Cover Image: Split City

Split City

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Member Reviews

“Split City” by Andy Straka is the perfect cozy mystery for a relaxing weekend or holiday.

As the book begins pro-bowler Billy Gills is summoned to the Partridgeberry County morgue to identify the body of his identical twin brother Bo. But Billy insists it is not Bo. Is this a case of the “third twin”?

Billy owns a bowling center in the Catskills while his brother Bo designs specialty bowling shoes. Billy is very likable, even loveable, while Bo seems to be a bit shady.

This is a character-driven novel, as I believe most cozies are. The protagonist is likable and the primary feature of the story with the mystery itself being secondary. The supporting cast of characters was interesting and entertaining. The small-town setting is perfect for the quirkiness of some of the characters. It also was perfect for the small-town politics of the story leaving the reader to wonder who could be trusted.

I was a bit perplexed by “Operation Rabbit Rescue. Maybe it was just a momentary diversion that added a bit of humor to the story.

I found an activity mentioned in the book that was new to me - “extreme ironing”. Yes, it is a real thing. It even has championships. Definition: an activity that involves ironing items of laundry while engaged in a sport such as snowboarding or rock climbing. All I can say is “Why?”

This was an enjoyable weekend read.

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This is the first book I read by this author and won't surely be the last.
He did a good job in delivering a gripping and highly entertaining story. Solid plot and mystery, well developed and interesting characters.
I hope there will be other stories featuring these characters.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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Note: Thank you to NetGalley and Carpenter's Son Publishing/Clovercroft Publishing for an advance reading copy and a chance to provide an honest review of this book. This review will appear on, as well as goodreads, closer to release date.

From the publisher: “Murder does a double take in the Catskills when former pro bowler Billy Gills is summoned to the county morgue to verify the identity of his identical twin brother Bo’s body.”

First off, it was nice to read a book with a ten-pin bowling theme. This was a refreshing change. The genre can be described as amateur sleuth.

My first impressions here were great. The characters are introduced interestingly, and the pacing starts off well.

The reader’s curiosity is piqued at the outset, and I was pleased to see this kept up throughout at least the first half or three quarters of the book. Perhaps it moved a little quickly for my liking toward the end. In this case I felt the book could have benefited from being slightly longer allowing for a deeper resolution. The closing chapter stood out.

There are a lot of great characters in Split City, and for some of them, Straka has explored them quite well for a book of this genre, especially those of Billy and Bo Gills. Their sibling rivalry and Billy’s thoughts about it carry throughout the novel.

The antagonists are also well done here. There were one or two characters which I wanted to feature more strongly however the focus turned to the plot as the book went on. The front cover of the book indicates this book may form part of a series, so I’m keen to see more from these characters, including the love interests.

The plot setting is also well executed. Patridgeberry County in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York is home to the Split City bowling alley. It wasn’t a forgettable setting and didn’t go unnoticed, which overall adds to the realism of the novel. The struggles of running a family business in the small county hits home and many readers may relate.

There are some similarities between the author and the main character of the novel, which I found interesting. This includes love for bowling running through his family and may have inspired the novel. So, the bowling scenes, and associated competitive spirit are captured descriptively in this novel.

In closing, would rate this book 3.2/5. Its an enjoyable, fast read, with great characters and an enticing overall plot. It leaves me curious about other novels by Straka, which is a good sign.

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