Book Review: The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan
The Scent of Murder is the first in a new series about Jazz Ramsey, a volunteer cadaver dog handler. Working with Luther, a cadaver dog in training, Jazz is shocked to stumble across a body in the abandoned building they’re using as a practice ground - and doubly so when she realizes she knows the victim.
There’s a lot going on in Jazz’s personal life which makes her unwilling to walk away from this crime without getting some answers. In the last couple of years, she broke up with the man she thought might be the love of her life (who just happens to be the lead detective on the case and as attractive as ever), lost her hero firefighter father in a tragic accident, and lost her beloved dog to illness. She’s looking for answers for a lot of things, and finding them for Florie might, just maybe, help Jazz find some closure for herself, too.
There’s a lot to like about Jazz; she’s a very relatable, well-drawn character. The kind I could see myself sitting down with to set the world to rights over a bottle of wine or two. Her relationship with Nick, the detective, will ring true with every modern woman who’s found that juggling a busy schedule and a boyfriend who works strange hours sometimes means relationships just don’t work no matter how much you want them to. I could wish Luther appeared more in the story; not even being Jazz’s dog meant he had a much smaller part than I expected, especially with this being marketed as a cozy mystery. It just doesn’t quite fit into that category; cozies for me have more humour, and definitely more animal action. It’s more of a romantic suspense without a lot of romance, or even just a straight mystery series. Billing it as a cozy feels a bit disingenuous, and like many other reviewers, I felt slightly let down although I did enjoy the story.
I do think the story needed a bit more editing. There were some weird head-hopping POV moments, like the bit where we’re suddenly in minor character Khari’s head for all of one paragraph when he’s thinking about how he knows his girlfriend Tanya isn’t serious flirting with Nick. Jazz’s mother Claire is apparently 52, although Jazz is 36 and has two older brothers. Someone’s math doesn’t add up and a good editor should have picked that up. There are moments of unnecessary info-dump - Jazz is talking to her firefighter friend Matt about her feelings on having found a body, and ‘suddenly’ realizes that of course he’s seen a body too since he found a friend who suicided. At which point I blinked a lot - Matt’s a FIREFIGHTER. He’s seen a lot more bodies than just that. Again, something which should have been picked up in editing.
Despite these issues, I thoroughly enjoyed the story, even though it wasn’t quite what I expected, and I’d definitely read more in the series to find out how Jazz and Nick progress with their tentative steps towards a new relationship, and how Jazz gets on with the new puppy she gets at the end of the story - and hopefully more Luther!
Four stars for a solid start to a series I think could get a lot better with time.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.