Live, Local, and Dead
In a fit of anger, radio DJ Jaye Jordan blows a snowman’s head off with a Revolutionary War-style musket. But the corpse that tumbles out is all too human. Jaye thought life would be quieter when she left New York City and bought a tiny Vermont radio station. But now, Edwin Anger—the ranting and raving radio talk show host who Jaye recently fired—lies dead in the snow. And the Edwin Anger fans who protested his dismissal are sure she killed him.
To clear her name, Jaye must find the real killer, as if she doesn’t have her hands full running the radio station, DJing her all-request love song show, and shuttling tween daughter Ryan to and from school. It doesn’t make matters easier that the governor—Jaye’s old crush—arrived on the scene before the musket smoke cleared. Fortunately, Jaye has allies…if you count the flatulent moose that lives in the transmitter shack, and Neptune, the giant gray cat that lives at the station.
Nikki Knight is the pen name of Kathleen Marple Kalb, a longtime New York radio news anchor who also writes the Ella Shane historical mystery series for Kensington Books. Her publishing career began with a lockdown debut after three failed projects, 200+ rejections and a family health crisis, so she’s just grateful to be here. She lives with her husband and son in a Connecticut house owned by their cat.
Live, Local, and Dead by Nikki Knight is the debut of A Vermont Radio Mystery series. I liked the idea of a main character owning a radio station in a small Vermont town. I had a challenging time, though, reading Live, Local, and Dead. The writing style made it difficult to get into the story. The author dived into the story introducing us to a variety of people including the governor who just happened to be walking by when Jaye shot the head off a snowman. There are a number of quirky characters. I felt like I was missing a novella that had introduced us to Jaye and her daughter, Ryan. The characters felt flat since we do not get background information on most of them. The story is told in the first person in a rambling style. The sentences all seemed to run together (Jaye starts talking and just keeps going). It is hard to know what Jaye is talking about half the time (I re-read some sections multiple times trying to figure out what was going on). The topics change quickly. Jaye will mention a townsperson by name, and I would wonder who they were (she would just name drop and go on to the next topic). There was a lot of politics in this book. It was too much for a cozy mystery along with the significant amount of foul language. There is at least one bad word per page (I find it offensive and off putting).
The mystery has a body being found inside the snowman (clever idea) and it happens to be the radio host that Jaye discontinued using at the station. Jaye becomes a suspect especially since she shot the head off the snowman. I thought Jaye would dive into the investigation, but she seemed more concerned with romance. The crime is solved with little help (I mean very, very little) from our DJ. I wanted to like Live, Local, and Dead but it is not a good fit for me. I did not like all the political insults, the foul language, and the focus on romance instead of the mystery. I also could not relate to the main character (nor did I like her), and I was not a fan of her musical selections. I could not believe Jaye fend candy to a wild moose (I know it is fiction, but she could have fed the moose something normal). Another negative was Jaye shooting the gun in the middle of the town (she picked up the gun not knowing if it was loaded or not). It was just the start of the silliness. This book was all over the place (lacked focus). I even wonder if it fits into the cozy category since Jaye does not investigate. Jaye would rather focus on restarting her life after her divorce (and she has the hots for a certain guy). Live, Local, and Dead was not a good fit for me, but it may be right up your alley. I suggest you obtain a sample to judge for yourself. Live, Local, and Dead is an offbeat cozy mystery with a moose with a sweet tooth, a headless snowman, a cold corpse, a gregarious governor, and a divorced DJ.
The Avid Reader
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