“Up in the far north, away from everything you know and dream about, lies a small village called Shady Hollow.”
I discovered this book at the front of a Barnes & Noble. The premise and cover immediately intrigued me. It was also part of a buy one get one 50% off.
Author: Juneau Black
Deep in the forest is a place where woodland creatures live together in harmony. Moose and mice, owls and bears, and many more call the charming village of Shady Hollow home. All is well, until a toad is found floating facedown in the millpond. It’s something these folks haven’t seen before: a murder.
Reporter Vera Vixen is a relative newcomer to Shady Hollow. The fox has a nose for news, so when she catches wind that the death might be a murder, she resolves to get to the bottom of the case, no matter where it leads. As she stirs up still waters, the fox exposes more than one mystery, and discovers that additional lives are in jeopardy.
A Cozy Mystery to Solve
I haven’t read a mystery book in a while so I was hoping to get invested and have no idea who the murderer was while piling my own theories together.
In terms of the mystery itself there are a lot of characters you can pick from. The beginning of the book actually has a part that explains who each character is and their animal “form.” I like that the author says you can imagine them as animals or people. To me, it became a Zootopia situation. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to remember everyone, but the author does a good job of reminding you who they are and eventually, I didn’t need reminding at all.
Vera Vixen is a fox reporter who follows the murder and you spend most of the book with her while also getting viewpoints from the other characters. The animals do fall into some stereotypes like the owl being a professor (reminded me a lot of Blathers from Animal Crossing) or a racoon being the prime suspect. There’s also a raven named Lenore.
This is considered a “cozy” mystery, but considering there is murder and even attempted murder, there can be darker moments. I found myself reading longer than I planned because unexpected twists did happen. The story stays focused on the mystery and doesn’t stray, but there are some hints here and there about other characters that could lead to a story about them. There’s more in Shady Hollow than meets the eye.
I say that because there are two other books in this series, which I plan on reading.
It’s always nice to take a step back from gloomy/dark/intense books and read something calmer and obviously, cozy. It’s a fun story to get caught up in. So many characters have reasons to do it, but like Vera, you have to piece everything together.
Overall, I had a good time and I’m looking forward to reading the next.
Also, 5/5 for the cover. It’s what pulled me in.