Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Whiskey on the Rocks by Nina Wright

Title: Whiskey on the Rocks
Author: Nina Wright
ISBN: 9780738707495
Publisher: Midnight Ink, 2005
Paperback, 254 pages
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Amateur Sleuth, #1 Whiskey Mattimoe mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Purchased as an eBook from Barnes and Noble.

First Line: "He was lying there like you are now. Only he was dead."

33-year-old realtor Whiskey Mattimoe is still trying to adjust to the unexpected death of her husband and to make sure her Afghan hound, Abra, is cured of purse snatching. The very last thing she needs is to have one of her properties turn into a murder scene. Unfortunately that is exactly what happens, and Whiskey finds herself trying to figure out schemes involving fraud and priceless art. Moreover, Whiskey has to multi-task because while she's trying to figure things out, her house tries to burn down, there are break-ins, and attempts on her life. She'd better multi-task faster while she still can!

I found the plot easy to second guess and a bit too dependent upon coincidence, but-- frankly my dear-- I didn't give a fiddle-dee-dee. Whiskey on the Rocks is all about characterization, voice, and humor. Wright is adept at creating memorable characters, and Whiskey is front and center as a wise-cracking, smart, vulnerable heroine. The only thing about her that grated on my nerves was the fact that she tends to scream at the drop of a hat.

Among the other characters, one stands tall above the rest: the Afghan hound, Abra (short for... Abracadabra). There are a lot of mystery series that have cats and dogs as characters, but Abra is different. No, she doesn't talk, or spell h-e-l-p in the mashed potatoes, or bite, or think aloud. Abra is the Bad Dog of Crime Fiction. She escapes and wreaks havoc on the neighbors. She steals purses and has court appearances. She drives Whiskey nuts. Despite all this, I still wanted to give Abra a big hug. You see... Abra isn't Whiskey's dog. Abra loved and belonged to Whiskey's husband, and no one's been able to make Abra understand that her master isn't coming back. Sorry. I should've given my fellow animal lovers boxes of tissues at the door, shouldn't I?

Whiskey, Abra, and their eight-year-old neighbor make this book a winner. I can't wait to see what happens in future books in this series!


  1. I read this one a few years ago and really liked it. I'll have to look out for the others in the series, including new ones!

  2. Cathy - Thanks for this review. As much as I love animals, I do get a bit wary of them in novels for the reason you mention. But Abra sounds like a great dog that doesn't rely on "super powers." And sometimes, characters can trump plot...

  3. When there are great characters, I forgive some plot fails in cozies. In addition, the first in series often suffers from having to create the town, introduce the players, and so on as well as get the murder/solution set up. This sounds promising.

  4. In a humorous cozy, I can forgive lots of things. When I read one, I just want to relax and chuckle a little. Abra and Whiskey appeal to me; must see about loading them onto my Kindle.

  5. Sounds interesting. And easy to find (considering it can be downloaded...)

  6. Harvee-- I'm glad to hear that you liked this one, too!

    Margot-- Abra is a very special dog, and I'm looking forward to reading more about her in future books.

    Candace-- For a first book in the series, being able to figure out the plot didn't matter much at all.

    Barbara-- I agree. With humor, I tend to be very forgiving. I hope you get a chance to read about Abra and Whiskey and enjoy them as much as I did.

    Pepper-- Ah, those downloads! I'm trying to resist a few right now!

  7. Sounds like a cute cozy - thanks for sharing it

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

  8. Thanks for the kind review! We have the pleasure of working with Ms. Wright and publishing the e-versions of the Whiskey Mattimoe series as well as her young adult novels. We have links to the different distributors of her books (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and OmniLit) on our site at http://www.ampichellisebooks.com for the convenience of her readers. We're delighted that the sixth book in the series will be out this spring. Glad you enjoyed Abra as much as we do. :)

  9. That's good news about her new book. Thanks for your comment!


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!