If Merry Winters can just finish organizing the annual Christmas parade, she’ll be able to cross off the biggest headache on her list. Unfortunately, the town’s biggest grouch, Jenna Wilcox, is holding everything up with her float dedicated to the ‘naughty’ denizens of Season’s Greetings. However, just when Merry thinks she’s got everything under control, Jenna’s body is found in Santa’s sleigh. Ho ho uh-oh. For Merry, finding out who’s truly been naughty might prove to be a deadly task.
Christmas is bustling, but how can it not be in a town called Season’s Greetings? Author Christina Freeburn has carved out a unique niche—no easy feat for a cozy series—and having a holiday loosely connecting everything feels fun and fresh. This is partially because Freeburn isn’t afraid to take things past the tinsel and into tense territory. There are plenty of secrets, fights, and misunderstandings to keep things lively, and that’s before the murder ever appears on the page.
Of course, none of this would work without a strong sleuth at the helm. Merry is smart, crafty in more ways than one, and delightfully animated. Though she occasionally complicates the investigation with her antics, it’s easy to understand her logic—even when she’s running headfirst into danger. She’s not an investigator keen to sit on the sidelines, which keeps the pace up and the twists coming.
It helps that Freeburn gives her the chance to shine with such an intricate mystery. She expertly doles out well-paced clues that weave in a cast of both fun and sometimes frustrating secondary characters. Add in a couple of enticing subplots, including a particularly messy one involving a lottery ticket, and Freeburn’s world can sometimes feel as though it’s parked in drama. Like any great cozy, so many have so much to hide, and it’s satisfying as the full mystery finally unravels to a sound ending.
Deck the halls, lock the doors, and crack open Better Watch Out. Great characters and a murder investigation that wreathes around make it the perfect festive, if slightly macabre, read.
Title: Better Watch Out
Series: A Merry & Bright Handcrafted Mystery #2
Author: Christina Freeburn
Publisher: Henery Press
Publication Date: October 08, 2019
Classification: Cozy Mystery
Note: I received a free ARC of this book through Edelweiss.