Timothy Trousdale is a recent junior college graduate who has moved to NYC from Alabama not only to escape his emotionally abusive mother, but also to realize his dream of being a published author. Unfortunately, he’s mostly been working retail and not making ends meet. Also, Timothy’s not very motivated as an aspiring author. He gets a temp job of his dreams, however, when he’s hired on as an assistant for a talent agency managing the fan mail of megastar actress, Mercedes Ford. And, the biggest perk is he’s living and working inside Mercedes’ swanky penthouse. Mercedes and her boy-toy hubby aren’t home at the moment, as they are living near her current filming location. Instead, an elderly, wine-drinking “housekeeper” is sharing the space, and Timothy’s direct boss, Jared, has free rein and a harsh tongue.
Jared’s verbal abuse of Timothy begins the moment he walks in the door, and doesn’t let up until Jared’s dead a week later. There’s no love lost toward Jared, who made an enemy every time he opened his mouth. The scene of Jared’s demise is a secure room in the apartment, and that makes Timothy pretty suspicious of the cause of death, which law enforcement seems to believe was accidental. He decides to dig deeper, and that’s when he unearths even more people with potential motive to have killed the odious Jared.
I found this story just okay. The blurb described a cozy mystery, but the execution didn’t quite match up, for me. The pace is really slow, and Timothy, who is admittedly young, naive, and broke, doesn’t read as his supposed age at all. I’m not sure I’ve read any cozies with 23-year-old sleuths, but Timothy’s so hapless and self-oriented, I was kind of shocked he had any awareness to be suspicious of Jared’s death, at all. It took him more than a week to “discover” that his roommate in the penthouse isn’t a live-in housekeeper at all. His turns of phrase and metaphors gave off a vibe of someone two decades older than he is purported to be, and that continually drew me away from the story.
Being suspicious of the sleuth made a conflict for me as a reader that I found hard to overcome. There are also a whole ton of extra characters that serve as red herrings. Every time Timothy turned over a stone, he found two more stones. It became exhausting and didn’t move the plot forward.
It feels like we end up withIn all, I wasn’t super impressed with Timothy as a character, or the pacing/scope of the story. I’m a big cozy fan, so I had high hopes here that were ultimately not met.