"It all started when my dog didn't come back to me. We had gone for our usual walk before bed, turning away from the rest of the houses on Wistler Road and heading out into the country. I let Wendy wander off leash and she trotted up on ahead. It was a beautiful spring night, the air soft and sweet from an earlier shower, delicious except for the whiff of cattle manure wafting in from the ranches outside of town. But I didn't mind. It was a small price to pay for living in the Rocky Mountain Foothills. There were no street lights on this stretch of road, so I took my time and watched my step."
Road Kill by CM Spencer is a cozy mystery set in Chinook, a small town in Canada. We follow the life of Anna Nolan, starting with (while out walking her dog) literally stumbling across the body of her estranged ex-husband (Jack)- and then immediately being found my a local cop over said body.
Evidence against her piles up and Anna has real reason to investigate his death. Which is to say, so she can prove her innocence. However- as she puts it- she's more of a liability to the police, bumbling around and damaging her case. Not only that, it puts her on Sergeant Charles Tremaine's (a British investigator brought in for the case) bad side. Constantly getting in his way and on his nerves.
As her life unravels and she struggles to find not only Jack's killer, but also peace after memories best left forgotten resurface. When she had been married to Jack, he had had a string of affairs. Anna's response had been to look the other way. Her reason was simple. She now had a son and no steady job or income. Without Jack to provide either, she would have to live of welfare. So instead she turned a blind eye until, years later, she finally draws the line and ends it. Now four years after that, her determination to find his killer leads her to meeting some of his past affairs. There are suspects galore and she's determined to find the guilty party.
Of course there are obstacles along the way. Meeting some of the women your husband cheated on you with is no small task, let alone trying to surreptitiously question them about his murder. Talk of Jack also brings to light his situation with Ben, Anna and Jack's 19 year old son. Having had no contact with his father for years, he is dealing with abandonment issues, hatred of the man his father had been and also love of the man who was the only father he had.
There are humorous attempts on Anna's part to ferret out the killer and prove herself to the police, especially Charles Tremaine. As a cozy mystery, it's a pretty light-hearted read. Though usually cozy mysteries have two points of interest- the murder and a subject the protagonist is passionate about. Generally, these will be tea rooms, flower shops or similar things to which the murder takes a back-seat. However, in this book the cozy mystery feel comes from the same writing style as with Agatha Christie books. They tell of grisly murders and yet somehow are pleasant to read, hence "cozy" mystery.
The ending is entertainingly Bond-ish. We have a dramatic villain who spouts all the usual cliches, even finishing off with an I'm-going-to-have-to-kill-you-now statement. Enjoyable to read nevertheless. The only criticism I have is that the story can be a little slow moving at times. Cozy mysteries often rely upon a second point of focus to help keep interest as the murder investigation takes place. As I said earlier, that doesn't happen here and the result is a missing second focus point. However, we do have some side-stories and entertaining events, so it's certainly not a reason not to read this book.
If you're looking for a good cozy mystery, a little bit of romance or just a nice read this is great for you.
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the author through a giveaway. This is not a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% my own.