Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book Review - Buzz Off by Hannah Reed

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I debated between 2 and 3 stars for this book, but because the mystery was basically well done, I gave it 3.

This mystery follows Story Fischer, recently divorced and living next door to her cad of an ex-husband, Clay. She’s recently opened a small market with an emphasis on honey products as she is into honey and learning about bee keeping. Her friend and teacher in the beekeeping business, Manny, dies at the beginning of the book, apparently from bee stings from his bees, and from there the mystery starts. Something just seems off to Story, like the fact that he died from yellow jacket stings, not bee stings. However, with no autopsy, the town is all aghast and raring to get rid of all bees. An entire town that comes across as small minded and uninformed, if not a tiny bit dumb. Next thing you know, Faye, Clay’s current girlfriend (apparently he really goes through them) shows up dead in Story’s kayak.

I was drawn to this mystery because of the beekeeping aspect and the mystery itself was well done. However, I didn’t really like any of the characters (except, Ben the dog) all that well, including Story, who apparently at one point in her life was a not so nice person, though to be fair, a lot of us aren’t at our peak in high school. Still, you’ve got a Sheriff who is apparently holding a grudge from high school and thus bullies Story still. Seriously, the head law enforcement officer, in this day and age, is a bully, though, he somewhat redeems himself at the end. Then, there is Story’s family, in particular her Mother. The whole relationship left me wondering what possessed her to move back to the small town she grew up in, given that there didn’t appear to be a completely decent person in the lot and Story herself mentions she has no friends. At least in most of the books of this genre there is a friend, even if it’s a cousin or other relation. Really, nothing like that here. Basically, a main character without anyone to support her.

The beekeeping aspect. Well, it was a disappointment as Story made so many stupid mistakes doing things with and around the bees, that I wondered if Manny was really the supreme beekeeper or if Story just wasn’t a good pupil.

The other thing that got tiring after a while with this book was the author's use of bullet lists. They are throughout the book for everything from conversation re-caps to information on the rustic roads of Wisconsin. Not sure if the author just didn’t like writing conversation or just thinks bullets are more concise. It didn’t really work for me.

Things resolve nicely in the end (with a bullet list, of course), but I don’t think I’ll be reading any other books in this series.

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