*I received a free ARC of this book with thanks to the author and Hodder & Stoughton. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: A MURDER TO SOLVE. A REPORTER ON THE CASE.
CRIMES OF THE PAST WON’T STAY BURIED . . .
In the woodland community of Shady Hollow, you’ll discover a secret. Moose and mice, owls and bears live side by side in civilised harmony. The town has a coffee shop and a bookshop, a haberdasher and a bank. Life is peaceful, until a skeleton is found buried deep under an apple tree. Danger has returned to Shady Hollow.
Ace reporter Vera Vixen only wants a good news story as harvest time arrives with the promise of glorious feasts ahead. But the discovery of the body casts a darker shadow. Soon enough, the coffeeshop’s owner is being dragged down to the police station. Vera can’t believe gentle Joe the moose is a killer. To get to the bottom of the matter, she will have to dig into the secrets her neighbours would rather leave buried forever . . .
Entertaining and perceptive, Cold Clay is fast-paced and witty, with characters that jump off the page and a hugely satisfying mystery to solve. Once you’ve met the residents of ShadyHollow, you won’t forget them.
Intrepid reporter Vera Vixen returns to investigate a new case, as bones are uncovered in the local orchard. But with a glamorous new resident taking an interest in a certain semi-spoken-for police bear, will Vera be able to put the pieces together in time to save her friend (and source of coffee) and her budding romance, or will her cat-like curiosity lead her into danger… again?
Fun and quirky, with the unique hook of an anthropomorphic animal cast of characters, this Shady Hollow series makes excellent light-hearted mystery reading. I recommend reading the books in order, and can confidently say that they are getting better as they go, as the characters develop and the community takes on further shape and substance with each new story.
There is so much scope here for a long-running series, as even minor side characters clearly have their own stories just waiting to be told, and I am looking forward to each and every one that comes! Vera is a very likeable main character and carries the plot along in a natural, believable way (in so far as a coffee-addicted fox journalist can be ‘natural and believable’!) and the mystery storyline is clever and well-written.
I definitely recommend this series to anyone looking for a cosy mystery with a fresh perspective, and could see this also appealing to younger readers (middle-grade or teen upwards) looking for a gentle introduction to the genre.
‘As might be expected from its name, the village of Shady Hollow is nestled deep in the woods, covering a wide valley between two mountains. What might be less expected is the fact that the village residents are all animals, representing many species and temperaments. Just how can a rabbit live and work alongside a fox? Why do a sparrow and a bear read the same newspaper? On a more practical level, where are the rabbit and fox working, and what is the headline on the paper?’– Juneau Black, Cold Clay
Juneau Black is the pen name of authors Jocelyn Cole and Sharon Nagel.
They have worked as independent booksellers and librarians, which has led to a shared love of excellent bookshops and a good murder (in fictional form only).
Cold Clay is available on Amazon right now and you can find my review of book 1, Shady Hollow, here.
Don’t forget to check out the other blog stops on the tour for more great reviews and content (see the poster below for details)!
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