Story Rating: 4.5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.75 stars

Narrator: Andrew Gibson
Length: 5 hours, 53 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks

Dashiell Dawson Dane has moved across the country to a small town in Oregon for a new job. He’s running from his life a bit, as he just broke up with his boyfriend, and his parents, known mystery writers, don’t take much interest in Dash. His new boss is famous mystery writer Vivienne Carver and Dash is hoping that Vivienne will be the mentor he needs. Dash wants to get past his writer’s block and could use inspiration from a successful author like Vivienne.

However, the first night that Dash is staying at Vivienne’s mansion, Hemlock House, she is murdered and Dash is the number one suspect. In fact, he seems to be the only suspect and Dash is sure he’s being framed. So now instead of writing a mystery, Dash has to solve a real murder to save himself.

I have read most (all) of Gregory Ashe’s books and I wasn’t sure how this one was going to land for me. Most of Ashe’s books are hard hitting, gritty, long, and he lives to torture his characters and that is what I am used to from him. The Last Picks series is considered a cozy mystery and, compared to what I have read from Ashe, this book is easy and breezy, even with a murder or two.

I listened to the audio of this book and the performance of narrator Andrew Gibson was amazing and definitely added to my overall enjoyment. Dash is a little self-deprecating, a little snarky, a little condescending, and a whole lot of insecure. Gibson did such a great job with this narration that I had no interest in turning it off until the end. The book takes us through Dash arriving at the mansion, Vivienne being murdered, and then Dash having to clear his name. Dash has some help from the other staff at the mansion, such as Millie, who was one of Vivienne’s assistants. I am not sure how Millie would have landed for me in written form, and although she is an over-the-top character, the nuances that Gibson added made her entertaining.

There is also Deputy Bobby, who may be Dash’s love interest further in the series, but since Bobby currently has a boyfriend and Ashe loves the super slow burn, it may be a while to progress these two. The mystery is a little zany and slightly predictable, but a whole lot of fun getting to the end. The last picks, as the series name describes, are the staff at the mansion. Not all of them are fully explained as to why they are there and, after an entire book, it left a vacancy of information to be filled.

It will be interesting to see how Ashe sustains multiple murders in one small town as the series moves along, but I am definitely invested. If you have the opportunity to listen to the audio, it’s highly recommended. But either way, ebook or audio, this is a fun series to get started with for a light mystery with an unlikely hero whose dry wit and humor is worth the ride.