It’s just taken me ages to tell you that I enjoyed this hasn’t it?! What I like best about Lila Dare is that she doesn’t fit the ‘cosy formula’ mould and because of this, I’m never quite sure what’s going to happen next. In ‘Die Job’ all the lovely characters are back in the beauty shop, and a nice range of new characters are included in an easy-to-remember-the-name way. Now that may sound an odd thing to say, but I get quite frustrated when I get character’s names muddled, I’ve read a fair few cosies where I find myself thinking ‘which one is she?’ or ‘now was he the husband or the astronaut?’ – you get my drift 🙂 There’s something about the way Dare describes people that enables the reader to picture them and remember their names, and (IMHO) that’s essential for a cosy. In addition, with ‘Die Job’ Dare has kept characters previously mentioned and added in believable new ones. There’s none of this ‘nasty-person-off-the-telly-visiting-for-filming’ or ‘random-introduction-of-people-we-don’t-much-like-so-might-have-done-it’ that can happen in a lesser cosy. Every single character has a valid reason for their presence and is both distinctive and believable. Excellent writing.
‘To Die For’ is a little melancholy in places; whilst Dare includes humerous moments, on balance this book is a little sad. In addition the first couple of chapters include too much recapping for readers who have been with the series from the beginning. That’s the negative and really they are tiny bugbears. The storytelling is excellent, Dare keeps everything moving at a good pace, plotting is fine although the cluing is a little basic and I would have liked more opportunities to work it out alongside our heroine. Also I felt that Dare didn’t quite pull off the sub-plot. At times the narrative contains antique letters that seemed a little clumsy and pointless. I found myself wondering if Dare intends to develop the thread in a future installment, rather than including it here for a particular purpose.
Despite this I find I believe in the little world Dare has created, right now Grace et al are sitting in the beauty shop sipping coffee and chatting, I like them and want to know what happens next. It’s maybe time to get rid of the half-hearted gimmick (the ‘beauty recipes’ have been replaced with a top 10 of beauty dos and don’ts) altogether as the book is good enough without it.Now, you know I have a thing about covers and I must mention that I like the covers for this series, they have a lot of detail and always include the lovely cat. I’m definitely going to stick with the series, this instalment is better than the second and I really like Dare’s storytelling, characters and that she had the courage to go against the ‘formula’.