Cover Image: The Last Word

The Last Word

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This is a great first in a new series. I really enjoyed it. It flows well and the characters are nicely developed. Winter Snow is an obituatiry writter in a small town if Ridgefield, Connecticut, 45 minutes away from NYC. Winter is contacted by a very wealthy octogenerian philanthropist asks Winter to write her obituary, with a deadline of 3 days. Winter is perplexed by the urgency and when she mets with Mrs. Arlington, her suspcions grow.

Ridgefield is under a hurricane warning and Winter is also prepping for a power outage. On a whim, she invites Mrs. Arlington to her house to weather the storm, but Mrs. Arlington refuses. Winter is worried about her, and drives out to the house to check on it, only to find Mrs. Arlington at the bottom of the stairs.

There are some great characters- Kip Michaels is the cop helping investigate the case. Richard is Winter's uncle and always there to help out and Winter's neighbor, Horace, Winter's neighbor.

I received an ARC from NetGalley, and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

An engaging cozy mystery and a great start to a new series. I loved the cozy atmosphere and the well developed characters…Some plot twists were easy to anticipate but the overall journey compensates for it.
Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

This first book in the Deadly Deadlines cozy series has an interesting premise, a sleuth who is an obituary writer. There's also plenty of interesting characters with potential for future books.

The plot seemed a bit convoluted but, nonetheless, this was an excellent series debut which holds great promise. I'm hoping for many more Deadly Deadlines books in the future.

Was this review helpful?

I was pleasantly surprised with this debut effort from Lewis. I had no idea making a living by writing obituaries was even a thing. Winter is an amateur sleuth who feels compelled to solve the death of a client. She is a bit too bold in that she often breaks the law, such as hiding evidence. There are a number of good support characters, including some quirky ones.

Lewis' writing style is clear and a pleasure to read. The murder plot was a little complex and took lots of explaining at the end. There was a little suspense near the end too.

I generally liked this cozy mystery and will be watching for more from Lewis.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Book Review: "The Last Word" by Gerri Lewis

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Gerri Lewis makes a captivating debut in the cozy mystery genre with "The Last Word," the first installment in the "Deadly Deadlines" series. Set in Ridgefield, Connecticut, the story follows obituary writer Winter Snow as she uncovers a tangled web of secrets after a neighbor's untimely demise.

Winter Snow's character is compelling, providing a fresh perspective on amateur sleuthing. Her determination to seek justice for Mrs. Arlington, coupled with the quirky ensemble cast including her foodie Uncle Richard and wise neighbor Horace, adds depth to the narrative. The incorporation of Diva, the Great Pyrenees puppy, not only tugs at the heartstrings but also brings a delightful element to the story.

Lewis weaves a well-crafted mystery with enough twists and turns to keep readers engaged from start to finish. While some aspects of the plot may be predictable, the journey towards uncovering the truth is where the true enjoyment lies. The author's writing style is fluid and engaging, making for a fast-paced read that is hard to put down.

One of the things I particularly enjoy about "The Last Word" is the picturesque setting of Ridgefield, which adds charm and atmosphere to the story. Lewis paints a vivid backdrop that enhances the overall reading experience, transporting readers into the heart of the mystery.

Overall, "The Last Word" is a promising start to a new series that promises more thrilling adventures with Winter Snow. Gerri Lewis showcases her talent for crafting engaging mysteries and endearing characters, leaving readers eagerly anticipating the next installment. Whether you're a fan of cozy mysteries or looking for a captivating read, this book is sure to entertain and delight.

⚠️This review was written based on personal opinions and experiences with the book. Individual preferences may vary⚠️

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this new cozy series by Gerri Lewis. I wanted to read it based on the title and cover alone. I wasn't expecting the main character working as an obituary writer. Thought that was interesting and new. The characters were great and I loved the setting. I liked the cop duo angle. Definitely can't wait to read the next book.

Thank you, NetGalley, for providing me with a review copy.

Was this review helpful?

Winter Snow is an obituary writer in this new cozy mystery series. I will admit that the name threw me off from the very beginning. I liked the Connecticut town and most of the characters we meet, but Winter makes too many mistakes while trying to solve this crime and that really bothered me. Overall not a bad cozy, but I’m not sure if I will continue the series.

Was this review helpful?

I think I have found my new favorite cozy mystery series. I mean what's not to love about an obituary writer by day and a mystery solver by night. I didn't think I would like this series when I started reading it, but I ended up loving it and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. Finally a cozy mystery heroine with a job you don't see every day. Obit writer.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Was this review helpful?

Loved this cute and sweet cozy mystery that I found entertaining and compelling. Solid mystery, likeable characters
Recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

Was this review helpful?

