Monday, May 16, 2022

Smile Beach Murder - Cozy Mystery Review

Goodreads: Smile Beach Murder (An Outer Banks Bookstore Mystery #1) by Alicia Bessette

Rating: Liked It
Source:   Publisher

Description:  When Callie is laid off from her reporting job, she returns to her hometown of Cattail Island and lands a gig at the local bookstore -- the same one where she found comfort after her mother died. In fact, the anniversary of her mother's infamous death is approaching. Years ago, Teri Padget tumbled from the top of the lighthouse. As islanders are once again gossiping about the tragedy, devestating news strikes: the lighthouse has claimed another victim -- Eva Meeks, of Meeks Hardware. The police are calling it suicide, but Callie does not believe Eva jumped any more than she believes her mother did -- especially because Callie knows that before her death, Eva had dug up a long-forgotten treasure hunt that could have put a target on Eva's back. In Callie's search for answers, she enlists the help of some beloved books and several new friends, including the handsome local martial arts instructor, Toby Dodge. But when another death rocks Cattail Island, Callie must face her fears alone. As she earns enemies in pursuit of the truth, Callie knows she will either uncover the killer or become a victim herself.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I love bookish cozies and beachy cozies and can never resist the first book in a new series and this was all three!

My Impression: This was a bit of an unusual cozy.  It's definitely in a small town and it definitely involves a bookstore but it doesn't have that quirky cozy feeling that small town cozies frequently have.  Callie isn't the most likable of main characters.  She's a bit frustrated with the state her life has ended up in, she's obstinate, prickly and has a bit of a sharp edge.  Despite the fact that she loves her uncle and likes where she grew up she's not particularly thrilled to be home and isn't really looking for anything.  

When a friend of Callie's dies in a manner eerily similar to Callie's mother's death years before Callie can't help but be drawn in.  Callie is not only looking for justice for Eva but is also hoping that if she breaks the story she will get a foothold back into the journalism world she wants to get back to.   This is Callie's story.  While the mystery is important and very front and center the primary focus is Callie's growth.  She's not a character I particularly connected with but she is a character that I found interesting in a community that I enjoyed and that is a bit different from most other cozies I've read.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Yes - I'm curious to see how this series develops.

Would I Recommend this Book?  If you enjoy mysteries this is a good read.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. This is another one on my list to read. It looks so good. I'm glad to hear you liked it.

  2. Great review Katherine! I do love a cozy mystery but I need to connect to the characters so will pass on this one. Thanks for sharing.

  3. NC and bookstores. I'd be all over this if I read more cozy mysteries.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  4. Terrific review, Katherine. I love the location of this one. That cover is super cute too.

  5. Interesting, it could see Callie grow and possibly change, grow and develop more likeable qualities. Yes I 'd read on at least one more!

  6. I kind of like that this one was a bit different.