Murder on the Green by H.V. Coombs
My Rating: ★★★★
I received a copy from Avon Books UK through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Ben Hunter is running himself down while running his restaurant when he gets a surprise offer from a celebrity chef, Justin McCleish. Justin wants to hire Ben to join his temporary kitchen at the local opera festival only to reveal that he really wants to hire Ben as his muscle. You see, Justin is being blackmailed and word is that Ben will find the blackmailer and put the hurt on them for a price. Disappointed, Ben takes the offer because the money is good without the intention of roughing anyone up. As he looks into the blackmailer, it quickly goes from blackmail to murder, throwing him into the arms of danger.
Coombs brings us a variety of characters that are interesting to meet and follow throughout his story. Ben is an interesting character that I wasn’t sure if I was going to like at first. He’s stubborn and very stuck in his ways, but he’s also activity working to make positive changes. The main thing that he’s working on is his anger management issues, which we watch him struggle with on and off throughout the book. It’s also the main reason why he is disappointed in the real reason Justin approached him. Ben’s staff is wonderful and caring, and then there’s Justin’s staff, which are each complex once Ben digs below the surface. I also loved meeting many of the characters that pop in and out of the story, like the coven of witches and Slattery.
The mystery is an entertaining one as well. What starts out as a simple case of blackmail quickly turns into a murder mystery, which then transforms into yet another mystery that throws Ben through a loop. It was so much fun watching the twists and turns unfold as well as how the characters deal with it. Every time Ben thinks he’s got a handle on things, something new gets tossed his way and we get to watch him hunt down new leads and come up with theories.
My only complaint is that there are a few passages that reference something that occurred in the past. These passages made it seem like there was a previous book rather than something that is just backstory to these characters. It was enough to make me check to see if there was a previous book because I seriously questioned whether or not I accidentally started on the second in a series. All in all, it’s a funny and entertaining book that takes on some serious subjects in addition to the murder, such as drug abuse and physical violence. If this is something up your alley, I highly recommend picking up this book.