This is a super cute and fun cozy mystery that has all the right elements. As the first book in a new series, readers will enjoy getting to know the characters and solving this mystery.

Was this review helpful?

Winter Snow's name is not the only unusual thing about he. Winter writes obituaries for the local newspaper in Ridgefield, Connecticut. When Winter's editor tells her that Leocadia Arlington wants her to write her obituary, while she is still alive, Winter is intrigued with the wealthy woman's request. Little does she know that someone may be writing her obituary unless she solves a mystery with layers of secrets and death!

At first, I wasn't sure about the book, but now I'm hooked! Winter is so kind and gives dignity and life to all the obituaries she writes. Winter is curious and is determined to find the truth. The characters were relatable and quirky. I can't wait for the next book!

I received an ARC from NetGalley. and the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Was this review helpful?

Cozy mystery sleuths get all the cool jobs. In The Last Word by Gerri Lewis, Winter Snow quite fittingly works as an obituary writer. So it's not too surprising when Leocadia Arlington requests an obituary be delivered to her by Friday. That Ms. Arlington's intended subject is herself? Yeah, that's a little more surprising.

Quirky is a word often thrown around with cozies and, even with just the premise, Lewis has absolutely nailed that descriptor. Winter, dead serious about her profession, agrees to the job and sets off to meet with Ms. Arlington. These are scenes are some of my favorites in the book, because it's so different to have the sleuth actually interacting with an individual who knows she's going to be the victim of the story. More than that, Ms. Arlington seems almost resigned to her fate. So while it ultimately isn't that surprising when she later dies, it is mildly unsettling in a way cozies often aren't.

This also provides strong motivation for Winter to dive into the investigation. Winter had a tangible connection to the deceased and, like any good writer, she wants to see a story through to its end. Plus, of course, the police, represented by Kip (competent) and Tom (not) are woefully underprepared to solve the case on their own.

Like any good amateur detective, Winter puts herself in unnecessarily risky situations. Lewis has no problem quite literally turning the heat up whenever Winter repeatedly returns to the scene of the crime or interrogates someone. There's a palpable danger in these moments, and Lewis deserves praise for showing realistic consequences.

However, my favorite part of The Last Word is the overall world that Lewis has crafted. Winter is a charming, funny sleuth surrounded by a wildly entertaining cast of characters. As she stumbles around putting the pieces of the mystery together, I found myself wondering how this town would could tie into future installments of what I hope is a long series. Best of all, Winter's job as an obituary writer is more than just window dressing to give the book its hook. Because Lewis has crafted a fully realized world, Winter actually uses these skills in some tightly written research scenes to both help further the action and explain why properly written obituaries are important as historical records.

A wonderfully constructed mystery, a genuinely likable sleuth, and plenty of quirky details. The Last Word better be far from the last we hear from Gerri Lewis.

Was this review helpful?

The Last Word is book #1 in the A Deadly Deadlines Mystery series by Gerri Lewis.

This is an interesting new cozy mystery series. I read a lot of cozy mysteries and obituary writing as a career is something I haven’t seen. I really like the main characters. This mystery was complex. There was so much going on every time I thought I figured it out, there was another twist. I enjoyed how everything was wrapped up. I am looking forward to the next book!

Thank you to the author, Crooked Lane Books, and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) copy of this book and I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

There are many aspects of The Last Word that I enjoyed. It’s a debut for a new series and I was looking forward to following books. I love that the main character’s, Winter Snow, job is being an obituary writer. I liked the other characters and the different personalities they had and the small town was perfect. Overall, it had all the aspects needed to make a cozy mystery.
Winter Snow is called by an elderly, matriarch of the town to write her obit which she will need soon, even though she’s not sick. When the women is murdered, Winter sets out to find the killer and why she knew she was going to die. Halfway through the story, an alternative lifestyle is introduced as part of the storyline as part of the mystery. I feel that this aspect wasn’t needed to make the mystery.
I was given a complimentary copy of The Last Word, but all opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

This was a fun new start to a new cozy series. I loved the setting and the new premise of an obituary writer turned amateur sleuth. I enjoyed the cozy cast of supporting characters that really rounded out the mystery. I look forward to more in the series.

My thanks to Crooked Lane Books and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

A cute cozy for a nice, sweet read! This strikes all the standard cozy beats: small business person, quirky relatives/neighbors, the hot male love interest and, in this case, great pets. It was fun to read-especially since the mystery is one of the better ones I've read recently in a cozy. In the end, it was so pleasantly twisty that I almost made a flow chart of who was where when. This is a series starter definitely worth checking out.

Was this review helpful?

