Death and Relaxation (Book 1)
By: Devon Monk

Quick-take: Part Romance. Part Mystery. Part Fantasy.

Dan's Review

Delaney Reed is the police chief in an nondescript Oregon town given the intentional name of Ordinary. There is a rubhard festival about to happen, which you would think would deserve just a passing mention or an excuse for a minor plot. Apparently, author Monk likes to keep talking about it. The characters in the story in this town really care about their rhubarb recipes and the contest. I think the characters caring so much about something so mundane was actually an attempt at humor, but I am not sure it worked.

Anyway, enough digression. I had no idea I was picking up a quasi-romance novel when I decided to jump into what looked like an interesting urban fantasy based on the summary. Delaney is single, works hard, and is too busy for dating. Yet, somehow muscular men keep showing up shirtless ready to throw themselves at her. Dunno. It just kinda happens, right? What is a girl to do...

I don't mind the romance stuff. I acknowledge that there are far more women buying and reading books than men, and sales of romance novels is 3x those of sci-fi/fantasy. I just don't want it to be the main focus. Fortunately, it was not the sole basis of this novel, but it was literally front and center when it comes to the main suiter. Every scene that Ryder emerges describes him all over again. Please don't break her heart.

The fantasy hook is gods are vacationing in Delaney's town. This actually worked out OK though I never understood why a god would want to spend a year running a small bed and breakfast in a boring town. Also, the fact they were gods was of little relevance. Other than have odd manners, they did not do any godly things or give any timeless wisdom. They were just random people doing random things, and btw, he happens to be a god.

Mystery was solved. Main story arc was closed. The book prepped for the next entry.

I classify this book: Part romance. Part mystery. Part fantasy. Overall Score 3/5. It was decently entertaining, and I appreciate a book trying something a little different, but this series is not for me.

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