the end.
Overall, I did like the story itself. The mystery aspect was strong and I did not guess the killer prior to the main character discovering the killer. Some of the story didn’t feel real to me, but I still enjoyed the characters and the setting of the town. I will read the next book in the series and give it a try. I liked the character of Kelly enough that I will continue the series for at least the next book.
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