When obituary writer Winter Snow vines her elderly neighbor at the bottom of her steps, she must figure out who what really happened.

A great story with a great mystery. It will keep you guessing until the end.

Was this review helpful?

Winter Snow writes obituaries for a living. She lives in a small town in Connecticut that holds some sad memories, although the reader never gets the full story.
Winter is asked to prepare an obituary for a living well known resident of Ridgefield. Mrs. Arlington has an interesting backstory and pieces of it are revealed as the book progresses.
The book is written in first person from Winter’s perspective. As usual it means I had to look at the description to remember her name for the review. I like first person narratives, I just don’t really remember the names of those doing the narration.
Winter has some too stupid to live moments. Some may be justified in that she doesn’t know who she can trust.
It felt like it took a long time to unravel all the puzzles presented by this mystery. It’s a good first book for a new cozy mystery series.
Thanks to Netgalley and Crooked Lane Books for the opportunity to read this book.

Was this review helpful?

Dollycas's Thoughts

Winter Snow makes her living writing obituaries for the good people of Ridgefield, Connecticut. Having dealt with grief herself she knows obituaries are not just notifications and tributes. They "facilitate acceptance", "immortalize a person for their earthly accomplishments" and are pieces of history "that will live in genealogy research and community memory" and they bring comfort to those left behind. Winter takes great care with each obituary she writes.

Winter is usually contacted after a person dies so when she gets a call from the very alive Mrs. Roth Arlington, a well-known philanthropist, stating she needs an obituary right away for herself, Winter agrees to meet with her, even if it means traveling in a what is sure to be a hurricane. Mrs. Arlington is a formidable woman who knows what she wants. She gives Winter a folder full of information and they visit for a while but Winter leaves concerned for the woman. The next day she returns to see how Mrs. Arlington fared the storm, instead she finds the woman's Great Pyrenees puppy, Diva, in distress and her client dead at the bottom of the stairs.

If only the dog could talk. Officer Kip Michaels and his partner Tom Bellini arrive on the scene and let Winter know that she is a suspect in Mrs. Arlington's death. Knowing she is innocent she sets out to find the real killer and her Uncle Richard, his friend and her octogenarian neighbor Horace, her BFF Scoop, and Mrs. Arlington's dog Diva, are on board to help her in any way that they can. She just hopes she isn't the next victim because she is definitely not ready for her short life to be immortalized.

____

Ms. Lewis introduces a cast of unique characters in her first Deadly Deadlines Mystery. Winter Snow is 29 and is using her journalism degree to open a freelance obituary business. She is thrown into a murder investigation to clear her name and makes some mistakes. Her father died when she was young but now she is very close to her Uncle Richard. He spends a lot of time at her cottage on Mamanasco Lake. He has a huge heart and loves helping people. Her elderly neighbor Horace stops by often too. He's a feisty man in his 80's with a twinkle in his eye with a willingness to help as well.

We also meet Winter's friend Kevin Blake, aka Scoop. He was one of a few reporters who kept their jobs when the local weekly newspaper was bought. Kip Micheals is a new hire for the Ridgefield police department. He has been paired with Tom Bellini for training. Winter met Tom in her reporter days and she was not impressed. His leering looks show her he hasn't changed a bit. Our victim, Mrs. Arlington (Lottie) lives alone with her new puppy and a helper who lives in a cottage on the property. She had been working on her memoirs at the time of her death. I can't forget the Nosy Parkers. The Parker sisters, Gabby and Abby. They eavesdrop and people watch to pick up on "juiciest of stories" and right things they feel are wrong.

I felt all the characters were fleshed out well for the first book in the series. The author has left plenty of room for growth as the series continues. Ms. Lewis puts more focus on the mystery and it was a doozy. While Winter wasn't the best amateur sleuth she had good instincts. Kip realized that even though she continued to put herself in danger working together may not be a bad decision. He tries to keep her out of the fray but she is pretty stubborn. As they followed the clues a huge secret came to light. Then key people went missing. That leads up to a scary showdown when even more secrets are revealed. I enjoyed the way the author twisted everything together and made my heart race at the end.

Ms. Lewis plotted this mystery out so well. I thought I had figured out the guilty party but it was much more entailed than I imagined.   Yes, there were flaws in police procedures but I chalked it up to a very new amateur sleuth and a new cop.

The Last Word has given this series a marvelous start. The author's attention to detail, her realistic characters, an unusual theme, the hint of romance, humor in all the right places, and a top-notch mystery made for a very entertaining read. I am hoping book two is well in the works because I am looking forward to visiting these characters and Ridgefield, Connecticut again soon.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed the story and look forward to more. This is my first time reading this author. The mystery kept me guessing. I like the characters as well.

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?