About a million years ago I read One For The Money, the first book in the Stephanie Plum mystery series by Janet Evanovich. I was hooked pretty much immediately and in True To Form Jen-Like Behavior, I devoured the series like it was going out of style. Stephanie Plum is my homegirl and I loved reading about her adventures, love interests, friends and family. I like that the books have a mystery to solve without being gory or scary. Momma doesn’t want to lay awake at night afraid of everything, you know? Somewhere around book 17 though I started to get a little bored of the love triangle and formulaic plot points and decided to venture forth to other things. Stephanie is still my homegirl, but maybe I could find new friends to read about, too?
I dabbled with some of her other series but none of them really grabbed me like the Stephanie Plum series did. I recently picked up The Heist, which she cowrote with Lee Goldberg and it shows promise but it’s been slow to really grab me. This might have nothing to do with the book and everything to do with the fact that I’m in a reading slump at the moment, but point is – I’m not 100% on board yet.
In the mood for a new series, and maybe a new author altogether, I wandered to the mystery aisle of my local Barnes and Noble to see what was out there that would be similar to Evanovich’s style. I knew there would be a lot of them, but I think I underestimated just how many. The cozy mytery genre is huge and I got overwhelmed pretty quickly.
I decided to try Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen series because I’ve heard of it a zillion times and figured that was a good place to start. The books aren’t very clearly numbered so I bought the wrong one intially and was wildly confused about everything until Google helped me figure out that I should probably read Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder first.
I’m about 40% of the way through book one now and here are my thoughts. I have a hard time rooting for the main character and I think it’s because she’s a little too perfect. And yet she’s not perfect at all. She has personality flaws but none of them seem to hold her back for more than twelve seconds. Most of the conflict in general doesn’t hold her back long. Unlike Stephanie Plum who tends to make a mess of most things but eventually come out okay – Hannah seems to float through the story unscathed. Things start to get interesting but clever, clever Hannah has life figured out and glides right along. She has a lot of opinions on everyone around her and how they could be better and somehow everyone seems to be of the opinion that she is right, always.
I know that she’s the hero of the story, but she’s a little too ideal version of a best self for my taste. The story in general feels like it needs more conflict and less tidy resolutions. This is something that I think the Stephanie Plum series excelled at that I took for granted before. I’m still planning to finish Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder but I think I’ll try something new next.
SO. What series do you think I should try next?
What cozy mystery series do you love?
Which ones were not worth your time?